Were you disappointed by Klara and the Sun? Then try The Actuality, which by a coincidence was published just before Ishiguro’s overhyped novel. It has a similar theme and has a decent plot. I was very impressed with this debut novel.
Set in a dystopian Europe, over 100 years from now, the story is narrated by Evie, an android who was modelled on a real woman and who lives a sheltered existence with her husband Matthew and loyal servant, Daniels. However, androids of her type were outlawed years ago when it was decided that they were dangerous. The story takes a dramatic turn when people come after her, wishing to sell, possess or destroy her. Strongly emotional and indistinguishable from a real human except for what’s beneath her skin, Evie is very much a character to root for.
The pacing of the novel is very good and except for a few chapters towards the end where the story became mired in too much detail, it held my attention. I would classify it as science fiction but it’s of the kind that should appeal to a broader audience, as the science part is subtly done and the author’s vision of the future is interesting. The novel makes you question the definition of ‘human’.
The author’s unnecessary note at the end of the book, about how plausible it could be, did spoil the magic a little. I think the writing could have done with more editing, as there were some clunky sentences and a strange overuse of the word ‘huffs’ (every character seems to huff at some point).
Despite these few reservations, I recommend this book!
First published in 2021 by Sandstone Press.
13 thoughts on “Review of ‘The Actuality’ by Paul Braddon”
I’d understand the huffing if the characters were teenagers!
Ha ha! Yes. I don’t have a problem with the maybe two or three huffs throughout the whole book, but any more than that it’s too noticeable.
I was disappointed in Klara and the Sun, so this book looks really interesting to me! I love dystopian novels which focus on characters. I really enjoyed reading your review!
This book sounds like it could be for you, then! 🙂 Thanks you very much.
This one sounds promising, I love a main character that the reader can really root for! As for the overuse of huffs, that would bug me too. Great review 😊
Thanks! 🙂 Although this book has a sci fi theme I think it should appeal to people who don’t usually read sci fi.
Great review – and yes, I was disappointed by Klara and the Sun, so this one might be for me as well. However, I just found one which managed to do all the stuff I expected Klara to do. Review will follow later this week .;-)
Thanks! Ooh, I will look out for your review 🙂 I guess you wouldn’t want to read two on the same theme close together.
That detail you noticed about huffing is funny. It does give the author a little signature in the end hahah Great review. It sounds like a good one! 😀
I always pick up the little details like that! It can be annoying. I should be an editor 😀 Thanks – I was really glad I read this one, I do like stories about androids.
This sounds interesting! Looks like you enjoyed this overall 🙂 I bet there were many huffs in the story that made you notice it 🙂 And why oh why did she add that unnecessary note at the end? :S Great review as always, NS! 🙂
Thanks Jee! 🙂 I was glad I read it. Unfortunately I always notice when a word gets overused and that affects my enjoyment of the book! I’m not a fan of afterwords, the story should speak for itself.