THE PERFECT WIFE - *****
THE PERFECT WIFE
When Abbie wakes up with no idea who she is or what has happened to her, her husband Tim is more than happy to fill in the gaps. But what secrets are hiding within her past?
The blurb of The Perfect Wife is a little misleading; I had the impression that Abbie would have no idea what she was – a woman woken up from a traumatic accident and told bits about her life only to find something more sinister lurking beneath the surface. However, 3 pages in (so not a spoiler!) we are told Abbie is actually a very intelligent AI system, brought to life in the image of her maker’s wife. She struggles with the idea of her existence as she tries to find out more about the life her maker and his wife had before she was created.
The book is split into two perspectives – the second person tense account of the robot Abbie and the third person of someone else retelling the past. The changes in narrative work really nicely together and the second tense chapters are done very well. We feel a lot of empathy for the Robot Abbie as she comes to terms with having a downloaded human personality and a synthetic body. The plot is very nicely paced and gives small pieces of information away in a trickle until we are racing towards an action-packed finale. I have read that a few people found the ending confusing and although it isn’t quite what I expected to happen I personally didn’t have a problem understanding it – it was an interesting twist!
I also really enjoyed the characterisations explored in the book – particularly Danny who has late onset autism. I found the chapters that included him to be very heart-warming and he felt very fleshed out and well-researched as a character. The asides to his treatment and behaviour therapy were also very interesting. Tim’s colder and ambitious side was also well detailed and the fact we empathised with the robot version of Abbie shows real skill in J.P. Delaney’s work. The writing in general was a joy to read – producing an easy to read book which kept me gripped throughout.
Overall, The Perfect Wife is well-written Sci-Fi with a thriller angle and I highly recommend it. Thank you to NetGalley & Quercus Books for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.