Jinxed by Amy McCulloch
Lacey Chu has big dreams of becoming a companioneer for MONCHA, the largest tech firm in North America and the company behind the “baku” – a customisable smart pet that functions as a phone but makes the perfect companion too. When Lacey finds out she hasn’t been accepted into Profectus – the elite academy for cutting edge tech – it seems her dreams are over. Worst of all, rather than getting to choose one of the advanced bakus, she’s stuck with a rubbish insect one.
Then, one night, Lacey comes across the remains of an advanced baku. Once it might’ve been in the shape of a cat but it’s now mangled and broken, no sign of electronic life behind its eyes. Days of work later and the baku opens its eyes. Lacey calls him Jinx – and Jinx opens up a world for her that she never even knew existed, including entry to the hallowed halls of Profecus. Slowly but surely, Jinx becomes more than just a baku to Lacey – he becomes her perfect companion. But what is Jinx, really? His abilities far surpass anything written into his code or built into his motherboard. He seems to be more than just a robotic pet. He seems … real.
The first chapter after the prologue had me complete head over heels with it. My engineer’s heart adored reading about a teenager soldering (because I did it too, and worked with circuits, bread boards, etc).
I loved seeing a girl being the one behind the electronics with a female “hero”, role model, and also having at heart the fact that she wants to make things better for her mother who has done a lot for her.
The concept of the baku was also delightful, though I admit a few parts of it puzzled me (like the leash, they pierce your ear but is the leashing wireless, wired, or how does it work? also, piercings take a long time to heal the nasty things, so it’d be quite intriguing that it works so immediately), but all in all I am liking the concept. I can see pros and cons for it and that makes me happy because I work in technology so this was definitely the book for me.
I wasn’t too keen on the romance, but I can see why Lacey would feel the way she did. Also, Jinx is a fun character and seeing him grow too alongside Lacey was wonderful. I can’t wait for the sequel.