Charlie The Robot

I like to think I'm a pretty patient person, but I could only get through half of this thing, largely because, in spite of the clear premise of robots working alongside humans in a dystopian future where most natural resources are gone, I couldn't quite figure out what the story was all about or what I was supposed to do about it.

There seems to be something about the friction between the characters of Mitch and Charlie, and there's this thing about maybe going to Mars where everybody may or may not be already dead. That seems to be about it. And that could be enough to go on, but the delivery is kind of confused. We have these quizzes which seem really tangential to any story we can conceive from what we have. The result is that all that zany humour actually gets in the way of there being any story, rather than supporting the narrative.

As for the characters, I'm not sure why I should care about any of them, or be curious about their futures. Mitch, the first one we meet, seems like an unpleasant person. Meanwhile, Charlie seems to be too much of a cypher, and he disappears after Part 1 ... unless we actually are Charlie in disguise afterwards in Part 2...? Part 2 brings another character, Aidan, to the forefront, and once again he seems more like an annoyance than anything else. It isn't that fictional characters need to be pleasant or likeable. It's that there needs to be some sort of connection with the reader, and that just wasn't happening.

It's kind of like a bowl of stale muesli bars: delightfully colourful wrappers, not exactly tasteless, but kind of hard to swallow ... especially if we're expected to finish all of it.