Cover Image: Alpha Bots

Alpha Bots

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Reading about housewives who are also robots is something I’ve never read before. The idea really intrigued me and I was super excited to dive into this! The audiobook has a robot-esque narration that really added to the atmosphere of this book.

For me the first third of this book easily could have been the entirety of this book, I didn’t really understand or enjoy where the story went after Cookie left her home.

I found this book to be overly sexual in a creepy, pushy type of way, and that really turned me off from enjoying the plot.

I liked meeting all of the other AI housewives, and getting little glimpses of what their lives were like with their human husbands. And how they were all learning what it is like to be independent and to make their own choices and decisions.

Overall I wasn’t a huge fan of this book, it was a lot of fun to listen to. I know that this book is perfect for people out there that enjoy seeing feminism explored in different ways.
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I liked Cookie. I liked the world built around her. I found the concept fun to explore. The parallel to the humans we are and the concept of what we could one day become.
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Loved re reading this book along with my ebook to follow along with the audio. Just took me forever as I am on jury service.
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I listened to this book in audiobook format, which I'm not very accustomed to yet, so I'm not entirely sure how that affected my reading experience. 

The story was amusing, but I couldn't take it very seriously. 
Some of the characters' motivations and attitudes were curious or just straight up weird. 
Still, there were a few funny moments and it was an enjoyable light read.
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They book started out interesting, but unfortunately I was unable to finish this by the archive date which was only 3 days after I received it.
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Thank you Netgalley for the audio copy. The story of womanoid Cookie Rifkin. This was a little slow moving and slightly bizarre story.
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What the fuck did i just listen to!?

Sorry not sorry for the language but this was honestly so, so bad!

From the get go, i hated our lead character Cookie. The narrators voice when playing her was just absolutely abnoxious and grated me the wrong way.

I think i must have spent more than 60% of the book trying to just understand what the hell was going on. It just didn't make any sense? You'd start a chapter one way, and then the whole thing would go every which way and wouldn't make any sense at all. I was just at a lost through it all...

Maggy also got on my last nerves.

Also, you've got this world of artificial intelligence, that is supposedly controlled by humans as part of a 'test' study, but when things go to shit, not one human comes out of the wood work to pull the plug or do anything. It just MAKES. NO. SENSE!

I honestly don't even know WHY i've listened to the whole thing, since the whole darn time i thought to myself ; wtf? this is never going to earn more than 1 star... i just... i don't.......

Arrrr.... so aggravated.....!
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I thought this was a great concept - super inventive. I didn't like all of the vulgar/vulgar sex and trust me I curse like a trucker and don't blush - it just felt forced and overworked - like it was trying too hard.  The plot also was overworked by the end, too bad. If it would have stayed on track, it would have been a much better book.
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This was vulgar and sexualised and very very strange. It read like a terrible cliché porn from the olden days but in a futuristic setting. Which was perhaps the point and I managed to miss it entirely. But it was just not an enjoyable reading experience.

I tried again, with the audiobook. While I did somewhat enjoy the plain narration moments, the narrator raised and lowered her voice to indicate the difference between female and male characters, something I did find myself struggling with a little bit. On top of that, production added reverb effects for the AI bits which made those parts wholly unlistenable. So I once again put down this book, and I won't be picking it back up again.
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This audiobook book was so much fun!  I love Laci Powers (the narrator) voices for each character, I find Cookie's voice annoying but it is also how I imagine her voice would sound, so it worked perfectly.

This book was a fresh take on artificial intelligence and The Stepford Wives.  I love that the author used they/them pronouns for some of the characters, removed the gender from others, and included some saucy scenes.

I cannot wait to read book two, the tag line I read today said Cookie lets her freak flag fly!, that sounds fantastic to me.
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The remise sounded interesting, but the story didn't live up to it's premise. The plot was disjointed, the language and the characters juvenile.  I am certain, there is an audience for this audio book, but it just wasn't for me.
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I felt like the plot gave me whiplash. It started off slow, accelerated, slammed on the breaks, accelerated... you get the idea. I'm really into stories featuring sentient AIs so I was really excited to get into this one, but unfortunately it fell short. Off I go for another playthrough of Detroit: Become Human to fill the hole this book left.
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This book is a modern take on 'The Stepford Wives' a book by Ira Levin that has spawned two movies. The satiric novel is about a town called Stepford, where men have replaced their wives with robot clones who cheerfully do housework, shop, cook, etc., and don't argue or disagree with their mates.

*****
Alpha Bots takes place in 'New Stepford', where all the women are AI androids, purchased by men to fulfill their needs. There are various types of droids, from thin and lithe, to sexy and curvy, to soft and matronly. Cookie Rifkin is a sex kitten owned by her 'husband' Norman Rifkin, who's mainly interested in carnal relations and saving money.

Cookie and her kind are a cut above basic robots in that they can eat, drink, experience pleasure, feel pain, and most importantly, think for themselves. Unfortunately, the 'ladies' have almost no free will, and have been programmed to be controlled via literary quotes, a remote control, or - if all else fails - an off switch.

Like a good New Stepford wife, Cookie always wears dresses, obsessively uses coupons for grocery shopping, is a talented chef, wears pretty nighties, and is enthusiastic in the bedroom. This boring routine wears on Cookie, though, and she attends a book club with AI friends for intellectual stimulation, and makes a recreational drug from banana skins to relieve her anxiety. Cookie's best friend Paula lives next door with her husband Dan, and seems happy being an AI wife.

Though Cookie is unsatisfied with her life, her programming makes it impossible for her to 'disobey' Norman until she meets a female cop named Maggie, and a handsome black man called Wayne, two individuals with extraordinary talents. Maggie is an anarchist with an agenda and Wayne wants to liberate AI androids.

Once Cookie asserts some independence, Norman decides she's 'broken', and boxes her up and throws her away. Cookie escapes and - under the tutelage of Maggie and Wayne - learns to overcome her programming; telepathically share thoughts/knowledge with other androids; make things she needs (with a replicator-like device); liberate fellow androids by making them fight (throw punches, kick, etc.); and more.

Cookie and her compatriots also discover an underlying agenda in New Stepford, being carried out by Norman and his boorish friends. These guys better watch out, because the android gals are smarter, tougher, have MUCH better technology, and are almost impossible to kill.

The story is engaging, but the book is overlong and too slow at times. Still, there are some wonderful scenes, one of my favorites being the birth of android babies whose first meal is a corker.

If you're looking for something feminist and futuristic, you might want to give this book a try.

Thanks to Netgalley, Ava Lock, and Semiscope for a copy of the book.
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My enjoyment of this book was like a roller coaster, it really surprised me, annoyed me, and confused me at multiple points. Haha, I guess that is a provocative combination! As an audio book the cutesy baby talk was quite annoying - but I get that that was the point, but the voice of the MC was over done in my mind and lessened my enjoyment (same for the main male character). I loved the evolution of the story line, big props for such an original plot, really kept me on my toes. The end didn't feel like it lived up to the themes in the book though - Romeo and Juliet happily ever after - and contributed to the 3 (rather than 4) star rating.
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A. unique science fiction novel, it was very weird however at the same time an enjoyable read. There were times I was laughing out loud and there were times I was confused about what I was reading. If you are looking for a weird science fiction book then check this book out.
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This is one of the most original, entertaining, and amusing stories I've not read in a long time. By that I mean it was an audiobook, so I didn't even have to read it - I just sat back and listened - and laughed my ass off. There were some minor issues with it, but nothing to take away from the brilliance of the story and the hectic way it was told.

On top of this, the reader, Laci Powers, was awesome in the role and really put soul into the story and life into Cookie, the main character. I'm not a series fan, but I did secure the sequel to this before I even finished the first volume which is highly unusual for me. I remain nervous about sequels, and rightly so, because I did not enjoy the sequel at all. I'll review that next.

Be warned that this first volume pulls no punches, and is as explicit with language as it is with sex talk, which is to say there's a lot! That was one of the most amusing parts for me: to hear the naïve and softly-spoken Cookie talking so frankly and cussing like a sailor as she became liberated from her servitude, but this may bother other readers. I enjoyed her liberation, and I think it was made all the more amusing by Laci Powers's take on the character, too. The subtle snipes the author frequently took at male chauvinism and the genderist world order were wonderful.

Cookie Rifkin is a life-like AI robot designed to emulate a woman and to be servile and submissive to men, specifically her husband Norman. She's a gynoid if you will, but in the books they're referred to as womanoids. The thing is that, in New Stepford (get the reference?!), there are no human women, just human men. There are no children either. None of the womanoids think this is odd, that is until Cookie starts a book club with four other womanoids (Chrissy, Isabel, Paula, and Rita, all of whom have their own stories to tell), meets Wayne, finds her freedom, and becomes a startling rebel. Frankly, I think the story would have been even more powerful without Wayne. To me he was an annoyance, but this is what we have here.

The story begins innocently enough in a small homage to The Stepford Wives (and note to some ignorant reviewers: that was a novel from the same author who wrote Rosemary's Baby long before it was ever a movie!) where Cookie is wakened - and eventually woke - by the bed shaking and realizes that her husband is masturbating. This inexplicable and unexpected event in Cookie's life is what sets her off on her trail of discovery and eventual insurgency.

After meeting Wayne, Cookie encounters Maggie, who appears to be some sort of slacker police officer, but the more Cookie learns, the more she realizes that not everything in New Stepford is as it seems at first sight, and her encounters with Wayne and Maggie are not accidental. There is much more going on here, and over time, Cookie and her friends learn what real networking is, and they're not so much going to eat the forbidden fruit as overturn the entire apple cart. But it's not going to be a smooth ride by any means.

As far as problems are concerned, I said they were minor. There are times when Cookie's 'functionality' is described in ways that make her seem fully human, and at other times makes her seem very robotic, so this to me was a paradox; like for example she seems to eat and drink and breathe although she seems not to need to do any of that. The author never really went into any of the details of how she worked which was fine to begin with, but later, when Cookie learns how to upgrade herself, she seems much more robotic than she did when the story began, so it felt a bit like the rules of the world were changing, and this was a bit confusing, but it wasn't enough of a problem to detract from the story for me.

Also the upgrading is a bit problematic in another way. I don't want to give away spoilers, but in a way it's reminiscent of a time travel story where something goes wrong in the past and it would seem perfectly simple to just go back before that time and nip the problem in the bud, but the author makes up some arbitrary rule why that's not possible and it spoils the story for me. In the same way in this story (which involves no time-travel let me be clear!) Cookie's upgrades seem endless, but when she could have used a relatively minor upgrade to get her out of a tricky situation, she seems not to think of doing the very thing that could solve her problem. This rather demeans Cookie's agency and her inventiveness.

It made for a bit of a deus ex machina situation at some points and a 'Cookie has to be dumb not to think of that' at others, with problems being very easily solved at times, whereas at other times, they seemed insoluble by using the same convenient means. It was a bit inconsistent. I was enjoying the story enough that I let that slide, but this may bother some readers. Additionally, there is no real LGBTQIA angle to this story. There's a tease here and there, like the author is intrigued by Sapphic stories, but is too afraid to explore one for herself; so this is essentially hetero all the way

Overall though, I highly commend this story as beautifully done, entertaining, amusing, and even educational. I'm just sorry the sequel was a different thing altogether.
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This story was not for me. I do enjoy feminist stories, but I just wasn’t engaged with this one. If you like androids and sci-fi all around, this story may be for you. I do believe this is a great book for the right reader.
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This was not my cup of tea. I requested this book because of the LGBTQ+ tag, assuming the protagonist was going to be apart of the community. I struggled to get through the book because of some of the gritty details that I know many fellow readers appreciated. 
The book was certainly funny but also quite dark. I think these fitted so well together as you appreciate the humour more. Although the story was a good mix of character and plot, I did not feel attached to any of the character. 
I would recommend this to others, but make sure to look up the many trigger warnings.
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This book is definitely unique and the first part had me hooked. Just after 3/4 of the way through, I did find myself losing interest but I can’t exactly pinpoint why. 

The ideas in this storyline are really intriguing (AI perfect housewives rebelling against their husbands and starting a fight club? How could it not be!) but there was a slight disconnect between how the ideas and how they played out. 

I did still enjoy this book and I’m hoping to read more of Lock’s work in the future.
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This book was filled with so much humour! From start to finish I laughed at the way this book pokes holes in the misogyny in today’s society with a wonderful sci-fi twist. I will say that at times the story was a little hard to understand but I am very excited to get into the second/third book in this series because I am hooked.
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