Curiosity is a great way to get me to pick up a book. Promise me that there will be robosex in said book? Ok, now I’m intrigued. Coral-600 by Roxy Mews is a fascinating look at what it means to be (or to not be) human. Now, I’m not going to pretend that the entirety of the book is some sort of in-depth social commentary – because it wasn’t. However, it did make me think, especially about government involvement and regulations (in light of recent media censorship debacles). Back to the robosex (hehe), Coral-600 was fun, sexy, and an overall enjoyable read.
Pleasure is not a malfunction. Coral-600 is the first and only one of her kind. An artificial intelligence prototype with realistic skin over her metal frame, she was deemed too expensive for mass production and gifted to the royal family. She cannot legally have a relationship with a human, and it never entered her electronic brain to want more—to break the law. Until she meets Quinn, and her DNA-enhanced skin tingles with a completely new sensation. Desire. His body damaged beyond repair in the war, Quinn survived—barely—by agreeing to have much of it rebuilt. His royal relatives have taken him in, but it’s tough adjusting to a body that doesn’t come with instructions. As Coral helps Quinn cope with his new body, the connection between them reaches the melt-down point. But unless she can convince the authorities that humanity runs deeper than flesh and bone, she’ll have her CPU wiped clean—permanently.Warning: This book contains artificial and natural flavors, lubricant (lots and lots of lubricant), and fun with oh-so-hard drives.
Let me start with Coral. I didn’t necessarily connect with her, but I was rooting for her and a happy ending. She possessed a sense of innocence in spite of her age and the vast amount of “data” she’d collected over the years. I just wanted more from her. There were some mildly emotional scenes that helped reinforce her quasi-humanity. Coral’s unabashed curiosity and complete unawareness of social construct made her endearing, if not slightly confusing. I liked following along as she learned new things – mostly dealing with sexuality – but it was a little hard to believe that she was so clueless (especially regarding her aversion to clothing and others’ aversions to her aversion). The fact that any sort of human reactions were “malfunctions” to be reported back to some government lab for analysis only added to the weirdness. If she knew that she was malfunctioning (and the consequence of serious malfunction to be dissection), why on earth would she constantly transmit results back to this lab?
The other two characters that took up quite a bit of screen time were Paisley, Coral’s BFF (and only friend), and Quinn, Coral’s bio-mechanically modified human love interest. Scenes with Paisley were fun and reinforced Coral’s transformation from something solely mechanical to something…different. Paisley’s unapologetic sexuality and frank discussions with Coral provided levity and humor. I would have loved more scenes with Paisley and Coral at the bar. Quinn, on the other hand, didn’t really interest me. He didn’t disinterest me, but there wasn’t anything supremely special about him. The silent, sexy love interest that was wounded in battle and is coming to grips with his new bio-mechanical parts fell a bit flat. More about his history or a bit more time spent building his relationship with Coral could have made him a bit less one-dimensional.
The premise of the story, a bio-mechanical being with artificial intelligence becoming something else that is less mechanical and more human, snagged my attention. Plus, I was promised robosex. The sexy times were – er – interesting to say the least. Coral’s clinical explanations about what was happening to her body were a bit humorous. Also, thoughtful consideration to the technical aspect of the story was appreciated. I may not have a clue as to whether scientific parts of the story were entirely plausible, but it made sense as I read it.
Overall, Coral-600 was a fun, light-hearted read. Government control of bio-mechanical beings, discussion of the definition of humanity, and some red hot robosex created a unique reading experience. While I would have liked more development of Coral and Quinn’s relationship, and deeper character development for Quinn, the smart, sexy read kept my attention (even the scenes without Paisley). I was cheering for Coral and wishing her nothing but happiness for her. So, if you’re in the market for light, fun, science fiction read full of robosex and a clothing averse bio-mechanical being, go pick up your copy of Coral-600!