2021 SFF Badge Collecting Challenge, Book Review

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

As soon as I heard that Kazuo Ishiguro was releasing a new book I immediately pre-ordered it. Never Let Me Go is one of my favourite books, so when I saw that Klara and the Sun would once again be exploring scientific themes as well as humanity I was even more excited to read it. After waiting months and months for the book to be released, last week I finally had one of my most anticipated reads of the year in my hands and I devoured it in a matter of hours.

Klara and the Sun follows the story of Klara who is an Artificial Friend (commonly referred to as an AF). Whilst she may not be the latest model of AF, she is certainly unique and still one of the best, especially due to her observational qualities. As she sits in the window gazing at the outside world wishing to learn as much about it as she can, she is hopeful that she will be chosen by the perfect family to be the perfect friend. 

The entire novel is all from Klara’s perspective which I adored, I loved Klara as a protagonist and it was a joy to experience the world through her eyes. Klara was so insightful and curious about everything which then made the reader curious too. Especially as, at first it feels as though we are in an America in the not too distant future, however as the novel progresses we begin to learn even more about this world and that AFs aren’t the only radical difference in it. All the characters in this book were so complex and interesting, it was difficult to get a read on a couple of them in the beginning but I really liked that. I loved not knowing the true intentions of certain characters as the mystery just added to this already thoughtful and meaningful novel. 

It’s very difficult to talk about this book and the characters within it without giving away any spoilers as going into this novel without much knowledge of what it’s about is a truly wonderful reading experience. I loved how the reader only ever knew as much as Klara did, if we didn’t know something of the world around her, that’s because she didn’t know or no one ever explained it to her. This just made the novel even more powerful not only did we understand Klara better because of it, but we also had a deeper understanding of how people perceived her too. 

It was fascinating to me to see the way that AFs were integrated within society but also treated by society too. When I have consumed other media that focuses on A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) it has often been from the human’s perspective either creating the A.I. or befriending the A.I. So, it was very refreshing to read a novel that was from the perspective of the A.I. instead. Ishiguro’s beautiful and lyrical writing was perfect for both Klara and the novel as a whole. Not only did it wonderfully emphasised Klara’s innocent and philosophical view on the world; but it also presented harsh truths of this new world in such a gentle way it was truly captivating. 

There is just so much more I want to say about this profound novel as I can honestly say that it has very quickly become one of my favourite novels ever, not just of this year. For me, this novel had the same haunting beauty of Never Let Me Go and it’s one that I know I will be thinking about for a long time to come. Without a doubt, I already know that this is the frontrunner for my book of 2021.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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