Rating: 5/5
Buy or Borrow: BUY
Source: Early copy courtesy of Hashtag Reads (Released 9th August 2018)

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.

First off, I just have to send a huge thank you to Hashtag Reads for sending me a proof of this book. As one of my most anticipated books of 2018, I have been desperate for this for a while; so when it fell into my hands about 4 hours ago, I knew it had to be read right away. And also...the proof came with a Tamagotchi. I am currently reliving my childhood whilst typing this review; I forgot how much fun they are!

Amy McCulloch (also Amy Alward) has been one of my favourite authors for a few years now. Having first been introduced to her through the Zoella Book Club, to reviewing her books and falling in love with them, doing a cover reveal for the last book in The Potion Diaries series, and finally getting to meet her at last year's YALC - it's clear to see why I was so excited for Amy to be writing a new series.

When I first heard the synopsis of the book, I wondered how a book about robotic pets could be written to suit a YA audience - it's safe to say I was massively intrigued.

The story focuses on 15 year old Lacey Chu. Lacey lives in a world where smartphones are no more, and bakus exist in their place. Bakus were invented by MONCHA, and are essentially advanced smartphones, that come in the interactive form of a pet. Depending on the money and social class you have, when you finish high school, you can buy your first baku. Bakus start from Level 1 and can be something small, like a scarab beetle, or a butterfly - or they can be Level 5, and be something magestic like an eagle. What I loved about Amy's writing is how much detail and time was spent into explaining the inner workings of bakus, and how they were founded. As a reader, it made the book flow so much easier, having that first 50 pages or so of knowledge about them.

Lacey has dreamed of becoming a companioneer for as long as she can remember. She wants to work at MONCHA and find out what makes bakus tick. She has worked tirelessly to get into the prestigious school that ensures you'll have a job at MONCHA if you finish there - but then the rejection email falls into her inbox and she's shattered. She buys her first Level 1 baku and admits defeat. But then she finds what she thinks is an old piece of junk on the floor; she discovers it's a Level 3 cat baku...

A second mysterious email appears saying that she has now been accepted into Profectus with her Level 3 cat, Jinx. Lacey is confused, but her dreams are coming true, so she hides the truth from everyone. Even when she discovers Jinx isn't quite like other bakus. Jinx seems to have a mind of his own...

I feel like saying anymore about the plot would take away the excitement of reading it for the first time, and discovering certain elements on your own. And let's be honest, what happens at Profectus, stays at Profectus...

I hate comparisons, but I know a lot of my readers like them. If I had to pitch this book: it's The Hunger Games meets Pokemon - but with robotic pets. There's mystery, battles, secrets, science - this book has it all.

Let's talk about Lacey for a second. What I loved about Lacey was her drive. She created her own fairytale; her own story - and I love that in a female protagonist. She wasn't always likeable, she made some questionable decisions at times, but she was her own person, and Amy made her so believable, that everything she did, you knew that would be the choice that Lacey made. For so many teen protagonists, love is the most important thing for them. This was true for Lacey, but not in the way we know it. Lacey loves inventing, creating - and most importantly, she loves science.

I have to talk about Jinx. Jinx was my absolute favourite character and props to Amy for making the difference between Jinx and other bakus so distinct. It amazed me that I felt no connection to any other bakus, but the love I had for Jinx had no bounds. He was sarcastic, witty, even slightly irritating. He had something the other bakus didn't. A personality. And I loved him. He reminded me of Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Although the book had hints of romance, the real romance was between Jinx and Lacey. Watching them understand each other, bond with each other and grow, was possibly my favourite part of the book. They were such a dynamic duo - which is why it still shocks me that ultimately, Jinx is still a baku.

The friendships were believable. Nothing felt rushed. There were still things left unearthed, which makes me even more excited for the second installment. I can't put into words how this book somehow managed to contain everything I love in a book - but contain none of the components I usually reach for.

I'll be honest, I usually read books full of YA tropes that everyone else is sick off. I would also never usually go anywhere near a sci-fi book. This book is so unique and knocks every YA trope out of the park. And it's made me realise that even in genres that you don't think are for you, there's something for everyone.

I finished this in two and a half hours. It was unputdownable and unlike anything I've read before. Particularly in the YA field. I loved everything about this book. The world. It's characters. The plot. It was a real page-turner and I simply can't recommend this book enough.

I think this one sentence sums it up: I haven't reviewed a book in weeks; I read and reviewed this in 4 hours. Just wow.


  1. This sounds great :)
    Really excited to read it come August; I enjoyed the Potion Diaries books lots!
    Amy x

  2. Ermmm, I NEED this book!

  3. You've sold it to me Zoe. It sounds so unique.