Monday, April 23, 2018

ARC Review: Evolved by N.R. Walker

In 2068, androids are an integrated part of human life. Big Brother no longer just watches from the shadows. It’s in every household.

Lloyd Salter has OCD issues with noise, mess, and he’s uncomfortable with human interaction. When his ex claimed the only thing perfect enough to live up to his standards was an android, Lloyd dismissed it. But two years later, after much self-assessment, Lloyd thinks he may have been right.

SATinc is the largest manufacturer of androids in Australia, including the Fully Compatible Units known as an A-Class 10. Their latest design is the Synthetic Human Android UNit, otherwise known as SHAUN.

Shaun is compatible with Lloyd’s every need; the perfect fit on an intellectual and physical basis. But Lloyd soon realises Shaun’s not like other A-Class androids. He learns. He adapts. Sure that SATinc is aware Shaun functions outside of his programmed parameters, Lloyd must find a way to keep Shaun safe.

No one can know how special Shaun is. No one can know he’s evolved.

Dani's rating:

Bear with me as I try to find the right words.

Extraordinary is inadequate.

So is amazing. And unique.

Evolved is more than a dystopian sci-fi novel set 50 years in the future. It's more than a novel about an android and a man falling in love. It's an exploration of what it means to be cognizant ... what it means to be human.

Lloyd never imagined the A-class android he ordered would be so much more than the sum of his mechanical parts. Shaun, designed to Lloyd's specifications, from his height to his striking blue eyes, is perfect in every way—perfect for Lloyd.

Lloyd, a college professor, is structured, quiet, and brilliant. He loves to read and discuss literature, but hates messy spaces and noisy people. He has one friend, Jae, who is equally obsessed with order. Lloyd isn't an adventurous guy. He enjoys being at home but is a little lonely.

Lloyd's ex-boyfriend suggested Lloyd should get himself an android, so that's what he did.

Shaun has been programmed to match Lloyd's desires, not just sexually but intellectually. And soon Lloyd can't fathom being without Shaun, of whom he no longer thinks as an android, but a being, his partner, his mate.

Lloyd is respectful of Shaun. He never treats him like he's less. And the two talk long into the night and exchange lingering kisses.

I've read novels where the MCs are so wooden, they may as well be robots. But Shaun is so complex, so ALIVE, he may as well be a man.

One of Lloyd's favorite books is Moby Dick, and Shaun has his own analysis of this literary classic. He claims, for example, that saying Call me Ishmael doesn't prove the protagonist's name is Ishmael. After all, people can call you anything they want, but only you know who you are inside.

I would not be as Ishmael was. I wouldn't survive it, while all I lived for disappears under the surface.

The first half of the book is a slow exploration of Lloyd and Shaun's relationship. It's tender and HOT. And I mean SCORCHING. N.R. Walker wrote a seriously sexy book, y'all. And I, for one, couldn't be happier.

Shaun instigates sex; he wants it. He insists that all his sensors must be activated. *ahem* He even pulses as he comes. And Lloyd can't get enough. The problem is that Shaun can only come when Lloyd comes, so he gets himself in a bit of trouble when he finds the porn channels.

The more complex Shaun's questions, reactions, and feelings become, the more Lloyd worries. Shaun, is far more advanced, far more HUMAN, that he's supposed to be.

And Big Brother (in this case, SATinc, the company that built Shaun) is always watching.

I was so incredibly anxious by the last chapter, I was convinced Nic had written a cliffhanger and swore I'd never forgive her. But I knew there was an epilogue, so a glimmer of hope remained.

And, holy hell, did the ending deliver. It was symbolic, cathartic, and joyful all at once. And it sealed this book as one of my favorites of the year.

So much more than a romance, like Shaun, Evolved is pluperfect.

Get the book:


I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.
~Jane Austen

An ARC of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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