Spare and Found Parts is a Frankenstein story at heart, but not the kind you might expect. Nell has spent her life with a background ticking, her heart is clockwork and she lives with a scar from chin to sternum. She knows the unnatural sound of her heart is off-putting and she fears no one will ever truly understand her. When a mannequin hand washes up on the shore, she gets the idea to build a boy to be her companion.

In Nell’s world computers are blamed for ruining the world, although it doesn’t go into the specifics; we were probably starting wars on social media… Disease has left much of the population with missing limbs and this is where Nell’s genius father comes in. He created prosthetics, so close to the banned robotics of the past, but allowed due to their immense contribution to society.

There are three rules:

1. The sick in the Pale, the healed in the Pasture.
2. Contribute, at all cost.
3. All code is blasphemy.

There’s some great, subtle world-building such as the giant statue that is giving people purpose, jobs created for the sake of jobs. It’s hinted that those with less debilitating disabilities are expected to work to create food. They are assessed and sent to The Pasture if they are fit and strong. Those with ideas on how to benefit society can present their Contribution and be allowed to stay in the city if accepted.

Poor, naive Nell decides her robot boy can be her Contribution. In a society that hates computers! Bless her, she thinks adding a human appearance will mean no one’s afraid of her creation. I really did have my doubts about Nell’s methods, but these things are eventually addressed and don’t just happen by magic.

You say hello. Five letters. English. Hotel Echo Lima Lima Oscar. Eta Epsilon Lambda Lambda Omicron. 01101000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111. I say hello.

It’s a slow book with not much drama but I enjoyed Sarah’s writing style. I didn’t feel like Nell was going to change the world, it’s more about her discovery of the world that came before her and the fallibility of parents. She did seem a little younger than most young adult protagonists too.

The narrative changes between third person and second person, which I think can work when you find out who the narrator is and who they are meant to be speaking to. However it seemed like the second person was at least two different people. So when I thought it was the robot it could have worked but there were other bits that were just confusing.

Spare and Found Parts is published by Titan Books and is available now in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review. At time of writing, you can buy the Kindle edition for a mere 98p!

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.