The A.I. Who Loved Me
Author: Alyssa Cole
Narrators: Regina Hall, Mindy Kaling, Feodor Chin, Therese Plummer, Dina Pearlman, Neil Hellegers, Adenrele Ojo, Kyla Garcia
Audio Speed: 1.25x
Genre: Sci-Fi Romance
The A.I. Who Loved Me is a wonderful audio-first (only?) new sci-fi romance from Alyssa Cole. The performance features an all-star cast, with leading roles from Regina Hall and Feodor Chin. The story centers on Trinity Jordan, a government Hive worker who is on medical leave due to an injury she sustained while on the job. Her neighbor’s smokin’ hot nephew Li Wei moves in and suddenly Trinity’s life feels even more out of control. Both are mending from injuries and struggling with memory issues, but as they spend more time together, Trinity starts to realize there is more to Li Wei than meets the eye.
I about flipped when I first heard about this production, and I am glad to report, it exceeds my expectations. Ms. Cole has developed a fascinating world where the problems of today mold a tech-savvy, Big Brother-ish future. Building on problems like climate change, technology takeover, wars, and famine, the author makes a statement about where we are headed if we don’t shape up. It’s not overly political but pointed.
The story begins as Trinity and Li Wei meet. While the listener knows he’s A.I., Trinity does not, and it makes for some funny/awkward situations. He’s regaining function after an accident and she’s dealing with PTSD from her own incident. Although he’s a bit odd, Trinity feels a deep pull towards Li Wei. I like how the truth of their histories and the romance builds slowly, with bits and pieces falling into place one at a time. Theirs is a charming romance that starts slowly and builds to an explosive crescendo. It’s a great romance, with a solid mystery and some fantastic twists.
Narration: The A.I. Who Loved Me is a full-cast production shared in alternating first person POVs of Trinity, narrated completely by Regina Hall, and Li Wei, narrated completely by Feodor Chin, with additional scenes and sound bites of various A.I. interactions, like Li Wei interfacing with the household interactive helper Penny, performed by Mindy Kaling. These “other” parts are full cast, complete with sound effects and performed like a radio play. They add value to the overall story, giving listeners glimpses into the recovery progress of Trinity and Li Wei.
Both primary narrators do a lovely job, especially with their individual primary character. Ms. Hall nails Trinity’s sass and emotion, bringing her to life. She doesn’t vary much for other characters, but does a good job with Li Wei early on because his voice is robotic. However, as he becomes more human-like, his voice starts to sound more like Trinity’s and in Chapter 17, I had trouble at times figuring out who was speaking. Likewise, Mr. Chin has a strong performance for Li Wei, starting cold and robotic and morphing into a charming man. His females are slightly higher-pitched and mostly distinguishable.
Overall, The A.I. Who Loved Me is a joy to listen to and I’m thrilled there will be another story set in this world!
About the Book:
Trinity Jordan leads a quiet, normal life: working from home for the Hive, a multifunctional government research center, and recovering from the incident that sent her into a tailspin. But the life she’s trying to rebuild is plagued by mishaps when Li Wei, her neighbor’s super sexy and super strange nephew, moves in and turns things upside down. Li Wei’s behavior is downright odd—and the attraction building between them is even more so. When an emergency pulls his aunt away from the apartment complex, Trinity decides to keep an eye on him…and slowly discovers that nothing is what it seems. For one thing, Li Wei isn’t just the hot guy next door—he’s the hot A.I. next door. In fact, he’s so advanced that he blurs the line between man and machine. It’s up to Trinity to help him achieve his objective of learning to be human, but danger is mounting as they figure out whether he’s capable of the most illogical human behavior of all…falling in love.