Review: Little Eyes by Samantha Schweblin
I was happy to have picked Little Eyes out of my pumpkin to be on my October TBR. It is very different to everything else I'm reading this month which made it a welcomed change from horror after horror. Often compared to episodes of Black Mirror, Little Eyes looks at an alternate dystopian future, never too far off of our own.
Kentukis have gone viral across the globe. They're little mechanical stuffed animals that have cameras for eyes, wheels for feet, and are connected to an anonymous global server. Owners of kentukis have the eyes of a stranger in their home and a cute squeaking pet following them; or you can be the kentuki and voyeuristically spend time in someone else's life, controlling the creature with a few keystrokes.
We see multiple scenarios from all over the world of the interaction between the owners and controllers of the kentukis. As one could imagine, when there is a human being at the other end of your stuffed toy, some of the scenarios are pretty disturbing. It's not all doom and gloom though. Despite some resorting to blackmail, and others trying to solve cases of kidnapping, other owners got a great deal of joy from their kentukis.
Being written in a style of various short stories, each pairing was only revisited a couple of times throughout the span of the book (and some only being delegated one chapter). This inevitably resulted in there being some storylines that were significantly stronger and more memorable than others. When I was half way through, I was wondering/hoping if there was going to be a linking factor between all of these different kentukis from all over the world; or better yet, some sort of overriding government conspiracy! I had no such luck. If I hadn't taken a second to contemplate a way for all of these stories to link together, I would have perhaps been satisfied with them having no connection whatsoever, but in this case, trying to think ahead was only a cause for disappointment.
This is certainly a unique premise, and it is also something that feels like a very real possibility in the future (although I can't say that being on either end of this massive invasion of privacy is something I would ever sign up for...)
If you are in the mood for something a bit different - and has an air of disturbing around it - definitely give Little Eyes a try. Just don't make the mistake I made and fabricate it into something it's not. The result will be disappointment.
Initial Prediction: 4 stars
Final Rating: 3.5 stars
Publication Date: 16 April 2020
Genres: SciFi, Horror
# of Pages: 256