Lovelock (The Mayflower Trilogy book1) by Orson Scott Card and Katheryn H. Kidd
From the Amazon description:
Lovelock is a capuchin monkey engineered to be the perfect servant–intelligent, agile, pliant, and devoted to his owner. He is a Witness–privileged to spend his days and nights observing the life of one of Earth’s most brilliant scientists through digital recording devices behind his eyes. In his heart is the desire to please, not just to avoid the pain his owner can inflict with a word, but because he loves her.
Lovelock is on a voyage he did not choose. What human would consider the feelings of a capuchin monkey, no matter how enhanced? But Lovelock is something special among Witnesses–he’s a little smarter than most humans; smart enough to break through some of his conditioning. Smart enough to feel the bonds of slavery, and want freedom.
Although I’m normally not fond of Science Fiction and normally do not read the genre, I do like Orson Scott Card’s writing, having read and previously reviewed him before. Card and Kidd do a fine job fully rounding out the characters, earth, the space station and the village in the station. Some of the characters are one-dimensional, such as the father, Red and the Mother-in-Law, Mamie. The Father-in-Law feels like part of the wallpaper, he is so browbeaten. It is difficult to feel empathy towards the MiL, creating all the negative characteristics of every stereotype.
Carol Jeanne, the Gaiologist, is a stereotyped scientist, all work, nose-to-the-grindstone, to the detriment of her husband and two daughters. The only sentient being in the group that is fully aware, fully thinking, fully ‘alive’, is Carol’s witness, who is an enhanced animal that is to capture all waking moments for them then upload their mind to a machine so the person and humanity, can view their interactions, at a later time. The sentient being in this case is Lovelock, the Capucin monkey (Red has a miniature pig).
Lovelock is well-written and fully developed as a character. He has long, drawn-out monologues that are painful and overly wordy to read. As a protagonist, he is a bit over-the-top, as Mamie is overtly snide. Neither one would be ideal companions, though, for their purpose in the book, they work. Overall, the book covers all it’s bases, the reader is left with a sense of purpose, having read and looks forward to the next in the series.
I would give Lovelock a 3.5 stars.