Lacey Chu has big dreams of becoming a companioneer for MONCHA, the largest tech firm in North America and the company behind the “baku” – a customisable smart pet that functions as a phone but makes the perfect companion too. When Lacey finds out she hasn’t been accepted into Profectus – the elite academy for cutting edge tech – it seems her dreams are over. Worst of all, rather than getting to choose one of the advanced bakus, she’s stuck with a rubbish insect one.
Then, one night, Lacey comes across the remains of an advanced baku. Once it might’ve been in the shape of a cat but it’s now mangled and broken, no sign of electronic life behind its eyes. Days of work later and the baku opens its eyes. Lacey calls him Jinx – and Jinx opens up a world for her that she never even knew existed, including entry to the hallowed halls of Profecus. Slowly but surely, Jinx becomes more than just a baku to Lacey – he becomes her perfect companion. But what is Jinx, really? His abilities far surpass anything written into his code or built into his motherboard. He seems to be more than just a robotic pet. He seems … real.
Jinxed, Amy McCulloch
January 7th, 2020
So what happens when you mix The Golden Compass with robots? You get Jinxed and it’s AWESOME.
Jinxed follows the story of young Lacey, who dreams of becoming a companioneer for Moncha Corp. A companioneer is like an engineer that builds companions,called bakus, which is what smart phones evolved into in this fictional near-future of North America. Basically, someone made daemons from The Golden Compass, but they’re smartphones and also your best friends. I loved this idea from the get-go.
Lacey wants to get into Profectus, an elite academy with direct ties to Moncha, but she doesn’t have the funds to do so. She works her butt off every day to get into Profectus and when she gets her decision letter, she’s heartbroken.
Then one day, she finds an abandoned baku after being chased by some bullies and works the entire summer to fix it. This baku, Jinx, is state-of-the-art and cutting edge, and he’s got the sarcastic tongue to prove it. He and Lacey become hesitant friends, since bakus aren’t supposed to talk, and she finds out the school’s decision has been reversed.
But Profectus isn’t what it seems, and the people Lacey has idolized for years suddenly lose their gleam when the cameras are off. Lacey soon finds herself in a heap of trouble, all thanks to Jinx.
That may have been my least favorite part of the book. Every plot point was made not by our main character, but by Jinx. And I can understand why, in the long run, and seeing Lacey figure her way out of the problems was great, but I wanted more agency from her. Lacey just ends up running frantically after Jinx for most of the plot, instead of Lacey getting herself into trouble.
Still, Jinxed was a fantastic read and I loved its imaginitive take on robotic companions.