Author: Amy McCulloch
Stars: ★★★★ (4 stars)
Amy McCulloch’s latest heroine, Lacey Chu, lives in a world of technological wonder. After a crushing rejection on her road to becoming an engineer, Lacey uncovers a highly advanced “baku” – a customizable mechanical “pet” invented by MONCHA – the company behind her dream job!
Lacey repairs the cat-shaped baku, naming it Jinx, and her entire world turns upside down. Somehow, she gets into the elite academy which rejected her, but Jinx doesn’t act like the other baku Lacey knows. He seems to have a mind of his own. Between her goal of becoming a MONCHA engineer and her desire to keep Jinx, Lacey finds herself pulled in two directions – especially when she uncovers the dangerous secret behind the strange baku.
In lively present tense, McCulloch pairs human and baku like Philip Pullman did human and dæmon but with a tech-savy spin. Easy to read and fast-paced, Jinxed appeals to the same streak of independence and sometimes contrasting desire for companionship which had children of the 90s picking sides in Digimon and Pokemon, and still has people talking about their Pokemon starter with the same intensity as their Hogwarts house.
McCulloch deals with the complex conflict between the desire for independence and the longing for meaningful, drawing to what may seem a shocking conclusion; however, Jinxed is only the first in McCulloch’s new series, and this electrifying work sets a promising stage.