I found out about this book on an excellent list of books with ace/aro characters on Two Book Thieves . I was immediately drawn to it just for the name alone and since it’s only a novella I felt I had plenty of time to fit it in amongst my other reads.
So, this book follows two characters – the first is Clara who is a skilled technician who works on “Raises” which are robotic AI companions in the shape of various animals. She moves around a lot, and the book starts with her moving to Seattle. While there, she visits The Cybernetic Tea Shop which is run by Sal, one of the few remaining humanoid robots. Robots were declared illegal years ago and Sal now has to cope with dwindling business and threats from groups who are against Robots. When Clara meets her, she has been running her tea shop for almost 300 years, in memory of the original owner. Clara then becomes a regular at the tea shop and a relationship begins to grow between the two of them.
I adore this novella. I love every single thing about it from the fantastic world-building to the excellent characters. If I was to try and find a complaint, it would be that it was too short and that I want even more! However even then, the story never felt rushed and felt very natural. The characters are very well developed and I adored the fact that it is an Asexual romance story. The “Raises” were one of my favourite parts of the world-building as I can definitely see that becoming a thing in the future as who wouldn’t want a cute AI pet?
Anyway, this is a novella that I strongly, strongly recommend. Unfortunately it’s only available in e-book format which is a pity as this is something I’d absolutely love to have on my shelf. However, that does mean that you can get it and start reading it straight away!