Author: Xavier Mayne
Narrator: Randy Sanda
Length: 12 hrs, 4 mins
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press LLC (30th October 2018)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖 3.5 Hearts
Blurb: Can a computer program understand love better than the human heart?
Archer, the AI at the dating service Q*pid, realizes humans don’t always make the best choices, so it begins making some unconventional choices for them.
Fox Kincade is the last of his group of friends to be single, so he’s delighted when he discovers a new match in his Q*pid app – one that, according to the new AI wizardry, should be the love of his life. Instead of the woman he’s expecting, he’s paired with Drew Larsen, a shy, somewhat nerdy PhD student who has also grown discouraged with romance.
Drew and Fox have little in common – aside from the fact that they’re both straight. Or so they thought. But as the guys get to know each other, they realize Archer might have the right idea. Their path isn’t smooth, because both need to overcome every idea they have about themselves and what true love might look like. But with the help of Archer – and some friends who have stuck with Fox and Drew through the thick and thin of their relationship trials – they might find their way into each other’s hearts.
Review: Q*pid is a very enjoyable book by Xavier Mayne and the audio is performed by Randy Sanda. I’m not familiar with either the author or the narrator, so other than liking the sound of the blurb, I went into this one completely blind and with no expectations.
What you read in the blurb is basically what you get, which is always a good start. We follow the development and implementation of a new AI for a dating site, which accesses all of a person’s online activity in order to make a better match than the usual dating algorithms. It’s all pretty cool, techy stuff if you’re into that. However, a momentary lapse means that Archer, the AI, starts to make matches which disregard a person’s sexuality. Of all the matches that were made, and those that were actually sent out, we meet Fox Kincaid and Drew Larsen.
What starts out as dinner and drinks to laugh about the predicament of two heterosexual men being matched to another man becomes a really sweet and deep friendship. Drew is a PhD candidate who studies economic history, while Fox is a successful businessman. Fox is very analytical, devoted to his spreadsheets, while Drew is more fluid in his thinking despite his academic background. They also contrast in their reactions to the news. Despite having his two best friends (which I was disappointed we never met) who had the stunning realisation that they were gay (or gay for you) with each other, Fox is adamant that he is straight and that he would never be with a man. Drew is much more composed, if anything he is amused though his anxieties tend to make him over think everything. Drew and Fox are complete opposite in some ways, yet completely compliment each other.
There are some pretty entertaining secondary characters too. Fox’s best friend, Chad, is portrayed as a California surfer dude and he is a riot. He has a heart of gold and wants nothing but the best for his friend. Then there is Mrs Schwartzman, who is Drew’s neighbour upstairs and a strong mother figure for Drew. The elderly woman is written like a Yittish Yoda, but she is certainly entertaining. She too has only the best of intentions for Drew and his life.
What I loved most about this was that the book is thought provoking, particularly in terms of privacy in the digital age. To lesser extent, there was the whole gay for you thing going on, and it was intriguing that perhaps humans need to “broaden their parameters” a little. Seriously interesting thoughts. Another interesting point was how people present themselves online and how we really don’t know what we need in a partner when we must explain it.
The only downside was that I found the plot was a bit slow at times, especially when Fox was being a dick. I accept that in terms of his personality that it was part of his coming to terms with his attraction to another man, it was just sometimes the plot felt as though it slowed down too much. As for the narration, I liked it but it didn’t really connect with my. Granted, Sanda did a good job giving the characters individual voices and even in conveying the themes of the story. However, I was too distracted by the fact I really wasn’t into Fox’s voice and I felt some of the emotion was missing.
I recommend this one if you’re into a contemporary, gay for you story line.