Replica is a book that had me turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next.
(Okay, so I was flicking them across my screen, but I was doing that very, very quickly!)
Replica, by Lauren Oliver, is a single book with two stories, each one told from the perspective of a different character.
Lyra has grown up inside the Haven Institute, tucked away on an island in Florida, surrounded by guards, doctors and nurses, knowing all her life that she was nothing more than a replica – a clone. An unexpected attack on the Institute sends Lyra out into a world she doesn’t know and needs to survive in.
Gemma, by contrast, has grown up in ‘the real world,’ and as a child spent time in and out of hospitals. She has precious few friends and lives her life around home, school and her best friend. Gemma overhears a discussion about Haven, without knowledge of the Institute, and through a series of events that she couldn’t have foreseen, she finds herself on the path to Florida in search of answers she doesn’t even know the questions to.
The stories of the two girls converge and become intertwined, chapter by chapter, as each character reveals a little more information and story direction.
The format of Replica is, admittedly, a little gimmicky, but it works. You can read the stories of Lyra or Gemma completely, or you can read them swapping POV chapter by chapter and expand the experience of events from the perspectives of both characters. I chose to read the book the latter way – although I read about two chapters of each character at a time, picking up where the other has left off, and I thoroughly enjoyed the reading experience (although I will confess doing that in an ebook form was a bit challenging, and this is probably more practically in a physical copy).
I personally found Lyra’s story to the more interesting of the two stories, because I felt something for her. This character is so curious and inquisitive about the world, but held back by the life she has lived until the events leading to her leaving Haven. The way she experiences the world is really fascinating, and while there were moments when I wondered how she had knowledge of certain things (that perhaps she may not have if she’d lived her entire life in an institute away from the rest oft he world) for the most part her experiences felt very genuine. Most of all, Lyra’s story evoked a lot of strong feelings – I was worried and concerned about her right up until the end.
While I preferred Lyra’s story, Gemma’s was also very interesting. Gemma’s story begins with a very contemporary YA feel, but as she begins to explore the mysteries of Haven and the replicas it begins to evolve more into more of a contemporary, science-fiction-type story. She has a small group of minor characters around her that build upon her world. Her relationship with her parents is quite interesting – if a little underdeveloped – and became more fascinating towards the end of the book.
The book is not without its flaws – I loved the interactions between Lyra and 72, but given the nature of the storytelling model, I felt that I didn’t get to know 72 very well (and I wanted to know more of his story). There were a few questions answered by the end of the story; some where a bit predictable – although not necessarily in a bad. There are a lot of unanswered questions, still, and while I like open-ended stories, perhaps this one was a little too open-ended. I am left wanting to know what happens next.
The aspect that I enjoyed most of all was the ethical – and moral – implications of human cloning and how people react and respond to it. It also made me reflect on how I react and respond to the idea of cloning, which prompted quite a bit of thought.
Overall, I gave Replica a 3.75 out of 5 stars. It held my attention, made me want to keep reading to find out what would unfold next, had a series of characters whom I was invested in, and it had a very interesting format for reading. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for a physical copy once the book is released later in the year.
Replica is due to be released in October, 2016.
Title | Replica
Author | Lauren Oliver
Genre | YA, Science-Fiction
Publication Date | October, 2016
Publisher | Hachette Australia
Format | eBook
Author’s Website/Blog | Lauren Oliver
Good Reads Review | Replica
I was given the opportunity to read and review Replica curtesy of Hachette Australia via Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.