New Release Review: Replica by Lauren Oliver

replicaReplica by Lauren Oliver
Series: Replica #1

Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Release Date: Oct 4, 2016
Audiobook Narrated by Sarah Drew & Erin Spencer

Two girls, two stories, one epic novel.

Lyra’s story begins in the Haven Institute, a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida that from a distance looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, Haven is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed. When a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape.

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals for as long as she can remember. A lonely teen, her life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April. But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas and a completely new set of questions.

While the stories of Lyra and Gemma mirror each other, each contains breathtaking revelations critically important to the other story. Replica is an ambitious, thought-provoking masterwork.

D.G.’s Rating: 3 stars = B-

I’ve been leery of Ms. Oliver ever since she ruined the Delirium series (I loved the first book and hated the second so much that I didn’t finish the series) but I was curious about the gimmick in Replica. You see, Replica can be read in various ways. You can read Lyra’s story first and Gemma’s second or viceversa or you can read it in alternating chapters (although the latter takes a bit of work as each story is separate.) I started with Gemma’s, read a few chapters, switched to Lyra’s, read a few chapters and would continue one narrative or the other depending on which story was more interesting at the time. It made for a unique listening experience.

Besides the “read it how you like” stunt, the book wasn’t that great. The idea behind Haven was just too preposterous to suspend disbelief. Not saying that shit like that doesn’t happen, just that there are many other ways the government could have accomplished the same results without doing something so explosive and illegal, in US soil no less!

At the beginning of each narrative, you get to meet each girl and her backstory. Lyra is a replica, or a clone, living with thousands of others in the Haven Institute. All her life, she’s been being probed and examined by doctors and nurses, who tell her what to do every moment of the day. Like all replicas, she’s been told she’s not human – they even refer to her as “it” instead of “she”.

Gemma, on the other hand, is a rich girl with very overprotective parents, probably because of all the health issues she had as a child. She’s overweight and very self-conscious about it. She dreams about escaping her gilded cage.

Many things about the story felt forced: the outlandish cloning plot, the convenient conspiracy theory website that explained what Haven was up to, the unlikely love interests for two girls who hadn’t even talked to boys much up to that point, how easily they got away from professional killers, etc. I know it’s science fiction, but the author has to make it sound plausible. Ms. Lauren didn’t succeed in my case.

Not sure if I’ll read the second book (which is the end of the series.) Maybe if I get it from the library.

© 2016, Badass Book Reviews. All rights reserved.

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