I loved Oliver’s book Delirium, and so I was hoping to find a book that I loved as much. In many ways, this book would have fared better if the bar wasn’t that high.
Replica revolves around a research facility where they manufacture clones (or “replicas”). The idea is that the book is split into two halves, each told from a different perspective. The reader is given the choice of reading each half individually, or flipping the book over (or following links on Kindle) and reading it in alternating perspectives.
While the idea of having the book split into two was a good gimmick, it came across as just that. The choice of what order to read it in panicked me a little, and so, given that I was on Kindle, I just went with the easiest option of reading it in page order.
This was a double-edged sword; while the scene repetition didn’t bother me as much as it might have otherwise, I had the slow start of Lyra’s chapters, followed by her non-existent ending. This lead straight into Gemma’s chapters… Which lost it’s suspense thanks to Lyra’s telling you pretty much anything. The whole thing would have been better just sticking to alternating POVs, especially given that it was told in third person.
That there are also some weird, superficial undertones. The two characters describe themselves and eachother as unattractive, creating a strange atmosphere of both fat and thin shaming. In complete contrast to this, the three guys their age are described as “beautiful” and both characters spend almost every moment around them gushing about how amazingly attractive they are. If the book was trying to capture the teenage psyche, it went overboard, and probably should have known better than to reinforce it.
Not to mention that Gemma talks casually about her best friend harassing guys and appears to have no problem with it whatsoever.
However, the plot and premise saved it. Once you dig through the confusing structure and disturbing superficiality of this book, it actually has an intriguing plot with a discussion of ethical issues. It’s thought fuel, if nothing else.
Does it make the reading list? On plot alone, yes.
To find the rest of our reading list, click here.
Replica can be found on Goodreads here.