Book: Replica (Replica 1) by Lauren Oliver
Release Date: October 4th 2016
Tags: Sci-Fi / Clones / Two Stories / Different Format / Young Adult
Rating: 3,5 out of 5 stars
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.
Before this book I had never read anything by Lauren Oliver though I had heard of the Delirium series. But Replica in its format and with sci-fi elements interested me a whole lot. The book has two main characters, Lyra and Gemma. The book tells each of their stories separately. My paperback copy starts with Lyra. When you turn the book over you get a different color cover and the book starts with Gemma’s story.
This creates a dilemma for the readers as there are three ways you can read this book. You can start with Lyra’s story and then Gemma. You can start with Gemma and then read Lyra’s. Or you can keep switching back and forth between chapters of each story. For our buddy read (as I buddy read this with Kristen from Boekwereld) we decided quickly not to go with the third option as that is hard to keep track of. We decided to start with Lyra and then read Gemma. I was happy we ended up choosing this and if you do decide to read the stories separately I would suggest reading them in this order.
I feel that Lyra’s story is a good introduction to the story and gives us a lot of questions. While Gemma’s compliments this well and gives us answers to a bunch of those questions. I think if I had read it reversed I would feel that there was too much at the start and not enough at the end in answers.
The book is very easy to read. You fly through the stories. There is a flow in the writing. But having said that I might have missed a bit of depth here and there for a book with about 500+ pages. I was and am still very interested in the story of the replica’s. The cloning. We got some answers but there still leaves a lot to be discovered. I feel we are only skimming the top at the moment. I wish our characters delved deeper into feelings and such at times. There are various themes here that deserve a bit more attention.
Character wise I feel mostly neutral towards Lyra. I had a harder time connecting with her than I did to Gemma. Even so, she does offer a clear and different point of view on the story and is therefore needed. Gemma I could relate to a bit more. I recognized bits and pieces of myself in Gemma who is overweight. While I’ve never had a problem eating in public, this is something that I do recognize of my mom who has struggled with that. And how hard other teens can be to you. Even so I did dislike how her view on herself changed because of a boy. And yet on the other hand I liked that there was someone who thought she was pretty because I think that is an important message to send. I just hope she sees that she is pretty without him too.
As for the romance, I thought both were a bit too quick moving. They’ve known each other less than a week, really. But I really liked Pete. He’s so cute. And yet I can’t help but wonder if there is a bit more to him. Or is that just my mind at work?
Overall I think that Replica is an enjoyable, quick and easy in between read that isn’t too heavy. But could be had it delved a bit more.