Rating: 3.5 Crickets
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Hodder & Stroughton (UK), Harper Collins (US)
Published: 6th October, 2016
The Haven Institute is 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 Have, two of its young experimental subjects – Lyra, aka number 24, and the boy known only as 72 – manage to escape.
Encountering a world they never knew existed outside their secluded upbringing they meet Gemma and as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever…
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 Institute.
Hungry for answers, she decides to leave the sanctuary of her home to travel Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas amidst the frenzy outside Haven’s walls, and a completely new set of questions…
While the stories of Gemma and Lyra mirror each other, each contains breathtaking revelations critically important to the other story.
Hello Cricketeers! (bare with me, I’m new at this and thought I might try out a little name – yes or no?)
I was first introduced to Replica while watching one of EpicReads Book Hauls (I think that was it anyway, I’m sorry if I got this wrong). I was a little book crazy – more than usual anyway – and I was writing down every interesting book I could get my hands on (I formed quite a long list as well…). The first thing to catch my attention about this book was the fact that there were two stories in the one book! I thought it was really cool that you read the story from one character’s point of view, and then flip it over and read another’s point of view.
However, as exciting and intriguing as this is (and I still think it’s an awesome idea!), to me it was also a bit of a downfall. I started the book from Lyra’s POV and I got really into it, and when I finished her side of the story I was excited to start Gemma’s POV and find out more details about what was going on. But it was almost like the story came to a stand still; instead of the story continuing, it was rewinded and started again with a clean slate. And yes, I did understand that that was the concept of it before I started reading, but personally, I didn’t like the effect that it ended up having. I had all this information from reading Lyra’s story, and it took a while before that information was added to from Gemma’s story – to me, there was too much a lull.
The good thing about this method, rather than the story being written in alternating POV chapters (which the story can be read in with some effort), is that there wasn’t the annoying pause between each girl’s story – such as finding out something interesting in Lyra’s story and wanting to keep reading only to be thrown back to Gemma’s story, and vise versa.
So there were pro’s and con’s to the layout of the novel.
I really enjoyed Lyra’s story – it was probably my favourite of the two. I enjoyed seeing the way she viewed the world, as someone whose world had been so very small, and how it was the little things that really intrigued her – it is amazing how many things we can take for granted, such as having our own belongings, being able to read, or even simply having a name!! Which is really shown as she goes around giving objects names, such as ‘Squeezeme’ and ‘Thermoscan’. Lyra was able to read, and one of my favourite things about her was her passion to read, and her wild fascination with words.
Gemma’s story was also interesting. It didn’t quite mirror Lyra’s story as much as I thought it was going to – but that was also a good thing because it meant the story wasn’t repetitive. There were also some important details that came from Gemma’s story that helped to strength Lyra’s – and vise versa – which was better receiving from the girl herself, rather than having one just telling the other.
Replica does bring up some interesting ideas about clones; whether they are considered ‘normal’ or even ‘people’. Whether they deserve full human rights or is it okay to treat them like lab rats? What do you think? How would you react to meeting a clone/replica?
Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and it left me wanting more. I look forward to reading more of the girls story and seeing where it takes them (a little cricket told me that the second book will be named Helix and is expected sometime in the next year – I can’t wait!).
Epic Reads Book Summary Video