Replica is a book that requires a little bit of explanation before we even discuss the plot and the book's strengths and weaknesses. Replica tells the story of two girls, Lyra and Gemma. The book is written as two completely separate stories and you can choose how you would like to read them. You can either read Lyra's story and then Gemma's, Gemma's and then Lyra's, or alternate chapters as you go. I chose to start with Lyra and alternate every chapter. I definitely recommend alternating chapters, because it really keeps you in touch with both girls throughout the entire story. Gemma is a girl from a rich family, but she has been sick for most of her life and has therefore missed out on a lot of experiences. One day, frustrated with her situation, she stumbles upon a connection between her father and Haven, a mysterious research facility in Florida that seems to be shrouded in secrecy. Lyra is a replica. She lives in Haven with hundreds of other replicas and knows very little of the outside world. When Gemma and Lyra's worlds suddenly collide, the foundation of everything they know is shaken and their lives are changed forever. I was definitely intrigued by Replica as soon as I heard about it, and I was not disappointed. I really enjoyed this story and was kept guessing throughout the whole book. Some of the twists really took me by surprise. I was blown away by some of the things that certain characters were capable of. There were a few plot points that were a little bit too convenient, however. A few things fell into place too easily. I still really enjoyed the book despite these issues, but they kept it from being a five star read for me. One of my favorite aspects of Replica was the characters. At first I was more interested in Lyra, because her story starts with a lot of excitement and intrigue. As I kept reading, though, I really became invested in Gemma and her story. I think by the end of the book I liked Gemma just a tiny bit more than Lyra, but I still cared about both girls. I also adored the secondary characters, primarily April, Pete, and Luke. I think Pete might have been my favorite thing about the entire book. I loved him so much. However, as much as I loved Pete and Luke, I don't think the "romance" between them and Gemma was really necessary. I put romance in quotes because it was so small that it barely existed. There was a slight hinting at a love triangle, but it never really developed. The romance aspect of the book was so trivial that it really didn't need to be there at all. This wasn't a book that needed romance; it was a great story on it's own without adding in any kind of love story. I do understand what Lauren Oliver was trying to accomplish by including romance in the story, but I think it should have been either left out completely or developed a lot more to prove her point. I definitely want to pick up the next book in this series and see how the story develops. I really want to know what happens to Gemma and Lyra and how they deal with the fallout of the events at the end of the book. I am intrigued to learn how many books will be in this series. I think it would be quite apropos to have this series as a duology. The dual storyline is a very cool writing technique, but it might get old after a while if this series continues on and on. Although, regardless, I will probably still check out whatever comes next for Gemma and Lyra.
3 people found this review helpful
If you love novels based on a conspiracy theory angle, it is a pretty good bet you will love Replica. Now, the specialty of Replica is a dual POV storyline that intersects but is kept apart as two different books. Lyra's part is like science fiction dystopia, while Gemma's part is part-mystery, part-on-the-run adventure. Lyra was a subject in Haven, a facility that secretly creates and houses genetic clones. The clones, called Replicas, are stripped off any human rights, are told they have no existence in reality and that they are less than human. The majority of the world, however, is unaware of their existence save for their investors, shady military types and conspiracy theorists. While the book can be read any way you like - one part, then the other, or in alternating chapters, I started with Lyra, read until chapter 9 (where the two stories first intersect) and then switched to Gemma, read until the same stage of the story, and then alternated. The reason I advocate for this is because Lyra's part sets the stage for the reveals that Gemma's parts bring in that initial stage. After that alternating is the best way to connect the threads being unraveled in either part. Lyra's is the more dynamic part, with her life in Haven and then her life in the outside world. Even so, it is an emotional arc, too, because here is a person who was stripped of personhood, learning her individuality. Gemma's part is more of a personal arc, where she is setting out to find out the truth about her life, to find out what her parents are hiding from her. She is a very empathic person, and immediately bonds to Lyra, making herself her protector. The story works on a science fiction background - of cloning and human experimentation, and the bounds of ethics. There is a religious aspect to it as well, with the religious nuts who see the replicas as abominations, to even Lyra considering them forsaken from the God of humans, and instead considering their creator (the scientist) the god for the replicas. It also alludes to some ethical issues frequently raised in the scientific research community when it comes to using human tissue or cells for research. The science of cloning, though, and programmable cloning at that, is still pretty much in infancy. The timeline of the hiding of the science and the creation of the methods doesn't fit, not when there are actual labs in countries with limited oversight that work close to this field. It also relies heavily on the Evil Greedy Scientist trope, which I'm frankly tired of in science fiction novels. Coming to the characters, there is an intense connection between Gemma and Lyra because of their intertwining status. Their lives and backstories are a big question mark in neon and then it gets all entangled with the information they unearth. There are other secondary characters, but they serve more like love interests which doesn't fully serve the purpose of the plot and emphasizes romantic love in a plot about acceptance and love. Honestly, if 72 was instead a non-romantic partner and Lyra was made queer, it would have been more believable (esp since Lyra was in a gender segregated dorm and hello, big opportunity to have a f/f romance plotline instead!). Gemma's love life was also complicated, with her being attracted to every guy in her age group, but kudos for the chubby girl rep. Replica sets a good storyline, and the dual story plotline is certaily interesting, but not novel. Also, since the alternating chapters don't align in the timeline exactly, sometimes a tense moment in the one person's chapters loses it gravity because it was spoiled in another's chapter. But in full, this book is pretty good and it sets an interesting plotline in a contemporary setting.
1 person found this review helpful
I really enjoyed this book, it was a little slow to get into but once I did I didn't want to put it down. The fact that it was like two stories in one seemed great.. but I think that really denied the full story being told. I feel like it ended way too soon. I still wanted answers and I wanted to know what would happen to everyone. I feel like because it was too stories we were jipped of getting the whole story and instead got two half stories.
2 people found this review helpful