Review | Replica (Replica #1) by Lauren Oliver

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Replica (Replica #1) by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins on October 04, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 520

THE BLURB

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Lyra

From a distance, the Haven Institute, tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida, looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, it is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed.

But 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. As they make their way through a new and menacing environment, they meet a stranger named Gemma, who has embarked on a perilous quest of her own. And as Lyra tries to understand Haven’s purpose, she uncovers earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls.

Gemma

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals her whole life. A sickly child, she has grown into a lonely adolescent whose 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 human models, or replicas, 24 and 72—and a completely new set of questions. As Gemma tries to unravel the mysteries of Haven, she learnes terrible truths about herself and her family that will threaten to destroy everything she loves.

Two girls, two stories, one novel.

While the stories of Gemma and Lyra mirror each other, each contains revelations critically important to the other story. Their narratives can be read separately or in alternating chapters.

MY THOUGHTS

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Monsters, they call us. Demons.
Sometimes, on sleepless nights, we wonder if they’re right.

The fact that the author is giving me a number of ways on how to read this book filled me with excitement. So we have two separate protagonists: Lyra and Gemma. And it’s your choice whose POV you’re reading first or whose world you’ll jump into the next chapter. The thing is, you’re in control. 

I did plan on reading in alternating chapters. I read one chapter of Lyra then switched to Gemma. But I found Gemma’s first chapter quite boring that I quickly switched back to Lyra’s POV and stayed there. I guess that’s where I go wrong. I regret that choice after reading all of it. Maybe this book would have been more enjoyable if I had chosen to continue reading it in alternating chapters. A couple of big reveals were thrown in both POV’s and so reading one after the other kind of killed the suspense.

Of course you can read it the way you want. But if you’re into a little challenge and you want these two stories to blend slowly as you go, I suggest you read it in alternating POV’s, switching from Lyra’s and Gemma’s perspective whenever you want to. Personally, I think it’s the best way to get the most of this book.

A strange and baffling truth: that the people we’re supposed to know best can turn out to be strangers, and that near strangers can feel so much like home.

Replica has a very interesting premise. Clones secretly engineered, conspiracies involving the military, and lots and lots of secrets to unfold? Sign me in! Sadly the story didn’t quite live up to my expectations. It just did not hold my attention very firmly. Then again, my bad choice of reading an entire POV after the other may have contributed to this. I thought I was getting a sci-fi story filled with gripping action and possibly some insane twists but all I get was a world-building that fell flat, a whiny character, and insta-loves. Two insta-loves. Because one is just not enough!

She hadn’t asked to be made. She’d been brought into the world a monster and then hated for it.

Here we follow Lyra and Gemma in their journey to self-discovery. Lyra’s side of the story was more intriguing for me. She being a replica whose purpose was to be studied and experimented. She’s not even Lyra to the doctors and nurses at Haven but rather she’s number twenty-four. She’s quite content with her life at Haven though. She doesn’t dream of leaving like other replicas did. But when the opportunity of an escape presented itself she found herself escaping anyway with a boy she only knew as 72.

Now here’s where the story piqued my interest. Because Lyra and 72 are replicas who spent their entire lives inside Haven. How are they going to cope with the outside world? I like the idea of how Lauren Oliver puts them on a tight spot –Haven is after them, they’re out in a completely unfamiliar world, they got no place to go and knows no one who can help. They didn’t even have a solid plan. I love it when my characters faces real trouble. But with Lyra constantly thinking about how beautiful 72 is, how the “muscles in his arms and shoulders stood out when he move”, all while their lives are in danger… well, it certainly did not boost my reading motivation.

“Normal is overrated. Normal is a word invented by boring people to make them feel better about being boring.”

Gemma’s side of the story was more contemporary than sci-fi. Though her family is insanely rich, Gemma was never popular. Not in school or anywhere else. She’s an outcast. Really, everything you want to know about Gemma you’ll find in the blurb. Which is a huge downer for me. There were a few truths about her that is revealed in the book but it didn’t came shocking because ninety percent of what transpired on her story was pretty much given away by the blurb.

Like Lyra, Gemma tends to think about inconsequential things in the most inappropriate of times. She’s out on a personal mission of finding answers about her past and her father’s connection to Haven. She could get arrested, or worst, killed for what she’s planning to do. And yet her thoughts just keep on going on about how fat she is until it’s not pleasing to read. It was either she’s thinking that kind of thought or she’s thinking things like, Maybe she’d sit down next to him and he’d try and touch her thigh or force his tongue down her throat.

There, you just killed my reading motivation.

There are murders in this book, dead bodies, car chase, and some shooting but despite all that I think the main characters weren’t threatened in a real way. Because, again, when you’re scared and running away from people who are likely to kill you, you don’t think about boys with abs or your extra pounds. Like, all the time.

Replica isn’t a twisty type of book. It doesn’t shock. There’s also much less sci-fi to it than I’ve hoped for. You’ll see some strings interestingly tangled in there. There were quite a few revelations to smooth them out but despite those it didn’t feel like something has been resolved. I get that this is just the first book of a duology so I guess all the explaining would have to be in the sequel.

Sadly, I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I want to. Again, this could be just because the way I read it didn’t work for me. It was an average read. For those who love this genre, this book is worth a try. But if you’re expecting to see so much of the sci-fi stuff I suggest you skip this. There wasn’t much sci-fi in there except for the presence of clones.

BEAST POINTS

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