[ARC REVIEW] Replica by Lauren Oliver

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28219385Title: Replica
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: (Replica #1)
Pub. Date: October 4th, 2016
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Edelwiess
Rating: ★★★★✰

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Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of 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…

REVIEW

“But that’s what they were: bodies. Human and yet not people.” -5.8%

Haven makes Replicas and uses them for testing. This is evident from the beginning as we read from Lyra’s POV. Gemma, however, knows nothing about Haven other then the fact that her dad used to work with them before he pulled out, so she goes on an adventure to discover everything she possibly can about the institute and their research. Along the way, she gets the help of three friends (two unlikely people she never saw herself talking to before) and they run head first into danger. Haven doesn’t like it when people know their secrets.

CHARACTERS

Lyra is a Replica, a clone and she’s proof of how well Replica’s are treated at Haven and what Haven does; full of scars from testing, so skinny that her eyes look sunken in and her spine shows through her shirt, uneducated, unloved, manipulated. They’re not allowed to know stuff, they’re not allowed personal possession or things that matter to them. She is strange in a way that she knows nothing about the world or life (like how to cook, buy clothes and food, showers with hot water are luxurious for her, new clothes that aren’t her Haven outfit are something she’s never had), and I loved seeing her character try to come to terms with the world. She’s damaged, because being a lab rat dose that to people especially if they’re not shown love or affection during their growing years, and that made her journey so much more… meaningful? I can’t find the right word right now. Anyway, she’s damaged and genuinely believes anything they tell her, which really broke my heart.

“Monsters, they call us. Demons.

Sometimes, on sleepless nights, we wonder if they’re right.” -4%

Gemma is very self conscious about her weight because she isn’t a stick-thin barbie doll who is model gorgeous. She thinks she’s fat when she’s not because society has told her she needs to be tiny to be pretty. I don’t know about you, but I like that the author added this, because while Gemma’s character developed, so did those thoughts and that is a message girls these days should definitely hear (granted, the message isn’t the main point of this book, it’s more of a sub-plot for Gemma to accept herself). To add to that, Gemma has always felt like she doesn’t belong, like she’s different, so she’s shy, insecure, a tad depressed, and she struggles to enjoy life especially since her mom loves popping sleeping pills and drinking wine while her dad loves to avoid her. This also makes her incredibly naive, especially since she doesn’t leave the house much. I liked her character, and I really enjoyed reading her chapters!

 “The evil ones are always ugly.” -67%

ROMANCE

I won’t say much on this because of spoilers,but I will say that I surprisingly enjoyed it. Well, half. One half was fairly quick and I didn’t really like how fast the emotions took place. The other half was my bae. Broken and beaten, beauty (love) is still found in the darkness. I absolutely loved that half. I would read this book over and over again just to get more of that romance until the next book comes out. Because hopefully the next book has more of that romance! Although I will admit, I didn’t like the romance until the end, oops.

WRITING

This is my first Lauren Oliver book, and I’ve heard good and bad things about her writing before in her other series (delirium?). So naturally I was a bit scared going in, but I found I really enjoyed the writing. It had a good flow, the descriptions and characters were great, and the atmosphere and tone really set the pace for me. It was quick, but also slow enough that you could savor the moment if you wanted to, and the author put meaning behind many, many lines and words and sayings. I adored it!

I will admit, however, that while I was interested in learning about the medical portion of Haven, I found there were two or so paragraphs that threw all this information at me. Thankfully, it was clear and I could understand it all, but the process itself of how they use the medicine still confuses me.

PLOT

     Unfortunately, there’s very little mystery because it’s very predictable, and I saw most of the twists coming from the very beginning. This didn’t take much away in terms of enjoyment because I loved reading this story, but I can’t help but wonder if surprises I didn’t see coming could’ve made this reading experience that much better. I definitely would’ve loved a bit of mystery, but then again that could’ve possibly changed the whole tone so I suppose I see why the author did what she did. Either way, this was an enjoyable read full of action and adventure. I love it!

OVERALL

Replica is a dangerous tale about discovering secrets from people doing everything they can to hide the truth, even kill. Self discovery is a bonus, even when it changed everything and nothing at all. I really enjoyed reading Replica and I definitely recommend it!:)

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