Thursday, November 10, 2016

Replica by Lauren Oliver



Summary from Goodreads:
Two girls, two stories, one epic novel

From Lauren Oliver, New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy, comes an epic, masterful novel that explores issues of individuality, identity, and humanity. Replica is a “flip book" that contains two narratives in one, and it is the first in a duology. Turn the book one way and read Lyra's story; turn the book over and upside down and read Gemma's story. The stories can be read separately, one after the other, or in alternating chapters. The two distinct parts of this astonishing novel combine to produce an unforgettable journey. Even the innovative book jacket mirrors and extends the reading experience.

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.
Review:
Lauren Oliver books are either hit or miss with me. Usually, I love them so much, I can’t help but compare all other books in the same genre to them. But occasionally, as was the case here, I just don’t feel them at all. At all.
I’m slightly breaking my rules in even writing a review for this. I tend to not write reviews for books I don’t finish. That being said, I normally stop reading a book I don’t like somewhere between 10-50% of my way through it. I made it about 70% into this book. I feel like that’s enough of a book read to write a review and generate a clear understanding of the book.
Mostly, I was just barely tolerating Gemma’s point of view, and hoping I’d like Lyra’s better. Unfortunately, I loathed Lyra. And I guess that right there was my issue with the book: the characters. For such character driven narrative to work for me, I need to be more interested in the main characters. Gemma did have some interesting characteristics, but for some reason those characteristics all disappeared in the face of the plot. When exciting, suspenseful stuff happened, Gemma didn’t feel like the sarcastic, fun character built up from before: she felt like every other two dimensional girl main character. I should have known I’d like Lyra less. She was supposed to come off as well, clone-like. And I get that. But seriously, she could have been a million times more interesting.
I thought I really liked Gemma’s best friend, April. But, then there was a really lame fight that didn’t make sense to me. And April was really awful to Gemma out of nowhere. The unnecessary fight just felt like a bad plot device, when really, I think a supportive best friend throughout would have made more sense to the character and the story. So, that made me not like April so much either.
Also, the plot was so familiar. The twists were the kind of twists we have all already read a million times and can call from the beginning pages. If the plot wasn’t so cliché, I may not have realized how uninteresting the characters were.
That being said, the premise of this book is amazing. I loved the idea of a story that could be read in such a unique way. I loved that we were meant to connect the stories, yet separate them on their own as well. It was like someone put a writing challenge in front of the author, and she was like, “No problem. I got this.” It’s just with such a unique idea, I was hoping for more of a unique plot and characters.
It’s hard writing such a negative review for an author I love. Seriously, some of her other books are books I think all YA readers need to read. I won’t stop reading this author by any means. This one was just a big disappointment for me. I give it a 3/10.

2 comments:

  1. I've only read one Oliver book but I loved it. The reviews for her other works tend to be varied and that might just be what has stopped me from reading more of her stories. This sounded promising to me but when you don't connect with characters, it's impossible to like a book. I'm sorry that this was such a letdown for you. Lovely review nonetheless^^

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