Book Review: Replica by Lauren Oliver

Posted October 10, 2016 by Lori in Books, Reviews / 2 Comments Tags:


I received this book for free from BEA16 in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Replica by Lauren OliverReplica by Lauren Oliver
Series: Replica #1
Published by HarperCollins on 2016-10-04
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 544
Format: ARC
Source: BEA16
AmazonBarnes and NobleBook Depository

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 contains two narratives in one: Lyra’s story and 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.

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. Using hotlinks in this electronic edition, readers can decide how they would like to read the book, as with the print version. They can read the story of Gemma or Lyra straight through first, followed by the other girl’s story, or they can move between chapters in Lyra’s and Gemma’s sections. No matter how it is read, Replica is an ambitious, thought-provoking masterwork.

I’m going to be completely upfront with the fact that I was definitely disappointed in this one. I feel bad about it, mostly because I still love Delirium so much, but my expectations for this one were so high and maybe that was unfair, but this book definitely did not meet those.

I think one of the biggest problems with this book was the hype. This was one I was definitely highly anticipating and I think a lot of other people are too. The publisher has definitely been pushing this one and with all of the talk, the expectations rise. But the writing and the stories for this one just weren’t as exciting as I was hoping. The idea behind the book is super intriguing and I was really looking forward to the idea of replicas and clones and talk of what makes us human and advancements in science and how we treat people and what’s an acceptable price to pay for scientific purposes. But there just wasn’t a lot of that there. Lyra talks a lot about not being human and therefore not worthy of anything but otherwise it’s just a lot of teen romance and drama. And I was really hoping for more than that from this book and this author.

One of the reasons I loved Delirium so much was not just the romance but the ability of the author to look at something we all want, love, and turn it into something that is feared and how taking that away changes people. I was hoping this one would look at humanity and individuality in the same way and make us as readers think about how we treat people, especially those who are different from us. But I was just left with a couple of girls and the guys they liked wondering what was important about what I’d just read. It was definitely a let down.

Also, I really don’t think this book needed to be written the way it was. It’s an intriguing concept and I get where Oliver is coming from when she describes her inspiration for it but I’m not sure it actually adds anything to the book that dual-POV books don’t already have. It just seems like a gimmick, something to catch people’s interest, and sell more books. And I guess it worked because that’s one reason I was so excited for it. But it would have worked just as well as an alternating chapters book. Which is how I read it and liked it that way. But I would be interested to see how people who read one story and then the next feel about it. I was worried I wouldn’t be interested in reading the second one once I knew pretty much everything about the stories. And after reading them, I’m still not sure how much I would have liked reading it that way. I’d definitely be interested to hear from people who decide to read it one story after the other and see what they thought about it. But for me, I just don’t really think it added anything special to either of the stories that alternating POVs don’t have. And reading them that way kept me in the same place for both POVs and kept the revelations happening at the same time, which I liked.

So overall, I guess I had just hoped for more. I was really hoping this book would leave me on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen with the Replicas and with the people who created them and how the two worlds would come together and all the secrets be revealed. But it was all just kind of flat. And the fact that there were romances in the stories sort of stole a little bit of thunder from what was really important. Or at least, I thought they did. I suppose if you’re going into this just for the romances, then maybe you’ll be really happy with it. But I was really hoping for an intense, thought-provoking story about cloning and humanity.

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