As you might know already, and if not, you will now, but I am a huge fan of Lauren Oliver’s work. I have read all of her young adult books and loved them to bits, so obviously I was impatient to get my hands on that one, and once I did… I wasn’t disappointed, at all.
ONE BOOK, TWO STORIES, A MILLION WAYS TO READ IT
The originality of the story definitely lies in the way it’s written and, well, for a lack of better words, made. The fantastic Reg called this a reading experience in her review, and I have to agree with her completely. With Replica, you can read the book from two different perspectives, Gemma, and Lyra. For now, nothing new under the sun, books with multiple perspectives already exist. The difference here, is that you can choose to read everything from Gemma’s side, then everything from Lyra’s side, or alternate the chapters, just by turning the book around. This, for starters, was really original and what made me even more curious about this story. It’s definitely a reading experience you have to try for yourself. I made the choice of alternating chapters, and, if turning the book around all the time and using two different bookmarks might have been a bit annoying, I am glad I did this. Gemma and Lyra are living in the same world, and if they meet and share moments together, their stories don’t overlap too much, and don’t get too repetitive when they are together, because both characters are different.
GEMMA VS. LYRA : (ALMOST) NORMAL VS. CLONE
On one side, you got Gemma, a pretty average, normal girl. She’s a bit insecure about her weight, she always feels part of the “aliens” in school, meaning that she’s not one of the popular kids, but she’s mostly okay with it because April, her best friend, is here for her. She has loving parents, even if her dad’s mostly away for work. On the other side, you got Lyra, a clone raised in Haven, an institute which we don’t know much about except that it’s on a remote island and they are doing experiments and…well, clones. As I got to know both of these characters, I grew fond of them, and, contrary to the popular opinion, I preferred Gemma’s side of the story. Not because she is normal, while Lyra doesn’t know what a car is or is a bit clueless about our real lives, but because, I don’t know, I had a better feeling with her overall. She was a realistic character with her own insecurities and fears, and felt well-developed enough for me. I loved seeing her grow and change as things happened in the story, and how her perspective on things, people, changed as she discovered the truth behind everything.
Lyra was an interesting character to follow as well, because she was so different. Being raised in an institute with no contact to the outside world, she has no idea how to use a cellphone and how to buy a ticket for the bus, but her way of thinking was definitely unique and interesting. Moreover, we see her growing and evolving as she grasps the concept of the world, the people, her own feelings and, just, everything. If I had my preference for Gemma, I also enjoyed reading Lyra’s side of the story.
MYSTERY, ACTION, AND MANY QUESTIONS.
With clones in the synopsis, you can expect this book to have kind of a sci-fi vibe and leave you breathless with everything happening. But I felt like Replica was a bit on the quiet side. There were moments where the action was here, and the mystery just as well, but it wasn’t as action-paced as I thought it would. Maybe because, in the end, we don’t know too much about Haven and the whole mystery behind it all. There are moments where we uncover some things, but there still are many secrets left and interrogations to answer, which I hope we will get in the second book. Despite this, I still felt compelled to read, to know what was happening, and I think that reading the book with changing perspectives only made this feeling grow. There were some plot twists, predictable and not, but it didn’t take away any of my enjoyment. I think mostly what dragged me in during the whole story, was the concept. The concept of the two perspectives, the two different characters, and the setting, how their stories intertwined together and kept things interesting from beginning to end.
To be honest, I’m not sure how I can share my love for Replica and Lauren Oliver without screaming, or bothering you all. The author has a way with words that I love, it’s simple yet manages to make you feel close to the characters and drags you in the story and, feelings. I also love her imagination, from Delirium to this, and I think that Replica definitely has tons of potential to become a great story, and maybe one of my favorites. I’m eager to get to the second book and know more about Haven, know more and more about everything.
Final rating: IT’S A HURRICANE!
Did you read Replica? Did you enjoy it? Do you want to read it?
Did you read anything by Lauren Oliver, and if so, did you enjoy it? Share your thoughts in comments!
Lauren Oliver, Replica, Published by HarperCollins, October 4th 2016.
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.