Review Blog

Nov 07 2016

Replica by Lauren Oliver

cover image

Hodder and Stoughton, 2016. ISBN 9781473614963
(Age: Young adult) Recommended for lovers of Sci-fi fantasy adventure (with a dose of romance). Themes: Cloning, Science Fiction, Power and Corruption, Friendship, Identity. On cover: Two girls, Two stories, One Epic Novel. Lauren Oliver has created a back-to-back Sci-Fi fantasy story told from the perspective of the female protagonists and presented as 2 separate books, inverted in the same cover. Rather than an integrated story with both perspectives interspersed into the narrative, it is two distinct and separate stories telling about the same events, but giving the different slants and histories of those involved. Lyra lives as a scientific test subject in a facility hidden from the world because of the unscrupulous scientific investigations into cloning and biological warfare. Her status in this environment is only a little higher than a lab rat. Her personal attempts to make sense of her world reveal her as more than a test animal. Gemma is her rescuer, but her own history implicates her family in the inappropriately named facility, 'Haven', which is far from a haven! Set in the Florida swamplands, the environment itself adds to the mire of the circumstances of the Replicas.
Although the stories could be read in any order, Lyra's story gives the reader a contextual understanding of the scientific world at Haven and the horror of living life as a disposable 'Replica'. Power and a moral vacuum pervade the story with corruption reaching fatally into many lives. Gemma's life is almost easy in comparison, even though she deals with daily bullying and problems with the all-too-perfect mean girl 'clones' that seem to be a part of every high school experience and has suffered major health issues all her life, and lives in an overly protective parental environment as a consequence. However, her attempts to make sense of who she is, links her to Lyra. Into this amazing Science Fiction adventure and mystery is woven friendship and romantic interests, with first kisses and awakening interests in the opposite gender, as well as murder and corruption. Other teen issues involving peer relationships, parent-child concerns, friendship and the American 'Spring Break' expectations also appear.
Those who enjoyed Lauren Oliver's other books, and also Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series will enjoy this book.
Carolyn Hull

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