Review: Replica by Lauren Oliver

Review: Replica by Lauren OliverReplica by Lauren Oliver
Amazon|The Book Depository
Pages: 544
Series: Replica #1
Published by HarperCollins on 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.

Lauren Oliver is often hit or miss for me. This was definitely a miss. Replica tells the story of two girls, Lyra and Gemma. Lyra, a clone, lives in the Haven Institute. Gemma is a regular girl who wants to find out the truth behind the Haven Institute. Replica is told in two stories that overlap, however the book is physically divide into “Lyra” and “Gemma” sections. You have the option of reading alternating perspectives or reading each each perspective from start to finish. I chose the latter.

Oliver had an interesting premise but one that was ultimately difficult to execute. I enjoyed Lyra’s story more than Gemma’s, and that made reading Gemma’s POV a struggle. The science behind the clones was weak. Theres a difference between keeping certain aspects a mystery and just not creating a complex scientific angle. For a story about clones, it almost felt like they weren’t that important. And one of the POV’s was from a clone.

This book felt half finished. By the end of Lyra’s section I didn’t have a strong grasp on Lyra as a character or where this story was going. Gemma’s story also failed to have any insight. Overall, Oliver’s stories really are hit or miss for me. She has some great ideas but the execution isn’t always up to par.



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