Monday, October 02, 2017

Replica by Lauren Oliver

Anything by Lauren Oliver is a must-read for me, so it’s unsurprising that I would be a fan of Replica. It also helps that Replica is a unique foray into writing. Though there are likely other books with a similar structure, Replica is the first YA book in recent years I noticed using it.

It is two books in one. One half is from the perspective of Lyra, a replica (clone) living on a secret, illegal facility for monitoring and experimenting with clones. The other half comes from Gemma, the daughter of a former executive for the organization that funded this secret facility. The storylines converge when Lyra escapes the facility during an explosion, and Gemma sneaks onto the facility after hearing about the explosion. These perspectives remain separated in the physical book, and provide different versions of the same few days. The stories, although only containing a few identical scenes and interactions, complement each other.

Oliver said the book could be read in one of three ways. You could read Lyra’s perspective, then Gemma’s, or vice versa. Or you could flip between the stories chapter by chapter. While I imagine that would be a cool way of reading, it would slow the reading process a lot if you chose to constantly flip around the book. I therefore read Lyra’s book first, then Gemma’s. I am happy I picked that way because Gemma’s story was more spoiler-y for Lyra’s than Lyra’s was for Gemma’s. This meant diving into Gemma’s perspective of the same events still carried suspense and surprises.

The dueling perspectives limited the course of events that took place in the book, so it mostly feels like build-up to a longer, more action-packed book. By the end, the book revealed several huge secrets, meaning a lot has to be addressed in the sequel Ringer. Replica was the build-up and Ringer will be the aftermath.

After reading Replica you should read Ender’s Game, not because the books have a lot of similarities, but because Gemma has two cats named Ender and Bean. This subtle reference to the book makes me want to read Ender's Game again. More similar reads include Partials by Dan Wells, except with a lot more action scenes, and The 5th Wave, except with aliens instead of clones.

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