ARC/Book Review: Replica – Lauren Oliver

Replica-Lauren-Oliver-Review-Book-Blog

Title: Replica (2016)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Extent: 336 pages
Release Date: October 6, 2016
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing, they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever…

Review

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Lauren Oliver’s Replica when I first started reading it — all I knew is that it is science fiction and technically two books in one. The two stories here are told from the perspective of two girls whose lives eventually intersect, and the idea is that you can either a) read all of Lyra’s story and then all of Gemma’s or vice versa, or b) read one chapter of one character’s story, then another of the other character’s story, and so on.

Now, because I’m such a rebel, I read 2-3 chapters of a character’s story before moving on to the other’s. I’d say that if you don’t mind the hassle of flipping the book around every time you finish a chapter, this is the better way to read — the chapters are chronologically intertwined (Lyra’s Chapter 1 = Gemma’s Chapter 1, etc.) and the tension rises better this way. This Epic Reads video explains it further.

Replica is about two girls — Lyra, who grew up as a replica (i.e. a clone) at Haven Institute, and Gemma, whose father was previously tied to Haven Institute. I thought this premise was amazing and loved how the novel explores the ethics of cloning and human testing. I couldn’t relate with any of the characters, but I’m the type of reader who doesn’t need that to enjoy the story, so it was enough for me to be a fly-on-the-wall spectator.

Death was natural. Decay, too. It was another thing that made replicas and humans similar: they died.

The dual storytelling worked quite well too. My main concern is that the story will be repetitive, but this didn’t end up being the case — there were definitely some overlaps, especially when Lyra and Gemma are physically around each other, but their perspectives were quite different that their narratives complement rather than repeat the other. I have a slight preference for Lyra’s story, but I think that’s because she grew up in a much more interesting manner than Gemma and thus offered a fresher look at things.

One thing I noticed was that this book was quite sombre in tone. Funny or light-hearted moments were few and far in between, and I found myself occasionally spooked when the story veered into creepy-ish territories and the characters found themselves in mortal danger. The book, however, was easy to get into and quite addictive — I finished it in two sittings and stayed up late each night to read as much as my eyes would allow. 😛

She had wanted to learn to read. She had been hungry, cold, and tired, and wanted food and her bed. But it was true she had never hurt anyone to get what she wanted.

Was that what made her less than human?

For me, Replica is more an idea-driven book than anything else. The characters were not uninteresting, but they weren’t particularly special, and their relationships with one another or other characters were nothing to write home about. It was instead the fast-paced plot that carried the story, as well as the interesting themes, giving more than a few nods to grey moralistic questions. What does it mean to be human? Can someone who is ‘artificially made’ be as human as a biological human?

My real big criticism is that the ending was incredibly lacking and felt very… unnatural. I literally went “Huh? That’s it?” because I was expecting there to be at least 100 more pages to the story. Even knowing that there’s a sequel, there were a couple more scenes I would’ve liked to see to tie the story up more nicely, and as it was, the story was left at a frustrating place.

A strange and baffling truth: that the people we’re supposed to know best can turn out to be strangers, and that near strangers can feel so much like home.

Overall, Replica was quite an entertaining and gripping book, told in a new format we haven’t seen a lot of. For how much I enjoyed this story, however, I have to wonder if I’d enjoy it as much if it was written the usual way… and frankly speaking, I don’t think so. While the themes were among my personal interests, the characters weren’t unique, and the plot, however fast-paced, didn’t exactly blow my mind. As it is, though, the story is written in a unique way, so I recommend it for the reading experience. 😛

* I received an ARC of REPLICA from Hachette and NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book.


Interested in purchasing Replica? 💕

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37 thoughts on “ARC/Book Review: Replica – Lauren Oliver

  1. I was hoping someone would have a review of this one up soon! I’m really excited for this one, mainly because the whole aspect of how the book is set up. It reminds me of Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen, which if I remember correctly had one character’s story and then you flipped and turned it over to read the other character’s story. They’re nothing alike in any other way as Flipped is a contemporary but still lol. I actually didn’t know this was about cloning which is an interesting aspect and I’m intrigued by the mention of creepy, gripping moments. I usually get lost if the characters don’t really stick out but I have a feeling for this one it might not matter as much. Lovely review! I can’t wait to read this one for myself. 😊

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    • I read Flipped and I don’t remember that at all! I thought it was just a normal book… but it could also be an editions thing? I’m not sure. 😛

      Yeah, the story carries the characters in this one but it’s not such a bad thing, because the plot moves relatively fast and there’s rarely a boring moment, if any. I hope you pick Replica up because I can’t wait to see what you think. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great review! I cannot wait to read this book. Most people really disliked the Delirium series and even they are liking this book. Me, on the other hand, quite enjoyed the Delirium books so I’m hoping that I love this even more 🙂

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  3. I just find it so fascinating how authors can construct unique plot structures like the one mentioned in Replica. I’m definitely going to give this one a read–you had me at fast-paced and “creepy-ish territories.” 🙂

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  4. I’m really glad you enjoyed this book. I have been wondering how it works, to actually read this book, and how the two POV would feel. I’m glad to hear they aren’t too repetitive and that the characters are different, though they didn’t make you fall in love. I’m really interested in the whole idea of this book, and I love Lauren Oliver’s writing, so hopefully I will love this book 🙂 Great review! 🙂

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  5. You read this as an e-book, right? Did you find it hard to manage? It seems like a book that would be better read in hard copy so I haven’t been sure if I want to read it (since almost everything I read is an e-book from the library).

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    • Definitely better as a hard copy, but to be completely honest I think that’d be annoying as well because you’d have to bookmark the chapters yourself so you’re not always flipping through the pages! What I did was go through the book once before I read to digitally bookmark all the chapter starts, so when I was reading I could very easily navigate to the next. 😉

      I think you should check it out to see if the writing is for you – otherwise, the plot isn’t that remarkable save for the structure of the book.

      Liked by 1 person

        • Tbh I’m not a fan of hers as well – I hated Delirium and never picked up any of her other works (except for Before I Fall, which was pretty unique imo), but I had to read this one because of the gimmick. If you’re not interested in that, perhaps it’s best not to pick it up after all – the plot itself isn’t super special.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment! Yeah, I had to go through the book before I read it to bookmark all the chapter starts so I could navigate to them more easily during my reading. It was fun and gimmicky, but I think it could get overrated very quickly. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review Reg! This is the first review I’ve seen for Replica and I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on it, and I’m definitely glad you enjoyed this book as well.
    Until you mentioned it I didn’t even think of the fact that this book could be repetitive going back and forth between Lila and Gemma, especially when the two of them meet in the book, I’m glad to hear this isn’t the case though.
    Honestly I think after reading your review I’m even more interested in getting my hands on this book, hopefully it will be arriving next week sometime as soon as it’s released! I kind of like the sound of the fact that it’s a little creepy and that the light-hearted moments are few and far between, certainly makes it sound a little different to what I normally read!
    Great review again! 😀

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    • Thanks, Beth! Yeah, in the moments they are together, there are SOME overlaps, but it’s different enough to be interesting, I think? You can’t help some repetitions of dialogue, but since they’re very different characters, the way they see things is different as well.

      I hope you enjoy this book! Can’t wait to see what your thoughts are on it – the gimmick definitely makes the book special. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • That is good to hear, it’s one of the things I worry about with dual POVs sometimes. Yeah dialogue is all right but you don’t want everything, including the characters thoughts and emotions, to feel like they’ve just been copied and pasted.
        My copy of Replica arrived while I was on holiday so I’m very excited to get started on it! 😀

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  7. Oh, the format sounds pretty cool! I’ve never read a Lauren Oliver book, but from what I hear, Replica sounds like a pretty good book to start with, though that ending has me hesitating a little… I like my endings as neat as possible^^;; Thanks for sharing!

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  8. I’m glad you enjoyed this one, Reg. I was really surprised by it! There were definitely some issues, but I couldn’t stop reading it and was super addicted to finding out what was going to happen haha. You could definitely tell how much effort and thought Lauren Oliver put into making sure the plot and timeline all interconnected. Great review ♥!

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    • Thanks, Lauren! I was surprised by it as well – I didn’t expect it to be so addictive? It was a bit annoying to read digitally, but I imagine it’s also annoying to read physically because of all the turning you have to do. Quite gimmicky, though, and a special experience indeed. 😂

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      • Ahh yeah the Netgalley edition was so hard. I did the same thing you did and bookmarked everything before hand. I heard the finished copy has shortcut links tho which should be a bit more helpful haha. Haha, yes!! I’ll definitely be interested to see how the next book is.

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        • I actually think it was you who recommended that I did that! I remember asking you how you read it, haha. Shortcut links would be SO good. Would have saved us from a lot of flipping through the pages and trying to remember where we left off. 😂

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  9. I honestly bought this book because I was so intrigued about the you-can-read-it-in-three-ways part and not because of its plot. But it seems like the plot is okay-ish, and I hope that I’ll be able to connect with the characters in a way. Great review Reg! You made me want to start reading it ASAP.

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    • Yeah, to be completely honest, the plot wasn’t anything super unique… but the storytelling was? Like it’s a very interesting, gimmicky way to tell a story, and I enjoyed that bit! I hope you enjoy it too – can’t wait to see what you think of it. 💗

      Liked by 1 person

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