Replica

Replica
Replica Book One
Written by Lauren Oliver
Science Fiction, Mystery, Romance
Published October 11th 2016
336 Pages
Thank you to Hachette Australia
Add to Goodreads
★★★☆
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 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 Institute. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas and a completely new set of questions.
The night carries the calls of monster while girls sit in solitary, their human voices carried by the wind across the island. At birth they are assigned a number, not to be afforded an education, to be cherished or loved. They are Monsters. Clones. They are engineered Replicas.

Lyra is a Replica at the Haven Institute, surviving where routine is enforced and residents are despised for existing. Lyra's meagre contraband possessions tuck neatly under her mattress, a children's book with worn pages and the memory of the gentle doctor who departed Lyra with the legacy of reading, a luxury not afforded at Haven. Threatened, segregated and kept compliant, Replicas throughout the institute are falling ill, the chemicals fuelling their bodies no longer able to starve off the illnesses effecting those needlessly, haphazardly and Lyra is determined to uncover the truth.

Once believed to be incurable, Gemma has earned the name of Frankenstein from her tormentors, girls who appear to be offended by Gemma's mere existence. But when persecution leads to criminal damage, Gemma begins to suspect her father may be involved. Gemma's journey leads her to the Haven Institute to discover a world concealed in secrecy.

My Thoughts

Replica is a unique narrative that places the reader in command. A storyline of two girls as distinct as their points of view. I begun reading Replica in alternating chapters but found Lyra's point of view much more engaging and read her narrative to completion. Lyra was inquisitive, emotive and lives a solitary existence within the walls of the institute. She's charmingly naive as she begins to explore her world and the existence beyond the compound where she meets a male Replica. Only known as Seventy Two, the engineered teen is confused and disorientated before domestic terrorists strike the facility.

Escaping confinement, Lyra and Seventy Two discover a world beyond the Haven Institute, a world in which Gemma and her companion Pete are seeking answers.
When she was little, she'd liked to pretend that stars were really lights anchoring distant islands, as if she wasn't looking up but only out across a dark sea. She knew the truth now but still found stars comforting, especially in their sameness. A sky full of burning replicas.
Once a fragile and sickly young girl, Gemma is now a young woman who has been victimised by the taunting of her peers. While her mother is determined to ensconce her only child, it's Gemma's relationship with her father that has deteriorated and provokes Gemma to pursue answers. Although Gemma's character was engaging, she felt incredibly tedious and accepting of her circumstances. What begins as a road trip with Gemma and the local pervert, soon develops into a tentative yet awkward romance. Two virtual strangers thrown together and finding love, thankfully the romance didn't overwhelm the storyline although I would prefer a friendship or alliance as an alternative.

At Haven, the female and male Replica population were segregated and Lyra was in the process of forming an emotional connection with her fellow female Replicas. She understood the concept of love but not the realisation and I felt may have been a missed opportunity to explore a same sex relationship rather than the physical attraction to Seventy Two.

Lauren Oliver is an author who is imaginative and prolific, but her narratives can appear hollow and passive. Her middle grade series is absolutely wonderful and I wonder if perhaps that's where her imagination and creativity resides. I enjoyed Replica but had expected more, although the lyrical aspect woven throughout was lovely. I anticipate that the next installation in the series will focus on character development so readers can form an emotional attachment and invest in their plight. Fingers crossed.

23 comments

  1. I read this awhile ago and I definitely agree with your review. Although I found the plot to be somewhat entertaining, it wasn't anything special. I have yet to try Oliver's MG, maybe I'll check it out one day!

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    1. Her middle grade series reminds me of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, but more so an adventure. Really well written. I felt the same about this one too, it was entertaining but I'm not sure the unique formatting made up for the lack of depth for me either. I'm hoping book two might explore character development further.

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  2. I'm not sure if this author is for me. I'm always intrigued by her unique concepts, but then I end up not reading the books because they seem to get so many meh reviews. This is one of those books too. It does sound like it had its good moments, but ehh, life is too short for me to be reading meh books.
    Lovely review, Kelly!

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    1. Completely agree! Her middle grade series is well worth the read though, so well written and really charming. Replica is entertaining, but was too short on details for me.

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  3. Thanks for sharing! I'm glad to see you enjoyed this one overall. Lauren Oliver is one author that I really need to read something by - I just haven't yet!

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    1. She's such an accomplished author Lauren and well worth checking out. I love her middle grade series so far, so utterly charming and really captivating. My favourite of her releases so far.

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  4. I have this out from the library right now but...agh, I've seen SO many low reviews and I'm feeling very uninspired to try it. I have like a love/hate relationship with her books! I hated Panic, and thought Rooms was meh. But Vanishing Girls = AMAZINGNESS. And The Spindlers was entirely adorable.๐Ÿ˜ So omg, I don't even know what to do. TO READ IT OR NOT TO READ IT THAT IS THE QUESTION. *goes off to have an existential crisis*

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    1. I'm exactly the same. I loved the Delirium but the rest of the series not so much. Panic was awful, but I absolutely adore her middle grade series. I think Replica sits right in the middle of her spectrum and has the potential to be a wonderful series, so I'm hoping book two focuses more so on character development so I can form an emotional attachment.

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  5. The reviews of this book in general I've found either loved or hated it. Not a book which generates a lot of inbetween -- great review!

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    1. Yeah, I think the same goes for most of her books actually Verushka. I did like this one though, but felt very disconnected from the characters. It lacked emotion for me which I need to be able to immerse myself. Fingers crossed for book two.

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  6. I've never really taken personally to this author over the years but your book review was excellent in detail and content!

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    1. Thanks lovely, I really appreciate the kind words.

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  7. I haven't read this yet but I have it on my list. Glad to see the pros and cons balance out and that you generally liked it. Fingers crossed I will to :)

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    1. It's wonderfully entertaining nonetheless Sarah and looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

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  8. Yeah, I have to agree with you here. I love Lauren Oliver, generally, but this one wasn't a home run for me. I think she usually develops her characters SO well that I can relate to them even if they're so different, but this was just... I don't know, better in concept and theory than in execution I suppose. I liked it, but only liked it, you know? Great review though!

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    1. Same Shannon, same. I loved the premise, even the format was very cool, but there was just something missing and I feel as though it comes down to the lack of character personality. It was light on development, so I never truly felt a sense of who they were. I'm hoping it's addressed in book two, because it has the potential to be a great series.

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  9. I loved Oliver's Delirium series, but have been hesitant to pick up this one because the consensus seems to be it just isn't hitting the mark. I am curious about the unique way it's told through two perspectives though, so I might give it a try sometime. Thanks for the insightful review as always Kelly :)

    Eugenia @ Genie In A Book

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    1. Thanks Eugenia. I liked the first book in the Delirium series, but books two and three were a bit of a let down for me sadly. The format is really unique, I found reading one perspective all the way to completion worked better for me. I'd love to see what you think of it.

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  10. I have a feeling this book will confuse the heck out of me. But I give props to Ms. Oliver for this feat.

    Lovely review, as always, love.

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    1. Thank you darling girl. It's one of those reads that has really separated readers. I liked it overall, but hoping book two steps it up a bit.

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  11. I've been eager to read this, I understand your take on her tone, I feel like it does look like that at times in her writing.

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  12. Yeah, I find her concepts to be fantastic but the execution to be lacking. I've given up on Lauren Oliver, enough is enough lol.

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  13. I haven’t read anything from this author, but it looks like her workั‹ are hit-or-miss for many of my friends. Her concepts are always intriguing. I still want to give her a try. Wonderful review, Kelly!

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