Author: Lauren Oliver
Series Status: 1st book in the Replica duology
# of pages: 520
My rating: 4/5 stars
(Found on Goodreads)
From a distance, the Haven Institute, tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida, looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, it is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed.
But 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. As they make their way through a new and menacing environment, they meet a stranger named Gemma, who has embarked on a perilous quest of her own. And as Lyra tries to understand Haven’s purpose, she uncovers earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls.
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals her whole life. A sickly child, she has grown into a lonely adolescent whose 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 human models, or replicas, 24 and 72—and a completely new set of questions. As Gemma tries to unravel the mysteries of Haven, she learnes terrible truths about herself and her family that will threaten to destroy everything she loves.
Two girls, two stories, one novel.
While the stories of Gemma and Lyra mirror each other, each contains revelations critically important to the other story. Their narratives can be read separately or in alternating chapters.
In the past I have read Oliver’s dystopian Delirium trilogy and was unsatisfied. So I was a little nervous for this book but was ultimately won over by the weird formatting.
For those who don’t know this book has two complete stories within it. You can start from either main characters point of view and read all the way through or you can alternate chapters, which is what I did. I have to say I think that is the best way because Oliver stated it was meant to be read that way but also because then it keeps you guessing because otherwise you would know what will happen when you get to the other characters part. I love weirdly formatted books and while this doesn’t seem that odd it was so unique and Oliver spent so long making sure everything lined up.
Then there were the characters which I was surprised at how much I liked them because I feel like one of them became slightly more developed than the other. My favorite was Lyra and I loved reading from her point of view more than Gemma although Gemma’s sections provided more information and set up everything. This was another unique thing that I liked about Oliver’s writing because she stayed very true the traits of the characters and for Lyra who has not been exposed to much and has a very limited knowledge it was interesting to see her blatantly omit things because Lyra would deem them unimportant or not notice, while Gemma would fill it in with a more detailed description.
I felt like the story kept me entertained and I was dying to find out more about Haven and how they got started. The plot was incredible although I could have done with out the romance. It seemed that the romance was more of an add in to satisfy a qualification for YA books while it was really unnecessary. Thankfully the romance did not play a major role in the book but it was still something that could have been left out and the story would have been just as great.
However this did not dampen how much I liked this book because I already think it was better than the underwhelming Delirium trilogy. This book had a slower beginning which I thought I would end up hating but found that I really liked because it helped me get used to the characters and set up the world for the crazy journey that happens in the second half.
Overall this was a great read and I don’t want to have to wait another year for the second book to be released.