First let me start by saying how damn excited I was to read this book. If you didn’t know, Replica is a story told from two different perspectives, which depending on how you choose to read it, can change the whole dynamic of the book.
When reading this book, I decided to simply read one whole story, and then read the next. This was where I went wrong. Not only did I unknowingly choose the story where the least amount of information is revealed, but having to basically reread the story all over again (from another perspective), was tedious.
Lyra’s story was interesting, however there wasn’t enough information happening to keep me really engaged with the story. Lyra is a replica living at Haven (this is where all the replicas live). She is going about her everyday life, not really thinking much about anything. Then one day there is an explosion and Haven has been destroyed (as well as everyone in it). Lyra finds herself outside with number 72 (who escaped from Haven previous). From here, Lyra and number 72 work together to try and understand what has happened. I felt like the first half was quite boring as you’re not really sure what is going on (and either is Lyra). The second half was more eventful, and definitely more exciting to read. However, I feel like this story definitely could not stand by itself and if this was the whole book I would be completely dissatisfied.
Gemma’s story is (to me) way more interesting and has a lot more happening to keep the reader engaged. From the beginning Gemma is just a normal girl. She discovers that there’s a few secret her parents are keeping from her, and she’s dying to find out what it is. “Haven” is something that she keeps coming back to, so she decides to pay a visit to Haven institute and figure out what everyone is hiding. I did quite enjoy Gemma’s story. You are introduced to a lot of different characters and I feel like you are able to connect with them more. Not only because they are more “normal” can i.e. not replicas, but you actually understand more of what is going on, because Gemma is more aware of her surroundings. You definitely do see the benefits of reading Lyra before Gemma as a lot of things start making sense, but I also think it makes things quite predictable.
Overall, I think this is a really interesting concept. I like that you are able to choose how you want to read it and it makes for such a unique experience. This was my first Lauren Oliver book I have read, and I have previously heard mixed thoughts about her writing. I’m not sure if it is because I wasn’t enjoying the perspective as much, but in Lyra’s story I felt like the writing was very confusing and extremely long winded. I’m not exaggerating when I say there was one scene of Lyra walking from point A to point B which was three pages long… I feel there was a lot of unnecessary information (in the first few chapters especially) which honestly just bored me and made me not want to continue reading. I found myself skimming quite a few pages because I just didn’t care about what they were doing every waking second. I am glad I continued though, because the story did get interesting. I did feel Gemma’s story flowed better and wasn’t as tedious to read. Gemma’s story is also a little bit longer so you do get a bit more information from Gemma, plus there is a tiny bit of romance which always keeps things interesting in my book (no pun intended)
How to read the story
Now, personally I wouldn’t recommend reading one story after another. As I said before, it became very tedious when reading the second perspective as you know when the exciting stuff happens and you just want to get to it. Therefore, I highly recommend alternating chapters. When going into the story, I specifically chose not to read it this way because I’m lazy and turning the book upside down and around every 10 pages didn’t sound like a good time. But I honestly feel like this would be the best way to get everything out of the book. Even reading 2 or 3 chapters from each perspective at a time would be better and way more engaging. You do get more information in Gemma’s story and there are a lot of plot twists that would be more exciting if it were revealed in tandem with Lyra’s story.
TLDR; Read alternating chapters.
Publisher: Hodder & Stroughton
Published: October, 2016
Format: Paperback, 520 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia/Contermporary
Acquired from: Hachette Australia
Price: $19.99 AUD
*This book was provided to me by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are completely my own.
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