Review: Replica by Lauren Oliver

replica Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Release date: October 6, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Pages: 520
Goodreads || Book Depository

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 – Lyra, aka number 24, and the boy known only as 72 – 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.

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MY THOUGHTS

4 stars

Thank you to Hachette Australia for providing a review copy of the book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Replica is a sci-fi novel with a very interesting format. It is written from the perspectives of two different girls, Lyra and Gemma. You can read Lyra’s story first and then flip the book over and read Gemma’s story. You can do the opposite and read Gemma’s story first. You also have the option of reading alternating chapters of Lyra and Gemma’s story until their stories meet in the middle.

I personally read Replica in alternating chapters, starting with Lyra’s story and then ending with Gemma’s. I decided against reading one perspective after the other because I thought it would take away some of the suspense of the story because I’d already know important plot points from reading the first perspective in its entirety. Having now read the entire book, I would still choose to read it by alternating perspectives every chapter, but if you were to read one perspective at a time, I don’t think that there is too much overlap. One thing to note is that there is one extra chapter in Gemma’s perspective, so if you decided to read Replica in alternating chapters starting with Lyra’s perspective like I did, you’ll find yourself left with two Gemma chapters after Lyra’s story is over.

I really, really loved the concept of this story. I don’t read a whole lot of sci-fi but Replica falls into my favourite type of sci-fi. I enjoyed the concept of the Haven Institute, which is home to thousands of replicas or clones that are experimented with and observed. These replicas have extremely weak bodies and have never been outside of the Haven Institute. They’re born and bred at the Institute and spend their days undergoing cognitive testing and physical exams. They are completely uneducated and are unable to read. The only people they come in contact with are the doctors and nurses who work at the Institute, who constantly remind them that they’re different and are lesser than human beings. I loved the Haven Institute and all of the mystery surrounding it. Lyra’s perspective gave us some really good insight into the Institute and how the system of the replicas worked. I initially went into the book expecting the replicas to be like robots or androids but they were no different from humans. They displayed the same kinds of physical and mental illnesses and humans, including eating disorders and suicide ideation, which I found really intriguing and interesting. My only criticism of the Haven Institute is that I felt like the world needed a bit more development and that there were some things missing from the book. The novel spends a lot of time focusing on the origins and the purpose of the Haven Institute and I would have liked a bit more focus on the operations within the Institute. Having said that, Replica is the first novel in what I believe is a duology so I’m hoping these things will be addressed further in the sequel.

I loved both of the main characters in this novel but my personal favourite was Lyra. I thought her story was so interesting and unique and I really loved her voice. I enjoyed how Lyra had never really experienced the real world and how she handled learning about new things. I did however think that Gemma’s story was fleshed out a little bit more than Lyra’s (possibly because Gemma lives in our contemporary world that doesn’t need much development) and I would’ve liked to have seen a little bit more from Lyra’s perspective. I thought Lyra was sensitive, kind and intelligent and I connected with her character from the very beginning. I wasn’t enamoured by Gemma from the very start but she quickly grew on me. Her character and her worries were extremely relatable and I ended up loving her and wanting to read more about her story by the time I reached the end of the novel. Her perspective worked extremely well with Lyra’s and I thought together, the two stories came together in a very exhilarating manner.

What I really enjoyed about the plot and the two different perspectives was that they worked together seamlessly. There was a tiny bit of overlap in plot and dialogue but the two characters do spend a large amount of time apart, leading to separate and unique stories. There were an endless number of plot twists, some predictable and some not, and I was so captivated by the story and how everything fitted together that I didn’t want to put the book down. Another thing that kept me invested in the book were the romances, even though I did have some issues with them. I thought there was a lot of insta-love and every boy that appeared in the book seemed to be a potential love interest. Having said that, I thought they were super sweet and I enjoyed the roles that the boys played in the story.

Overall, I thought this was a very interesting read and the ending definitely left me wanting more. The writing was easy to read and I sped through the book. I’m excited to see what the sequel will bring and whether it will be in the same format as Replica.

Book Haul: September 2016

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I think I was much more restrained this month than in previous months when it comes to my book haul. Even though I acquired lots of books, I only bought 14 of them! Which is still a lot… but it was my birthday this month and I didn’t buy as much as I thought I did. Book haul justified.

BOOK DEPOSITORY

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I love how Crooked Kingdom and The Thousandth Floor have the same pretty black and gold colour scheme! It’s soooo pretty. Half of these purchases from Book Depository were preorders. I preordered Crooked Kingdom, The Thousandth Floor and Phantom Limbs. Milk and Honey was a book that I picked up on a bit of a whim but I’ve since read it and absolutely loved it. I purchased P.S. I Like You because I love Kasie West’s fluffy contemporary romances and this one was just as good as her other ones have been. Finally, I picked up The Encyclopedia of Early Earth (which I used to have a copy of but gave it away to a friend who I thought would also love it) and Isabel Greenberg’s new graphic novel, The One Hundred Nights of Hero. I can’t wait to read it!

KINOKUNIYA

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On the first day of September, I went to the #YAFanFest, hosted by Allen & Unwin, to preview some upcoming titles. There were also some amazing Aussie YA authors there and books for sale by Kinokuniya. I ended up picking up a copy of Swarm 4 weeks before release at the event and got it signed by Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti. I also bought a copy of Garth Nix’s Goldenhand before release at the event too, which I gave away to a friend. The following day, I went to a Rainbow Rowell and David Levithan event at Kinokuniya and I picked up two David Levithan books that I don’t already own, Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Are We There Yet? Finally, for my birthday, I bought myself Embrace by Jessica Shirvington because I’ve really enjoyed the three books of hers that I’ve read so far, Disruption duology and Between the Lives.

DYMOCKS

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I’ve been saving up my Dymocks credit points since July so that I can spoil myself on my birthday. However, when I went to the store, there weren’t actually that many books that I wanted to buy. I ended up picking up Graffiti Moon and a finished copy of Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley. I also bought Graeme Simsion’s new novel, The Best of Adam Sharp, which was signed. Funny story, after I bought this book from Dymocks, I went to Kinokuniya to browse, and 5 minutes after I left Kinokuniya, I checked my Instagram feed and saw a picture of Graeme Simsion signing copies of The Best of Adam Sharp at Kinokuniya, posted 15 minutes ago. Totally could have gotten my copy personalised if I was paying more attention!

RECEIVED

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At the #YAFanFest event that I went to, there were goodie bags for all the attendees. In my bag, I received The Diviners and London Belongs to Us. Because I’ve already read and reviewed London Belongs to Us, I ended up swapping with Emily @ The Loony Literate for Cooper Bartholomew is Dead. At the event, I also won an ARC of Garth Nix’s Frogkisser! in a lucky dip that he was running. It sounds hilarious and I’m so excited to read it. From publishers, I received Swarm from Allen & Unwin, Replica from Hachette Australia, Witch’s Pyre from Pan Macmillan Australia, and Empire of Storms from Bloomsbury Australia. Empire of Storms actually came last month but I didn’t include it in my book haul last month. My coblogger Jeann @ Happy Indulgence sent me Open Road Summer for my birthday and I’m so happy to now have it in my hands!!


Phew! All done! Which books did you purchase in September and what are you most excited to read?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Anticipated Releases for the Second Half of 2016

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the team at The Broke and the Bookish. This week I’m featuring ten upcoming 2016 releases that I’m very highly anticipating. These will all be released in the second half of this year.

1. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

I absolutely loved Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. It was definitely a step up from her Grisha trilogy. The characters and the relationships between them were so good and I can’t wait to read more about them. I’m so sad that this is only a duology though. I’ve already preordered this one and it comes out on September 27 đŸ˜€

2. Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf was another book that I really loved when I read it last year. It’s such an exciting and action-paced story and I love that it’s an alternate history novel. I also really enjoyed the prequel novella, Iron to Iron. Cannot wait to get my hands on this sequel. Again, I’m sad that it’s a duology and not a trilogy. November 1 could not come soon enough!

3. Heartless by Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is probably my favourite series of all time. So I cannot wait to get my hands on this upcoming release, which is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. November 8 is the release date for this novel.

4. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

I recently read ACOMAF by Sarah J. Maas and didn’t enjoy it very much so my excitement for this fifth book of the Throne of Glass series has dampened a little bit. But I’ve been enjoying where the series has been going so I guess I’m still excited to see where this next book goes. This is out on September 6.

5. Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch

I’m highly anticipating this third and final book of the Snow Like Ashes trilogy. I absolutely loved Snow Like Ashes and it became one of my favourite novels of all time… but Ice Like Fire really disappointed me. I have a feeling that this finale is going to be epic though! It comes out on September 20.

6. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

I really enjoyed Nicola Yoon’s debut novel, Everything Everything. It had really interesting formatting and lots of beautiful illustrations. I’m hoping that The Sun is Also a Star will have those elements too. The synopsis also sounds very intriguing and I love a female protagonist who loves science. This novel comes out on November 1.

7. Replica by Lauren Oliver

I haven’t read anything by Lauren Oliver yet but I’m drawn in by the gimmicky nature of this book. The book can be read four ways and I think it’d be great to experience it. Also, from what I’ve read of the synopsis, it sounds like an intriguing sci-fi read. This is out on October 4.

8. PS. I Like You by Kasie West

Who can resist a new Kasie West book? Her novels are so quick and easy to read and absolutely perfect for a reading slump. I’ve enjoyed all of her books so far and I’m keen to read more from her. Also, this one comes out on July 26, so not too long to go!

9. Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

This is the sequel to Ink and Bone, which I read earlier this year and absolutely fell in love with. It’s such a great alternate history story that’s all about books and the Great Library of Alexandria. I can’t wait to continue the series and see how it all plays out. This one also comes out really soon on July 5.

10. Cure For the Common Universe by Christian McKay Heidicker

I honestly don’t know too much about this book but it has a really fun cover and the main character is sent to video game rehab. If that doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, I don’t know what does. And whoops, I thought this one was out in July but it’s actually out today! June 14.


Which one of these are you also highly anticipating? Also, if you haven’t already, check out my 1 year blogoversary giveaways.