Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: Replica (Replica Trilogy, #1)


Replica (Replica, #1)Author: Jenna Black
Series: Replica Trilogy, #1
Released: July 16th 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Paperback, 368 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old Nadia Lake comes from a high-class Executive family in the Corporate States. Her marriage has been arranged with the most powerful family in her state, which means she lives a life of privilege but also of public scrutiny, followed everywhere by photographers, every detail of her private life tabloid fodder. But her future is assured, as long as she can maintain her flawless public image — no easy feat when your betrothed is a notorious playboy.
Nathan Hayes is the heir of Paxco — controller of the former state of New York, and creator of human replication technology, science that every state and every country in the world would kill to have. Though Nadia and Nate aren’t in love, they’ve grown up close, and they (and the world) are happy enough with their match.
Until Nate turns up dead, and as far as everyone knows, Nadia was the last person to see him alive.
When the new Nate wakes up in the replication tanks, he knows he must have died, but with a memory that only reaches to his last memory backup, he doesn’t know what killed him. Together, Nadia and Nate must discover what really happened without revealing the secrets that those who run their world would kill to protect.
As the second daughter of an Executive and therefore not an heiress, Nadia Lake has one purpose in her life – to marry well and procure more wealth and an even higher standing for her family. Fortunately (or so it seems), she has been chosen to marry the Chairman’s Heir, her friend Nate. But her position means that she’s always under the limelight, ruled by the strict rules of high society, and that even the smallest mistake can cost her more than she can pay. Whatever she does reflects on her family, her sister the heiress and her aloof parents. I rather liked Nadia, to be honest. Despite being a prisoner of her circumstances, she showed spirit and impressive intelligence at every turn. Faced with extremely hard choices, she always did what she thought she had to, but she did it bravely and determinedly. I tried to imagine myself in her position – destined to marry a man who would never love her or be faithful to her, but is her friend and confidante anyway – and quite honestly, I don’t think I could do it, and yet Nadia never complained.

Nate was understandably self-centered, but I suspected he had a golden heart in addition to the silver spoon he was fed with, and I was right. His only mistake was loving someone he wasn’t supposed to, and he paid for it dearly. Although I didn’t like his taking Nadia for granted and not taking the time to think about what he was putting her through, I could sympathize with his troubles very easily.

The society in Replica is one I can easily see happening in our future as well. The state of New York has been bought off by Paxcon, a company owned by Nate’s father, the Chairman. The entire society is a direct product of capitalism, the class differences so pronounced that intermingling is simply out of the question. The poorest aren’t even considered to be human, they’re called creatures, and Nate had the misfortune of falling in love with one of them.

The mystery is Replica’s weak spot. There was one possible murderer, just one person with the motive and the resources to do it, and the solution was painfully obvious from the start. But even with the villain so predictable, Replica was a fascinating read, because it reflected one version of the future I could easily believe in. It is a strong criticism of capitalistic society and sudden technological development and as such, it has a very strong impact.

While I’ve read several of her adult books, this was my first YA by Jenna Black, and I was glad to notice that her neat and precise writing style hasn’t somehow magically disappeared. She handled this with the level of confidence that can only come from a lot of experience and I was quite happy with the result. I’ll be following Nadia and Nate’s future adventures. I can’t wait to see how they’ll dig themselves out of the hole they’re currently in.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.

24 comments:

  1. This feels more like a contemp (if not for the human replica technology) to me because of Nate and Nadia relationship. Marriage of convenience is usually one of my favorite storylines, but I don't think I would like Nate so much. He seems so inconsiderate and unappreciative towards Nadia, however I do want to give it a try in hopes that the next book might turn this series around. Thanks for sharing, Maja! Great review :)

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  2. I have heard of this one but I had no idea what's it about. Like Aman said this sounds more like contemporary read. Anyhow I admire Nadia cause I'm the type of the person who really likes freedom. I'd complain until my parents ears fall off :D
    Too bad that the mystery wasn't mysterious here, but everything else seems interesting. Great review Maja :)

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  3. I've heard of this author before - she might be on my TBR actually, I'll have to check - but I hadn't heard of this novel specifically. It seems like a promising start, but I think I'll wait to see how it plays out. Often, obvious reveals tend to grate on me (like in Cinder) though most readers don't mind, but I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for this author and her works. Wonderful review, Maja! :)

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  4. Despite the weak mystery this sounds appealing to me overall. Admitting I've seen it on GR before, but it never really captured my attention and I didn't have luck with one of her adult book so I guess that kind of put me of as well.

    Great review!

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  5. We've already got huge class differences, with the middle class phasing out, too many poor and too few uber-rich running things, so I can see a future society like the one in this book. Meh to the meh mystery but at least the world was fascinating!

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  6. Little disappointed the mystery was obvious but this one still really intrigues me. I think I will give it a chance.

    Great honest review Maja!!

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  7. I sometimes don't mind if I know the villain from the get-go, especially if the characters in the book are really strong like the seem to be in this one. I love the sound of Nadia and sympathize with her already, and while I think I'll be frustrated with Nate for taking Nadia for granted, like you said, it sounds as though his circumstances aren't any better than hers. Beautiful review my friend!

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  8. Oh bummer that the mystery was really weak. I'm always up for a really good mystery though I do think that the characters make up for it. I'm not ready to pick up this series yet but I'm still curious enough to see what you think of book 2.

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  9. oh my gosh look at the cover..swoon.. but anyway. Nice review! I couldn't imagine myself in Nadia's shoes either :( that would be horrible. Sorry that the mystery was on a bit of a weaker side. But I am glad to hear the author kept her neat writing style! this interests me.

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  10. I've heard such mixed things about this book, Maja. I'm actually not sure if I want to read it yet, but from your review it sounds like something I might like. Nadia sounds like she has a lot on her plate, but I like that she takes it all in without complaining. I really can't stand whiny characters, so it's always good when a main character is strong.
    It's such a shame about the mystery and the villain being predictable though. I'll look for this at my library.
    Lovely review, Maja!

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  11. I love reading books that give us a glimpse into a world that might be ours someday. This book sounds like one of those, and though the mystery sounds predictable, it still sounds like a fun read.

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  12. What a shame the mystery was so weak, I was truly excited by the character and the plausible world. I am still curious but think this is one I would borrow rather then purchase.

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  13. Sounds intriguing even with the weak spots.

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  14. I've been wanting to give this book a try. It had me curious and I've never read a book by the author & have been wanting to check her out. I'm glad you were still able to enjoy the book even though the mystery was obvious. Great review :)

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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  15. Honestly every review I read today I feel meh about, I am having a meh day

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  16. I've been curious about this one. I do think I could become quickly annoyed with Nate, but I suspect I would also feel sympathy too. I do like the sound of Nadia. I do like Jenna Black's writing so I know I will have this on the wishlist. I'm hoping book 2 will be stronger than this one.

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  17. Balck is another author I have been meaning to trry, but I can't find the time. I am going to try her adult books first!

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  18. This definitely sounds intriguing! It's a bit disappointing about the romance though. I have been meaning to read this author for awhile as well.

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  19. I have several of her books but have yet to read any of it. There is something out of place with this book that I can't put a finger on. With the women's Victorian-esque role to marry by social standing and its futuristic setting. The difference clashes, for some odd reason. But maybe it's because I don't read much books in the same theme?

    Anyway, great review, Maja. You've had me intrigued!

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  20. This one sounds good, despite the week mystery aspect.

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  21. I love dystopian novels, specially those that are talking about thinks that could happen, but my main problem with this genre is poor world building or unbelievable plot twists.
    This book still looks like interesting read and Iknow that your 3 star rating is actually pretty good, so I'll give it a chance.
    Great review, Maja.

    Glass @ Way Too Hot Books

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  22. I've read some great books (adult) by Jenna Black and usually really like them. I'm excited to check out this YA series by her (I love the techno and futuristic possibilities.)

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  23. It's a shame the mystery was so easily solved, but I do love a cautionary tale with a believable future world, and the world of creatures and executives sounds eerily possible and fascinating. I think I'll read this one for the worldbuilding and characters alone. Thanks for putting this on my radar!

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  24. I'm been finding characters with some unlikeable characteristics as my favorites lately. Nate sounds like a wonderful character. As does Nadia. I love how this dystopian relates with what is happening currently - capitalism - while also relating to other existing cultures like the Untouchables for Hindus.
    Though I would hate to live in that society.

    Fantastic review!

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