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.