Author: Jenna Black
Release Date: July 16, 2013
Source: Review copy from publisher
THOUGHTS: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.
So... how on earth am I going to do justice to this book with my review? I honestly have no idea how - and I probably won't be able to do, because you can only add so much 'awesome' and 'amazing' in your reviews before your readers roll their eyes and move on to the next blog, and I want other people to read this review because I want them to know the mind-blowing awesomeness that is Replica! (Oh god just writing this incredibly long sentence masquerading as a paragraph makes me want to groan.)
Replica introduces us to Nate and Nadia, children of very powerful families, and soon to be engaged to be married and the pair that would rule Paxco in the not-so-distant future. From the first chapter alone, a lot of things about this society they live in, as well as Nate and Nadia's relationship was obvious. While very progressive, Paxco still adheres to age-old rules of how people must act in front of those high up in society, as not to tarnish their reputations. Also, it was apparent that all rules and regulations are to be followed, else repercussions (as well as endless gossip) will befall you. In line with this, while Nate and Nadia are in all technicalities engaged, Nadia is still very careful in how they act around other people. (So yes, no PDA or anything like that.)
Black also managed to successfully convey that though Nate and Nadia cared for each other, they didn't exactly love each other per se. As a matter of fact, Nate's taste lies elsewhere, and he's also in love with somebody else. Nadia is resigned to the fact that she will be marrying someone who will never be faithful to her, and she's supportive of Nate's choices. The creeping sadness that she won't be married to someone who loves her is there, of course, but Nadia chooses to ignore this line of thinking for the meantime. (At this point I thought Nadia would be a doormat of a character, but let me talk about that later.) Things get messy when Nate is murdered, and the last people to see him alive are Nadia and his boyfriend, Kurt. Nate is brought back to life through a replica - replica Nate is essentially the same person as murdered Nate... except that his memories only date back to two weeks before the murder. Since Kurt disappeared after the murder, Nadia must face the line of fire alone - only she has a semblance of information of what happened that night. Needless to say I was pulled in pretty early on in the novel.
This is how a dystopian novel is supposed to be written, folks. I'm trying to look back and think if I have any misgivings with the writing, but nope, nothing comes to mind. The world-building was present - I got to learn everything I needed to know, yet nothing was shoved down my throat. There were no pages upon pages of info dump or long winded-explanations. This novel was written in such a way that every aspect of this new world, this Corporate States, is not the least bit difficult to understand. The concept of replicas was easy to grasp as well. My eternal complaint against dystopia as a genre as whole always has to do with the writing - sometimes it feels like I'm reading a very thorough encyclopedia instead of fast-paced Young Adult novel, and I didn't get that feeling while reading Replica. AT ALL.
Black did a great job with her characters - they were quite complex and in no way one-dimensional. Sure, there were a lot of times wherein their actions made me want to bang my head against wall, but hey, it's so much better to feel this way than to just roll my eyes and fervently hope that the characters just go ahead and vanish without warning. I wasn't exactly pleased with Nate in the beginning - I found him selfish and too reckless in his ways. Of course I understood his desire to find Kurt, but I hated how he treated Nadia so callously as a result. He knew how deep in trouble Nadia was after the murder, but Nate only thought of himself and no one else. Nate did win me over with his undying love for Kurt, and when he finally FINALLY realized that the world didn't revolve around him.
I have previously mentioned that I thought that Nadia was a weak character and wow - I couldn't be more wrong! The lengths Nadia went through to protect her family were just immense, and she never ever put her welfare first. Nadia's family meant the world to her and she was willing to do anything to save them... even if that meant betraying the one other person she loves most in the world - Nate. The guilt that Nadia suffers through as a result, as well as her strong character, were enough to make me sympathize with her and all the life-changing decisions she had to make. I also laud how she finally stood up to Nate, who hasn't been treating her like she deserves to be treated. Nadia's character has so much depth, has so many layers and facets, and she just grows a lot in this book - I love how Black wrote about such a strong, calm and level-headed heroine!
No part of the novel bored me - the mystery of Nate's murder intrigued me from start to finish, and the growth of both Nate and Nadia's characters captivated me. Moreover, I usually try to predict plot twists and the like but this book surprised me at every turn, so again, Black was amazing on that front. Also, Replica was written in dual POVs, and this setting allowed the readers to connect with Nate and Nadia and for Black to explore both characters thoroughly as well. I'm serious in saying that I loved every aspect of this novel - the plot, the characters, the writing, and even the fact that this book is first in a series! This is a world that I would love to read more about, and these are characters whom I've grown to care for - all in all, an amazing read!
Rating: 5 Stars