Title: Beta (Annex #1)
Author: Rachel Cohn
Elysia is created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen-year-old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of a teenage clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to exist.
Elysia's purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air induces a strange, euphoric high, which only the island's workers--soulless clones like Elysia--are immune to.
At first, Elysia's life is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne's human residents, who should want for nothing, yearn. But for what, exactly? She also comes to realize that beneath the island's flawless exterior, there is an under-current of discontent among Demesne's worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care--so why are overpowering sensations cloud-ing Elysia's mind?
If anyone discovers that Elysia isn't the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When her one chance at happi-ness is ripped away with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she's always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive.
So, I’m not really sure where Ill go with this review, since Im not actually sure how I feel about the book.
Ill just start with the basics. The plot was different and unique. I loved the idea of clones (since realistically I feel they will be in our near future)I liked the idea of the rich elite living on a hidden and exclusive paradise island! I didn’t like the lack of information about the Water Wars, but its ok. We got only the most basic information about what made the world what it was.
Characters: Elsia was our main character. She did go through some serious character growth. She started just a robot, basically. She didn’t care, or feel or think. Until she did. And then she realized she was a defect – a clone that has feelings and emotions and doesn’t want to be a slave. By the end of the book, her character has done a 180! Her character was very well written.
Mother, the Governor and their 2 kids were pretty thought out characters, but all were horrible in their own ways, whether they were spoiled brats, disgusting perverts, or just felt entitled to everything. I could say more, but wont spoil it.
Romance: this was an issue in this book! Her 2 love interests were… flat. #1-Tahir, was bland and boring. And as soon as they discussed their similarities, they were in love and decided to run away together… So insta love. And #2- Alex, he could have been great, but they never actually grew together. It was another insta love, without the love on her part. She was his “mate” (and his race mates for life) bec her first (the human she was cloned from) was. But she didn’t even care about him at all anymore, since she had just “loved” tahir.
Another issue that should be mention is that this book does contain sex and rape. It was surprising to me that this YA novel did have the sex. But it didn’t bother me as it wasn’t too much (it was fairly subtle) What bothered me was the rape, and how inconsequential the author made it seem. Elysia was raped by someone she cared about and trusted. And then she NEVER mentions it again!! She doesn’t have to deal with the emotional or mental trauma that would cause! This was a Huge issue for me!
I want to mention that a lot of reviewers are saying that bec of the last chapter, this is a prolife propaganda book. But I don’t think that’s true. I think that at the time Elysia had to make a decision, she was surrounded by a self-proclaimed crazy lunatic and a known “super human” type person, that had been described as being in a religious cult. SO- its obvious what they would want. That being said, I AM pro-life… so I guess you can make your own decisions. I think the point was that Elysia was an anomaly now. Something that is impossible and should be revered
So, overall the story line and writing was pretty awesome. But the romance was unfortunately a double case of instalove. And the realities she had to face weren’t given the attention they needed.
Rating: 3 stars
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