My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I thought the idea of two different points-of-view of the same events would be an interesting spin, particularly because the book is about clones or ‘replicas’. I also liked the way there were effectively two books in one. Perhaps a bit gimmicky, but fun and also very beautifully formatted. I chose to read each of the stories in their entirety. First Lyra’s story and then Gemma’s. While I do agree with some of the other reviews of this book, in that the characters don’t seem completely fleshed out and the dual stories were repetitive at times, I still enjoyed reading it. I think I just wanted to know more about what was going on, what was going to happen, what’s next for the characters… the end was very abrupt.
I found the character of Lyra a little robotic at times, but I guess that was how Oliver portrayed her as institutionalised and so strictly controlled in the institute. She did break out of this flatness a few times, but she still seemed a little too unaware of her situation in light of what was being discovered and discussed around her. Gemma was a little more interesting but I found it a little confusing that on the one hand, she allowed herself to be so controlled and sheltered by her parents, not to mention cowed by her peers and a little paranoid of the world in general and then on the other she was incredibly spontaneous and risk-taking. It was a little hard to believe that someone could change so much in such a short period of time.
I think my main issue with this book was that it took a while to get where it was going and then just stopped. There were little hints and clues along the way that something interesting was developing for each of the protagonists, but it didn’t seem to go deep enough, in either point of view. I’m hoping that as this is part one of a series, things will develop a little more and get a little more resolved as the plot goes on. My fingers are crossed for good things as in general I like Lauren Oliver’s books and would like this one to live up to her other work.