The opening scene of Replication hooked my interest with a Nazi style medical human experimentation prison. The hero, a 17-year-old called Martyr, was about to be "expired," echoing "the reaping" in the opening of The Hunger Games. Accordingly I thought I had another futuristic, dystopian tale on my hands, until the heroine, Abby, turns out to be a not so everyday contemporary, seventeen-year-old going about the business of a high school junior with a troubled dad who also happens to be a genetics scientist. The plot thickens as Abby is sucked into the vortex of solving the mysteries surrounding the small Alaskan community of Fishhook. Unexpected turns mark the story as we root more and more for Martyr's escape, liberation of all the captives and resolution of Abby's conflicts.
Williamson's diversifies her characters well, even among clones. Moral All-Star, Martyr, contrasts nicely with the evil Dr. Kane, his creator, and with other clones. The heroine rises above authentic teen struggles and the romantic moments were tastefully and mostly realistically applied. The Christian world view was unflinching, the suspense riveting and the writing compelling. The unique plot forces you to consider some of the moral fallout of human cloning. I loved this book and highly recommend it for young adults and adults alike.
Abby Goyer thought uprooting her life and moving across the country to attend high school in Alsaka was change and excitement enough. But when she finds a near-exact replica of her new friend hiding in her bedroom--and learns there are fifty-four more just like him--she realizes life just got exponentially more interesting, and dangerous. In Jill Williamson's latest YA novel, "Replication", the author explores the moral, physical, spiritual, and scientific ramifications of human cloning on the clones themselves as well as the people who come to care about them.
Williamson probes the purposes, plans, goal, and motivations of the average American teenager and how it might look if that teenager had the same DNA as dozons of others and lived in a tighly-controlled laboratory environment. Delving into the hot topices of nature vs. nurture, stem-cell research, human cloning, personality type, the sanctity of human life, and medial ethics, Williamson humanizes the struggles and answers the questions of waht could happen should researchers successfully "farm" human beings.
Williamson excels at crafting interesting, intriguing, and unique characters. From JD Kane, your average teenage jock, to science-minded Abby Goyer, to an array of clones, each one bearing an individual likeness and personality. The author does an exceptional job of bringing to life the character of Martyr and his viewpoint concerning his new experiences in the outside world after having spent nearly eighteen years inside a lab. His analytical mind and his sweet nature shine through as he labors to make connections and understand his new world.
"Replication" is a fresh look at the typical search-for-meaning story and incorporates elements of mystery, suspense, and romance. Both male an female teen readers are sure to enjoy it, as well as adult readers looking for an intriguing and interesting story with characters that come alive.
It tackles the theme of cloning and the significance of the human soul and the human life with a vengeance.
And it is filled with action and romance in the tradition of the best of YA fiction.
Martyr is a clone, raised in a "farm" below the ground, among other clones. He has never seen the sun or the moon. He is told he will "expire" on his eighteenth birthday, but in a crazy moment he decides to make a run for it. You see, he wants to see the sky.
He doesn't get to see the sky because it is the nighttime, but he meets Abby, whose father is one of the scientists who work at the "farm". Abby also happens to be a christian who believes in God and trusts that He will find a solution to Martyr's and her family's problems.
And He does.
But first they have to go through being chased by the evil scientists and not being believed by the police and also chaced by some of the other clones and so on...
I was completely immersed in this extraordinary story, and I couldn't imagine what would happen next. I read it complulsively within two days I think. It is written in a very eloquent style, sometimes simplistis maybe, but mostly good and very reaable.
As a christian ya novel, it wasn't preachy at all, in fact I thought that the subject of the Creator and Saviour God was very discreetly and cleverly introduced. After all, a conscientous author who is a true christian couldn't possibly tackle the matter of intervention in creation of man and cloning, without bringing in the Creator Himself and His opinions on man and his soul.
Last but not least, the romance in the story fit very well and was truly heart-warming. It wasn't overly done, just described enough to be believable and cute. To tell the truth, I was absolutely charmed by it.
There was only one problem I had with this book, and unless the author really intended for this to be awful, it is quite a large problem. You see, the only person who didn't handle Martyr's situation right, I mean the only person out of the 'good guys', was the pastor. Now this is a general problem of our age with religious people who only pretend to be good but deep down inside are self-righteous and rotten to the core. The problem is, this pastor person was portrayed as a good guy in the book. Which was a problem.
Distrusting and refusing to help another person, a kid no less who needs your quidance as an adult, and thinking only of how to take care of yourself and your own family... that is not christian behaviour. That is not even ethical behaviour. And no one ever critisized his behaviour in the entire novel. His was a religion of the surface, and his behaviour was the worst specimen of humanity there is out here.
He could learn a thing or two from Martyr, even before Martyr had the chance to read the Bible.
This was an incredible book, and without the preachy, stuck to convention, self-righteous pastor, it would have deserved five stars.
Even so, it is a hundred per cent worth reading, and I would recommend it to anyone,
and especially to teens who love action in their books.
Also, top points for dealing with a hot and difficult subject like cloning.
I received this book from the editor in exchange for an honest review.
Martyr (or J:3:3) is one of fifty-five clones living on Jason Farms. The clones know they will "expire" when they turn eighteen to "fulfill their purpose" and cleanse the world of toxic air. Martyr has one wish before expiring: to see the sky.
Abby Goyer has just moved to Fishhook, Alaska. Her dad isn't telling her about his new job there but Abby knows something strange is going on at the place called Jason Farms.
When Martyr shows up at Abby's house and tells her about the cloning facility, can the two of them stop the mad scientist and save all the clones before it's too late?
I received Replication free as a review copy. I'd never read any of Jill Williamson's work before and I don't read much science fiction but I really enjoyed reading Replication. It was an interesting, easy read with questions posed throughout about God's purpose for our lives and the morality of cloning.
The characters all seemed original and 3-D to me. I loved how Martyr was so curious about everyday things like watching TV and wearing socks. I also loved getting to know Abby, a headstrong, scientific seventeen-year-old.
The plot was captivating with a bunch of twists and unexpected things popping up. It kept me turning pages from cover to cover. There were at least two loose ends that weren't tied up and left me wondering and a bit frustrated about some aspects of the story.
Jill Williamson did a really good job of slipping Christian themes into the story without being at all preachy.
I'd give Replication four out of five stars. Overall, I enjoyed this book and would say it's earned a place in my favorites pile.
While I enjoyed Ms. Williamson's Blood of Kings trilogy more, I found Replication an enjoyable story. Its humor brought a smile to my lips many times throughout the story, and Martyr captured my heart by page four, like he will capture any reader with a soft spot for underdogs. The plot wasn't as page-turning as I like, but there's enough tension to keep you reading.
Overall, Replication is fun read, good for either teens or adults, especially if you like underdog tales.