Review: Replica by Jenna Black

January 26, 2015 4 stars, Book Review 9 ★★★★

Review: Replica by Jenna BlackReplica by Jenna Black
Series: Replica Trilogy #1
Published by Tor Teen on July 16, 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Science fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.

Breathtaking new YA SF from the author of the Faeriewalker series

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.

Would your clone be the same person you are?

Replica touches on that question and on the possibility of this kind of technology being available in the future. To a very select few of course and those people being the rich and privileged. Definitely an engaging read with interesting characters, a strong plot and left me wanting to continue.

More of a dystopian thriller and very light on the science fiction

I seriously anticipated Replica being a science fiction focused novel but as it turned out it read more like a dystopian thriller. Other then one of the main characters Nate being murdered and brought back as a replica (clone) that is the only science fiction aspect that comes into play during the novel except one more major plot point that surfaces at the end of the novel. I do expect that point at the end to be a big part of the next two novels in the trilogy which will push it firmly over into science fiction for me personally so I’m really looking forward to that. Even tho it was science fiction lite it was still a very enjoyable read regardless of the expectations I went into it with. This could possibly be a New York of the future with a huge split in class structure between the have and have nots, or it could just be an alternate New York if things in the government and with companies had gone a different way. For the most part everything technology wise still felt very much like today but it was a dystopian society.

On the more mature end of young adult

For those of you that enjoy the typical young adult novel this is not exactly it. I think Replica has more adult crossover appeal because the characters didn’t feel like the average teens I’ve seen in many YA books and the plot also wasn’t centrally focused on romance but instead on murder, mystery, friendship and responsibility to one’s family and friends. After finishing reading this one I did read the book descriptions for the next two novels in the trilogy and it sounds like romance will likely come into the picture in the next book, which is definitely hinted at in the first one. But I think based on what I’ve read I think it will be melded into the plot well without getting in the way of the main storyline. At least that’s my hope! We get to see some of the behind the scenes of the high and mighty and also the basement underworld society and hey even a bit of their clubbing life. The book is told from the alternating perspectives of the two main characters and the transitions there are done really nicely to make for smooth and really quick reading (finished in a day).

The main characters:

NATE – son and heir to the Chairman of Paxco which runs the state (almost like a crazy dictatorship wrapped in the guise of a ruling company…But yeah ultimately what the Chairman says is law – IS law.) Nate is heir to the business but he’s a supposed playboy, has no real interest in his duties as heir or learning the business. He is 18, rather wild, is known for doing outrageous things and is also fiance to Nadia. Murdered in the opening pages of the book and brought back as a replica he is determined to find out who murdered him because the person he loves, Kurt, is being accused of his murder and is on the run. It was a nice twist that this main character is gay (which isn’t a spoiler because you literally find this out within the first chapter or two). His personality definitely left something to be desired as far as the rash young man who’s selfish and always used to getting what he wants, but I ended up liking him anyway because I think that was the whole point that you see him go from selfish to realizing that most of that is a front. The growth he undergoes is worth giving him a chance.

NADIA – 16 year old youngest daughter of an Executive and fiance to Nate. While they may not be in love they are definitely best friends. She is also one of the last people to see Nate alive the night he is murdered. This makes her an easy target for blackmail by the Chief Executive Security Officer who coerces her into betraying Nate (spying on him) while he searches for his boyfriend Kurt who is being framed for his murder. She starts out as the good girl that is always worried about what everyone thinks to maintain her social appearances but as the book progresses she starts to stand up more for herself and take chances. I really liked how well developed her character was.

The chips are falling in your favor buddy

I was hesitant at first when I realized I wasn’t getting exactly what I thought I was in for but then turned out I was pleasantly surprised. I am definitely a reader that appreciates when a young adult novel breaks away from the pack and doesn’t give me the same old formulaic story. So keep that in mind because I think Replica is well worth giving a try.


See a Guest Post from Jenna Black 

What if you could store backups of human beings just like storing backups of data?

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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9 Responses to “Review: Replica by Jenna Black”

  1. Richelle Nicole

    Ooooh, this sounds interesting! I find the idea of cloning intriguing and the whole memory backup bit even more so. Very intersting indeed! I’ll have to add this to my read list, dang that list is getting long! Suppose I should do something about that
    Richelle Nicole recently posted…Just cause I love making clown girls!My Profile

  2. Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    The fact that the SciFi aspects of this story were somewhat subdued makes me more inclined to read it, and that it was more of an adult crossover than straight up YA. It’s weird that I’m attracted by everything that this book isn’t instead of what it actually is, but there you have it. I’m left-handed, so I’ve always been a little backwards.
    Carmel @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Early Review: Craved by an Alpha by Felicity HeatonMy Profile

  3. Danya @ Fine Print

    Hmmm, this sounds like it has serious potential! Admittedly I’m not that interested in starting any new dystopian series (gotta finish the few I have on the go and then move on!), but Replica sounds atypical enough to be really good. I usually love that whole character arc of a selfish and self-indulgent person realizing that the world doesn’t revolve around them, so Nate definitely sounds like a good bet. Plus you know I love my YA with a hit of sexual diversity!
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  4. Li

    I read Jenna Black way back when she had an adult UF, but lost track of her writing when she moved to YA (I think?). This one sounds intriguing though, will have to look up especially as you say there’s more adult crossover potential.
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