There was quite a lot of hype about this book, and the fact that it was two stories, from two different perspectives, in one novel. I was quite excited to read it.
From the blurb:
From a distance, the Haven Institute, tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida, looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, it is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed.
But when a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape. As they make their way through a new and menacing environment, they meet a stranger named Gemma, who has embarked on a perilous quest of her own. And as Lyra tries to understand Haven’s purpose, she uncovers earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls.
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals her whole life. A sickly child, she has grown into a lonely adolescent whose life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April.
But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two human models, or replicas, 24 and 72—and a completely new set of questions. As Gemma tries to unravel the mysteries of Haven, she learnes terrible truths about herself and her family that will threaten to destroy everything she loves.
Two girls, two stories, one novel.
While the stories of Gemma and Lyra mirror each other, each contains revelations critically important to the other story. Their narratives can be read separately or in alternating chapters.
There isn’t really much I can say about the story, that isn’t said in the description, without spoilers.
Lyra is a clone. She sees the world from very odd perspective, believing herself to be a thing, an object. Lyra doesn’t think she is a person. She has made up names, and stories to tell herself about Haven, to help make sense of her life.
Lyra’s life consists of tests – endless repetitive tests. She doesn’t know what they doctors and nurses are testing for, only that their work is important.
Surrounded by replicas, hospital staff and mysterious suited visitors, Lyra is crushed by loneliness.
Gemma has also lived a secluded life; seriously ill since she was a child, her interaction with the world had been limited. For most of her life she has been home schooled. Her mum has a drinking problem and he dad is never there, always working.
Now in high school, Gemma still finds it hard to connect. She has one friend, April, but the rest of the school think she is a freak.
An incident at Haven catalyses events, bringing Gemma and Lyra together to find out what Haven is really up to, and how Gemma’s father’s work involved.
I really enjoyed the two stories, and the way Lyra & Gemma’s journeys mirrored each other. I read Lyra’s story, because clone in a secret lab was a lot more exciting to me than rich, sick girl.
I read through the two narratives very quickly, it didn’t seem like the book was dragging on too long, but for a 520 page book there wasn’t really much going on.
It feels like the story ended before it really got going, and as a reader you are left with more questions than answers. Im not sure if the plan was to leave the story hanging there, or the editors said – heeey, this is getting a bit hefty now.
This book is mostly exposition; because it tells two stories, it seems like there is twice as much exposition, to the part where a normal book would start moving forward with the plot. And that’s where the book ends.
Also, it would have been helpful if the page number continued through the book… maybe dual numbering? You have to flip the book over and start at the beginning of the second story, once you’ve reached the middle. It is very confusing to keep track of how much you have left to read, and to track your progress on Goodreads. Minor issue, but annoying.
Overall I gave this three stars; it was interesting, but there was very little happening. Hopefully the second part of the duology will be action packed.
Let me know if you have read this book in the comments below.