25 April 2012
Series: No, standalone
Release date: December 2011
Genre: YA Scifi
Read via NetGalley
Abby Goyer’s dad has dragged her to the wilds of Alaska where there is nothing but snow. Except a very well hidden and mysterious farm, where young boys are brought up to serve their higher purpose. When Abby follows her dad to his secretive job on the farm, Abby learns that something sinister lurks beneath the surface. But for Martyr, a resident of Jason farms, all he wants to do is see the sky once before he expires. Will he understand his own true purpose before he expires?
Replication was a bit of a mixed bag for me. At first I loved it. I loved the concept of there being identical young boys programmed to serve a mysterious higher purpose, and I thought they might either be clones or some sort of robot. The hints and suspicions of what might be going on was really intriguing and drew me straight in.
But I did really want the story to go even further, so that it was part of a much bigger world that was different to ours. So when I discovered that this farm existed within our normal reality and society I was a little disappointed. As the story progressed I liked the fact that it was taking on a big dilemmas of ethics versus medicine, religion versus science. But I didn’t appreciate how much religion was built into the story, with Abby suggesting characters should pray for things to work out.
Martyr however was absolutely adorable. Whilst his isolation and lack of knowledge about the world was terribly sad, it made him such an endearing character. His innocence and confusion over seemingly simple things as colours, love and marriage was sweet, especially thinking he must love Abby. The fact that he wanted to protect those less able, making him the ‘martyr’ of the group also made him stand out from the other characters and Jasons, and made him likeable and a very winning hero. The idea that someone good and kind can grow in such a barren environment was also an underlying hope set against the evil displayed by some of the doctors.
Abby was also a mixed character for me. I loved her quirky use of pros and cons to assess situations, as it made her interesting and real. However this soon died out only to reappear rather suddenly at the end, as if it had been remembered and added in as an afterthought. She was brave and I respected that she liked Martyr but didn't like JD, but the overly religious aspect to her character was a little too much for me.
Replication addresses huge dilemmas about whether it is ethical to complete medical research in the name of science. Do the means justify the end? Where do you draw the line at what is ethical? Obviously in this case the way Jasons lived was akin to abuse and murder, but there were small glimmers of hope. There was also a big undercurrent about religion, which didn’t necessarily sit well with me, but it was interesting to have the religious, moral and scientific aspects looked at. Replication will make you question morals, ethics, and the value of life.