Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: Beta by Rachel Cohn

Beta (Annex, #1)
Beta by Rachel Cohn
Elysia is created in a laboratory, born as a sixteen-year-old girl, an empty vessel with no life experience to draw from. She is a Beta, an experimental model of a teenage clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to exist.
Elysia's purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air induces a strange, euphoric high, which only the island's workers--soulless clones like Elysia--are immune to.
At first, Elysia's life is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne's human residents, who should want for nothing, yearn. But for what, exactly? She also comes to realize that beneath the island's flawless exterior, there is an under-current of discontent among Demesne's worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care--so why are overpowering sensations cloud-ing Elysia's mind?
If anyone discovers that Elysia isn't the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When her one chance at happi-ness is ripped away with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she's always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive.
The first in a dazzlingly original science fiction series from best-selling author Rachel Cohn, "Beta "is a haunting, unforgettable story of courage and love in a cor-rupted world.
Publishes in US:  Oct 16th 2012
1st in Annex series, the 2nd is untitled and set to release in 2013
Source: disney hyperion for review

Blkosiner's Book Blog review
    Beta has such an awesome concept. I was drawn into Elysia's world and mind, wondering what would happen next, what she would feel that she wasn't supposed to and how her world would change.
    I could connect with Elysia because she has the bursts of human emotion, taste, and memories, and her thought patterns really don't seem like they are automated or anything. I know that she refers to the chip alot and trying to process slang or terms that are unfamiliar, but I think that adds to the charm. It was a new experience though being inside the head of a clone, because you can go along and forget until the expectations that are on her sneak up on you and throw a wrench into things. She isn't supposed to feel, to taste, or to remember things that she does, because she is a clone, and her "first" the teen that died, the soul "removed" and then programmed with computer chips to act in response to emotions, but be immune to the happy and relaxing effect the island has.
    Rachel Cohn writes with such vivid imagery it feels like I was there, looking at the constructed paradise with a purple hue. I wish that I could breathe in some of that oxygen to see what it means to be on such an island, but then as I see the turmoil under the surface I wonder, would it be worth it even just for a visit.
   The story is definitely layered, with Elysia's story, the dynamics between the Governer and "Mother" as well as Liesel and Ivan the brother and sister she's adopted to. And then I didn't know what to think when Tahir came on the scene, but I loved every minute of it. From
    I was constantly on the edge of my seat wondering what twist would come next, and which character would surprise me in ways I never saw coming.
    This is a fast paced, yet dark and chilling story about what it means to be human, the constraints of that humanity and what can happen when the world goes into chaos. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and can't wait to find out what happens next in Elysia's story.
    Bottom Line: Beta breathes a breath of fresh air into the dystopia genre with this unique main character that I felt for and want so much more of.

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My question to you, my lovely readers:
Would you live on a paradise island if you could?

36 comments:

  1. I have been dying to read this from the minute I saw the cover. So glad that you liked it and now after reading your review... I need to get this book! :)

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  2. This book sounds really great and original, glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for the review!

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  3. To me, anywhere can be a paradise if I can appreciate everything, everyone and every situation. I guess I wouldn't enjoy any bit on a paradise island if I didn't honor the feeling of appreciation.

    This definitely seems to be an intriguing-read. I'm fascinated by the idea that a clone can actually feel. Awesome review, Brandi!

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    1. Yeah, I totally wondered how it worked, and the last page made me even more!

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  4. I have this one on my stack and I'm excited to read it. There seem to be a lot of clone books out in YA this season! Glad you liked this :)

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    1. Hmm... I guess there are. I have spaced them out so its good for me.

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  5. Sounds like a very cool book. The premise of the paradise island reminds me a little bit of the movie The Island-- it has clones also, who live in a "perfect", segregated society which turns out to be far less than perfect. Glad you enjoyed the book. :)

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  6. I so want to read this 'breath of fresh air.' I love the concept. I like that you said you can relate to the main character. That is important to me.

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  7. Great review! It's good to hear that this is a good read as I've been keen to read more sci-fi lately!

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  8. Wow...this sounds really great! :) I've seen this book around but this is the first review I've read! I cannot wait t read it now, as I love dystopia. Great review! :)

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  9. The world building was really amazing! But the book did get really dark and disturbing. It was a main plot point to explore humanity and slavery. The clones were so mistreated. I am curious to see where it goes next after that cliffhanger.

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  10. I've won this book but I wasn't looking forward to reading it because of the various negative reviews I've read but I'm definitely going to give this book a shot now!

    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

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  11. I love books with incredible world building so this is right up my alley and such a strange story and it is dark? Well I had better just read it for myself. Hmm would live on a paradise island...on,y if there were no catches!

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  12. Awesome review! You now have me dying to get my hands on this one! The dystopian genre is been getting so huge and it sometimes feels like it is just recycled stories with different names and places, but I am excited to read something that makes excited about this genre again. Thanks so much for your thoughts!

    Kristin @ Young Adult Book Haven

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    1. Yeah, I agree genres can do that... See vamps and werewolves, but some great authors manage to throw an awesome spin

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  13. This book looks great! I just won a copy on another blog so I can't wait to read it.

    Thanks for the review :)

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

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  14. I just finished this one! I'm dying for the next book.

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  15. I'm glad to hear this one was good for you! Your descriptions made me think of Origin though and I didn't love that one. But hopefully this one would be better for me. I'm going to have to watch for more reviews of this one.

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    1. Aw, sad to hear you didn't like Origin, I've been looking forward to it.

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  16. I treally liked your thoughts in your review. It makes me want to pick this one up. Interesting sounding book:)

    Mich

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  17. Beta does sound like a cool story. I'd originally pegged it as something that wouldn't work out for me, but I'm rethinking that now. Great review!

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  18. So glad you enjoyed this! I've been wanting to get BETA since I saw it on GR months ago. I agree that BETA has a really cool concept, so I'm glad that Rachel Conn managed not to disappoint!

    Awesome review, Brandi, I really need to get my hands on this when it's out! :)

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  19. I've really been drawn to this book recently, and this is the first review I have read for it. I'm so glad you liked it, Brandi! I can't wait to read it myself. :)

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  20. Well, this is the first review I've read of this because I've been very on the edge about whether I wanted to read it or not.
    So thanks for sharing because a fast paced novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat and has a touch of darkness makes me want to read it! :)

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  21. I'm so glad you enjoyed this...I do love Rachel Cohn, but I haven't read this one. It will be interesting to see how she does with such a different genre. I would never want to live on such an island, because I don't believe anything is perfect or can stay that way for long.

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  22. I don't typically read this toy of book but your review made it interesting. I would more likely want to read it because of this. Thanks.

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  23. I want to read this one and I'm happy that you liked it! Sure I would love to live on a paradise island...if it were truly a paradise of course. Sigh...I want to go back on vacation!

    - Jessica @ Book Sake

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