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.
Right from the first page, I was hooked. I’m not usually up for rich girl characters but Nadia got to me immediately. A filial daughter who’ll do everything for her family even though she’s pushed over in the way. You might think that that’s an irritating trait and I usually think so as well but Jenna Black was able to make me see through her character. Even though she seems like a doormat, you can immediately tell that Nadia is smart and courageous. The author was able to introduce to us the characters just with the right plots and insightful dialogue.
Even with just the first chapter, the world with which REPLICA is set has been successfully built and described by the author. That’s another reason why this novel reeled me in. The United States of America, now called Corporate States, is owned by several company owners who bought out the different states. Then, there’s also the class hierarchy present, which divides the citizens into three classes: Executives, Employees and Basement-dwellers. Paxco, which was once New York, is owned by Chairman Hayes, Nate’s father. Because of their Replica technology, which allows humans to be replicated in case of death, Paxco is raking in the money. To me, the world I gleaned on at the first chapter instantly grabbed me in.
And then we get a shocker as the first chapter reveals that Nate is gay. HOLYMOLY THAT ROCKED ME. No questions asked, this novel was either going to be a 4-star or a 5-star read for me. A dystopian tackling homosexuality? Not only tackle but make one of the main characters a homosexual? Damn, sweet. I am in all the way.
Nate ends up murdered and so we get a mystery. My mystery-loving ears definitely clapped with joy with this. Oh yes, mystery in YA, extra gravy please? After his murder, his replica immediately took over him. Now, this replica is missing two weeks of memories and therefore doesn’t know who killed him. At first, replica!Nate feels exactly like the real Nate but he can’t help but feel and think that he’s fake. Still, he pushes this thought away at first until the entirety of the book but I’m sure the differences of the real human and the replica will be delved on in the next books.
Moreover, unlike most novels where the protagonists are in love with each other or will be in due time, REPLICA shoves all the cliches away and makes us see that it can be the other way. Nate is in love with another person and only sees Nadia as a friend. It’s actually Nate who has a romance arc in this novel. Sure, Nadia had the trappings of a soon-to-be romance but as far as REPLICA is concerned, there’s no romance for Nadia in here.
The character development was HUZZAHMAZING. From a pushover, Nadia ends up standing against just about everyone and risking her once very sheltered and safe life to protect Nate and the one Nate loves. She ends up being such a brave person and I applaud her for it. Nate’s change from being a big asshole by realizing everything he’d done wrong and changing his ways gradually was also commendable. I know some people are irritated with Nate as he’s an arrogant, pompous and privileged dick but I never got my hackles up over him because I get where’s he’s coming from and it’s just a defense mechanism. It’s his version of a wall, to be a rebel. And of course, I can’t wait to read more and get to know Nadia’s love interest, Dante. To say I look like I was trying to force a dimple to show in my cheek from smiling even when I’ve never had a dimple all my life is an understatement. He’s sweet and nice and I JUST NEED MORE OF DANTE AND NADIA.
Lastly, awesome writing! The novel was written in the third person POV and mostly alternates with Nadia and Nate’s perspective. At first, I had doubts with the narration style because I’m used to first-person POVs especially when we have dual perspectives. But fear not as Jenna Black used this narrative style to ultimately propel the story forward and even though we only have a limited insight to the thoughts of the characters, the style of writing never felt like a hindrance. Moreover, Jenna Black’s way with words is definitely interesting and intriguing. With the perspective she used, the story was written in a passive way. Some readers found it boring and draggy at times but I didn’t quite find the book in any way boring. Sure, as I said, it was written passively but for me, it didn’t fail to bring out the adrenaline rush I long for when reading dystopian and sci-fi novels. However, for those who want a novel that is heavy on the sci-fi, REPLICA definitely isn’t that. The technology of creating replicas aren’t explained much and so, for those who are a bit iffy with sci-fi, don’t fear as REPLICA is light on the science.
Think you’ve read everything the dystopian genre can offer? Read REPLICA and think again. REPLICA pushes the boundaries of its genre and dwells in unconventionality. I cannot wait for RESISTANCE!