Thursday, July 26, 2012

Review: Beta by Rachel Cohn

Beta by Rachel Cohn

Release Date: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 304
Genre: YA Clones/Sci Fi
Source: ARC
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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In a world constructed to absolute perfection, imperfection is difficult to understand—and impossible to hide. Elysia is a clone, 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 teenaged clone. She was replicated from another teenage girl, who had to die in order for Elysia to be created. 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 there induces a strange, euphoric high that only the island's workers—soulless clones like Elysia—are immune to. At first, Elysia's new life on this island paradise is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne's human residents, the most privileged people in the world who should want for nothing, yearn. And, she comes to realize that beneath its flawless exterior, there is an undercurrent of discontent amongst Demesne's worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care—so why are overpowering sensations clouding 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 Elysia's one chance at happiness is ripped away from her 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.

Elysia is a new beta, one of the first trial teenage clones. She is sold to the Bratton family to be a replacement for their daughter Astrid who moved away. Elysia is to play with her new "brother and sister" Ivan and Liesel. She must also call the woman who bought her "mother." Clones are made and sold to work on the island. They have different tattoos on their face according to their jobs. They have no feelings so the drugged air does not affect them and they will work hard. Demesne's island has separate rules from the rest of the world but there are people that protest clones and the island.

Elysia enjoys her new life until she begins remembering things from her clones life, and she starts tasting, and feeling. If anyone found out she was a Defect she would be destroyed. Elysia hides her love of chocolate and her feelings. She has memories to access but still has to learn slang and about the world. Owners don't want their clones to feel and rebel. Elysia likes hanging out with Ivan and Liesel and then she meets Ivan's friend Tahir and wants more. She wants to be with him. The Bratton family loan Elysia out to Tahir's family and they have more in common than she thought but she also can't stop thinking about her clone's lover. Elysia's clone, Zhara, had to die in order for Elysia to be created. In this world sometimes people even offer to die for money so clones can be made. Very disturbing.

Tahir was an interesting character but at times kind of boring. I didn't fully understand why Elysia loved him. She was attracted to him but he was cut off and distant from his accident. Elysia was determined to make him feel for her the way she felt for him. It seemed like it was only a physical attraction. I guess she is a clone and doesn't understand love yet but I felt like she shouldn't have to work so hard to make something work. He does have a backstory that allows things to come together between them. I just never felt too connected to his character but I felt bad for his situation. The clone characters were always interesting but just kind of hard to connect with. There was some humor in their naivety and when Elysia was learning slang.

The family that bought Elysia don't seem too evil at first. But as we see the way they treat clones I slowly began to hate them. There were some very disturbing scenes where clones are used for sexual things. I should warn there is also a scene where Elysia is forced as well. The world building of the island was different. It is for only the richest of the rich. The entire island is meant to be so relaxing and luxurious that even the water is drugged and calming. Even with the entire island being a drug the citizens still also take a drug called raxia. That was beyond crazy. The book held my attention but the treatment of the clones was very sad and disturbing. There are some Defect clones that are planning a rebellion but we don't learn too much about it in this book, it mostly revolves around Elysia learning and growing. There is a shocking cliffhanger. 


"But surely this chocolate provides it; I think I love it even more than that stupendous concoction called macaroni and cheese. I want to round up all the chocolate souffles on the dinner table and devour every one."

"Lambs here are created from the poorest people. They voluntarily sacrifice their lives to be turned into clones."
"I can't imagine why they would do that."
"They do it to provide financially for their loved ones after their soul extractions."

"Sarcasm: well mimicked. But no, something even more exciting. I'm trying to make my own 'raxia."
"Why? Is not the kind you illegally obtain satisfactory?"

"Tahir!" Ivan exclaims. Ivan and the lone figure called Tahir do the 'bro fist-and-shoulder-bump thing indigenous to the Whoa! species.

"She gave him her heart and he walked all over it." Dementia pauses while I try to image Tahir placing his foot on Astrid's beating heart.

"Guess what?"
I shrug. These humans and their guessing games are starting to annoy me.

"He is so tall and so-freaking-gorgeous. I totally get why she was obsessed with him. I data check this horrible sensation and discover what it is. Swooning is what I am experiencing for this man I just a moment ago so impulsively slapped.
Appalling.
Unnecessary.
I refuse."

"I am given no choice about where I would like to go, or how I am just told. More and more, I understand why human teenagers become rebellious. It must be so they can take control of their own lives."

Rating: 4/5

21 comments:

  1. This sounds absolutely fascinating! A very futuristic book with clones...omg...meliiike. Yes, the treatment of the defects and clones in general does sound incredibly sad. I think it was very powerful that this book made you feel hatred toward the parents. It's an awful feeling, isn't it :( but I think it shows that this book is capable of manipulating emotions effectively. Awesome review!!! <3333

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    1. I love futuristic books! I knew it would be sad to read about the treatment of the clones but towards the end it gets pretty disturbing but it was really interesting. You will definitely hate the parents. At first I thought they were just rich and felt privileged but they are pretty evil. It had some humor too thought so I enjoyed it.

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  2. I keep going back-and-forth about whether or not to read this. Sometimes it sounds good, then sometimes it sounds meh. But after reading how disturbing it could be.... that has me intrigued. I'm a weirdo, what can I say.

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    1. haha I'm a weirdo too and I like to read disturbing stuff and this one definitely went there for me. More than I expected actually. It was a disturbing idea though. Creating clones to be slaves basically. It was a weird and different story all around so if you like weird you will probably enjoy it.

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  3. Wow, this sounds really unique and fascinating! It does seem like it could a bit confusing and disturbing for me, but I'm still looking forward to reading this. Glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. It gets a bit disturbing towards the end but it was fascinating. Hope you enjoy it!

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  4. I'm glad you enjoyed this book! I remember your teasers. Sounded kinda funny. :) Thanks for the review!

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    1. There was quite a few funny quotes but then it got kind of sad at the end. But still enjoyable!

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  5. Haha. Disturbing but interesting. Sounds perfect to me! The quotes are pretty funny too. Need to find time to read this one soon. Great review!

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    1. Yeah there was some humor mixed in so that helped keep it light. It was disturbing at the end but pretty enjoyable up until that point. Really unique and worth reading. Hope you enjoy it!

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  6. I remember I found this book through your WW and I abruptly tempted by the cover and the story, a twisted futuristic world about clones and man-made enviroonment that sounds really fascinating! I'm glad you enjoy this book, then I need to read this too soon =D
    Thanks for sharing! =)

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    1. Yeah it was a weird paradise island lol I'm all for the luxuries but these people took it to beyond! It was interesting and I hope you enjoy it!

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  7. Huh. Beta sounds much better than I originally thought. I'm still not sure that its the book for me, but I'm much more willing to give it a go now. Thanks for the great revise!

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    1. Glad you got a better idea of it. It definitely won't be a book for everyone. It is a bit different.

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  8. Great review. You have me on two minds about this one. While I like the sound of it, I don't know if I would enjoy reading about the mistreatment of the clones. Great review Jennifer.

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    1. Yeah the ending and treatment of the clones was rather upsetting. I enjoy disturbing reads but this one was more than I expected. It was realistic in a way but as a female I hate reading about women being used and abused. It was different and I felt still worth me reading it. I'm really curious about the next one.

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  9. Really want to read this! Sounds very interesting! New follower!

    ~Kendra Malcom
    www.whilebayingatthemoon.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I hope you get a chance to read it soon!

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  10. I had trouble getting into this one, but maybe I'll try it again.
    Great review -- thanks so much for linking up :)

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  11. I'm not a huge sci-fi fan but his one looks kind of interesting.... And it's not that long either. Adding it to my TBR list and hopefully Ill get to read it soon.

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  12. Great review! I read this book a while ago and I remember feeling the same way about Tahir... Beta was good, but I don't think if I will read the second book.
    -Jayne

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