Beta by Rachel Cohn
Release Date: October 16th, 2012
Number of Pages: 304
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: ARC from BEA
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.
Wow! Way to throw you a hell of a twist at the end, Rachel Cohn. I’m impressed. What was supposed to simply be a book to keep me entertaining while I was waiting for my dad ended up being a book I simply couldn’t put down. I liked the story, I like the critique that can be seen in the story, and I liked the idea behind the book. To me, it felt more than just a pretty story. There’s a message in there, for those who want to find it (or I’m just reading way too much in this book…)
I found Elysia really interesting. There are a great variety of characters, and I think they help understand the world the story is set in. The other clones share what really goes on with them, the importance of their enslavement in a way. That’s what the clones are for after all. The family she is brought in help us understand how differently a clone can be treated. Some treat her as a normal person; other just treat her as a toy for them to do as they please. When it comes down to Tahir’s relationship with Elysia, it was both interesting and strange. Without giving too much away, I was left with a couple of questions regarding Tahir’s real motives. And of course I can’t forget about Alex, who we can’t be completely sure if he wants Elysia or Astrid’s image.
As much as I liked the book, I have to say that there are a few things that made me really unsure. One comes from the finale twits, which kind of goes against what we were told earlier. Other than that, the book just was a great read. It was easy to follow, interesting, and simply addicting. There’s just so many things that got me hooked; the story, the characters, the world, and all the element of critique that can be seen. It is crazy scary to imagine that we could maybe arrive to that world one day, where we clone people for our own pleasure.