by Jenna Black
Cover Artist: paul Youll
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Tor Teen Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765333735
Date: 11 November 2014 List Price $10.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Out of the fire, and into the Basement. Nadia Lake and Nathan Hayes were once engaged, but now they are on the run. They are fleeing the creation that is pretending to be Nate's sister, Dorothy Hayes, and the setup she created that implicates Nate and Nadia in the murder of Paxco's chair.
In the past, Nate and Nadia have been able to use their position and money to smooth the way. Now all of that is gone. They must depend on the skills of Dante and Kurt to help them survive. But the chance to strike back seems slim, especially once Paxco starts to tighten the noose around the Basement--taking the opportunity to clear up an expensive problem.
Their ace in the hole is Agnes Belinski, the daughter of another corporate state's chairman. Her state is known for its military tech and forces. If they can get word out, they may still be able to turn the tables on Dorothy. But Dorothy has the world convinced that Nate and Nadia have kidnapped Agnes.
The story move along in an alternating series of fast action and hurry up and wait. There are several long periods where the group spends a lot of time waiting for others to take actions. When they take matters in their own hands, things pick up.
The Replica series explores the ideas related to cloning and humanity. Is a clone, even with someone's thoughts and memories, a person? It is conceivably something that we may face in the coming years. It can also relate to questions relating to genetic manipulation. People want to have their offspring to have advantages. It isn't hard to imagine a parent tailoring the genes of their child to improve health, intelligence, and athleticism. It would also not be a surprise seeing some questioning the humanity of those genetically modified.
This is the third volume in this YA series. As such, new readers would be best served by starting at the beginning of the series with Replica. There is a lot of action and back story that just can't be appreciated without reading the earlier volumes. The growth of Nate and Nadia is one of the key elements of the story. There are reasons for their actions and choices, which in isolation would not make sense.
The ending of the story pleased me. I liked how Black didn't take the easy Hollywood ending and instead brought a grittier grey ending. This is a better reflection of life as it really occurs. These are the types of stories that help prepare future expectations. This is along the lines of all of the preteen books that introduce death to their readers, it is why Old Yeller died. There was still some wish fulfillment, but a reminder of being careful of what one wishes.