Saturday, January 18, 2014

Review: Beta by Rachel Cohn

So I finally got around to reading this ARC that I got at BEA 2012.  And now, I'm really hoping that when I go to BEA this summer, maybe I'll get the sequel?  Because this book totally left on a major cliffhanger!!

This is a story about a futuristic Earth.  The whole world has been changed due to what they call the "Water Wars".  My guess is that they ran out of water?  Not sure, I would like some more information about that.  But then that's always me in these kind of stories.  Our main character is a clone.  She is named Elysia, and is told that she is a "Beta" as they are trying to clone teenagers.  Up until this point it has only been supposedly older clones, and they have pretty much almost all been servants.  Either made to do the kind of work that is looked down upon, working in stores, construction, gardening, maids, etc.  Some even are more of "consorts" or even almost prostitutes.  Elysia, our main character, the clone, has just "emerged," and is working at a store, when a wealthy woman who is shopping there decides she wants to buy her.  The woman gets her way, and takes her home as a companion.  She tells Elysia to call her mother.  She is to replace her daughter who has gone away to college.  Now Elysia pretty much does what she is supposed to, learns what her new family wants from her, and does that.  Her new "father" is the governor, but that is what he wants her to call him, and he is not that happy that his wife brought her home.  But the younger brother is glad to have her to help him train for going to the military.  And the younger girl Liesl is very happy to have a new big sister.

Now Elysia is having some things happen that aren't supposed to be happening to clones, she seems to have memories from her "first" the person she was cloned from.  Not only that, but she enjoys the taste of food, something that clones are not supposed to do, enjoy things.  She soon learns that these things would make people think she is a defect, and she could be sent back to the lab where she came from and tortured or destroyed.  And she soon develops a bit of a crush on one of her brother Isaiah's friends.  And he seems to be interested in her as well.

I won't go into a lot more of the story.  Just know that of course there are other things going on in the world.  People who feel this is slavery and unfair to the clones and want to fight for their rights.  Astrid, the daughter that Elysia is kind of replacing, was one of them.  There is talk of an Insurrection, the clones fighting back.  Elysia comes upon two clones having sex, something that they shouldn't want to do or enjoy on their own.  She also wonders if she will find this "golden god" from her First's memories, and she does.

As I said, a MAJOR cliffhanger at the end.  After a really big event happens.  To me it was worth some of the issues I had with parts of the story.  So it was a quick, easy read, and now I'm waiting for the next in the series!  As I said, I'm hoping to get a copy of it at BEA this summer!

And here I am with the author two years ago at BEA!!