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Replica Kindle Edition
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Now I absolutely love all the other books Jenna Black has written, but this book felt like someone else wrote it. I didn't come to care about any of the characters. There was really nothing likable at all about any of them. The story itself was different but again it just did not grab my attention.
Black uses third person limited narration, switching between Nate and Nadia. Nate is the Chairman Heir, destined to inherit Paxco, the insanely powerful corporation based in New York City that runs pretty much everything. Nadia has been betrothed to Nate since they were both children, and she's always loved him, despite his increasingly drastic antics.
With his latest stunt, though, Nadia has had just about enough. That Nate is gay and the romantic part of their relationship will only ever be for show Nadia has made her peace with. She still loves Nate and she does not begrudge him other lovers, even though she wouldn't mind if his heart had turned to her. Though she supports him, she still does not want to be an accomplice to his sneaking out of a party to have sex with his boyfriend and valet, Kurt Bishop. She storms off, and the next thing she hears Nate has died. And been replicated.
There are two solid points in Replica's favor for me. First, the inclusion of an LGBT main character. While it's sad that this society still hasn't evolved to be a hundred percent okay with homosexuality, the attitude still seems more open than now and I certainly feel like Jenna Black is promoting that romance. Plus, it spoke volumes to me that the only romance of any sort in Replica is that between Kurt and Nate. Though there's an obvious impending relationship for Nadia, she has no romantic arc in this one.
Second, rather than focusing on romance, friendship is to the fore. Nadia and Nate do not have the perfect friendship, but they are there for each other when it counts. Nadia disapproves of a lot of Nate's choices and Nate's a bit too self-involved, but their affection for each other is evident in spite of all of that. There's a dearth of real friendships in YA, and even less with a male/female friendship, so that was nice to see.
Some of the minor plot elements did surprise me, but, for the most part, the plot covered pretty familiar territory. Corrupt corporation managed by untrustworthy parents. Human regeneration. Questions of whether a replica is actually human, and what that means about human nature. A plot to overthrow the evil corporation. I've been through all of that before, and it even comes with the villainous monologue because of assured victory. And, much as I appreciated the out of the box main characters, characterization was still tepid all around. Much of this is decently well done, like the replication element, but it's been done so often and didn't do anything to stand out from the crowd.
Replica entertains well enough and includes LGBT themes, putting a unique spin on otherwise familiar territory. Also, romance doesn't dominate the story, though the book still does read a bit like a CW show, with spoiled rich kids rebelling against their parents and going to party with hot poor people in the process. That doesn't sound like I enjoyed Replica, I suppose, but I did for the most part. Still, I'm not sure that I'll read the sequel, just because I feel like this one wrapped up well enough for me to be satisfied with ending there.