ARC Review~ Beta by Rachel Cohn
I fell absolutely in love with this book I won this ARC pretty recently and went into it knowing nothing just that it received good reviews! If you have followed my blog for awhile you can see this is my longest review and I am going to try and write reviews that are more to this length!
Book Description ~ Via Goodreads
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.
Rachel Cohn has created a marvelous world, in her latest novel Beta. I would definitely classify this as a dystopian but I think it is very different than other ones out now and is a refreshing change that will keep you on the edge of your chair flipping pages to find out what happens next. The hook to this novel is that it is set on this billionaire paradise island where human clones are used as slaves. The story is told through the perspective of one of the few Beta clones, an experimental type that are created when the First who died is cloned as a teenager, named Elysia.
She is then bought by the Governor Mr. Bratton 's Wife and is to be a companion to the family! Basically she is to be their children's plaything, and to replace their oldest daughter Astrid who left Demesne to go to University on the Mainland. Astrid was very much against the family and wanted to get as far away as possible. Elysia spends a lot of time with Ivan the Brattons oldest son who introduces her to his friends and a drug called raxia. Raxia is used to obtain pure happiness. Later on in the story Elysia learns about a rebellion on the rise in clones called Defects who call themselves insurrection. We as readers begin to realize that Elysia too is also a Defect.
She unlike other clones remembers the memories of the human who was her first. She feels drawn to the boy in the visions. Elysia also is a fantastic swimmer and diver but she never learned how in her clone life. The Elysia meets Tahir, Ivan's friends Farzad's cousin. Tahir also dated Astrid. Tahir ends up being a a clone because he died in a surfing accident. Elysia then falls in love with Tahir. He also reveals that the major problems with Betas is the Awfuls. So they don't transition to adulthood they go unstable and have to be killed. At the Governor's Ball Elysia meets the man in the visions who was the Aquine named Alexander and finds out her first's name was Zhara. Then Tahir begins experiencing the Awfuls and his family takes him away from Demesne.
I was not expecting Ivan to force himself on Elysia and even her realizing that he raped his sisters as well. I was most definitely surprised when she killed I van and ran away finding herself washed ashore on an island of Defects. Where she finds Alexander who is actually the military leader of the Defects and saved Elysia and brought her to the island because she swam to a raft and he found her in the search for her. I really liked that Alex didn't want to stop cloning but he just wanted to stop the way the people on Demesne use clones as slaves. Being around Alex makes Elysia want to be less and less like Zhara, which I found odd since she wanted to so much toward the beginning of the novel. I was happy in a way to learn of the imprint among Aquine and Alex had previously imprinted on Zhara before she died and there because Elysia in a way is her it still carries over because they mate for life!
I was unbelievably shocked by the fact that Elysia was pregnant with Ivan's child after she was raped. No clone had ever become pregnant before her but perhaps this is because she is a Beta and has more hormones. But she never had a period which doesn't make sense? I felt really bad when she begged MX the healer to get rid of, abort, the baby. And she said no to her. But the heartwarming part was knowing that Alex wanted to raise the baby as his own with her. It was sad to read Elysia experiencing the memories of how Zhara died in the ocean. Not because she couldn't swim obviously it was because she was addicted to raxia. Which is so ironic since Elysia was really awakened to human desires from raxia and Zhara died from raxia.
The most shocking part if the entire book were the last two -three pages or so. Elysia finally gives into the embedded feelings from Zhara for Alex and kisses him. She finally accepts this new path that her life will follow. She wants to be apart of the rebellion and wants to be happy with Alex. But unfortunately Rachel Cohn would not give us a happy and nice ending like this. It is going to be a series so at least this cliff hanger will have a resolution in the next one. But we find out that Zhara was never really dead and shows up on the island which is how the book ends. So basically everything we were told quite possibly may not be true haha. I was just blown away by how much I am in love with this book. I hope that a sequel comes really soon!
I highly recommend this book! You guys definitely need to check it out!