Beta by Rachel Cohn

BetaAnnex, 1Rachel CohnYA SciFi RomanceHyperionOctober 16, 2012Hardcover331

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 undercurrent of discontent among Demesne’s worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care-so why are overpowering sensations clouding 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 happiness 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 corrupted world. Praise for Beta “A terrific premise that is equally well executed…Readers can only hope [the sequel] will be as thrilling as this series kickoff.”–Los Angles Times

I will admit, I read this book because of the pretty cover, but boy am I glad for it’s pretty pink cover. The story inside was as interesting as Elysia’s inner struggle to remain emotionless to survive when her First’s memories start surfacing.

Once I started reading, I could not put it down. You can just ask my mom. I read most of it while sitting on our kitchen floor so I could socialize and read simultaneously (a habit my mom tried and failed to put an end to). The world was interesting, the secondary characters were well-done (even if I really didn’t like some of them as people).

But for all the interesting and adrenaline-inducing action in the story, some parts did drag in my opinion, and some plot points did make me roll my eyes at points. The romance, while nice, did feel like it was thrown in to ride the YA dystopian romance wave at times. Luckily, the main plot was interesting enough that nothing was going to stop me from reaching the end.

All in all, an interesting story that I can whole-heartedly recommend, but it won’t be displacing any of my favorite books anytime soon.

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