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Beta by Rachel Cohn

by Rachel Cohn

Beta (Annex, #1)

By: Rachel Cohn

Release Date: October 16, 2012

Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary: 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.

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 cor-rupted world.


Review: Gotta love a sci-fi dystopian book with a cliffhanger.

This book wasn’t what I was expecting – your typical “I’m a clone, and I’m not allowed to feel” type of book. Yes, that was what this book was about, but I hadn’t realized that Elysia was purchased to serve as a member of a privileged family and a companion to her siblings and their friends.

I will say it took a while for me to get into the Book. Cohn uses a lot of description – which I have yet to decide if it is a good or a bad thing because it gives readers a very vivid idea of the setting and what people look like but it also bogs down the story a bit. And Cohn built a world with so many colorful characters, but they don’t play a huge significance to the actual story – particularly the other teens like Greer’s attitude, Farzad’s anger or even Dementia’s wildness – but even Mother’s foolish friends or the “in” people. Like I said, the description is there, but I felt it was a bit of a waste with no where to go.

I struggled a bit at first. The mood was just a big stoic – which I can understand because readers are introduced to a new Beta who is not supposed to be a Defect. But at the same time, I hard a hard time keeping an interest in the story, and it took me several attempts to continue reading.

But about halfway through, we stop having to experience Elysia learning about her new world, the current slangs and their meaning and what customs are considered appropriate not only for humans but for her as a clone.

This book was full of surprises and caught me off guard in more ways than one – Elysia’s first Z, the mysterious water god, the Aquine, developments with Tariq, her brother Ivan and the cliffhanger at the end. The second half definitely made up for the lack of action in the first half – which is my reasoning for bumping up the 3.5 to 4 stars.

Go to Katy’s review on Goodreads.

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