*I received a free ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
I went into this book expecting it to be all action and robots but was pleasantly surprised to find it was actually all emotion and people. Yes, there was some action and robots, but that really wasn’t the focus.
I was also pleasantly surprised at the way the author didn’t gloss over the clone thing. Because of that, this book ended up being a really thought-provoking look at the emotional and psychological ramifications of being a clone (in Rhona’s case), loving someone who was cloned (in Camus’s case), and even creating a clone (in Samuel’s case).
See, I have my own beliefs on what makes a person who they are, and I don’t believe a clone would be the same person as the original. So, for that reason, I understood Camus’s side of things. He loved Rhona before she died, but he didn’t love this clone because, to him, she wasn’t Rhona. And having to see the face of this person he loved and having to pretend for the unknowing masses that she was the original Rhona while he was still grieving had to have been terrible for him. But I also understood Rhona’s side of things. She had most of the memories and feelings that the original Rhona had, so she did still know and love Camus the way the original did. And being treated like she was a stranger by Camus had to have been terrible for her. And because I understood both characters, I felt for both characters and felt really conflicted. Neither one of them had it easy in that scenario, and seeing the two of them cope with all that and try to figure out their new relationship was my favorite thing about the book.
Then there was the whole issue with Rhona just trying to deal with her situation. She knew she wasn’t the original, and she was missing a bunch of the memories because the process didn’t quite work right, so she herself felt confused and not quite whole and like she was trying to live up to her predecessor.
Samuel’s feelings about having created a clone weren’t ever really explored, but it was clear that it did have some sort of emotional effect on him too. He was so opposite Camus in the way he immediately accepted Rhona as being the same person, he was an amazing friend to Rhona, and he’s actually the character I’m most interested in knowing more about.
As for the plot, there was still some action. There were some fights against robots, military-like missions, explosions, etc. And the author did a good job of keeping it personal, even amidst the action.
I had a few issues though. For one thing, the book was more sci-fi than I’m used to, what with all the technology, machines, military stuff, etc. I also felt like I was thrown into the deep end when it first started; I didn’t know what was going on or understand anything about the world. To be honest, I still feel a little confused about the world and how exactly Rhona became the commander of her group. It was explained at least somewhat, but I think it may have went over my head.
I also didn’t really connect with the characters. I liked them, I felt for them with all the clone stuff I mentioned, I was sad when anyone died, etc., but they were a little too heroic and not quite flawed enough for my taste. That doesn’t mean other people won’t connect with them though; I think anyone who likes military characters will like them more.
So overall, I loved how character-focused and thought-provoking this book was, and while it might’ve been a little more sci-fi than what I normally go for, it was a well-written book, and I’m really glad I read it!
Readers who like a lot of sci-fi but who also like emotion and character-focused books. Anyone who likes thought-provoking books.