Beta by Rachel Cohn

Posted 5 July, 2012 by Nikki Wang in 2012, ARC, Book Review, Series Start / 1 Comment

Beta by Rachel CohnBeta by Rachel Cohn
Series: Annex #1
Published by Disney Hyperion on October 10, 2012
Genres: Dystopian, Love & Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 336

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.
One line review: Beta was an enjoyable read, but I didn’t LOVE it as much as I hoped I would. (P.S. sorry if I’m redundant. I’ve been tired lately for no reason…also. I have a book hangover. Read Pushing the Limits, loved it, so all books seem a bit dim to me right now.)
There was a lot of description in her writing and I’m not quite sure…is that good or bad? I mean, Elysia is a clone so she would think of things in descriptive ways, but it just got on my nerves sometimes. But otherwise Beta was written beautifully! What I liked was that a lot of things were well thought out. Like how one side of the face got the purple fleur-de-lis tattoo to announce that they were clones and the other got a different tattoo, telling what their specific job was. And how the process of creating a clone was where a dead body had to go through the process in 48 hours etc.  It just seemed like the world was real the way there were no small holes in the logic! Wait. Did that make sense?
The thing I didn’t really enjoy were the characters. One moment, Elysia seemed like the (supposedly) unemotional clone she should’ve been then an actual human. Sure, half the book she was supposed feel, but even in the beginning, she just switched back and forth and it just annoyed me. (And near the end when she accepts Alexander…she’s been fighting to be her own person..but suddenly she accepts him because he’s an excellent solution? And because “she” isn’t there so it’s Elysia’s for the taking? What?) And Tahir…well he was OK, but it wasn’t really explained why he acted like himself after he met Elysia…
As for the romance…it just seemed a bit sudden, and it didn’t feel like actual feelings were there. More like..they were there so they fell in love. That was kind of my feeling for the entire book since their “romance” came to light. Elysia just seemed extremely desperate to love someone and Tahir was there. (Redundance…) But…eh.

2 Stars

Nikki Wang

One Response to “Beta by Rachel Cohn”

  1. Yeah, not quite so sure about reading this one. I have had reservations about it since I first saw the book, but no real reason as to why. I still am not sure what about it turns me off exactly, but now that I have read your review, I at least have some concrete reasons to not run out and buy it. So thank you! One day, if it hits the local library shelves, I may check it out. Until then, I will save my money for some of the AMAZING books hitting the shelves soon!


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