Full Disclosure: I was given a free e-galley on NetGalleys for Beta by Rachel Cohn. All opinions are my own, and the free-ness of this book will not effect the review. Although I do have to say that since I read this before the book was even published, that means I have even longer to wait for the second book, which is not cool.
Elysia is a clone in a dystopian future after the Water Wars. She has been created to serve and was created from a deceased human, but she has no soul, so no feelings, few senses and no human emotions. At least that's how it's supposed to go.
Elysia was created to live on the island Demesne, a perfect island where it's inhabitants have no worries and even breathe perfectly oxygenated air. Demesne is meant to be heaven on earth, but there is trouble brewing.
Since Elysia is a new teen clone, she is purchased to live at the Governor's mansion and be a companion to his wife and his children. She befriends her "brother" Ivan, but wonders about the girl she is replacing, who is now at college and was a friend of the insurrection, a word Elysia does not know. Everything Elysia thought she needed to know was programmed in her chip, but now she is finding that is not true.
With Ivan and his friends, Elysia tries to be a normal teen, but she finds out that she can swim and dive like a fish, causing her to question her origins and her First, the girl that died so that she could have a body. Also, Elysia has visions and memories from her first, most often of a beautiful man that she starts to love, until Tahir and his dark secret come along, then Elysia begins imagining a new life, where she is free.
All the while, the clones are rising up, the balance of power is shifting and Elysia finds herself in a very dangerous position. And the ending, wow. That came out of nowhere and I cannot wait to see how it gets resolved.
At first, Beta felt a little like Scott Westerfields Uglies series, and the cover even looks a little bit like Specials. But while this book does share some basic plot points with other dystopian novels, it is presented in an original way. Instead of one group of people oppressing another group of people, it is literally a created race that is being oppressed and rising up (a cautionary tale if there ever was one). I think that fans of dystopias will enjoy Beta. Give this to fans of the Hunger Games, or readers just wanting more futuristic reads. Maybe clones will become the next fad, like the vampire-werewolf-fallen angel fads.
This is definitely one of the releases that I am most excited for this fall.