ARC: The Similars by Rebecca Hanover

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Goodreads Synopis:

When six clones join Emmaline’s prestigious boarding school, she must confront the heartbreak of seeing her dead best friend’s face each day in class.

The Similars are all anyone can talk about at the elite Darkwood Academy. Who are these six clones? What are the odds that all of them would be Darkwood students? Who is the madman who broke the law to create them? Emma couldn’t care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer and all she can think about is how to get through her junior year without him. Then she comes face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi—Oliver’s exact DNA replica and one of the Similars.

Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars, but she keeps getting pulled deeper and deeper into their clique, uncovering dark truths about the clones and her prestigious school along the way. But no one can be trusted…not even the boy she is falling for who has Oliver’s face.

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Commentary

“Darkwood might be progressive, but your society on the whole has a long history of classifying people by their race or religion or sexual orientation or gender and using those classifications to subjugate particular groups. It is surprising that a bunch of small-minded government leaders think cloning is the first step onto a slippery slope of Armageddon and the demise of the human race as we know it?”

Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for The Similars for an honest review. All opinions are my own. This contains a lot of spoilers!

The main protagonist of The Similars is Emma Chance, who has a difficult time adjusting to her best friend’s suicide. Her school life changes when six clones are enrolled in her school. Though Emma does not have prejudice against the clones, there is one clone that stands out of the six. Levi is the clone of her best friend Ollie, and it shakes Emma’s world. It is clear that Emma is still processing the death of her friend, and having Levi at her school, does not allow her to heal mentally. She is reminded of Ollie, even though he is not alive. Though the physical similarities of Levi and Ollie are the same, their personalities are different. Emma goes through a wild school year with the Similars and the dark secrets in her school.

This world is an alternate future where clones barely have rights in the United States, and the rest of the world. This book reminds me of immigration due to the prejudice and discrimination that the Similars encounter. The subject of the book was the most unique aspect that I really liked, but as for the rest of the book, I didn’t like the execution.

I thought Emma Chance was an okay character. Emma is vulnerable, especially the scenes involving her getting emotional over Ollie.

“If I’ve learned anything these past few months since Oliver died, it’s that pills don’t take away your grief and pain on their own. They mask it, briefly. But it’s all worse when you emerge from the pharma haze and realize your best friend is still gone.”

Emma tries adjusting in her school year, and depends on medicine to get her by because the pain is raw. She loved Ollie, and as for Levi, she gives him a hard time. Levi’s presence makes it hard for Emma to move on because he is a reminder of what she lost. I have to admit, that Emma is lucky person given that she eavesdrops and uncovers so many secrets without getting caught. There were no high stakes in the book because Emma was able to get away without getting hurt. Emma’s curiosity leads her to ask many questions about the clones and her surroundings, but no one wants to reveal the truth.

As for Levi, he is a bookworm and treats Emma with some disdain. Emma mistreats and criticizes him, and he does not allow himself to be a pushover. It would have been great to know Ollie’s personality to compare the two. The romance of Emma and Levi was a slow burn, love hate relationship. Though I do want to categorize it into a insta-love relationship since Emma is drawn to Levi because of his similar appearance to Ollie. But, I was not amazed. I would have preferred no romance to be honest.

I felt that most of the clones had dull personalities. I hoped that the author does expand their personalities in the next book because it seemed like all of the similar were the same…just different names. Levi was the only one to have a personality, and I didn’t care for the other similars.

A lot of events of the book were highly predictable for me, and these are some of the reasons:

  • Mean girls and cliques…
  • Love triangle between Ollie, Emma, and Levi…
  • Petty drama and 20-year grudge…
  • The school using the clones for medical research…
  • Surprise…not really Ollie is alive
  • The clones were created to get revenge for this 20-year grudge…
  • It was obvious who the villain was at the halfway mark…
  • Emma is not she is…she in fact is a similar

This book tried being a lot of things…and left me unsatisfied. The twists and turn were too predictable. It was hard for me to read the book because I made a lot of guesses that came out being true. It was a bit frustrating to read, the world building could have been better, and I don’t want to pick up the next book.

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Publishing Date: January 1st 2019

Final Rating:  

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: Book Review

“The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind.”

Goodreads Synopsis: MARE BARROW’S WORLD IS DIVIDED BY BLOOD—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army she gambles everything to win his freedom. A twist of fate leads her to the royal palace itself, where, in front of the king and all his nobles, she discovers a power of her own—an ability she didn’t know she had. Except… her blood is Red.

To hide this impossibility, the king forces her into the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks her new position to aid the Scarlet Guard—the leaders of a Red rebellion. Her actions put into motion a deadly and violent dance, pitting prince against prince—and Mare against her own heart.

From debut author Victoria Aveyard comes a lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.

Commentary: I read many great reviews about Red Queen, and how amazing it is. it took me a while to get into the book. I felt that it was a tad overhyped. It reminded me of Shin Sekai Yori because there are two classes of people: ones with power and the other slaves.This book did remind me of X-Men since the Silvers have godlike powers. Mare Barrow, what can I say? There were moments many moments in the book where i wanted to slap her. She complained way too much and was jealous of her younger sister. I guess the author tried to make Mare seem like a strong female character, but I didn’t get that vibe from her. She had a destructive personality and was pretty selfish, but there were some moments were I was rooting for her. I really like her power of lightening! The beginning was a bit slow for me, most of the time I was wondering how would Mare get her powers. I liked how Mare’s ability activated when she was about to die during the Queenstrial contest. I found it funny how Mare just wanted to go back home, and the royals were like “You have to change your identity and live with us. You are now Mareena Titanos, whether you like it or not. And oh, by the way, you’re going to marry the younger prince. Your old life was awful, but not anymore! Congratulations. You’re welcome.” I knew that she was going to join the rebels and spy on the Silvers. But, I can’t see Mare being the key figure to the rebellion. There are more Reds with special abilities, I hope someone else can represent the rebellion.  She wasn’t the best female protagonist, nor the worst, just a little below average.  My heart is broken. Maven, oh Maven.  I thought that Maven was the right guy for Mare, while Cal was not. I hated how the author made Maven so likable while Cal was not. I hate how you seemed caring, thoughtful, and honest, but you used Mare as a pawn. Most of all, I hate how malicious you became Maven. I was rooting for Maven until he betrayed Mare. I don’t know how to feel anymore. This whole time, I thought he wanted change his society and help the the Scarlet Guard. Nope, he had other plans. I don’t like Maven now and I have some trust issues with Cal. Maven sort of reminded me of the Darkling from the Grisha series, but not he’s not as cool as him because Maven is a mama’s boy. (Darkling > Maven 😌). Now, Kilorn, Mare’s best friend, was irrelevant to me. He likes her, but she only sees him as a friend. I’m glad that he author did not include any romantic moments between Mare and him. Though the guys love Mare, there wasn’t much romance in this book. I really couldn’t trust anyone in this story. The twist, I wasn’t expecting that.  Didn’t think the king would die, didn’t expect Cal to be the “good guy”, and I definitely didn’t expect Shade to be alive. Anyone can betray anyone. The book was quite a fast read. By the time I finished, I wanted more. I hope the sequel in this trilogy explains how the Silvers came into power.

Quotes: 

“In the fairy tales, the poor girl smiles when she becomes a princess. Right now, I don’t know if I’ll ever smile again.”

“Rise, red as the dawn.”

“Do you, Prince? Do you understand what it’s like to be taken away from everything you love, forced to be something else? To lie every minute of every day for the rest of your life. To know there’s something wrong with you?

Final Rating: 👑👑👑