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Description⎮Reviewed Mar. 2017
4.25★ Audiobook⎮ I feel pretty good about giving this book 4.25 stars and rounding down to 4 stars on Goodreads. Replica is a perfect example of a story that is “good, but not great”. It was perfectly enjoyable and there was nothing wrong with it, per se. But I didn’t find it quite as “epic” as the cover suggests.
I think that may be at least partially due to the audiobook translation. In traditional form, the idea of splitting this novel into two parts and allowing it to be read from either direction is a lot more appealing than it comes across as an audiobook. For one thing, the listener loses the option of hearing the latter story first because you have no idea where it begins. Without that element, a lot of Replica’s novelty and marketability are lost. For that reason, Replica felt more generic than I believe it was intended to be.
With that said, Replica was still intriguing story. The pacing was enjoyable and I appreciate Lauren Oliver biding her time while divulging information instead of unloading it in concentrated doses. There was a good amount of action, which was methodically spaced throughout the novel.
The Science Fiction elements were adjusted appropriately to fit the Young Adult age group. There was nothing overly technical or complicated about its SciFi aspects and it also wasn’t your stereotypical YA gush-fest. It somewhat reminded me of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, if a little more simplistic.
Replica was an easy listen, especially considering its Science Fiction elements. I would not be opposed to hearing its sequel, which debuts this upcoming October, but I also won’t be itching to get my hands on it. Replica was more of a “take it or leave it” kind of story for me, although I did enjoy the fact that it was partially set near my hometown in North Carolina. I think this series has potential to grow and evolve (as do its characters) with each installment, so I am a bit curious to see how Oliver develops it.
Narration review: The dual narration definitely helped convey the “two stories” approach Oliver took when writing Replica. Sarah Drew (April Kepner from Grey’s Anatomy, FYI) voiced Lyra in the first half of the book and Erin Spencer voiced Gemma in the second half. Sarah Drew also narrated Lauren Oliver’s Delirium trilogy. I always seem to struggle while listening to Drew’s narration because I so strongly associate her voice with her Grey’s Anatomy character. Strangely enough, even though I have heard Erin Spencer narrate several other titles, I didn’t seem to have the same problem with her.
Not only was it the right call to have two narrators for this audiobook, but having two narrators with such distinctly different vocal tones made the listening experience that much easier. This distinction cemented the “two girls, two stories” concept in my mind in a way that the book couldn’t have. In the case of Replica, I cannot make a recommendation between the book and the audiobook, as I feel that they both provide something to the story that the other cannot. So if you have a chance, why not try them both? ♣︎