Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday #Review - Ringer by Lauren Oliver #YALit #Science Fiction

Series: Replica # 2
Format: E-Book, 528 pages
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss
Genre: Young Adult \ Dystopian

Like its ambitious companion novel, Replica, this far-reaching novel by powerhouse bestselling author Lauren Oliver digs deep into questions of how to be a human being in a world where humanity cannot be taken for granted.
In the world outside the Haven Institute, Lyra and Caelum are finding it hard to be human—and neither of them knows where they belong or who they can trust. When Caelum leaves without warning to pursue the dream of a place he belongs, Lyra follows him, convinced that together they will hunt down a cure for the illness that’s slowly consuming her mind. But what they uncover is a shocking connection to their past—even as their future seems in danger of collapsing.
After discovering the uncomfortable truth about her connection to the Haven Institute, Gemma struggles to return to her normal life. But when she learns that her controlling and powerful father has new plans for Lyra and Caelum, Gemma and her boyfriend, Pete, leave in the middle of the night to warn them of the danger they face.When an untimely accident derails them, they are mistaken for the escaped replicas and seized by strangers hired to capture them. The Haven Institute wasn’t destroyed after all, and now Gemma is the one behind the walls.
Lyra’s and Gemma’s stories can be read separately—with either story first—or in alternating chapters, but no matter which way you turn the book, the two distinct stories combine into one breathtaking experience for both heroines and readers alike.

Lauren Oliver's Ringer is the second installment in the authors
Replica duology. For timeline sake, this story takes place 3 weeks after the end of Replica. The story is once again told by two different characters, Gemma & Lyra, in two different books. If you are like me, you read the first book, before flipping over to the second, even though both stories take place concurrently. Because of the edition I received, I started with Gemma Ives story first. 
Gemma has learned so much about herself in a very short period of time. 

She traveled to Florida, found out about Haven, found out a shocking truth about herself, while also helping rescue Lyra and Caelum. While Gemma is back with her parents, and her boyfriend Pete, her journey is far from over. One of the positives for Gemma is her relationship with Pete which has gone to a whole new level. So, let's get to the meat and potatoes. After Gemma discovers some disturbing news, she and Pete head out to Tennessee looking for Lyra and Caelum to warn them. Unfortunately, things go sideways, and they are captured believing that Gemma is one of their escaped Replica's. 

I have to say that this story actually flips things around from the first book. Gemma finds herself being imprisoned, and treated like a Replica. In fact, she even meets Calliope, who actually looks like her, along with others who are missing key parts of their bodies. But, there's plenty more, especially when Gemma meets Dr. Saperstein, the mad scientist behind the Replica's. This comes with many questions. One being the idea of cloning and whether or not a clone is actually human being with a soul, or just another science experiment to be used for nefarious purposes. Gemma's story crosses over with Lyra's several times, including the last chapters. 

Lyra, who was born human, but taken to Haven where she was experimented on as though she was a Replica, is now living with Caelum and her father in a Tennessee Mobile Home Park. I want to make this clear. I was so heart broken to find out how badly Lyra was treated by Haven and the doctors that she quickly became my favorite character. That hasn't changed. In fact, there is a subtle shift to make Lyra the more courageous & heroic one this time out. Caelum & Lyra are living like humans, but Caelum is a bit strange. He would rather sit and watch endless TV, than explore.

So, yes Lyra and Caelum are having some issues, and he ends up disappearing just as strange people show up looking for them. Lyra's journey begins at that point. She knows that she has to try to find Caelum. She also hopes that she can also find Dr. Saperstein who may have the cure she needs to survive. Lyra's story really explores a more personal meaning of what it means to be a human, rather than a Replica. Is life really any different now that she is free to explore the world? Or, would it have been better off had she met the same fate as those on Haven? While Gemma and Lyra's stories are separate, they do intersect several times, including the final chapters.

I honestly thought that the ending leaves much to the imagination. I dare say that I was hoping for more about Lyra and her life and death plight to find a cure, or accepting the final outcome. I'm happy that Oliver introduced Detective Reinhardt in Lyra's story. He is such a wonderful character, and I wish more LEO's were as caring, and well, human and not just robots who have zero emotions. Reinhardt's presence is in the form of his own story, which I absolutely liked. 

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