Release Date: October 16, 2012
"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.
The first in a dazzlingly original science fiction series from best-selling author Rachel Cohn, "Beta "is a haunting, unforgettable story of courage and love in a cor-rupted world. Praise for Beta "A terrific premise that is equally well executed...Readers can only hope [the sequel] will be as thrilling as this series kickoff."-Los Angles Times
Beta started out promisingly enough. The writing drew me in and I soon became excited for the story. However, the story became something completely unexpected and although that's not necessarily a bad thing, I felt that it could've been better.
Beta was filled with jaw-dropping twists and, after starting with an exciting eye-opener of a beginning, continued with a roller-coaster of a ride before it ended at the top of a drop roller coaster (a roller coaster that drops straight down). Elysia is one of a select few of teenage clones. As a clone she has no emotions, needs, or wants and her only purpose is to serve. And serve she does. Because if anyone found out that she actually had these emotions, she would die. However, the family she serves quickly becomes people that she loves when they decide to treat her like a regular teenage girl. She begins to hang out with her new "brother" and his friends, including the secretive Tahir. She eventually discovers the island hides some shocking secrets and through it all must work hard to hide her feelings because if she doesn't, there will be hell to pay.
Elysia was a strong character with enough weaknesses that made her relateable. She was like your average teenage girl- she wanted friends, had crushes, and was in love with chocolate. The only difference was she had to work hard to bury these feelings. I liked Elysia's new faimily. For people that were pretty much brain-washed, they were okay. Her "mother" was desperate for love and attention, as was her new "siblings". Although things were eventually revealed about the family, my first impression of them was positive. Tahir was a complicated character and I didn't understand Elysia's feelings for him. He wasn't easy to like and I found him annoying but I will admit that he added to the story. Adding to the mystery of the story, Elysia is having some memories of her past life, something that is unheard of. These memories include "her" first love and introduce a whole new character to the sory. He felt almost 2D but I'm assuming the reader will get to know him better in the next book.
The end of the story introduced some new characters and ensured the plot of the next book would be wonderful. Although I felt that Elysia was left in the dark for too long in Beta, I think the next book will be great.
The writing was alright. To be honest, I wasn't too impressed with it. The world that was created- a dystopian island filled with brain washed people and emotionless clones lacked something. The story seemed like it was missing a depth to it, as if it was a frosting without a cake. Delicious but missing something more solid to hold it together. All in all, though, the writing was nothing to cry over. It kept my interest which is imperative to a good story. In fact, the book contained a certain humor to it that kept me giggling throughout the story.
Overall, Beta was a book that kept me reading. It had it's flaws but nothing too major. Although the plot appeared to lack a backbone, it definitely kept me guessing and was unpredictable. This is a series I'm definitely going to be sticking with, especially after the ending.
3/5 Mugs of Piping Hot Chocolate