Wakers by Orson Scott Card #bookreview #YA #scifi #clones

From the New York Times bestselling author of Enders Game comes a brand-new series following a teen who wakes up on an abandoned Earth to discover that he’s a clone!

Laz is a side-stepper: a teen with the incredible power to jump his consciousness to alternate versions of himself in parallel worlds. All his life, there was no mistake that a little side-stepping couldn’t fix.

Until Laz wakes up one day in a cloning facility on a seemingly abandoned Earth.

Laz finds himself surrounded by hundreds of other clones, all dead, and quickly realizes that he too must be a clone of his original self. Laz has no idea what happened to the world he remembers as vibrant and bustling only yesterday, and he struggles to survive in the barren wasteland he’s now trapped in. But the question that haunts him isn’t why was he created, but instead, who woke him up…and why?

There’s only a single bright spot in Laz’s new life: one other clone appears to still be alive, although she remains asleep. Deep down, Laz believes that this girl holds the key to the mysteries plaguing him, but if he wakes her up, she’ll be trapped in this hellscape with him.

This is one problem that Laz can’t just side-step his way out of.

Clones, parallel worlds, and a teen with the ability to “side-step” into those worlds. I was eager to see what this author did with the concept.

After Laz wakes up surrounded by hundreds of dead clones, his loneliness is palpable. Although he remembers living in California, he finds himself in Greensboro, NC and seems to be the only human around. A pack of four dogs he comes across are his only friends until he discovers one other clone who survived. Once she wakes, their primary goals are one, to survive, and two, figure out why they were cloned.

The first part of this novel fascinated me, and I marveled at side-stepping and everything it entails. Laz can step into another version of himself in a parallel world and retain his memories while also absorbing the memories of his new self. Pretty cool, right? Some of his stories of when and why he’d chosen to side-step are amusing. Awkward moment with a date? Side-step. Get into too much trouble at school? Side-step. Once he and Ivy learn why they were cloned and what’s expected of them, the story takes a turn.

The banter between Laz and Ivy is sometimes witty, but can go on for pages, and I occasionally struggled with pacing. The same can be said about the science of their combined abilities. Especially in the last 40% or so, the dialogue becomes very science-heavy and can be difficult to keep up with, but the high concept held me enthralled.

With incredible world-building, a likeable, sarcastic main character, and a clever concept, this is a book I enjoyed, but I would only recommend it to true sci-fi fans.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

29 thoughts on “Wakers by Orson Scott Card #bookreview #YA #scifi #clones

    1. I’ve seen the movie, but never read Ender’s Game – which is unusual for me. It’s always been on my list, but I just haven’t gotten to it. This was a fantastic read, but it leans heavily into science in some sections. Thanks for dropping by, Jenn!

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    1. Before the author explained the rules of side-stepping, I wondered if the character would retain memories and absorb those in his new reality or if he’d be like a brand new person. So many things to think about with that idea.

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  1. I loved Ender’s Game and had no idea OSC had a new series coming out. Even with the issues, I’m still very intrigued and excited by the side-stepping and all that goes with that. Excellent review, Teri!

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  2. Hi Teri. I appreciate this mindful review. It’s been ages since I read a book from this author (I can’t remember that title), but he does come up with terrific concepts. Your review is helpful, because I have no more patience for long dialogue scenes — particularly *that* long, than I do for the heavy-science dialogue. Maybe not a book for me, but I’m happy you enjoyed it.
    Have a beautiful weekend. Hugs on the wing.

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    1. It got to be a little much between the characters for me, but I’m sure plenty of readers enjoyed their back and forth. You’re right about the concepts – mind-blowing.

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  3. I really liked Ender’s Game, Teri, and would have looked forward to this one. Great blurb and the world-building sounds great. Some of the concerns you had might be a challenge for me too, though I do like sci-fi. Thanks for the review and recommendation. 🙂

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