The Pretenders (The Similars #2) by Rebecca Hanover #bookreview #YA #scifi

In this conclusion to The Similars duology, Emma must figure out who she really is, decide between two boys with the same face, and stop a dangerous plan based on revenge.

Emma is still reeling from the events of her junior year at Darkwood. Not only is her best friend, Oliver, shockingly alive, but the boy she loves—his Similar, Levi—is still on the island where he grew up, stranded with his deranged creator.

More importantly, she is grappling with who she really is. Emma can’t accept the hard truths she learned last year and refuses to share her secrets with anyone, isolating herself from her friends and Ollie.

But when more of the Similars’ creator’s plot is revealed, Emma and her friends will have to try to stop him from putting a plan into motion that could destroy everyone she loves. 

With it’s dark secrets, shocking truths, and political angles, the first book in this series hooked me, and I couldn’t wait to get to the sequel.  It also hinted at a very bizarre love triangle.

The things I enjoyed in the first book – cloning, clone rights, and ethics – aren’t as prominent in this sequel.  Instead, it focuses more on high school cliches and teen drama.  Yes, this is a young adult novel, and those actions are to be expected in some of them; however, compared to the first book in this series, The Pretenders takes an entirely different path.  Almost like The Similars, but in an alternate universe – Bizarro world, maybe?

Characterization is done well and I enjoyed the scientific aspects of the story.  The message of not hating others for their differences is an important theme throughout.  But the ending made me think of Scooby-Doo when masks are removed from the villains.  Some big reveals occur, but the scene is chaotic, rushed, and felt out of place in comparison to the first book.

Overall, I’m glad I finished this series, but it didn’t work for me as well as the first book.

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

 

 

The Similars (The Similars #1) by Rebecca Hanover #TuesdayBookBlog #bookreview #scifi

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.

Clones, dark secrets, shocking truths, acts of revenge, and a budding romance – The Similars has it all.  After reading the first three words in the description, I knew this novel was for me.

The first half of this book teased me with hints of dark truths, mysteries, and hidden agendas – I couldn’t put it down.  Emma’s situation is heartbreaking at times, and she has a lot on her plate, but her drive and determination to get to the root of everything is admirable.  The girl gets things done.  Along with the boarding school goings-on is a political angle.  What are clones’ rights?  Should they be treated as human beings and afforded the same privileges?  Are they a threat?  Things to ponder.

The second half seems to veer off the rails just a tad.  While the first half is well-planned and creates a believable world, the second didn’t seem as carefully thought out, and plot developments come from every direction, many of them predictable.  I’m not a fan of love triangles, and by no means is romance the central focus of this story, but there’s a hint of the most unique triangle I’ve come across.  I’ll have to wait for the next book to see if it pans out.

Overall, this is an intriguing book that held my attention from the first page, and I fully intend on continuing with the series.  If you’re a fan of layers upon layers of secrets, sci-fi, thrillers, and mystery, add The Similars to your TBR.

The Similars is scheduled for release January 1st, 2019.  Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.