Author: Rachel Cohn
Title: Beta (Annex #1)
Publication: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion
Rating: 5 out 5

Synopsis: 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 under­current of discontent among Demesne's worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care-so why are overpowering sensations cloud­ing 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 happi­ness 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. 

Review: In this interesting look into the nature of obedience, we meet Elysia. A clone bent on a mission to serve the Brattons, her owners, without their discovering her ability to feel. Because “good clones” aren’t meant to feel. But the problem with Elysia is not only that she is an untested teen clone, a Beta, but also that by having emotions, she is considered a “Defect” You may think that’s weird, but on the island of Demesne where they reside, clones are created to be the working man, the epitomy of obedience and 5-star customer satisfaction, taking all commands and fulfilling them to maximize owner satisfaction. Hence, Defects when discovered are killed promptly. While living with the Brattons she witnesses the downward spiral of her fellow Beta, Becky, and family turmoil within the Brattan household. 

What really pulled me in was its relatability. Everybody goes through times of indifference or unsurity in stressful situations, and by acknowledging that that can happen, even to a clone, Cohn brings to light the fatal flaws and beauty of human empathy. Elysia captures the image of the ideal girl in a less than ideal world. On an island where all that matters is the wealthy’s happiness, the unpaid, always on-duty clone gets the short end of the stick. Another wonderful thing about Elysia is how you begin reading with the assumption that she is a Mary Sue, unrealistic and unobtainable to real girls, but you quickly come to realize she has faults just like the rest of us. With just the right amount of cheesy quips and action-packed adventure, Beta by Rachel Cohn is anything but a waste of shelf space.

My only caveat is the ending, for it leaves very much to the imagination. But the overall plot is worth its coverback and entices you in an instant. Beta by Rachel Cohn is an up and coming novel perfect for fans of The Hunger Games or Mortal Instruments series. Get it while you can still say you discovered it first.

**Reviewed by Otter**


I actually picked this one up right when it came out, and I really enjoyed it!! The only thing I haven't liked is how long it's taking for the second one to come out!!! I'm glad you enjoyed it too, Otter!! Great review!

I read this book about this year a year ago and was very impressed. I wish the second one would come out already! I like what you said about Elysia not being a Mary-Sue, despite her projected perfection. I'm really curious to see where this series goes.

Wow... I hadn't even heard of this book until now! It looks like a really original idea and I'm definitely adding it to my plan to read Shelfari. How did I possibly miss this?

Check out my book review on the Kite Runner here:

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dusk - gloaming - nightfall

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