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Often, if I like an author, I just download the book without knowing anything about it. So that was a mistake. This book has a formatting gimmick. If you’re reading the print version you can:
1. Read Lyra’s story first
2. Read Gemma’s story first
3. Alternate chapters—flip book style.
I didn’t know this going in. So I listen to the intro, which was a little confusing, but I gleaned that certain chapters were told from both POVs, so there would be some repetition in dialogue.
So I start listening. It was Lyra’s story first, which was sad, strange, subdued. Then came Gemma’s story, which was not exactly more interesting, per se, but at least more “relatable.”
After finishing Lyra’s, I was sort of pissed. There was a big revelation and a big event that I would rather have not known because then I had to spend the next half of the book knowing stuff that reduced the suspense considerably and made me not invest much in one of the characters. The same could be said if you read Gemma’s story first.
Why it wasn’t presented in alternating chapters, I don’t know. That would have been the best route. You get to hear two different audio narrators and you wouldn’t have felt like you read a book review full of spoilers right before you read the book. It’s especially baffling because while there are two spots in the book where you experience the same scene from 2 POVs, Oliver did an excellent job in NOT making it too repetitive. You can alternate with the audio (see the PDF), but it would be really cumbersome. It would have been a 4 star listen for me if it had been presented in alternating chapters.
36 of 38 people found this review helpful
Approaching the end of the book, I hadn't realized it wasn't stand alone. That being said, and realizing there will be a sequel, I am intrigued and will continue. A unique story. The POVs are slightly different than most POVs. Each person doesn't remember their conversations or scenes exactly like the other person. There are differences, slight changes, as most people perceive things/happenings. Refreshing, really.
Lyra's story is told as a Clone, a Replica. It's the only life she knows, but she is curious to find out more. There is no touch, closeness, caring, humanity. Yet she searches for the one person who did show her kindness. In so doing, her world is changed forever.
Gemma is a normal girl who feels like an alien. Her parents are hiding something. She knows they love her but feels as if she is a disappointment to them. She defies her parents and takes off. What she finds out changes her world.
At some point the two girls world converge. Both are part of a mystery, a cover up. As they put the pieces together, more questions surface.
Lauren Oliver is a hit or miss with me. This was a hit. I look forward to the next installment.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful