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Beta by Rachel Cohn

Beta (edition 2012)

by Rachel Cohn

Series: Annex (1)

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3153035,272 (3.45)5
Authors:Rachel Cohn
Info:Hyperion Book CH (2012), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Beta by Rachel Cohn


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I think the story might be good, but the over blown writing is just too much for me to stomach. I've abandoned it ( )
  shadowdancer | Jun 22, 2017 |
I have to say I kept cracking up while reading, which kinda ruined the in-world drama.

First, this book seemed to have a few different main messages. Which is cool if you can flesh them out in further books, but not cool if people stop reading after the first one. One main message was about classism, or the growing disparity between the rich and the poor. We don’t really see any poor people, but from what we hear from the character’s conversations, it seems like most people are pretty destitute. Except on the magical island of Demesne. Everyone is super rich and all they have to do is swim and surf and play games. The air is artificially super oxygenated and the waters are controlled for temperature and wave danger. Paradise. So much so that when they brought over servants they didn’t want to work any more than their bosses. So the people of Demesne make clone workers. They are cloned from recently dead people, but they have no souls and they have a computer for a brain. Which leads to some hilarity as computer brained main character clone Elysia attempts to hang out with the real teenagers not he island. She has to keep looking up words and cultural references and makes lots of little errors trying to fit it. Cute. Also a bit annoying after a while. The clone thing is one of the other main messages of the book. Like house elves in harry Potter, these clones are programmed to serve. They don’t even want freedom. They don’t have souls, so they’re not really people. Or so the owners like to think. There’s an insurrection brewing though, which gives the books a bit of an underground railroad feel.

There’s also a drug trafficking angle, and the particular drug “raxia” does something to the clone slaves to make them rebellious. So that’s interesting.

It seems like pretty standard YA dystopian scifi when I say it like this, but You know the romance subplot that all these books have? Well, I’m not sure exactly what the author was thinking, but the romance parts were really intrusive into the story. The language used by Elysia is really quite awkward, even when you take into account her “literally born yesterday” condition. For example. … I couldn’t help laughing when I read that. It’s like the author really wants to right an adult romance novel, and keeps forgetting she’s writing YA. Breaks the flow of the story a bit. Overall, the premise was interesting, but I think it was trying to tell us too many things. And the narrator’s voice was pretty annoying and the romance parts were…intrusive. ( )
1 vote jlharmon | Nov 3, 2016 |
Cohn explores the theme of clones used as slave labor, while also addressing the larger questions of identity and freedom. A remote paradise for the very wealthy provides the opportunity to contrast the clone's growing awareness of self with the rampant materialism on the island. This was a very enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to the sequel, Emergent. ( )
  PeggyDean | Sep 3, 2016 |
I have to admit, I only wanted to read this book because I recently, finally, read Dash and Lily's Book of Dares...in which Ms. Cohn is a co-writer. I usually stay away from most science fiction/dystopian YA novels just because they are usually worse than I expect. I was pleasantly surprised with this one. I didn't hate it but it won't be my favorite book.

I don't know if anyone else saw a moderately decent movie called 'The Island' with Scarlett Johannssen and Ewan McGregor, this book reminded of me a younger version of that movie. It was very hard for me to look past that while reading, I did try thought. Elysia is a good character but I found it difficult to relate to her.

The idea for this book is excellent, I will say that above all else, I just think it lacked a little in character believability. I also didn't enjoy Tariq's character, their "relationship" just never felt right. I think Ms. Cohn makes lofty goals with this book and lives up to most of them but not quite all. I will check out the next book in the series to make my final decision on it. ( )
  rosetyper9 | Nov 12, 2015 |
3.5 stars. The writing seemed a little stiff but it seemed to work for the most part because of the nature of the story. It got kind of violent towards the end so it's not for those who don't handle violence well or don't want to read about it. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
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Book description
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.

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 cor­rupted world.

[retrieved from www.loc.gov (Library of Congress) 1/12/2013]
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"On a futuristic island paradise where humans are served by enslaved clones, a sixteen-year-old clone named Elysia seeks her own freedom"--

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