10382215Beta (Annex #1) by Rachel Cohn
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Hyperion
Source: Library
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

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. – Goodreads

Review:

Let’s state it right away. If you do not enjoy: rape, slavery, and/or excessive drug use this is not the book for you. If I am being honest with you, and I always want to be, the excessive drug use didn’t even blip on my radar; however, a friend of mine read it and for reasons was extremely bothered by this, hence me including it.

Back to the book, I actually held hope out for this book. I did. I liked the concept, the thought behind the book, the writing, but this book quickly took a turn that made me feel so uncomfortable that I almost threw the book against the wall in disgust. Again, the only reason I didn’t throw it is because it was a library book and as a future librarian I do respect the books.

This book has an excellent premise, and the first half of the book was, in my opinion, really well done and well executed. Then the second part of the book occurs and makes me shake with rage.

In the first half Cohn takes her time worldbuilding and makes the book come to life for us the reader and Elysia (the clone/the beta). But then the plot holes occur, why does it need to be a dead body that she enters? Why can’t she enter a live one? And yes, this question may be answered in the second book, however, Ashley will not be reading said second book. Elysia even starts off likeable and slowly progresses into her true self and when she becomes her true self I start to hate her and her character. She became that person you know who says “hi” to you and you just want to bitch slap them. Elysia quickly starts to get flashes of her First, the one who had to die so she could exists, life. While having these flashes Elysia finds out she can feel emotion. Of course she is not supposed to feel emotion, that is part of what makes this clones powerful.

Elysia decides to keep this information to herself. By keeping it to herself though she must decide: is it worth fighting for the chance to have her own life or should she live the life she feels she was destined to lead.

Yeah, don’t get me wrong, this could have been a really good book and then series but there were too many negatives for me. Particularly the romance. It’s extremely superficial. I will be the first to admit I love the pretty muscle boys of the bad boy variety; however, the love interests are so vapid I couldn’t find myself to care. Is Elysia supposed to love Tahir, the rich friend of the family she’s staying with, or does she fall in love with the guy from her First’s life?

SPOILERS BELOW

If that isn’t bad enough everyone wants Elysia and while I wish I was being dramatic, I’m not. Everyone wants her. As fellow reviewers said the rape scene was horrible and disgusting and not the person who was hinted to be the person who would end up raping her before one even knew it was an option. While Elysia understandably goes nuts, I hated how rape was used in this book as technique and it left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

While this book left off on an extreme cliffhanger I have no interest in finding out what happens next.