Monday, July 29, 2013

Author Interview & Review: Replica

Book Info:
Title: Replica
Series: Replica #1
Edition: ARC
Pages: 365
Genre: YA, Sci-fi
Published by Tor Teen
Release Date: July 16th 2013
To Buy: Amazon, B&N

Book Description:
Breathtaking new YA SF from the author of the Faeriewalker series

Sixteen-year-old Nadia Lake comes from a high-class Executive family in the Corporate States. Her marriage has been arranged with the most powerful family in her state, which means she lives a life of privilege but also of public scrutiny, followed everywhere by photographers, every detail of her private life tabloid fodder. But her future is assured, as long as she can maintain her flawless public image — no easy feat when your betrothed is a notorious playboy.

Nathan Hayes is the heir of Paxco — controller of the former state of New York, and creator of human replication technology, science that every state and every country in the world would kill to have. Though Nadia and Nate aren’t in love, they’ve grown up close, and they (and the world) are happy enough with their match.

Until Nate turns up dead, and as far as everyone knows, Nadia was the last person to see him alive.

When the new Nate wakes up in the replication tanks, he knows he must have died, but with a memory that only reaches to his last memory backup, he doesn’t know what killed him. Together, Nadia and Nate must discover what really happened without revealing the secrets that those who run their world would kill to protect.

Book Trailer:

I want to welcome Jenna Black to my blog today! This is the first time I've asked for a review so I a a little nervous but here it goes:

1. What was your inspiration for writing Replica?
I had just finished the last book of my Faeriewalker series and was casting around for another YA idea.  I didn't want to use any of the tried-and-true tropes, like vampires or angels or were-anythings. I'm not sure what triggered it, but somehow I got to thinking about one of the many novels I'd written before I finally sold my first book. It was set in a world that had a very stratified corporate society and in which one corporation had invented the ability to make what amounted to backup copies of human beings. The extremely rich and powerful can have backup scans made on a regular basis, and then if something happens to them, a Replica can be brought to life. This Replica not only looks identical to the original, but also has all his or her memories and personality up to the time of the last backup.

I had always liked this idea, and I'd always liked that novel, even though I'd been unable to sell it. I wondered if I could re-use the general idea to write something new, and that was when it occurred to me that one of the big weaknesses of that original version was that the hero was immature and irresponsible--to the point that as an adult, he ended up being not all that likable. If I made that character a teenager instead of an adult, his faults would be a lot less off-putting and more understandable. And that was my inspiration.

REPLICA ended up having very little in common with that old sci-fi novel of mine beyond the basic premise (and, to some extent, the personality of the hero), and I never did go back and reread the old novel. I didn't want to let it influence my choices. 

2. Is there a difference in how you wrote Replica as compared to your other books?
The process for all of my books tends to be at least slightly different from all the ones that came before. It seems that whatever works for me on one book invariably doesn't work on the next, so I'm always changing things up, trying new processes, finding what works for this book. In REPLICA, I got stuck rather early on and was having trouble motivating myself. I was missing a lot of details in the plotting of my story, and I was having trouble coming up with what should come between the scene I was currently on and the next big event I had planned for the book. I struggled with it for a while, stubbornly sticking to my process of writing everything in chronological order. Then I reminded myself that my process changes all the time, so I decided to try something different. I went ahead and wrote the scene I knew was going to occur sometime in the future, even though there was a void between it and what I'd already written.

It worked perfectly for me, at least this time. Writing that "known" scene got me back into the groove, and I was able to move forward (and figure out what had to come in the gap).

3. How long did it take you to write Replica?
The actual first-draft writing took around three months, which is the usual for me. (Of course, the book is far from done after the first draft, but much of the other work is done in fits and starts, so it's hard to say exactly how long the whole process takes.)

4. When you're not writing you are..?
Either ballroom dancing or knitting.

5. Which characters pov was easier of funner for you to write?
I don't think either one of them was easier or more fun. I enjoyed both Nate and Nadia, and I felt like I connected with each of them enough so see the events clearly through their eyes. At the time I wrote REPLICA, I'd written 11 books in first person in a row, and it was so much fun to have multiple points of view again that I simply enjoyed the whole experience.

6. What made you want to make Nate gay?
I thought it would be a great way to ratchet up the tension in the relationship between Nate and Nadia. They are destined for an arranged marriage with each other--which adds conflict on its own--but I wanted to make Nadia's lot in life seem even harder for her. Even though she's a very rich and powerful person (or at least from a rich and powerful family), she has the bleak future to look forward to, where she'll be married to a man who can never be a true husband to her. Also, by making homosexuality so strongly taboo in high society, I made it so that Nate had a secret he had to keep, one that would always pose a threat to someone with his rebellious spirit. And it also added another layer to Nadia's character. In the beginning, she gets pushed around a lot, but you know she's stronger than she looks because she's always known Nate's secret and has actively helped him keep it.

7. What scene was your favorite to write?
Probably the scene I mentioned earlier--the one I wrote out of order. In that scene, Nadia has been forced to spy on Nate, and she's supposed to plant a tracking device on a locket he always wears--a locket that was supposedly a gift from Nadia but that was actually a gift from his boyfriend. Nadia has always played along with the charade, but when she plants the bug, she sees for the first time the photo of herself that is in the locket--and the naked photo of Nate's boyfriend that is hidden behind her own. It was a really fun scene to write.

8. Why did you decide to make Replica a YA novel?
Can we combine this question with question 1?

9. Is there any hope for love in Nadia's future in these books or will she be forever alone?
There is definitely going to be some romance in Nadia's future. Though, of course, it's going to be very complicated. (You'll see the romance developing in the second book, RESISTANCE, which will come out in March 2014.)

10. What's one thing most people don't know about you?
When I was in college and for a few years afterward, I was an avid competitive badminton player. I have the trophies to prove it! My proudest achievement was getting to play mixed doubles against the then-second-ranked player in the entire U.S. (I think my partner and I may have scored a point or two each game, mostly thanks to unforced errors, but we were soundly creamed, as expected.) I felt a little thrill when I watched some of the badminton coverage in the Olympics last year--the man who'd mopped the floor with us, Benny Lee, was one of the coaches for the U.S.

My Review:
Nadia Lake lives a life where everything is under scrutiny. The way she acts, talks, dresses, everything. Nadia knows she must do everything she can to make sure her position is never compromised in society nor with her fiancĂ© and best friend Nathanial Hayes heir to the most powerful corporate building in the world, but that’s exactly what happens after she leaves Nate in the hall with his boyfriend and is found murdered the next morning. Now Nadia is under scrutiny of the entire public and Dirt Mosely a man who will stop at nothing to see that Kurt Bishop Nate’s secret boyfriend is found guilty for his supposed killing of Nate that night, even threaten to kill and torture anyone to get to the truth. With Nadia placed between choosing what’s best for her family and her friendship with Nate Nadia choses family at the risk of losing Nate forever. When Nate wakes up as a replica he knows he must have died but he can’t remember how because two weeks of his memory are gone and nobody knows what’s happened. After talking to his father he tells him that Kurt killed him and they are searching for him. Nate however knows Kurt couldn’t have killed him and goes out searching for him in the Basement were the “lowlifes” live. In his search to find the truth everything is revealed and Nate finds out it wasn’t his gay lover that killed him, but someone much closer. With Nadia’s life in danger and the culprits someone no one ever expected Nadia and Nate must team up to stop them no matter the cost.

Wow!! Honestly I am super surprised I liked Replica as much as I do no offence to Jenna Black but I didn’t very much like Glimmerglass and I was sure Replica would go much the same way. Man oh man was I ever wrong. Replica had me on the edge of my seat the entire story with its part sci-fi part dystopian feel. Throughout the story I definitely felt more connected to Nadia especially since I felt she grew more as a character than Nate. Nadia went from timid girl who wouldn’t stand up for herself against anyone to taking down a corporate machine, it was total kick arsery! Nate does make a comeback and has some growth but eh he wasn’t necessarily my favorite character in the whole world. I love the fact that Replica didn’t go as planned in my head, after reading the synopsis I had this whole idea of how the story was going to go and the actual story just blew me away with surprises. I mean come on a girl who is best friends with a secret gay guy whom she has to marry? How often do you see that in books?

While I enjoyed Replica overall I had a hard time relating or even liking Nate until the end of the book. Nate is a real brat and has no real regard for anyone else’s feelings or situation. While he is burdened with a lot of secrets like being gay he shares no sympathy for those with situations that are worse than his even though he says he does. I think he made a great come around in the end and I think he will be a great character to read from in the next installment and throughout the trilogy but it was a long journey through the book to get him to the point of any growth.

Dual POV
Everyone on my blog who has read any of my reviews knows just how much I love dual or triple pov stories. While I admit sometimes there is a limit on how many I still love them all the same and Jenna Black definitely chose some great characters to have to dual pov with. Nate and Nadia are so completely different and I think without both of their perspectives coming in Replica wouldn’t have been nearly as good just because of how much would have had to have been explained and how much we would have missed if both perspectives weren’t told.

Overall, Replica was a complete shock that will definitely leave readers wondering what will happen next. If I could relate Replica to anything it would be the movie iRobot. If you’ve seen the movie it’s kind of like that but not completely. Anyway I would highly suggest Replica to any YA readers to want to have a taste of the sci-fi genre. Jenna Black definitely did an amazing job with Replica and I know I will be reading the next installment Resistance.

About the Author:
Jenna Black is your typical writer. Which means she's an "experience junkie." She got her BA in physical anthropology and French from Duke University.

Once upon a time, she dreamed she would be the next Jane Goodall, camping in the bush making fabulous discoveries about primate behavior. Then, during her senior year at Duke, she did some actual research in the field and made this shocking discovery: primates spend something like 80% of their time doing such exciting things as sleeping and eating.

Concluding that this discovery was her life's work in the field of primatology, she then moved on to such varied pastimes as grooming dogs and writing technical documentation. She writes paranormal romance for Tor and urban fantasy for Bantam Dell.

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