A novel on scientific research with a religious-based message for a young adult audience
Williamson has an interesting story with some great dramatic tension. She writes well although with an uneven depth and a bludgeoning bluntness. Yeah, the two “b”s are a bit of overkill, but so is the depiction of certain characters—I guess Williamson wanted to be sure we knew who the bad guys were! And what’s with the woman-hating stuff? Was it part of the overkill or…?
I have to confess, I greatly dislike anything that feels preachy to me and I found Williamson’s religious messages very preachy…that’s just me. Some aspects of her message I agreed with, others I did not. I did appreciate that she wasn’t thrusting any particular religious sect down my throat.
I don’t understand Williamson’s purpose in making JD such an ass. No finesse here. Williamson even acknowledges that JD bounces back and forth, but we never get a reason. Nor was there any finesse at the end where the police go from completely ignoring and dissing Abby to suddenly believing her. And that bit where Abby “rushes off” to save the day was just so crude. And it was uneven. I completely understand that Abby wouldn’t want to wait while the police get all their ducks in a row, but, for all the talk Williamson throws in about all the CSI programs Abby watches and her intelligence, Abby is completely clueless once she’s in the lab. What’s with that? Sure, watching TV and real life are two different things, but I’d’a thought something would have clicked! Then once she’s rescued the first time, why does she sit so meekly waiting for everyone else to find her dad. Is Abby “schizo”, too? Then the scene where Abby’s car is run off the road…they just leave the car for the cops to find??
What’s with Abby’s dad? I can’t imagine any dad just meekly accepting what they do to her. How could the other doctors and the guards simply ignore his attitude? Well, okay, the other doctors and the guards are obviously too egocentric and sociopathic to comprehend love, so maybe that explains it. Then there’s that so very abrupt turnaround that Iron Man and his followers do.
I think Williamson should have taken a few more pages and really developed her characters and the situation. This reads more like a novella that hasn’t had its outline completely filled in. It’s just too juvenile which I find condescending to her target audience.
That whining off my chest, Williamson did inspire a great deal of empathy with her characters and I was engrossed in reading it until its end. If it is an end…
It opens with an introduction to the lab, its inhabitants, and its doctors—primarily we meet Martyr and his meeting Dr. Goyer followed by our introduction to Abby Goyer. Her situation. Her new school.
Martyr is okay with serving his purpose, with his looming expiration, but he longs just once to see a blue sky. And Dr. Goyer’s niceness—as well as that opportune moment to grab his keycard—encourages Martyr to grab his chance. An opportunity that brings him to Abby and the potential exposure of the lab.
It’s Martyr’s questions and uncanny resemblance to JD that sets Abby down the path. Well, that and her mother’s arguments with her Dad over his last job. Doing unethical experiments. Abby is a very protective young woman with a crusader’s zeal.
Martyr, a.k.a., J:3:3, is the 3rd Jason in the 3rd batch. And before he expires, he’d like to see a blue sky. His fellow experimentees include Baby, Hummer, Iron Man, Speedy, Fido, Bones, Rock, Gumby, and Spot.
Dr. Kane is the head of this private and very illegal lab with a very personal agenda. You’ll despise him as much as I do before you read too far. Dr. Elliot is a doctor who should’a been thrown out ages ago. The only other doctor we meet is Max/Jordan. Johnson and Rolo are the brutal day guards.
Dr. Goyer has accepted a position with the Jason Farms partly to escape the city where his wife died from lupus, partly to continue research to prevent more such deaths. His daughter, Abby, is brilliant and compassionate with a strong faith in God. She’s been caring for her father since her mother died. And she’s very angry that he just up and moved them from Washington D.C. to Fishhook, Alaska! Einstein is her Silver Persian cat.
Fellow students include JD Kane, the star quarterback and, so far, senior valedictorian with a major hard-on for a very reluctant Abby and Kylee Scott who needs tutoring in calculus. Mrs. Kane is the school principal. Pastor Scott and his wife Aliza provide a temporary refuge for Martyr and try to answer his questions about God.
Officer Jackson questions Abby and her father when they “report” the break-in in their attempt to mislead Dr. Kane as to Dr. Goyer’s involvement in Martyr’s escape. Officers Runstrom and Allam are the cops who capture Abby and Martyr, completely ignoring anything they say.
Dr. Corrine Markley was a doctor at Jason Farms. Until she went missing. Her husband has been searching ever since.
The cover is perfect with its row of cloned, bald heads at the bottom, a minty green light radiating from the central head and blending into the black of the rest of the background.
The title is true enough as it’s all about Replication.