Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Beta by Rachel Cohn

Beta (Annex, #1)The Synopsis:
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 under-current of discontent among Demesne's worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care--so why are overpowering sensations cloud-ing 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 happi-ness 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.

My Thoughts:
I was very hesitant to start this book due to the bad reviews for this book.  However, I thought I might was well give it a try.  Everybody has their different opinions, so there was a possibility that I would enjoy this book.  Unfortunately, those reviews were correct.  I did not enjoy this book.  At all.

Elysia is a Beta, which is a teenage clone slave that is only created to serve families of wealth.  For her to be created, her "First", or the other half to her clone, had to die for her to be created.  But there's something wrong with her.  Clones like her shouldn't feel things.  They shouldn't be inquisitive or get crushes on guys.  They are only meant to serve, and if they feel, they are wrong. 

I didn't find her character to be flat, necessarily, but I just didn't like her.  She was naive and there were awkward situations that she'd get herself into and there I'm sitting, yelling in my head "STOP. STOP IT RIGHT THERE."  In a way, she had the mind of a five year old.  She asked questions nonstop and went along with everything.  I get that she's a clone and 'new to the world', but you'd think that she'd have the mental maturity of her "First", yes?  That is, assuming that her first was actually mature.

After about 170 pages in, the plot starts focusing in on the relationship that I thought not only to be weird and awkward, but a little excessive.  That's all the plot becomes after that, but I was much more interested in the clone resistance thing that was going on.  I would have thought that an oncoming revolution would be more important than a romance.  Before the romance, I could see where readers would be sucked into the story with the vivid imagery and interesting concept.  Honestly, I think I would have enjoyed this story a lot more if it had been better executed.

While Elysia is young of mind, there are a lot of mature situations that go on throughout the book, such as rape and drug use that I thought were useless to the plot.  They didn't add anything to the story and that is where things just kind of boring.  I get where teens like to experiment at this age with drugs--and drug use was used repeatedly in this book--but not only did it correspond with the characters, which I didn't know very well, but it didn't fit into the story.  And this also ties into where things got boring.  Everything just became 'blah blah blah' in my mind.  I didn't care for the romance, didn't care for the scandalous, unnecessary moments, and certainly didn't care for the characters.

I can certainly see where Beta can be a thrilling and different book in other peoples' minds.  It's got a great setting, an interesting idea mentioned in the synopsis, and a romance.  Alas, this book wasn't for me.  Reading became arduous and I can't tell you how many times I had to put it down because I was so disinterested.  The book was left at a cliffhanger, so there will be a second book, but I'm pretty sure I won't be reading it.


  1. Sorry to hear that this one didn't work for you. I've read other reviews that had similar issues with the story, but it's always good to read it anyway to form your own opinion. Appreciated your honest review, and how you gave details on what you did and didn't like about the story. Hope your next read is better!

    Terri @ Alexia's Books and Such...

  2. I've definitely been on the fence on whether or not to pick this one up as well, but thanks to your helpful review, I don't think I will be picking it up. I usually like reading books that have mixed reviews just to see what I'll think, but.. I don't really want to read a book that just ends up having characters that I won't care about, like what happened to you. The concept DOES sound pretty cool, I have to admit, but Elysia just sounds so annoying and naive! Thanks for being so honest about this book :) Great review.

  3. I'm really sad to hear you didn't like this one but I know you aren't alone. I haven't picked it up yet because of all the bad reviews. I don't like it when drug use, rape, and things like that are thrown in for no reason. They need to have a point. I'm not sure I'm going to like this one but since I have a copy of it, I may eventually give it a try. Great honest review!


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