Monday, May 14, 2012


Title: Replication [The Jason Experiment]

Series: Stand-Alone

Genre: YA Contemporary Science-Fiction

Excerpt from Chapter 1 of Replication:

Martyr stared at the equation on the white-board and set his pencil down. He didn’t feel like practicing math today. What did math matter when his expiration date was so near?

His wrist still throbbed from Fido’s teeth. Martyr touched the strip of fabric he’d ripped from his bedsheet and tied around his wrist to stop the bleeding. He hoped the wound would heal before a doctor noticed it. A trip upstairs to mend it would be unpleasant, as the doctor would likely use the opportunity to perform tests. Martyr shuddered.

To distract himself, he glanced at the other boys. Every Jason in the classroom except Speedy and Hummer scribbled down the numbers from the whiteboard. Speedy sketched Dr. Max’s profile, staring at the doctor with intense concentration. His hand darted over the paper, shading the dark face with a short, black beard.

Hummer—as always—hummed and rocked back and forth, hugging himself. Martyr never understood why the doctors made Hummer take classes instead of putting him in with the brokens. Perhaps it had to do with Hummer’s being so much older than the other brokens, or the fact that he could walk and didn’t need special medications.

Movement at the back of the room caught Martyr’s attention, and he twisted around to get a better look. Dr. Kane stood outside the locked door, looking in through the square window. A stranger wearing glasses stood beside him, much shorter and a little rounder than Dr. Kane. The man’s head was also shaven like Martyr’s, but the way he carried himself next to Dr. Kane showed he was nothing like a clone. Martyr’s pulse increased. There hadn’t been a new doctor on the Farm in a long time.

A human clone escapes an experimental lab and finds refuge with the daughter of the lab’s newest scientist.

Craft: Replication is a well-paced story of science, its boundaries, and what can happen when those boundaries are crossed.

The characters are empathetic, and Martyr will pull the heart-strings of any reader who likes a good underdog story. The prose is clean and straightforward, easy to read. A wonderful twist of humor winds throughout the story, and the overall conflict is compelling. The hooks at the end of chapters could be stronger, making the book easier to put down than I like to see, but the overarching tension will eventually pull the reader back.

Content: The themes of Replication range over a wide landscape, covering everything from the definition of being human to learning to live one’s faith. Faith issues are spoken about bluntly, but as a whole don’t seem to become preachy.

Summary: While I enjoyed Ms. Williamson’s Blood of Kings trilogy more, Replication is still a good story. It has much smile-provoking humor, a solid plot, empathetic characters, and some interesting themes. A fun afternoon read for both teens and adults, especially for those who like having an underdog to pull for.

Ratings: Craft—3, Content—4, Overall—3.8 out of 5 stars

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