I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher Hachette Australia via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is a crazy premise that Lauren Oliver has pulled off incredibly well.
Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. ‘A sickly child’, her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father’s connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she’s always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father’s name seems inextricably linked to it.
Amidst the frenzy outside the institute’s walls, Lyra – or number 24 as she is known as at Haven – and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing, they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven’s purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever…
This may be bumped up half a point once I’ve sat on it for a bit.
Read this. Just do it!
I’m so happy to report that this book actually works. I will admit that when I saw this was a dual perspective book I was a little worried however Lauren Oliver manages to weave two parallel yet distinct stories together. I chose to read these as two separate books but I know you can read them as alternating chapters.
“On very still nights sometimes we can hear them chanting, calling for us to die.”
Lyra is such an interesting and innocent character. Her naievity is part of what makes her so fantastic and it is what drives her story along. Raised in the Haven Institute and equipped with a curious mind, a series of events lead her to find a comrade in another replica named 72 and two teenagers named Gemma and Jake.
I loved Gemma. She is a strange combination of timid and feisty and watching her navigate her journey in the wake of some major revelations was really exciting. Gemma goes from having no boys in her life to having two in a very short space of time and I found that they both served her character and her arc perfectly.
While this story contains a lot more than just these two girls gallivanting around, I felt like these characters were so well crafted they could’ve been stuck in a supermarket the whole time and I would’ve liked it.
This book is full of explosions, experimentations, family, friends, love, creepy doctors and more. If you liked Lauren Oliver’s other work, you should like this too. My only recommendation would be to purchase the physical book as flipping the stories was a little challenging on my tablet.
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