Everyone is exactly like me. There is no one like me.
Ven wrestles with these contradicting truths every day. A clone of wealthy eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, Ven knows everything about the girl she was created to serve: the clothes she wears, the boys she loves, the friends she loves to hate. Yet she’s never met the Authentic Raven face-to-face.
Imitations like Ven only get to leave the lab when they’re needed—to replace a dead Authentic, donate an organ, or complete a specific mission. And Raven has never needed Ven . . . until now.
When there is an attack on Raven’s life, Ven is thrust into the real world, posing as Raven to draw out the people who tried to harm her. But as Ven dives deeper into Raven’s world, she begins to question everything she was ever told. She exists for Raven, but is she prepared to sacrifice herself for a girl she’s never met?
***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via Mark My Words Publicity.
- One of the many things I really admired about Imitation was that it was NOT set in a dystopian world. Yes, it combined politics, genetic engineering, and romance. Sure, there was intrigue, murder, torture, and a rebellion but it was not set in a futuristic society and that made it all the more believable.
- Linc and Ven are beautiful together. Their relationship is incredibly sweet and full of reckless hope and innocence. They’re completely natural together, they flow seamlessly into one another in that perfect understanding that only those who get each other on a soul deep level can experience. There’s something so simple about how their relationship is written that it’s almost flawless and just so heartwarming. You’ll want to read more and more of them, yearning for the scenes when they can be together. Their touches are soft and sensual, there’s nothing overly sexy or aggressive about their attraction, it just it and this is a wonderful change from many YA books recently.
- The clandestine world of Twig City was amazingly intricate and yet so plain in terms of the prison-like atmosphere and bland lifestyle. How it was kept such a secret is fascinating. The dehumanization of the clones or products is that sort of gut-wrenching and nauseating reality that will make you reflect on your own humanity. To regard someone, whether they’re born in a test tube or not as less than human and just a source for organ harvesting is sickening.
- I loved the mix of upper class material girl politics and vapidness mixed with the science fiction. Raven’s life is very Sex and the City meets The Selection and Gossip Girl. The catty social sphere and expectations of these high-class society girls is compelling. The way they toss barbs at each other, sleep around, and are unafraid to manipulate to advance their positions is so wickedly corrupt.
- The Creator is psychotic. His ruthlessness and lack of moral consciousness is terrifying.
- The small characters are full of such vibrant life and unique personalities. They all have something memorable and distinct characteristics that will leave you wanting more of them.
- Ven is the kind of fierce that is understated and undervalued. She’s not openly rebellious nor does she put herself out there but she is intelligent, she adapts rapidly and is up for anything yet still endorses her morals. Ven is brave, she basically signs her death warrant, playing a dangerous game to rescue Imitations she doesn’t know. All Ven wants is freedom, she makes mistakes, but in taking over Raven’s life, she learns parts of herself that she never imagined and discovers that love, something she never thought she’d have is to be cherished at all costs.
- I was waiting for a confrontation between the real Raven and Ven but instead, Raven is startlingly absent. Her lack of a presence at all is alarming and it would have added drama to see how they react to each other. Where is Raven? Is she alive? How does she feel about having a clone take over her life? Something is suspect here.
- The savior of the Imitations and the story behind that was a bit convoluted and not as clearly expressed nor lengthy as it could have been to get a clear picture of intentions and the end game. The motivations behind the Creator’s investments in Twig City and cloning is also hazy. While there is some mention, it’s not really enough to satisfy the curiosity.
The rough fabric of my cotton nightgown chafes so I lie very still. Once, during a training exercise, they gave me a satin blouse in place of my coarse uniform. For a few moments, I was completely her—eighteen-year-old Raven Rogen, my Authentic—down to the fabric. The slippery material felt like cool fingertips on a hot day. All I could think was: She wears clothes like this every single day.
I know everything about Raven and the world she lives in, thanks to the video footage I watch during my training sessions. But I have never experienced anything for myself—not even the sun. My entire life is an imitation of hers.
I am an Imitation.
All of us here are. From the time the tubes are removed and air is forced into our lungs, until our petri-grown organs learn to contract on their own, we are nothing but shadows of our Authentics. I used to think there was an Imitation for every Authentic, but when I asked my Examiner, Josephine, she laughed and said we’d need a whole lot more space here if that was the case. Only special Authentics get the privilege of a copy—ones with money, power, influence.
It seems as if there are thousands of us, though it’s hard to tell exactly how many exist. Twig City is sorted into sections, our placement depending on our gender, how old we were when they “woke” us, and whether we’ve gotten a note from Marla. Those woken at a young age live in a different wing, where nurses and teachers chart their development daily. You have to be at least twelve to live on my floor—the training sector, where we learn to become our Authentic—but the oldest I’ve seen is somewhere around fifty. There is no saying how long you’ll stay in this sector once you’re here. Could be a week, could be a year, depending on when your Authentic needs you. I’ve been awake for five years. Training. Preparing. Waiting—for a note from Marla. And for what comes after.
Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. (She’s only slightly socially awkward as a result.) Since 2011, she’s published more than eight YA & NA novels including the bestselling Dirty Blood series. She splits her time between coastal Virginia and the island of Guam and loves having a mobile career and outrageous lifestyle of living in two places. Her most frequent hobbies are riding motorcycles and avoiding killer slugs.
Heather is also a publishing and success coach bent on equipping and educating artists who call themselves authors. She loves teaching fellow writers how to create the same freedom-based lifestyle she enjoys. For more information visit www.phoenixauthorink.com and find out how to create your own Outrageous Life.
She is represented by Rebecca Friedman. You can find out more about Heather and her books at www.heatherhildenbrand.com.
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this: