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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Replication: The Jason Experiment by Jill Wiliamson (review)

Genre:Christian fiction, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Publication.Date  December 27th 2011
Published By:  Zonderkidz   | 
WebsiteJill Wiliamson

 Replication: The Jason Experiment- Goodreads
My review copy:netGalley
Where to get: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Christian Book.COM

     When Your Life Is Not Your OwnMartyr---otherwise known as Jason 3:3---is one of hundreds of clones kept in a remote facility called Jason Farms. Told that he has been created to save humanity, Martyr has just one wish before he is scheduled to 'expire' in less than a month. To see the sky.
Abby Goyer may have just moved to Alaska, but she has a feeling something strange is going on at the farm where her father works. But even this smart, confident girl could never have imagined what lies beneath a simple barn. Or what would happen when a mysterious boy shows up at her door, asking about the stars.
As the reality of the Jason Experiment comes to light, Martyr is caught between two futures---the one for which he was produced and the one Abby believes God created him to have. Time is running out, and Martyr must decide if a life with Abby is worth leaving everything he's ever known.


You think it's right to harm one person to cure another? If a healthy person gets sick trying to help, then you're only making more people sick.
 The Jasons were special. They were created to die, to save the earth's population from the toxic air.
  You're one of the few doctors who see me as more than an experiment.


     Replication: The Jason Experiment by Jill Wiliamson was a very weird read. It started off interesting, but rather slow. It picked up around 1/4 of the book and was going strong UNTIL the last 20% of the story, which was just unbearably boring, and.. odd. I loved the premise of this novel. I thought it was insane! Disturbing, bone-chilling and quite plausible (which only made it that much more scary). I kept on thinking to myself: why on earth did I not hear about this book before?! Well, after reading the last few chapters I now know why. What promised to be a powerful and thrilling dystopian ride with a controversial plot line and fascinating characters, turned out to be more of a religious pamphlet - weird and uncomfortably preachy. Interesting, thought-provoking and disquieting, but a religious pamphlet nevertheless.

      Jason 3:3 is a clone. Together with hundreds other clones, he "lives" at a secret underground research facility in Alaska called Jason Farms. He's been told that the outside world is poisoned, that people can't breathe normally and his purpose of existence is to save the humanity from extinction by helping develop effective treatments and medications. For the clones it means never-ending injections and painful drug/vaccine testings. They're nothing more than human guinea pigs. Jason 3:3's nickname is Martyr, because he protects the "brokens" (clones that are physically or mentally under-developed) from those who are aggressive and abusive. He's almost eighteen now, which means he'll soon "expire". He has accepted his destiny, he believes that his death is a necessary sacrifice to save the human race. His only wish is to see the blue sky before the scientists will take him away for the last time. The doctors deny his request, but Martyr refuses to give up. He steals an access card and sneaks out to see the sky for the first and last time in his life. What he finds, though, when he finally reaches the surface, is not only the sky, but also the truth. He learns that everything he's been told - everything he believed in - was a lie. The Earth's population is not at all on the brink of extinction. The air is not toxic. Most important of all, he does not need to die. Will he find a way to survive, though?

      Sounds fantastic, right? For the most part I really enjoyed reading this book. It was readable, fast-paced and intense. The narration skilfully (and smoothly) alternates between Martyr and Abby Goyer, the daughter of Dr. Goyer, who recently started working at Jason Farms. Both the characters were well-drawn and quite interesting to read about, and I really loved the chemistry between them. Sadly, while I thought Abby to be a strong and brave character, she is also the biggest reason for my disappointment with this book. She's a girl of strong faith - and that's fantastic - but at the same time she was overwhelmingly preachy and pushy. I understand that she was only trying her best to save Martyr, but what I don't get is: how is shoving a bible in his hand and sending him away to talk to a pastor supposed to save him from being killed for organs at the freaky clone farm? Don't get me wrong, although I'm an atheist, for the most part I really didn't mind all the religious references. I totally understand that the author's strong religious views are bound to somewhat shine through in her writing. And that's OK. Plus Zonderkidz is a Christian publishing company, so yeah, go figure. What really bothered me, though, is the last 20% of the book, when the preaching intensifies beyond the reasonable amount, even for Christian fiction. I respect other peoples' religious views and all, but at the same time don't like to be spoon-fed Christian propaganda.

That being said, it would've been a really great, taut and meaningful read if not for the unnecessary religious freakiness at the end, which - in my opinion - didn't really make sense in relation to the plot (In the end, everyone's a happy Christian, even those who strongly refused to believe in God for 90% of the book). Like I said before, this novel had a great potential. Unfortunately, despite the fascinating premise and some truly heart-breaking scenes from the clone farm, it failed both as a political and religious message. The scientific part of the "is-it-OK-to-clone-embryos-for-medical-research-and-possibly-organ-harvesting" discussion wasn't scientific enough, and failed to provide sufficient arguments on both sides. The religious part, on the other hand, was way overdone and sometimes borderline ridiculous. In the end, the whole thing felt rather flat and under-developed. If you can get past the preachy tone of this book, I suppose you might really enjoy it (it has really good ratings on Goodreads). I would read it just for Martyr and his charming innocence (and often funny cluelessness). If, however, books with strong religious ideology are not exactly your cuppa tea, but you'd still like to read a good book about clones, then perhaps Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go might be a better choice.

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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

It sounds like it would have been a really good book if it wasn't overly preachy. I'm not a fan of books that are preachy like that either, I feel that it takes away from the story. Great review!

Lexie said...

That's disappointing. :( It sounds like such an awesome premise, but eek . . . this is why I generally try to avoid religious books. Sometimes they can be done awesomely, but often they go way too heavy on the preaching and it just spoils all the awesomeness.

Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) said...

This is a bummer Evie. I'm a believer myself, but I find that many/most of the Christian fiction or religious fiction books are just cheesy in nature. It sounds like this one was mostly good but that the little part that wasn't all that good was just cheesy.

Bummer, dude. Thanks for honest thoughts. I was wondering about this one. I might still eventually read it, but probably not anytime soon. I'm still fascinated by the books that explore the religious themes, but not overly so (as I don't really need that) and not too cheesy.

I'm gonna be quiet now because I feel like I'm sounding pretentious...


Stephanie Verhaegen said...

Too bad you didn't like it more. I think I wouldn't like it myself what with all the preachy stuff. But I loved the review!

Grace Lo said...

*Sigh* It always sucks when a book doesn't live up to your expectations . . .
I've never heard of Replication before now, but seeing how I'm a sucker for sci-fi and dystopia, I'd love to give this book a chance.

marybelle said...

The cover creeps me out. For the most part this book sounds good. It does sound like it went off the rails at the end though.

Jaime Lester said...

Another one that I have passed by at the library numerous times. I am not so sure that I would have benefited had I picked this one up though. It sounds alright, but it only warranted a 3 star Evie review, so I just don't know. One day, maybe!

Biondy said...

seems intriguing at first, but then it doesn't sound great...

Aliaa El-Nashar said...

Oh sounds like such an awesome read!

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