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 picked this book up because the cover is gorgeous and it was under Kindle Unlimited. I don’t regret reading it, I found it quite enjoyable, but I am glad I didn’t pay £9 for the paperback.
The premise itself isn’t that unique, similar to The Diabolic as in the main character has to take this other person’s place as they were created to protect this person. A major difference, apart from Ven not being Raven’s bodyguard, is the relationship between Ven and Raven and I’m not sure this was a good change. If Ven had disliked Raven because she had what Ven could never have, or she feels like she is wasting her life, fine. But she seems to really hate her based on snippets of Raven’s life when she’s in front of other people and I wouldn’t mind that if it didn’t read like it was justified hatred. If Ven hated Raven, then fair enough, but it felt like we were supposed to hate her too when all we got was secondhand information. I really hope this changes in the last two books of the series or Ven gets to actually meet Raven.
The premise was similar to other books, but about three quarters of the way through the book, it started to get far more interesting. It took a turn that I was in favour of and definitely wasn’t expecting. The balance between Titus and the maybe ally/maybe enemy Ven picks up on the way was very interesting, I really loved the point where Ven says to herself that probably none of these people are the ‘good’ guys but they would help her get what she wanted.
Some of the characters I really liked or found interesting (Obadiah, Melanie, Ven at times) but some fell very flat for me. Linc felt very shallow to me, we immediately get hit by his tragic backstory as well as Ven instantly liking him despite him being rude to her. As a consequence the romance also feels a little tepid, a little dull as well. Titus I still can’t the hang on. I’m not a fan of evil characters being completely evil, it feels very 2-D to me. And I’m not sure whether Ida or Obadiah is a trans character or not, that wasn’t made too clear if it were. Ida being shy about changing and Obadiah presenting as a man before going out were two very small clues but they could mean anything, especially considering nothing was said outright.
The worldbuilding was a little hit and miss at times. Like they teach the clones to socialise with the opposite sex with rigid documented parties but don’t want any of them forming lasting attachments so stop them dancing (completely ignoring the existence of non-straight couples may I add). As it stands Ven falls in love with the first eligible guy that doesn’t try to force her into sex she sees. There are thousands of Imitations but somehow they’re not common knowledge. The Imitations don’t get run over by cars despite never learning how to cross a street properly. They don’t get sick despite having, most likely, no immunity to any of the common viruses. They don’t stand and gape at other people doing stuff they don’t expect, at buildings, at other people’s lives. Then when they get to the Authentic, they have to memorise every single face from scores of people in one night (although, to be fair, Ven’s case was unusual). And all of this with no improvements meant to them, brainwave wise.
However, even with all of those problems, I finished this book quite quickly and I did like it. Three stars!