Friday, November 18, 2016

somewhat scientific: replica by lauren oliver

it's hard to explain replica without giving away too much. it's hard to describe replica because you can read it in several different ways. the way you choose to read this book will influence the way you see the story, the way you experience the story. there are four ways to read the story, 1) you can read lyra's book and then gemma's, or 2) gemma's and then lyra's, or 3) you can read one chapter of lyra's book and then one chapter of gemma's until you reach the end, or 4) you could also read one chapter of gemma's and one chapter of lyra's until you reach the end. there are some overlapping scenes and dialogue in the story, but not so much that you would find it burdensome or repetitive. the fact that you have two different perspectives on these overlapping scenes helps with this.

i followed option 3. reading alternate chapters beginning with lyra and ending with gemma. and this totally worked for me. in some ways structuring the book in this manner gives the reader so many choices into how you can absorb the material. and part of me wonders if this was necessary since the truth is, even if it had been laid out in alternating chapters, as a reader you always have the option of reading just one character's side of the story before reading the others. we are trained not to do that but the reality is that this is always something available to us as readers. as someone who tends to skip ahead in most stories, i'm less particular about needing to read a book starting page one and straight through to the end. i'm definitely pretty flexible about that. i'm the kind of girl who spoils the ending for herself all the time. i can't stand the suspense of not knowing where things will end up.

at first i wasn't sure that i was going to be able to stick with the method of reading i chose, but once i got into a good groove it felt natural and it made no difference to me to be flipping pages and the book around whenever i finished a chapter.

as for the story. i think i love lyra as a character more than gemma. but their stories are so intertwined and i loved them both so much. i was happy to hear that there will be a sequel to this, because even though the book ends having resolved the main conflict, there is still so much material to explore. so many places this narrative can go. though i wonder if the narrative structure will need to change by necessity in a second book? i don't know that you could replicate the structure of replica in a sequel. because the way the books converge in a sense is so unique to the story the books are telling.

i've loved lauren oliver's books since i got hooked on the delirium series, but i didn't love panic and vanishing girls was just okay and i thought, oh no, maybe she's losing her touch. but i think it was more a question of me finding the stories actually appealing and there is so much in replica that appeals to me on every level. you guys, this is so good. so worth the read, even the super complicated alternate chapters way. in fact, i think that's probably the best way to read this.

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