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Imitation by Heather Hildenbrand
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
When it comes to books about clones, or sci-fi stuff in general, I’m more than willing to suspend my disbelief here and there. I feel like it comes with the territory and while some may like reading about the complicated things involved, I more than happy to just go with whatever the author says and call it a day. If the author says that cloning has been going on for a long time, I’m fine with that. And in the beginning of the novel, I right there going with the flow, but then we learn about the Imitations and what they’re required to do and everything came crashing down.
Ven is an ‘Imitation’, a clone of an ‘Authentic’ person living in the outside world. Since she was created, she’s known that it was her sole mission in life to know every that there was to know about her Authentic, Raven. Everything from what she likes, to how to speaks, to the little ticks that she does when she thinks no one is watching.
For five years, Ven has known every “intimate” (but not really) detail about Raven, so that if she’s ever made to take on Raven’s duties, she’ll be more than prepared. She isn’t sure when she’ll be called up for duty, but after a few chapters she does and Ven is off to live in the outside. Naturally, she’s nervous about the mission and makes a few hiccups here and there, but soon enough she meets someone that makes her question if everything is really worth it. Is it herself? Nope, but it is a hot older guy. (Older, because he’s 21 and Ven has only been around 5 years……) Anyways, the deeper she gets, the more she realizes that she doesn’t want to be Raven, she wants to be Ven.
I generally like books about clones, especially since there’s always a morally gray aspect to them and I like reading about how the clones feel about themselves and the world that they live in. Even if it doesn’t make sense, or if someone is making clones for no real purpose, I’ll still read it just to see what happens. And even though I did read this to the end, I feel like so many plot points ruined my experience with this.
Normally, I’d talk about how the romance doesn’t make sense, and it doesn’t. Ven and Linc spend maybe a day together before they’re declaring their undying love for one another. Considering Ven hasn’t had much contact with guys, it’s kind of makes sense for her to be a bit thirsty when she sees a hot guy and interacts with him for the first time.
But let’s all remember that Ven is meant to be Raven and Raven loves Daniel, a guy that Ven has never seen before her mission started.
I don’t even like love triangles, but if I was running the company making the clones you better be sure that there would have been one here. Had I worked at a clone facility and it was my purpose to make sure the clones know their Authentic the best, then I’d make sure they know who the boyfriends/girlfriends are. Not only that, but I’d make them want their Authentic’s love interest. Every desire their Authentic feels, the Imitations will feel as well.
Except here, whenever Ven is studying Raven’s life through the videos, the screen always goes dark when Daniel shows up. This is a problem, because whenever Daniel kissed Ven, she recoiled in disgust. That’s not how a trained clone is meant to behave when her sole mission in life is to be exactly like her Authentic.
This clone place clearly doesn’t do a great job with their clones. I mean, how is Ven supposed to be Raven when she’s gets snippets of her life? Also, the name Ven is horrible. If I was the clone factory, I’d make sure the clones only have the names of their Authentic people. So Ven, would only be referred to as Raven. This might seem cruel and even confusing to readers, but considering that the company that makes the clones calls them products and thinks of them as less than human, I wonder why they’d make them feel human by giving them their own name.
I mean, if I had a cat, which I would love to have because cats are adorable and amazing and fluffy and caring, but not too caring that they want you to think that you’re their only one….. if I had a cat and I didn’t care for it, I’d call him/her “cat”, or “hey you.” By giving the cat a name, I’m already establishing a connection and humanizing the animal.
In Imitation, the clones are made to feel like they have no soul, that they’re not human, and that they have no purpose in life except to be there for their Authentic when the time arises. If it doesn’t, then they’re used for organs and whatnot. Basically, the people running this company are horrible. They implant a kill switch on every clone, they make sure you know that you can and will be replaced, and that you have no happy ending if you’re an Imitation, and yet they’re very human with the names. If you don’t care about clones, why call them anything else other than the names of the people they’re meant to be, or a bar code number?
The name doesn’t really matter, but when I was reading about how Ven would watch hours of videos about Raven and yet not know how Raven’s dad or boyfriend looks like, I started to notice so many horrible protocols placed inside of this facility. Worse of all, I kept thinking about how if I was running the place, every single clone would have a burning desire to ”Single White Female” their original.
This might cause problems in the long run, but I feel like this is what would be the best course of action to take in this company.
Regardless of that, I think that’s what my main problem with the novel is the fact that certain things made no sense whatsoever. It was so bad, that I couldn’t suspend my disbelief even if I wanted to. Ven’s desire to be Ven and not Raven happened within two seconds and solidified once Linc said something nice to her. She was screwing up her job before, but this epiphany made it even worse. Her father, her friends, her boyfriend, her security, everyone could see a huge difference between Ven and Raven.
What were those five years for if she can’t completely the only job she’s meant to have?
Speaking of Raven, she’s hardly in the book and Ven hates her like you would not believe for reasons that make no sense. Raven is apparently shallow, vapid, slut, and everything in between. But we never really got to know Raven or why her life was in danger in the first place. I think it was to bring out Ven so she can be recruited by the ‘bad guys’ only the bad guys have the same horrible tactics as the clone company.
If I was a bad guy in this novel…
Overall: Imitation has all of the makings for a really great clone series. I already saw hints of the clones starting a revolution, but once we learn a bit about that the book ends. It just ends.
And yet, that isn’t my problem with the book. It’s not the sudden cliffhanger. It’s not the insta-love that makes the heroine realize her worth and feel like nothing in life matters except the hero. It’s the fact that this world makes no sense.
There are certain things in this book that other reviewers took issue with, but I was able to look past it. But a clone company that trains clones to behave like the originals is so poorly run that I couldn’t handle it. Whenever Ven messed up, I didn’t say to myself, “Stupid Ven not understanding the mission and being useless!” No, instead I said, “This is what happens when you don’t train your clones properly. Things would be so much different if I took over.”
The thing is, I don’t want to think or feel this way when reading a book. It ruins the experience; and unfortunately, that’s what happened here. The book did end on an annoying note though, so I’m probably going to read the next book to see what happens next. I’m assuming that since everything is now established, great things should happen. Hopefully we’ll learn more about this company and why they suck at their job so much.
Imitation was provided by netgalley