Everyone is exactly like me.
There is no one like me.
The rough fabric of my cotton nightgown chafes so I lie very still. They say my discomfort comes from being built like one accustomed to niceties. How is that fair when I myself have never experienced anything but copies of the real thing?
My entire life is an imitation.
I am an Imitation.
I’ve been here five years. Training. Preparing. Waiting.
And now I have a letter.
My assignment has begun.
I am a prisoner.
I am not Raven Rogen.
I am here to die.
Though the idea of clones is nothing new, Hildenbrand has created a completely unique storyline, giving an old idea new flight. Imitation follows the life, or lack thereof, of Ven, a scientifically engineered “product” created to serve her authentic if the need ever arises. What’s different here, though, is the fact that Ven and her friends know they are not “human.” They’ve been told this from the beginning, when they first awoke as an imitation, and I found this aspect very interesting. Knowing your purpose is to serve another changes things, quite literally. The imitations have also been told they cannot feel emotions like love and sorrow, which further adds to Ven’s belief that she’s not human and, therefore, expendable. As the plot unfolds, throwing Ven into the realm of the living, impersonating her authentic, Raven, in order to draw out a threat against Raven’s life, Ven must make the choice to either fulfill her purpose or to fight back. Either way, especially with the kill switch in her arm and a growing love for bodyguard Linc, the going will not be easy.
I really liked that, unlike every other novel or movie I’ve seen concerning clones, the imitations in Hildenbrand’s novel are not just meant to be harvested for their parts should their authentic die. Instead, these authentics know they’ll serve a purpose on the outside, and they’re trained in combat, are physically fit, and are ready for anything, because their purpose is quite broad—from total assimilation of the authentic’s life, to acting as an expendable decoy, to being used for parts, the options are endless.
I loved Ven’s struggle. As soon as she’s on the outside, her “life” is thrown upside down. The constant fear of death and fulfilling her purpose, along with the close calls, creates much anticipation for the reader. I was extremely worried for Ven, and I couldn’t believe that Raven’s father, Titus, could be so cruel, continually taunting Ven with the threat of the kill switch—either die by his hand, or that of Raven’s attackers. I can’t imagine being in her shoes.
Likewise, there is a mystery afoot. Who is trying to kill Raven in the first place, and why? How is Raven’s father, Titus, in cahoots with the creation of imitations? And, why are more and more imitations suddenly flooding the city? All these questions lead up to some awesome answers, twisting all we thought we knew and presenting a completely different picture, while some of these answers leave us with even more questions… especially as Hildenbrand leaves readers with a pretty big cliffhanger that left me yelling, that’s it?!
This is a great read that I highly recommend. The writing is as beautiful as the cover. Four stars.
I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.
And now for an excerpt!!!
***Everyone is exactly like me.
There is no one like me.
I wrestle with these contradicting truths most nights while the rest of them sleep. Tonight is worse because Marla has left me a note to see her in the morning. No one sees Marla and comes back. Lonnie reminds me of this after she snatches the note out of my shaking hand and reads it for Ida, who promptly bursts into tears. No one speaks after that as we lie in our bunks counting the breaths until lights out.
In the bunk above me, I can hear Lonnie breathing steadily in and out. She’s not worrying herself out of a good night’s sleep. She’s not the one going to see Marla. Below me, Ida is quiet. I suspect she is awake, worrying, but I don’t call out. There is no talking after lights out, and even whispers carry in the sleeping room.
The sleeping room is a long rectangle with high ceilings and a bad echo. The walls are lined with triple-level bunk-beds. Everyone here is part of a trio. Lonnie says it’s because three’s a crowd. It creates diversity and therefore animosity. It discourages bonding that happens when there are only two. Ida tells her she’s wrong because the three of us have bonded just fine. I see both points. No one else seems as close as we are. But then no other trio has lasted this long.
I’ve been with Lonnie and Ida since I began. Most others have lost at least one of their threesome to a note from Marla, only to have them replaced by a stranger. Ages vary in Twig City, but the children are kept elsewhere so most new additions come in looking aged at least sixteen human years. The oldest I’ve seen is somewhere around fifty. There is no rhyme or reason to how long you’ll stay once you’re here. Could be a week, could be a year. I’ve been here five years. Training. Preparing. Waiting.
And now I have a letter.
The rough fabric of my cotton nightgown chafes so I lie very still and let my mind race. They say my discomfort comes from being built like one accustomed to niceties. How is that fair when I have never experienced anything but copies of the real thing? My entire life is an imitation.
I am an Imitation.
The constant hum of the building is annoying tonight. I’ve never experienced a moment of my existence without it. From the time the tubes were removed from my throat and air was forced into and out of my lungs, until my petri-grown organs learned to contract on their own, the humming overhead has been constant. They say it is the sound of life being poured through plastic piping and into the tiny tube-grown humans housed downstairs. Any other night, the humming is nothing more than white noise. Tonight it’s not a comfort. Nothing is.
All I can think of is Marla. And what comes after.***
And now for the GIVEAWAY!!
Heather is giving away an eBook copy of this awesome read to one lucky winner!
To enter my giveaway, you must:
-Be 13 years or older (or have parent/guardian permission)
-Agree to HONESTLY REVIEW the novel via a blog (if you have one), or Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or any other media format you use for book reviews
-Fill in the mandatory question on rafflecopter (extra entries optional)
This contest is open internationally and will end at 12:01am EST on March 27th. Please only enter once. The winners will be announced later on March 27th, and will receive email notifications later that day! Please read my giveaway policy. Good luck!
About Heather Hildenbrand:
Heather Hildenbrand was born and raised in a small town in northern Virginia where she was homeschooled through high school. She now lives in coastal VA, a few miles from the Atlantic Ocean, with her two adorable children. She works from home, part time, as a property manager and when she’s not furiously pounding at the keyboard, or staring off into space whilst plotting a new story, she’s lying on the beach, soaking in those delicious, pre-cancerous rays.
Heather loves Mexican food, hates socks with sandals, and if her house was on fire, the one thing she’d grab is her DVR player.
You can find out more about her and her books at www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com
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Heather is a co-founder of Accendo Press, a publishing group she operates with fellow authors: Angeline Kace and Jennifer Sommersby. Accendo (a-CH-endo), A Latin word, means “to kindle, illuminate, inflame, or set fire.” This is something Accendo strives to do inside a reader’s imagination with every title released. For a complete list of titles and author bios, visit www.accendopress.com.