I was hooked after the first chapter where we meet Althea and learn about how Vispera works. Vispera was founded by a group of scientists after the plague that killed humans started. They wanted to preserve some form of humanity and cloned themselves. Many generations later the clones are still being made and humans are extinct…except one. The first chapter chronicles the first time that a generation of clones meets a human and it doesn’t go well. The contrast between Althea and Jack, a clone and a human, is one of the book’s strongest points. I loved how distinct Althea and Jack were. They were each raised differently and taught to believe different things about themselves. But they’re also so similar. Both Althea and Jack feel lonely and different from their peers. Jack feels like this because he’s the only human he’s ever met while Althea is starting to question her clone society and knows that she’s the only one doing so.
I loved Althea’s character development. She starts as a clone who notices the unfair treatment of Jack but knows she shouldn’t speak out against it. Her clone sisters would never understand and she doesn’t want to disappoint them. But throughout the book she starts experiencing things she’s never had before like anger, longing, and empathy. She starts to wonder if there’s more to life. Readers will yearn for Althea to explore her feelings more and root her on in her self-discovery.
This is a clone sci-fi story that works. It’s not about discovering you’re a clone but about what it means to live in a world where there’s hundreds of you. The world building makes sense and there’s enough information about how human artifacts were preserved, how Vispera came to be, and why the scientists made these decisions. It’s clear that Finlay carefully planned out this futuristic world. Readers will be fascinated with how the clones view humans and the human world from the past. The mystery of who is sabotaging Vispera will draw readers in while a big reveal in the middle of the book will keep you reading.