Book Review: The Similars by Rebecca Hanover
Publishing date: January 1, 2019
read courtesy of netgalley.com
I'm going to start at the end... there's a sequel in waiting. That gives you an idea about the ending: it's a cliffhanger. Unfortunately, I'll never find out how it all ends; I won't be purchasing the sequel for my high school library. I'm not sure how much my students recognize cliched writing, but since it interfered with my enjoyment of the book, I'm not going to expose them to the triteness.
As a mystery, Hanover did what she was supposed to do, provide clues or throw out distractions as to the "real" perpetrator. However, I found these clues too obvious -- they were spelled out instead of implied or alluded to -- which took some of the guesswork out of reading a mystery. Hanover also heavily depended on the readers' willingness to suspend disbelief that a 16-year-old girl would be able to save her best friend from the evil mad scientist when the friend'as own father couldn't or wouldn't -- in the guise of having to wait for his wife to die -- so it HAD to be the teenager to come to the rescue.
One of the Similars, who are all brilliant geniuses, couldn't estimate how large the place from which he came was, claiming that it was hard to "have a sense of scale" when you're inside the place. Really? That felt out of character. (If it sounds like a nitpick, it is; but it irked me to have such a blatant character misrepresentation.)
Basically, the story was a little too schizophrenic for me. the majority of the story was about cloning and clones, and then the last part suddenly became about virtual reality and two mad scientist brothers. Then at the end... I mean near the cliffhanger... a character who had been declared dead via suicide was found alive and returns to the boarding school. Clunk... the cliffhanger was only a 2-foot drop for me. In spite of those who knew cloning was involved, the rest of the world didn't (wouldn't the suicide have made the news?) How could a teenager reappear, and no one called the FBI? No one did because then it wouldn't be a cliffhanger. But like I said, it wasn't a cliffhanger for me. I stepped back up the 2-foot drop and walked away. It was my suspension of disbelief that was the only thing left hanging.