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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

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ARC Review: Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither

Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither

Falls the Shadow
Stefanie Gaither
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

When Cate Benson was twelve, her sister died.

Two hours after the funeral, they picked up Violet’s replacement, and it was like nothing had ever happened. Because Cate’s parents are among those who decided to grant their children a sort of immortality—by cloning them at birth. So this new Violet has the same smile. The same laugh. That same perfect face. Thanks to advancements in mind-uploading technology, she even has all the same memories as the girl she replaced.

She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.

Or at least, that’s what the paparazzi and crazy anti-cloning protesters want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that, though. She’s used to standing up for her sister too, and she’s determined to prove her innocence now—at whatever the cost. But the deeper she digs for the truth, the further Cate's carefully-constructed life begins to unravel, unveiling a world filled with copies and lies, where nothing and no one—not even her sister— is completely what they seem.

In a pulse pounding debut, Stefanie Gaither takes readers on a nail-biting ride through a future that looks frighteningly similar to our own time and asks: how far are you willing to go to keep your family together?
Advanced copy provided by Simon & Schuster for review via Edelweiss – thanks!

Falls the Shadow: By far, the most predictable book I've ever read. Fun Fact: I figured out the entire plot by 6% of the book, which, in my humble opinion, figuring out the plot very early on in the book is bad. VERY bad, because where's the fun in knowing the big plan?!

It's not fun at all. In fact, it's like Hansel and Gretel, only those bread crumbs? They're like me placing them from school to home. It's pretty boring if you ask me – unless you're hungry of course, but has anyone heard of the word germs? – and that's precisely how I felt about Gaither's debut novel. There's a great idea: a society who recently came out of war not too long ago where the population is dwindling as generations continue. To save humanity, a scientific experiment – company? – by the name of Huxley comes up with a genius idea of cloning, in which if accidents happen, – because they do, and the universe is sometimes cruel – families can continue on with their lives as though nothing has changed. And that's the case with Catelyn Benson's sister, Violet. At least until Violet mysteriously disappears.

I only stuck around because I was at work early and was sitting at a table with sucky wifi, so I couldn't download any books. Not that downloading books is necessary because I'm that person who's prepared for situations like DNF or finishing books. I've got quite a few at my disposal, but it never hurts to entertain Lupe from Catching Bookz about renaming Kahlan's Zeitoun essay to Essay to Murder on my hard drive (I really did. For a reason) when the wifi actually does work.

Mainly I stuck around reading Falls the Shadow because I was hoping Gaither would surprise me. I was hoping that she would later fling said bread crumbs – hopefully kindly – at me in a way that I'll be shocked and amazed. I was not hoping, however, for me to be led from school to home and vice versa, with said bread crumbs already laid about, perfectly planned as though I was part of the plot planning (which I wasn't).

I think I also stuck around because there's something about Falls the Shadow. Perhaps it's the way the story is written, how Cate has to be watchful of her classmates who once treated her like furniture but as soon as "new Violet" comes around, she begins to get attacked. Or maybe it's how Cate seems to be really neutral until she finds out what Huxley's real plans are and she finally chooses a side.

Just when I lost hope though, something surprising happens! Near the end! But then it was a roller coaster ride for the rest of the book. Too bad that roller coaster ride sometimes resulted in disappointment. And now someone's bound to smack me upside the head for waiting that long.

Falls the Shadow is a novel with a heroine who acts strong but doesn't feel the same way and has a unique concept, however predictable it may be. Oh, and the clones? They're creepy. It's worse than cameras watching your every move, because it actually is. Only it's a chip.

2.5 Owls

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Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.