Imitation is another young adult book with a great premise but a shaky execution.
Ven is an Imitation who has spent all of her short life in Twig City, where other clones of wealthy people live. They train to essentially take the place of their originals in case of emergency, or otherwise have their organs donated when necessary. Clones are taught that they are merely copies of real humans and that they are not in fact humans at all.
In Imitation, the first in a series from what I can gather, Ven is called out to the real world in order to take the place of her “real” counterpart Raven due to kidnap attempts. The idea is to keep the real Raven safe, while Ven draws the kidnappers out for Raven’s father to deal with. Another layer to the mystery – Raven’s father is the inventor of the clones. As the danger escalates and the mystery thickens, Ven needs to decide whether she will make a run for it, or serve her “life’s purpose” – dying for people who might not be worthy to die for.
Hildenbrand has a great writing style, with enough detail to engage and enough action to keep things moving, and the society in Imitation is quite interesting – sort of a more corrupt version of Western society today. For some light reading, it’s fun! You have a love interest who while very obvious, is handsome and mysterious and easy to like (not to mention easy on the imagination’s eyes), and there is a lot of intrigue surrounding the clones and the people who use clones.
While this is a great read if you’re not thinking too hard about it, there are some issues that turned me off the book. One is the blatant slut-shaming. Ven’s narration is pretty scathing towards her “original”, who is a party girl who enjoys clothes and boys and not much else – at least, nothing mentioned in the story.
The real kicker is this quote, which could be taken straight out of one of those “I’m not like all those other girls!” speeches that to be fair, many girls go through.
She is shallow and easy and meaningless. I am deep and complicated and appreciative of the simple experience of joy.
Incredibly condescending, but hopefully it’s all part of her character development. Apart from this, Ven’s character is quite interesting to watch develop – the only glimpses she has ever had of the outside world until that point is through videos in which she must mimic her original, so she has a huge learning curve and heaps of new experiences. There is also plenty of intrigue surrounding the clones and the upper tier of whatever city they live in, as well as a lot of musings on the true nature of humanity.
In conclusion, great premise, good writing but shaky execution – but I’m still looking forward to the next part of the series.