Elysia's purpose is to serve the inhabitants of Demesne, an island paradise for the wealthiest people on earth. Everything about Demesne is bioengineered for perfection. Even the air induces a strange, euphoric high, which only the island's workers-soulless clones like Elysia-are immune to.
At first, Elysia's life is idyllic and pampered. But she soon sees that Demesne's human residents, who should want for nothing, yearn. But for what, exactly? She also comes to realize that beneath the island's flawless exterior, there is an undercurrent of discontent among Demesne's worker clones. She knows she is soulless and cannot feel and should not care-so why are overpowering sensations clouding Elysia's mind?
If anyone discovers that Elysia isn't the unfeeling clone she must pretend to be, she will suffer a fate too terrible to imagine. When her one chance at happiness is ripped away with breathtaking cruelty, emotions she's always had but never understood are unleashed. As rage, terror, and desire threaten to overwhelm her, Elysia must find the will to survive.
You're going along, really getting involved in a story line, and BOOM...it ends. The book ends. Yeah...this was one of those books. Seriously, major cliff-hanger, worse than the cliffhangers from a TV show season finale. It was bad. I was angry...I was in a room full of students who are taking summer school. Oh, and a co-worker was in the room, too. One who already probably thinks I'm strange.
Elysia's life is, as the blurb describes, idyllic. For a clone, she IS rather pampered, and allowed to feel, at least to some extent, like a member of the family that bought her. A family whose children happen to run with the elite on the island.
Beta is a really rather unique dystopian/post-apocalyptic story line. You find out a little of what's happened to the earth in the future (water, lots of water, resulting in old "floody cities"), but not much because, really, what's important is the paradise called Demesne (I'd love it if someone gave me the correct pronunciation for that word). This first book not only sets the tone, provides all the necessary backstory for the main characters. I found myself emotionally invested in Elysia and utterly shocked by some of things she experienced.
I can say Beta has done what few other first books in a series have--I'm chomping at the bit for the next installment, which will be a while yet since it's currently June as I write this review from a galley and the book doesn't release until October. Perhaps, maybe, someone will tell Rachel Cohn that I'm waiting impatiently for the next 3 books.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook galley from Disney-Hyperion through the netGalley publisher/reader connection program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.