Monday, 26 August 2013

Review: The Originals

The Originals

Publication Date: May 7th 2013        
Publisher:  Little Brown Books for Young Readers     

17-year-olds Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey Best grew up as identical triplets... until they discovered a shocking family secret. They're actually closer than sisters, they're clones. Hiding from a government agency that would expose them, the Best family appears to consist of a single mother with one daughter named Elizabeth. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey take turns going to school, attending social engagements, and a group mind-set has always been a de facto part of life...

Then Lizzie meets Sean Kelly, a guy who seems to see into her very soul. As their relationship develops, Lizzie realizes that she's not a carbon copy of her sisters; she's an individual with unique dreams and desires, and digging deeper into her background, Lizzie begins to dismantle the delicate balance of an unusual family that only science could have created
When they were younger, Lizzie, Ella and Betsey Best lived as triplets with their Mother, and believed they were so. Until they have to run and their Mother tells them the truth. They're identical, carbon copies of a supposed baby that had died, and used the DNA to clone the three. Now on the run for years,  Lizzie, Ella and Betsey live as one, one whole person, Elizabeth Best, and take a third of the day each, from school, to afternoon, to night work and college classes Lizzie takes the first half, Ella the second, which leaves Betsey to the night. They wear the same clothes, have to have the same hairstyle, everyday so nobody suspects they're anything but one person.

With a change of schedules, and Lizzie and Ella each falling a guy, two different guys, leads to their strive of having their own lives, separate lives. To live the way they want, to date who they want, to go out when they want, and as secrets and lies unravel they realise not only have they been lied to their whole lives, but that what they uncover could lead to the ultimate conclusion they want more than anything.
Their own identity.
I have read Cat Winter's other work, though I favour Forgotten over Revived, but they're always a good read.
There's this thing Cat Winter's does, that makes you want to read and carry on reading. There's never heavy filled stuff, and The Originals was the same. It didn't overwhelm you with the science, and though it's a huge part of the story, The Originals, to me is mainly character driven.
Se has this way of realistically writing teenagers in every one I've read, and has a way of fusing the romantic side of things in with the story, it doesn't over shadow it, and it isn't the main focus, and the anomaly of the actual storyline, not so unrealistic, (It's only a matter of time.) if you think about it.
 I find, with The Originals, though as unique as the subject matter is, and the others is more than plot driven, it's the focus of the  relationships between the parents and siblings, friends, that makes it seem realistic. We have twists, and sweet romance and see the importance of knowing your own identity. That though identical Lizzie, Ella and Betsey were, they weren't carbon copies of each other or their Original. Each had their own personality, and though sharing one identity, you can see the difference between them.
Lizzie, being the narrator, was snarky and  impulsive,  and like Betsey and Ella, a little naive to see what their Mother was doing to them. Through being so restricted and forbidden to date Sean, the guy she likes, she starts to see it and the cracks start to show. At first she wasn't so rash, sure she didn't like their situation, and she sometimes fought against it, but she only started to question it once Sean sees it from the outside and saw it for what it is. Showing her what it is, since she knows no different, they've all lived like it for so long that it's become normal for them.
And it's far from normal.
It's really like a prison, their mother controls  and dictates every little thing that they do, they have to wear a necklace that masks as a tracking device so she knows where they are every minute of the day. It's a suffocating situation and now 17, they want out. But the threat of the Government after them keeps them in line, until one falls in love and questions their existence, and is determined to find the truth no matter how bad it might hurt.
 Lizzie really was such a character a great character, she's a fighter, and she doesn't let go of things. Yes, she's also sulky but to be fair, so would you in her situation, and the unfairness of it all.
Betsey was like the medium between Ella and Lizzie, she was a quiet character and sacrificed a lot- she really had the raw side of the deal.
Ella, oh, she was my least favourite. in the beginning she really was selfish, unseeing, annoying and she didn't like change. She grew, as did the others, and she grew on me, but she's still my least favourite.
Sean, he was sweet and accepting. He seemed a little bit like he was trying too hard at the start, but you got to see the real Sean when he's with Lizzie. He really was likeable character, and he came with his own quirks and obsessions.
Overall, The Originals is a quick, interesting and unique read and it was a fun ride.
 Rating: 4/5