[REVIEW] Emergent – Rachel Cohn

Rachel Cohn
Emergent (Beta, Book 2)
Disney-Hyperion (US: 7th October 2014)
Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Hardcover) Buy (CA Kindle Edition) Buy (CA Hardcover) Buy (Worldwide)

TRIGGER WARNINGS: This book contains slut-shaming, ableism, gaslighting, and pregnancy by rape.

This book was delayed. Originally due out in 2013 (maybe March), it didn’t release until October 2014. Never heard any explanation for the wait, but that’s okay – probably none of my business. And maybe because Emergent is the second in a series (no word yet on the next book, though I think the series sold in a four-book deal), there seemed to be little publicity for it. It’s only just barely mentioned on the author’s website. (“And, it’s official: Beta book 2: Emergent is now available!”) Not even a summary for the book there, but I suppose that’s fine, too – maybe to prevent spoilers? And managing a website can be troublesome.

I gave the first book, Beta, five stars, and like with other five-star books I was concerned I wouldn’t enjoy the next as much, so I put off reading Emergent when it was finally published..

And thus I have mixed feelings about Emergent. It starts off from the point of view of Zhara, who took a drug that slowed her heartbeat, so when she crashed at sea at first her rescuers thought she was dead…so they cloned her. (It makes sense in the context of the book.) Anyway, now Zhara lives on an island, Heathen, with self-actualised clones who are planning an Insurrection against the people of the island paradise Demesne, from whom the Emergents escaped.

Then Zhara’s clone, Elysia, arrives and there are love jealousies and…not much happens until the ambush. When the characters move to Demesne, the plot gets going. But is it a case of too little, too late? The conveniences of someone acquiring someone else’s lightning finger abilities; the two women-in-fridges (i.e. females who aren’t Zhara or Elysia) are the first to die…

I love Demesne’s setting, such a vibrant and vivid world of colours. It’s fascinating to learn about cloning, and the plight for clones’ rights. And while I do rather like this novel, I wonder how much of my score is due to nostalgia. I was hopeful of another five-star read after Beta, so I think my own expectations brought me down.

All this said, I’m very much looking forward to the next book, or books, in this series. Hopefully the wait for Book 3 won’t be as long, but I’ll understand if it is.

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