My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Vitros is akin to Frankenstein mashed up with the Island of Dr. Moreau with a dash of Star Trek: The Next Generation's 'The Perfect Mate.' So there's nothing ground breaking here but that doesn't mean it's uninteresting.
Sophie has arrived in Guam from Boston after getting an email from her mother saying she is in trouble. Sophie lives with her dad and only sees her mom once a year or so. She wants to go to Skin Island where her mother works as a scientist. However, the only people in Guam that even acknowledge there is such a place treat it as a wicked urban legend. Sophie can't find anyone willing to take her out there until the teenaged pilot Jim volunteers.
Both of them are surprised to see each other. Sophie and Jim were childhood friends and he feels obligated to help her. However, once they get to Skin Island someone has purposely wrecked Jim's plane by putting nails down to shred his tires. He'll have to haul the plane to water as it is a float plane and can take off from there. He promises to wait for a little while for SOphie.
Sophie goes looking for her mom with the help of a young man, Nicholas, who welcomes their plane. But before she knows it, Sophie is face to face with someone who could be her twin (not a spoiler. it's in the blurb on the dust cover which is so much better than the one Goodreads is using). Sophie quickly finds herself knocked out and when she comes to she's surrounded by scientists including her mother and they think she's the twin who was just awakened.
Jim finally comes looking for her but finds her twin, Lux, who awakens and lives to serve only him. It doesn't take long before Sophie and Jim are fighting for their lives, Jim especially since there's no reason not to kill him. The scientists need SOphie and Lux.
There is enough science in this to make it believable. Ectogenesis is well on its way to being a real, controversial thing. It is easy to see it going this badly with scientists creating a sub-race of people who imprint of others, making virtually a thought-deadened race of working drones and sex toys. To heck with the silver metal lover when you could make a living partner who will do anything you say. These teens were grown with computer code in their brains so you have that cyberpunk wet-wiring touch to this.
Overall, I liked it but didn't love it. The characters felt a bit flat somehow. Maybe because too many YA tropes were called into play. There is no way Jim and Sophie could do some of this if they had parents who were paying the least bit of attention (which is always an issue in YA lit). Sophie ran away from her attentive dad and Jim's dad is an alcoholic and both were abandoned by their mothers as children.
I think Sophie lost me a bit in the middle when she does something pretty stupid. She wants to save the teens and her mom and Jim is right. How can two unarmed teens do this against a complex that is paramilitaristic and well stocked with arms? There were probably other easier ways to move the story along without Sophie deciding she was going to save everyone bullets raining down or no. That was a bit eye rolling.
It was creepy but a touch overly long. The ending was a bit too easy, too happy ending like to be believable and I can't really believe what they decide to do with the science at the end though I suppose some scientists would indeed do it. Overall it's an entertaining read.
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