Monday, November 28, 2005

A Clone of My Own: Patrick Cave, Sharp North, (London: Simon & Schuster, 2004)


I found the first book in the trilogy easily enough: in this book Mira grows up in Scotland and only really begins to question her life when someone kills a woman who looks a lot like her and holds a paper with her name on it. Failing to get any answers, she runs and ends up in London where a woman with her face is a Saint, one of the leading families of New Briton. After living rough she finally falls in with Kay, also a Saint but an oddity, a Scroat (or natural) conception in a world of cloning and genetic engineering. Kay is brother to Clarissa, also a facsimile of Mira, and rival of Jan Barbierre, a thuggish descendant of another house. Jan's bid for power destroys the Saints and the other cloned families, but he is aided by Tilly, Mira's clone progenitor who wants to destroy the system for other reasons. Kay finds out he is also a clone (but not of whom, that waits for the next novel) and he and Mira flee. They are caught, Mira is helped to escape by Clarissa.... only it turns out it is Mira who is killed and Clarissa who survives to find the surviving clone, Adeline, who has the blue and brown eyes which have been creeping into stories about a saviour serpent.

It;s a decent book but I do get very fed up about this "clone a spare parts", "clone as easily disposable", "clone as something automatically awful" business. Cave disposes of one real silliness by making clones legal but cloning illegal, so there is no incentive for a clone to remain secret and no legal disabilities (they go with being an unofficial child ie one without a license and affect clone and non-clones alike), but there is very little consideration of the idea that there is nothing really special about artificial twins and that they are much too expensive even for major families seeking to preserve personality traits. Yes, it would work, but the expression of those traits might turn out to be very different, you'd still have no guarantee that someone with musical talent would want to be a concert pianist rather than a sound engineer. Cave does take something of this on, but not enough to really challenge the rather predictable plot.

NB: we now know that separated at birth siblings have a tendency to fall in love/lust with each other. Now that would be a different plot for a kid's book.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually liked it. I found it quite gripping. But I challenge you Farah to find at least one YA novel where human clones are not created for spare parts, or as a substitute for someone dead, or as as part of a plan to create a genetically enhanced super species. Let me know..:)

9:03 AM  
Blogger Farah said...

You could always write one....

1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found the book i dont read very much. It was a moving book, filled with action!! I highly recommend it and also Blown away which was an outstanding book aswell!!

2:18 AM  

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