Thursday, April 7, 2011

Book Review: Replicas by Justin Scro

What can be said about "Replicas" by Justin Scro?  First and foremost, I really enjoyed the book.  It was well written though not well edited as the increasing grammatical errors (simple spelling errors easily fixed with an editor) became almost annoying.  "Replicas" is a sci-fi book and as I have said elsewhere, I don't really like sci-fi (maybe because I haven't read enough of it).  This book was different, however, and had something much more readable than Isaac Asimov of Aurther C. Clark.  I would recommend this book to anyone who likes thrilling sci-fi dystopia books that have both predictable and unpredictable twists.  However, it is in my nature to criticize, so.. here goes.  I'll write this in the most non-spoiling way possible that can still get my points across.

This book is about the future.  Humanity has destroyed their ability to live on earth's surface and enacted a self-imposed exile to the underground that became permanent for reasons that would spoil the plot if divulged.  Machines were the rulers of the surface while humans were rulers of the underground.  Since many things are much more difficult to produce underground, Unit agents (Government agents) called "Replicas" were trained from birth to mimic "Machmen," the machines that ruled the surface.  The "machmen" for some reason still produced and had a market economy of some sort (I assume) as Eye, the main character and replica of Tria, was able to shop at Mach stores that sold a variety of items.  In following the orders of "The Unit," Eye accidentally sets off an event that would force the underground world to leave the underground and face the "Machs" or perish.  You'll have to read the book to find out more.

What I have always wanted to see in a dystopia novel is real knowledge of economics and how a system COULD collapse for various reasons other than the most obvious and used... environmental destruction.  The underground theme has been used before but this makes the book no less enjoyable.  Of course, the above criticism isn't really a criticism.. but something I plan to avoid in my own writing.  I don't want to be that annoying ass of a reviewer that criticizes an author for not writing the book I myself have always wanted to write.

The characters are built up well enough with the main character having deep flaws that made the book realistic but there were moments when the author didn't take advantage of the characters depth in order to create a real sense of emotion in the plot.  When one character killed himself there was no reminders that he was leaving behind children, how the main character thought this would affect those children, and so on.  The author is writing like a man.. lots of sex and very little time focusing on the emotional elements of the situation. Focusing on the latter could have made this good novel become phenomenal.

Lastly, I would love to know more about the political processes going on.  This book was edgy and fast so taking the time to write about the political processes may actually tarnish the reading and have made it sound more didactic but I am always interested in political processes especially in dystopia books.  If "1984" is any indicator of how inserting political information into a book turns out then I think it is a sure bet that it can be done well.  It's not that it is totally devoid of information about the politics going on... but it isn't as vibrant as it should be.  Humans are capable of making any mundane set of rules into complicated interactions like a chess game.  More of that.

My basic criticisms... more economics and less writing like a man (or more writing with deep feeling) so that the reader cares deeply about the characters.  This book could use a good edit once through by someone other than the author and then again by the author.  There are way to many grammatical errors.

This is a phenomenal author who has unlimited potential.  I hope he writes a lot more in this genre. Apparently there will be a sequel to this book, a sequel I will purchase as soon as it comes out.  For now, I will be reviewing some other works and hoping to come back to review Justin Scro more in the future.


  1. Writers, all of us, shouldn't release their works until they're clean. The story can be there, and be good, but a jumble of mismatched or misspelled words can lesson the impact. Thanks for telling it like you see it.

  2. Thanks for reading my review guys! I look forward to reading your new book Everett.

  3. Thanks for the review! Replicas was written in about 24 hours and is first draft. I only posted to Amazon so I could put it on my own Kindle...and then people started to buy it! I didn't have any idea until I got a whopping $12 check from Amazon. So, I managed to get an editor and I have a professional artist working on covers.
    Your review was very insightful and I assure you of two things: Eye's days of being an emotionaless cad are far behind him (I try to stay out of the way of the characters as much as possible)and the series itself is actually more focused on the politics than anything. I mean, do you really trust Marshall Caprice? How did Eye's parent's really die? The other two books are called Population and Skyline. Anyone who already purchased Replicas will get an edited copy when it's done and ready. Population is in the mind-cloud stage and I'm looking to write it this fall. Thanks again!