A paint-by-numbers dystopia neither offends nor thrills.
In a future in which corporations have taken over bankrupt states, the Executives are at the top and the Basement-dwellers, who live in a world of illegal vices, at the bottom. Nadia Lake is careful of her actions and her reputation, since she can’t afford to jeopardize the betrothal her parents made for her with Nathaniel Hayes, the Chairman Heir of Paxco. Their marriage will be in name only, since Nate is gay and in love with Kurt Bishop, his valet and a former Basement-dweller. But Nate is murdered, and Kurt is seen fleeing the scene with blood on his hands. Nate is replaced with a Replica, a perfect copy of himself, negating the tension caused by his murder. But Mosely, the sinister, mustache-twirling head of security for Nate’s father, still wants to find out who killed Nate. He threatens Nadia into spying on the replica Nate as he looks for Kurt in the Basement. Nadia and Nate will have to work together to find the truth, only to discover something much bigger than themselves. There’s a lot of setup and not a lot of payoff in this novel, the ending of which leaves open the possibility of a sequel. While Nadia and Nate display some personality, other characters, like Mosely and Kurt, are cardboard cutouts.
Likely to be gobbled up by fans of the genre, but it won’t win new ones. (Dystopian adventure. 14 & up)