Friday, 9 May 2014

Falls the Shadow Review


 Falls the Shadow by Stefanie Gaither


  The idea of suffering the loss of  a relative and two hours later having a substitute  is a bit frightening to say the least. The fact that your cloned sister could also be a murderer makes things even worse. But as soon as I started reading it I couldn't put the book down , Stefanie Gaither's novel is a page turner.The writer used to manage a coffee shop while studying for her B.A. in English, if her coffee  was as good as the novel I bet the shop was full everyday.


The plot is deceptively simple and really complicated at the same time. The Mayor's  family looses a daughter , Violet, they had their clone ready since the moment the daughter had been born so they immediately bring the clone back home and continue living just like nothing had changed. The clone has Violet's memories and apparently behaves like her, but for her sister Cate,things are not so simple and she has a difficult time accepting the new Violet.

Is this new Violet the old Violet in a new body? New Violet's behaviour as a teenager is a bit erratic but would old Violet's behaviour been peculiar as well if she had been alive? Cate , in my opinion ,tries as hard as she can to accept this new Violet because that is all she has left . Even when things get really bad Calel still refuses to give up hope completely ,she wants to see old Violet in the new one.She is in denial and utterly confused but the thought of losing Violet forever is more unbearable for her than anything else.

What makes things even more difficult is the fact that not everybody agrees with the idea of cloning people . If you have a clone you are called an Origin and you have a chip at the back of your neck which is connected to the clone.Both Origins and clones are targets for bullies and the  anti-cloning groups.

The society in which Cate and her family lives is a dystopian North America. There was a war called the Silent War in which other countries attacked the U.S. blaming it for the overpopulation, the climate change and the crisis of resources. It was silent because no weapons were fired but American people started getting sick because of infected water or food and the population decreased quickly. It as a biological war.Cate's mother,Natalie, developed strange marks on her body , another side effect of this war. A corporation called Huxley started giving people the possibility of cloning their loved ones.

 They claim that:

" You never know what the future holds , or how quickly things can change. but with cloning you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that at least something you love is not as irreplaceable as it used to be"

These  children clones created by Huxley are stronger than human beings and more intelligent.I don't think that a clone can ever replace a loved one, people are unique and irreplaceable.Besides , having a clone and knowing that the moment you die somebody will take your place in the world is sad and depressing but if you think of the way your parents' pain for your loss  maybe somehow relieved, you may come to grips with it.

 It is like a second chance for the living ones , another opportunity to try to lead a more or less normal life although I cannot imagine how  they can stop themselves from comparing the lost relative to the new one. And I don't understand how they are unable to see the pain they may inflict on their own  real children who know they are replaceable.This is really food for thought.

One of the parts of the book that I liked most is when Cate is given a lift by Jaxon , a classmate she has had a crush on for a very long time.

" His shoulder brushes mine , and he lingers just long enough for me to breathe in a hint of some sort of spicy-scented cologne. While he walks to the driver's side, I close my eyes and hold my breath. Absorbing the scent, that moment. Part of me wishes I could bottle this all up somehow, keep it for later -a little piece of real that I could unleash whenever I get tired of hiding behind my mask, or whenever this stone casing I'm in starts to suffocate. That's stupid ,though . You can't bottle moments..."

No, you can't bottle moments, but you can try....

White sand from a beautiful white beach

If the fact that Violet was a clone didn't attract enough paparazzi , the cloned girl is missing and accused of having murdered her only friend, the one who didn't reject her after the switch.Samantha Voss, the murdered girl, happens to be...

Are we the sum of our memories and experiences ? If those memories and experiences were transferred into a computer, would the computer react the way we do?  I guess it would to a certain point but there is something more ,which may be sometimes good and other times evil .Something that makes us human beings, capable of the best and the worst.

The title of the book is taken from part of The Hollow Man , a poem by T.S. Elliot:

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow




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