DRC: Ringer by Lauren Oliver


4.5 stars

Ringer is the story of two girls, Lyra and Gemma, and the ending of their story that was started in Replica. Spoilers for the first book ahead–if you haven’t read Replica but want a spoiler-free review of it, you can read mine here.

Gemma and Pete have gone back to what life was like before–kind of. The fact that she’s (SPOILER: LAST CHANCE TO LEAVE) a replica still weighs heavily on her mind and the people close to her just don’t seem to get it. So when she overhears her father talking about selling out Lyra and Caelum’s location, she knows she has to do whatever it takes to help them. Taking her boyfriend Pete with her, she sets out to find Lyra and Caelum, but when they’re caught and mistaken as Lyra and Caelum, they both end up trapped in the Haven Institute.

Meanwhile, Lyra and Caelum are struggling with the world outside Haven, and the distance between them is growing after Lyra learned of how she was not a Replica. Still, her sickness from the prions which affects her memory worsens and when Caelum runs away, things get more complicated for her.

The two stories of Lyra and Gemma intertwine once again in a stunning finale to Lauren Oliver’s Replica. Here’s the official summary:

Like its ambitious companion novel, Replica, this far-reaching novel by powerhouse bestselling author Lauren Oliver digs deep into questions of how to be a human being in a world where humanity cannot be taken for granted.

In the world outside the Haven Institute, Lyra and Caelum are finding it hard to be human—and neither of them knows where they belong or who they can trust. When Caelum leaves without warning to pursue the dream of a place he belongs, Lyra follows him, convinced that together they will hunt down a cure for the illness that’s slowly consuming her mind. But what they uncover is a shocking connection to their past—even as their future seems in danger of collapsing.

After discovering the uncomfortable truth about her connection to the Haven Institute, Gemma struggles to return to her normal life. But when she learns that her controlling and powerful father has new plans for Lyra and Caelum, Gemma and her boyfriend, Pete, leave in the middle of the night to warn them of the danger they face.When an untimely accident derails them, they are mistaken for the escaped replicas and seized by strangers hired to capture them. The Haven Institute wasn’t destroyed after all, and now Gemma is the one behind the walls.

Lyra’s and Gemma’s stories can be read separately—with either story first—or in alternating chapters, but no matter which way you turn the book, the two distinct stories combine into one breathtaking experience for both heroines and readers alike.

After reading this book a month or two ago, I was super excited to find out it would be releasing soon and it was available for request on Edelweiss.

I found that the whole concept of two-in-one was executed much better in Ringer than in Replica. The storylines only overlapped near the end, and even so, it wasn’t like the scenes were repeating for both girls, just from a different perspective. Around 2/3 of Replica was spent with Gemma and Lyra together, while only around 10% of Ringer was when they went together.

I read this novel Gemma first, then Lyra this time and I found it enjoyable to do it this way as it really was like a two-in-one. It’s also hard to jump between chapter in the digital copy I had, but I’ve heard that in the final version of the e-copies, there are links to switch to the other girl’s chapter so you can alternate super easily.

Oliver does a really good job with the plots. I was wowed by how they worked together to make something cohesive and how Lyra and Gemma’s stories, although apart from each other, both relied on key information.

It was fun, engaging, and paced well so I didn’t feel bored. I sped through this novel in one afternoon. I think the well managed plot is the highlight of this novel.

Possibly because of this, I found the character development lacking in some ways. Gemma didn’t really grow as a person except for some internal struggle with being a clone. Most of her storyline involved bettering her life, which made her not as dynamic as she was in the first novel.

Likewise with Lyra, whose storyline I felt was left really unresolved. Her struggles with death and acting like a person were kind of left hanging at the end, and I didn’t see much change with her either.

The entire ending was very short and felt almost rushed, like Oliver was quickly trying to wrap up all the ends. I wanted more–was Lyra going to die? What about Gemma’s father? But my questions are left unanswered (bonus novella in our futures, perhaps?).

This may just be me wanting more of their stories and being a greedy fangirl in general, but I found the ending a little too vague for my tastes. Gemma’s ending was set up well, but there’s so much more in Lyra’s that I would have wanted explained.

For instance, while Gemma and Pete’s romance remains steady throughout the novel, Lyra and Caelum’s fluctuates, and they never really resolve their issues. When they had issues, they just solved it with sex, which is a message I don’t think should be told to readers. When things with your boyfriend aren’t going well, you should talk things out with words, not your bodies. Their storyline together wasn’t really resolved for me and I still felt like they were struggling by the end of the book.

Despite my reserves with some aspects of this novel, I still enjoyed it tremendously as plot-based books are always fun to read. (There was also less weird diction like giving cucumbers blowjobs.)

I would definitely recommend people to read both installments of the Ringer series, and to those who DNF’d the first book, it might pay off to read this one again. Although I wasn’t fully satisfied by the ending, I think this was an enjoyable finale to the series.

You can preorder Ringer from major booksellers now, or find it in stores on October 3rd!

much love, vicky

Thank you to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for providing me with a digital review copy of Ringer!

Are you excited for Ringer’s release? What did you think of the first book?

(p.s. do you like my new sign off graphic? I love making original typography 😍)

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