by Jill Williamson
Published: December 2011
When Your Life Is Not Your Own Martyr---otherwise known as Jason 3:3---is one of hundreds of clones kept in a remote facility called Jason Farms. Told that he has been created to save humanity, Martyr has just one wish before he is scheduled to 'expire' in less than a month. To see the sky. Abby Goyer may have just moved to Alaska, but she has a feeling something strange is going on at the farm where her father works. But even this smart, confident girl could never have imagined what lies beneath a simple barn. Or what would happen when a mysterious boy shows up at her door, asking about the stars. As the reality of the Jason Experiment comes to light, Martyr is caught between two futures---the one for which he was produced and the one Abby believes God created him to have. Time is running out, and Martyr must decide if a life with Abby is worth leaving everything he's ever known.
When I first read the blurb I loved the concept (and the cover!). As much as I love zombies, paranormal, and dystopian books, cloning just seems much closer to what is happening in the world, and a much more possible event . Which is actually scary in an entirely different way.
The opening chapter hooked me immediately. Martyr (Marty as he eventually becomes) has such an amazing view of his world, and even with the point of view shifting between him and Abby, it's Martyr's perspective that Williamson's writing really shines. It's had to make a love interest out of a guy who has an obsession with colors and loves the red socks with green trees on them. But she accomplishes this. Martyr's innocence about the world and his belief in his role in it is what makes him such an amazing character. It just made me wonder if his thoughts are really how little kids think the first time they see things. His devotion to the 'Brokens' and Baby was so sweet, it was hard not to fall for him.
Abby was different. The first few chapters did have me rolling my eyes, and I was not a fan of hers until she meets Martyr. That's when she really came alive for me. She was no longer the whiny daughter who is too good for the locals, but a girl who has knowledge of the horrible things her father has done and she is dealing with what he is doing now. I did love how she she handled JD, the local football start who pursues her hot and heavy almost immediately. And best of all, I love that even though she's attracted to him, she's pretty honest about the facts that she can't stand him. It's nice to read a book for a change that doesn't have the heroine lusting and supposedly loving the guy who is a complete creep.
There is a twist concerning the and it was really interesting to see how Abby dealt with it and how it made her view Martyr and JD. I don't want to give away too much, but while at first it seemed like something that would come up only in relation to how Abby thought about Martyr and JD, but it comes back at the end in an unexpected way.
There is a level of predictability to the plot and as with most science fiction (at least that I've read) there is a need to suspend you disbelief in the scientific details that are really secondary to the moral issues Williamson was attempting to address. Something I thought was best seen through the eyes of Martyr and what we see happening to the other 'Jasons' and the 'Brokens'.
For those readers who are atheists this probably is not a good choice (pretty obvious considering the reference to God in the blurb), but if you don't mind a bit of religion in your books, you'll be fine. There wasn't an overwhelming amount of God talk, and what is there seems to fit in with the heart and message of the story.