Swans & Klons by Nora Olsen

June 3, 2013 Review 1 ★★

Swans & Klons by Nora OlsenSwans and Klons by Nora Olsen
Published by Bold Strokes Books on May 14, 2013
Genres: Dystopia, LGBTQ, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 192
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
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two-stars
What does it take to survive in a world built on lies?

Sixteen-year-old Rubric loves her pampered life in the Academy dormitory. She’s dating Salmon Jo, a brilliant and unpredictable girl. In their all-female world, non-human slaves called Klons do all the work. But when Rubric and Salmon Jo break into the laboratory where human and Klon babies are grown in vats, they uncover a terrifying secret that tears their idyllic world apart.

Their friends won’t believe them, and their teachers won’t help them. The Doctors who rule Society want to silence Rubric and Salmon Jo. The two girls must flee for their lives. As they face the unthinkable, the only thing they have left to believe in is their love for each other.

From the cover image alone it’s easy to take a stab that this novel is based on the idea of clones, and that is definitely where we start off. In this “utopian” world there are 300 genetic types that are cloned repeatedly in order to populate Society. These are the Swans, a group of women who are given the best of the best and work in a multitude of professions from artist to doctor. But there are also something called Klons, and these are non-human women based on the same genetic types as those women who have been modified to work the manual labour jobs, to raise the children, and in some cases even manage some of the other Klons. The perfect world, right?

Rubric and her girlfriend Salmon Jo (and can we take a moment to comment on that name? It’s strange and I keep reading about a fish!) break into a laboratory where they discover that their world isn’t nearly as perfect as they had thought, and they decide to take action by rescuing the Klons. These Swans are left with only each other and the Klons they rescue.

This book had such an interesting premise, but unfortunately I felt that it lacked in the execution. For all that it was very short, it felt like I was trudging through in my attempts to finish it. The two main characters are shallow, with Rubric being the worst of them. The most obvious theme of slavery wasn’t touched on more than in passing, the world wasn’t nearly as developed as it needed to be, and there weren’t any real consequences for Rubric and Salmon Jo, let alone the people perpetuating the slavery.

In all honesty, this could have been a much better book than it was, and I was left disappointed at the end of it. I didn’t hate the book, but it really didn’t strike me as anything more than just “okay”.

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