Blood Ransom by Sophie McKenzie

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Blood Ransom by Sophie McKenzie

Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Excellent follow-up to the award-winning Blood Ties. McKenzie has a great knack for combining the accessible, pacy thriller with serious contemporary themes and this book illustrates it perfectly.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 432 Date: October 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1847387632

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It's not enough to find out you're a clone and to have both a renegade scientist and a fundamentalist terrorist group trying to kill you. Oh no. Because when MI5 and the FBI relocate you, they condemn you to living thousands of miles away from the only other person in the world that might understand what you've been through. It's safer that way, apparently.

This is what's happened to Theo and Rachel. After escaping Elijah, the murderous but brilliant genetic scientist who cloned them, and RAGE - the Righteous Army against Genetic Engineering - Theo is packed off to live across the Atlantic in Philadelphia and Rachel is sent up to Roslinnon, a wet and lonely town on the coast of Scotland. Forbidden contact, they stay in touch secretly using internet cafes and meeting in chatrooms.

And then Rachel meets another clone and discovers that Elijah is still working for a shady government department and still plans to steal little Daniel's heart to replace his own. On a rescue bid, what she finds is more shocking than even she had imagined - and more dangerous too. And when Rachel fails to show up for their weekly chatroom meet, Theo knows he's got to get to Scotland, and fast...

... and we're off for another nail-biter of a thriller and thought-provoking read.

Sophie McKenzie has a great knack for combining the accessible, pacy thriller with serious contemporary themes and this book illustrates it perfectly. The prose is smart and snappy and the action doesn't let up for a moment. It's a real race of a read. And yes, some of the derring-do is rather unlikely - young girls disarming armed, hand-picked bodyguards with a killer chop; young boys hitchhiking across Norway with no money and not a word of the lingo - but it wouldn't be a high-octane thriller without this stuff, would it? And it makes for super reading.

But underneath all that stuff, fun as it is, run some truly serious themes about genetic research, the perils of extremism, the blurred nature of ethics, and above all, of identity. As clones, Theo and Rachel feel their difference. Mostly, it's an uncomfortable feeling but it does provide for a connection between them that is both unbreakable and touching. As first loves go, this is one of a kind and you really can't help but to root for it.

The ending was a surprise too - without spoiling anything, I'm not sure if there'll be another book about Theo and Rachel but if there is, it's going to avoid the tired road of same-plot-different-location. She's a clever lady, that Sophie McKenzie. If they enjoyed Blood Ties, they'll not be disappointed by Blood Ransom.

My thanks to the good people at Simon & Schuster for sending the book.

Cloning also features in Lifegame by Alison Allen-Gray and Solar Nation by Erica Blaney.

Buy Blood Ransom by Sophie McKenzie at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Blood Ransom by Sophie McKenzie at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Blood Ransom by Sophie McKenzie at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Blood Ransom by Sophie McKenzie at Amazon.com.


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