A girl discovers her geneticist father is covering up multiple secrets---all of which are named Jason.Jason 3:3---known as Martyr---always believed his life had purpose. As one of the hundreds of clones living in a closed-off underground facility beneath an Alaskan farm, he has been told his genetics hold the key to saving humanity from an airborne pandemic aboveground, and his purpose will be filled on his upcoming eighteenth birthday. The problem is no such pandemic exists. Unaware of the truth, Martyr wishes for one glimpse of the sky before his expiration date arrives. His escape leads him to the home of one of the scientists, and to Abby Goyer. As she helps Martyr, she can't help but notice his uncanny resemblance to the high school quarterback. Abby soon uncovers the dark truth behind Jason Farms and her dad's work, and decides to show Martyr his true value and worth. As Martyr learns the truth behind his existence, he must decide if his God-given purpose is connected to the farm, or if it rests in a life with Abby.
The minute I saw the words "cloning farm" I knew I had to read this book, but at the same time I wasn't sure I'd like it much, given the 'religious' tags on it. I'm glad I skipped them and read it.
Martyr, or better yet, J:3:3, is a clone. He is one of the many 'Jasons' that are raised at Jason Farms.
From a very early age he was made to believe his purpose in life is to expire at eighteen and sacrifice himself for those who live outside. He is unfamiliar with colors, he has never seen the sky and has only been in contact with one woman in his seventeen years, eleven months and five days. Until a new doctor arrives at the lab, wearing a distractingly bright colored tie and changes his life.
Doctor Goyer has just moved to Alaska to start working at Jason Farms. He is scared by the boy who seems so enchanted by his orange tie and so curious about the simplest, most common things, such as dogs, Christmas gifts, daughters and female pronouns. When the doctor shows Martyr a colored picture of his daughter Abby, all red curly hair and green bright eyes, the poor clone almost flips out.
Martyr knows he needs to be put down in a couple of weeks, but he really wants to see the blue sky. No doctor will allow him to, though. Too dangerous, they say. He could become intoxicated.
But Martyr is desperate. He doesn't want to expire, and after overhearing very confusing conversations about one of the doctors being sick and needing his internal organs after his expiration, he jumps at the opportunity and steals an access card. And he ends up at Dr. Goyer's place. Or, more precisely, his daughter's room.
Abby Goyer is mad at her dad for him dragging her to live in Alaska, of all places. Being the new girl at school, she's the center of attention. JD Kane, popular rich hottie and famous jock, is instantly attracted to her, but, good looks aside, she's not very charmed by his personality. Or forwardness. Specially when he shows up in her room. Or is it really him? JD was never this scared or polite, and he definitely doesn't shave his head.
Martyr, or J:3:3 or Marty, as Abby calls him, is the personification of innocence and goodness. His nickname comes from always trying to help his bullied fellow Jasons, particularly the 'broken' ones (copies that didn't turn out alright, with missing/misplaced limbs or mental problems).
Wait a second. Cute, smart and kind-hearted? A real martyr in every sense of the word?
Needless to say, I loved him on the spot.
It was so refreshing and interesting to see how he reacted to everything that was new to him (which means: pretty much everything), to being close to Abby, the first girl he had real contact with, the food, the colorful clothes, the TV, the cars... it was funny and sad.
Now, about Abby. I didn't like her much. I don't know, I just didn't think much of her. LOL. No, I'm not jealous. (not much). I just found myself disagreeing with her way too often. And I don't mean just about the religious stuff, but about her actions too. Something I did like about her was her love for CSI. LOL. And her good taste in boys. ;)
All in all, this was a very engaging book. You just have to know what happens next. You want the villain to finally get what he deserves already, and you want the couple to end up together, and you feel sorry for the third part of the triangle.
The whole book was a way to discuss medicine trials for disease cures and animal/human/embryo testing and religious views on it. I won't babble on about my opinions on those here, because that's not what a book review is for, but I do have to say that cloning yourself dozens of times just so you can 'kill' yourself and use your own organs to save yourself... maybe not the best idea. If you do know what I mean. LOL
Anyway, embryonic stem cell research doesn't sound so bad after all, now does it? :P Scientists are being able to recreate single organs for those who need them, no clones included. Okay, okay, I already promised myself I wouldn't make a speech here, so I'll control myself. But I have to say something:
Not ALL science is bad, but like everything else in this world, it needs boundaries.
If you like young adult science fiction with polemic religious subjects, this is your book.