SPSFC Semifinalist Review: Replacement by Jordan Rivet

Self-Published Science Fiction Competition (SPSFC) Team Tar Vol On has sent our two semifinalists to a pair of other teams, and in return, we’ve gotten four new semifinalists to review and rate. Our scores will combine with those of these two other teams in order to select two books to advance to the finals, starting in mid-April. As in the first round, a seven-person team full of idiosyncratic preferences means we will rarely all agree on a particular book, so we’ve included review snippets in order to help each book find its audience. Additionally, every book at this stage was loved by at least one other team, so there’s always going to be a rave review to check out outside of Team Tar Vol On.

Today, we’re looking at a fast-paced YA thriller that caught the eye of four separate reviewers from Peripheral Prospectors: Replacement by Jordan Rivet.


Azrah’s Review and Rating

Rivet captured the YA voice really well and I really liked Jane and following her on her journey. Her character was written in a way that didn’t make her come across as annoying despite being a little too naïve and overly curious as sometimes YA protagonists can be. The layers of mystery to her own story and how it merged with everything she comes to experience and learn as she goes out into the world and stands in for Janie was really well done too.

There was an exciting/adventurous vibe overall despite there being an actual murder in the plot and I thought the character dynamics were great. You really get a sense for Jane’s emotions and see it through her relationships with others, those she meets as herself she has a very natural relationship with and then there is a slight uncertainty to her when she’s Janie even though she plays her part well. There is also a good balance of teenage shenanigans and commentary on the ethical side of cloning technology. The story itself felt like it could fit in as part of the same universe that Kate Dylan’s Mindwalker and Mindbreaker take place so if you enjoyed those books definitely check this one out!

Azrah has rated Replacement 7.5/10. For more, check out her full review.

Bowen’s Review and Rating

A perfectly executed YA sci fi thriller. The formula exists for a reason, because people love it and it works. Great story.

Bowen has rated Replacement 8/10. Keep an eye on his blog for a full review to come!

Dave’s Review and Rating

Replacement was a well written, easy to read, and unique YA story. One of my favorites

Dave has rated Replacement 7.5/10

Jay’s Review and Rating

Replacement is an easy and entertaining read, with a fast-paced thriller plot perfect for fans of young adult sci-fi looking for something light and bingeable, and with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader coming back for more. But there are times that the lightning speed of the investigation plot doesn’t leave room for the emotional elements to breathe, robbing it of some of the interpersonal depth that might’ve made it a more well-rounded and memorable book.

Jay has rated Replacement 7/10. For more, check out his full review.

Mark’s Review and Rating

 A well executed story, good pace, good characters, very little in the way of hiccups while reading the story. It was the first of the semi-finalists that I just plowed through in only a couple of days. With all that said, while I enjoyed the mystery, in the end, I didn’t feel the emotion that Jane’s situation should have entailed. Not only finding out about herself but the almost-romance between Jane and Isaac should have brought out more emotion in the reader.

Mark has rated Replacement 7.5/10.

Paromita’s Review and Rating

Overall, a good book but flawed. The writing was very readable, the pacing was very good and apt for a mystery/thriller. The character work was good to adequate, I was invested in the main character and keen to find out what happened.

For some negatives: A mystery resolution typically includes two parts and they somewhat go together, the “whodunit” and the “whydunit”. Sometimes one can offset a weak other e.g. what! It was X? shock can make up for a weak motivation but usually a good mystery needs to deliver on both. I think the “whodunit” was very predictable (which is not a negative but puts pressure on the motivation to be good) but the “whydunit” was fairly underwhelming for me and felt incomplete. Of course this paves the way for later books perhaps but it wasn’t executed in a “wait what? Omg I need to read the next book now!” way. So that didn’t quite work for me. The other aspect which jarred for me was the climax read straight out of some film right down to setting and dialogue. It was too filmy, it didn’t feel tonally consistent with what I had read until then.

Other than this, it was a good read.

Paromita has rated Replacement 6/10.

Rari’s Review and Rating

I loved this book. If you’re a fan of YA and Science fiction with low personal stakes, advanced technology, great characters and immersive world building, this book is for you.

Rari has rated Replacement 8/10. For more, check out her full review.

Official Scores

Azrah 7.5
Bowen 8
Dave 7.5
Jay 7
Mark 7.5
Paromita 6
Rari 8
Team 7.36


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