Lt. Wayson Harris was born and bred as the ultimate soldier. But he is unique, possessing independence of thought. And when the military brass decide to blame the clones for the decimation of the U.A. republic, Lt. Harris decides to stop being the scapegoat, with all the firepower he can muster.
For a series called ‘The Clone Rebellion’, you really have to admire Steven L. Kent’s restraint in deciding to fire off the first salvo of the rebellion when he’s five books into the series. However, the upside to Kent’s dedication to telling the story at its own pace is that when things finally kick off, you really understand the reasons why.
The last book introduced liberator clone, Wayson Harris, to the deadly Alien race the Avatari (well, kind of, it introduced us to the drone army they use to terraform planets). After a hard won victory which halted the invasion before it could reach Earth, costing the UA thousands of ‘expendable’ clones (and Harris a few of his closest friends), it is no surprise that Harris has had his fill of the United Authority and lost all respect for the men ultimately in charge of his fate… his killing of a commanding officer in the last book is definitely a testament to this
After the UA decide that all of the problems that arose during the battle for New Copenhagen are solely down to the ‘clone’ soldiers and the breakdown of their military discipline (and has little, if anything to do with the incompetence of the leadership), the clone army is disbanded in favour of a natural born army. This means the clones will be sent to the furthest reaches of space. Where they will be stranded and vulnerable. And where, you guessed it, they will be great target practice for the UAs new army. Not one to take this final injustice lying down, Wayson starts to recruit other clones to his cause in the hopes of bringing the battle to Earth before Earth brings the battle to them.
This book sees Wayson takes his first steps as a revolutionary. A man jaded against those he once served and unwilling to accept the fate his former commanders have planned for him and his kind. We see him figure out what he must do to survive, and cold bloodedly put down anyone who gets in his way. Unfortunately, as most clones aren’t aware they are clones, he not only runs into trouble convincing his newly formed army that they need to unite, but also has trouble trying to establish himself as the rightful man to lead the charge. This brings back the intrigue from earlier books and you can really feel Wayson’s frustration as he is constantly stonewalled by the very people he so desperately wants to save. This adds a nice and constant sense of tension to proceedings because whilst you know the UA are an inevitable threat, you are also never too sure if danger may come from closer to home. Add in the fact that Wayson starts to learn that the UA may be slightly more prepared for the rebellion than he could ever have imagined and you have to wonder if the rebellion will even get off the ground.
This is also the first book that deals with Wayson’s romantic life as anything other than an occasional one night stand with a piece of ‘scrub’. A popular movie star, Ava Gardner, has been outed as a clone and is therefore being exiled with the clone army before her secret gets out (as it could embarrass a lot of her high profile former lovers). At first a nuisance to Wayson, the two develop a bond and slowly start to form a relationship. Whilst I feel this isn’t too bad of a thing as it let us see a more caring and sometimes even vulnerable side to Wayson, I couldn’t help but feel the inclusion of a love interest wasn’t necessarily a sub-plot the series needed. With that in mind, I’m willing to see how it pans out, though I really hope that Ava develops as a character over the next few books.
Unfortunately, the introduction of a homosexual element to the series may be a step too far. It’s not the appearance of gay clones that is the problem, it’s the fact that they suddenly just appear and are apparently everywhere, having never been mentioned in previous stories. This seems like a slightly wasted opportunity, the idea of gay clones was something that had intrigued me earlier on in the series but doesn’t fit in as well now due to the fact that there is literally never been any suggestion of homosexuality in the clone army. Also, the fact that some of the gay clones wear make-up to identify themselves seems a little too obvious and slightly insulting. Like I said, I feel there could have been a place for a gay storyline earlier in the series but here it just comes across as a case of too much, too late.
So why should you read this book:
- The Clone Rebellion begins
- We get to see Wayson deal with enemies on all sides
- A great cliffhanger (that I really can’t go into)
What’s not to like:
- Possibly un-necessary love interest sub-plot
- Slightly mishandled introduction to the idea of gay clones
Though The Clone Betrayal suffers slightly from introducing new elements (a love interest/gay clones), it still contains all the ingredients that have made the series great so far. Action, intrigue (which in this universe, means a lot of back-stabbing) and a main character who has grown throughout the series and who you can’t help but to root for. The Clone Rebellion has begun, but when facing opposition from the UA and the very clones he wants to liberate, Wayson really has his work cut out for him.
We give Steven L. Kent’s Clone Betrayal three and a half Nerds out of five.
Click here to buy The Clone Betrayal
Published by Titan Books and out now!