Childhood favorite. Or not favorite really; it gave me the creeps. Eerie book about cloning and government manipulation, precursor in some ways to my most adored Cyteen. Has strong incestuous undertones between non-blood-related siblings forced to rely on each other because everyone else is untrustworthy (also much like Cyteen
, now that I think of it). I reread it a few years ago and was surprised that a character I'd remembered as an older Anna determined to disrupt the government's plans was never explicitly identified as such in the text.
Reread 04/01/2012. I focused this time most on Michaela Dupont as a shifting and untrustworthy element; the (clearly deliberate) ambiguity about her is almost as unsettling as the government conspiracy. I am also astonished at how very close to textual the incest subtext gets: not just that Anna is brought to humanity by empathizing with Rowan's pain and shame, but that Rowan notices she's looking more "womanly" and "prettier" and the music theme they identify with each other is the "Love Theme to Romeo and Juliet."
The reason for the Annas' differentiation from original form never actually does get any explanation, either (pseudo-)scientific or mystical. I like how the imagined voice, at first threatening and finally supportive, is both the original Anna and the girl her clone becomes; it mixes the boundaries between self and other, the threat of something growing inside that is alien, the threat of something growing inside that is the pure expression of self.