Saturday, 14 September 2013

Review: What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Title: What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles #1)
Author: Kat Zhang
Release date: September 18th 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Format: Paperback
Pages: 343
Source: Gifted (Thanks, Ippy!)

I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

I can't believe it's taken me this long to read What's Left of Me. It's been lying on my shelf for months, and I decided it's time to read it so I can start the sequel, Once We Were. I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but nonetheless I ended up really enjoying it! What's Left of Me is an amazing YA dystopian with relatable characters, a great premise, and an awesome plot.

Eva and Addie are two souls sharing one body. This is the norm in this world, and as kids grow older, one soul is supposed to fade away. Addie was always dominant, but Eva never faded away. She was always there, watching everything but without any control. The only person she could talk to was Addie. Until now. When Addie and Eva meet Hally and her brother Devon, they know something's different about them. The two souls are sucked into something they'd never even imagined, and the risks are huge. But more than anything, Eva wants some control over her life, and no one can stop her from getting it.

To help you understand Addie's and Eva's situation, I'm going to have to make an analogy to The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I apologize if you haven't read The Host - you might as well skip this paragraph. Anyway, Eva's like Melanie - stuck in a body she can't control, where she can inly communicate with the person occupying the most part of the body. Though I have to say that Eva's attitude is way more like Wanda than Melanie. And though Addie is in a similar situation to Wanda, she reminds me a lot of Melanie.

I really liked the fact that this book is told from Eva's perspective. We get to see how she feels, trapped inside her own body, and how much she wants to be free. She observes everything, she has opinions, but she's unable to act on them. It was intriguing to see Eva and Addie's relationship. They really do care about each other, though they argue a lot. Their relationship did remind me of Wanda and Melanie from The Host.

Eva's a great character - she's compassionate, resilient, and willful. I enjoyed reading from her point of view, because she's a gentle soul, and I found no fault with her. I really empathized with her throughout the novel, and felt so happy for her when she moves for the first time. Eva would never do anything to put Addie in danger of disappearing, though. She just wants her share of her body.

Addie, on the other hand, I didn't like much. She seems pretty selfish, and begrudged Eva her happiness at times. The most common emotion Addie feels is guilt, for acting and thinking the way she does. At least she's remorseful. But I do like her to a certain extent. She's as compassionate as Eva in a way, and she strongly believes in doing the right thing. I liked that she didn't shut Eva out or try to make her disappear. I hope Addie's character develops more in the sequel, and I'm looking forward to that.

There's a lot of back story about the hybrids, and wars fought against them. Hybrids like Addie and Eva are portrayed as unstable, but I didn't fully understand why the government fought wars against them and did whatever they could to eradicate them. I really like the world that Kat Zhang created, and I hope there's more development of this world in the coming books.

I want to keep this review completely spoiler-free, so I won't be able to talk about some of the other characters I loved. But trust me, they're great. And the plot twists just keep coming, so you won't be able to take your eyes off the pages! This book is pretty unpredictable, and by the climax towards the end, I was definitely on the edge of my seat. Fast-paced and intense, it's everything I hope for in a climax.

All in all, I loved What's Left of Me, and especially the intriguing premise. Plus, if you look at the cover closely, you don't just see one girl. You can see the outline of another one looking up! I think that's really awesome, since it accurately portrays the basic idea of the book. If you're a fan of dystopia, you really need to read this one if you haven't already, because it's just that captivating.

Rating: 4/5

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