Friday, 18 January 2013

What's Left of Me - Kat Zhang

What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles #1)
                                                             - Kat Zhang
Grade: YA

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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.

~ * ~ * ~

‘What’s Left of Me’ was an exciting and dangerous novel. I don’t know what I’d been expecting from this book, a sad story about how Eva, a soul trapped inside her shared body, would be forever stuck without a way to gain control – but it was so much more than that.

We are told at the start of the novel that, at birth, there are there are two souls – two consciousnesses – within a single body; existing without trouble. But two souls can’t exist together forever; one soul will dominate and the other will fade away. A sad way to start life, growing attached to two people, two personalities, only to lose one over time. But not everyone seems to fit into this system. This is where the plot gets exciting almost instantly; we’re introduced to the term ‘Hybrids’ – people who keep their two souls. I loved this. We’re told they are dangerous; spreading destruction and promoting anarchy in a world that is controlled and structured. They are a danger to society. Our main characters, Eva and Addie, struggle with the knowledge that hybrids walk throughout the world, but they hide their own hybrid secret at the same time.

Addie and Eva are the same, and yet completely different. They share the same body and memories, but Eva was never meant to survive. After years of tests and hospital visits, Eva and Addie decided to keep Eva’s existence a secret so they could attempt to live a normal life. I loved seeing the story told from Eva’s POV, even though she rarely had control of their body, with Addie being the dominant soul. It was like watching the story from the outside, while still being involved and experiencing everything – just minus some of the control. I loved the mix of first person – “I” – to show Eva’s voice, combined with a focus on the shared aspect of the body – “Our arms” “We hurt” “They were looking at us” – it made the story an incredibly interesting way to be told.

I really liked Eva. For someone who had been shut up inside her mind, and had been forgotten by her parents and society, she had such a strong presence and personality: determined, emotional and understanding. After finding out there was a way to move again, she put so much hope and effort into taking control, despite the dangers; learning to talk, walk and even love. I couldn’t help cheering every time Eva got control of their body. Addie, on the other hand, was harder to love. She wasn’t a bad character, she had a hesitant nature that you can’t really blame her for; but it was tricky to like. She’d been so used to Eva as a background person, so used to having control and being dominant, that when Eva finally pushes through for a few seconds, Addie can’t let go. I had mixed feelings about this. There’s no way to understand what it’d be like to be in your body, but to have no control and to watch someone else live your life. But at the same time, I found Addie to be selfish sometimes. She didn’t want Eva to fade, but didn’t want her getting equal body control, even after witnessing that the body could be shared by souls.

The story is not just dangerous because Eva and Addie are keeping their dual-soul secret, but because of Clinics being set up all over the country for “hybrid kids” – kids who still have two consciousnesses and need to be “fixed.” The fear of being accused of hybridity within society is very real; of being removed from your family for being different, illegal. I was shocked by the lengths taken to destroy the extra soul in a hybrid. But it definitely made the story edgy.

My only issue with the book was the lack of explanation on their history. We hear about how the Americas are eliminating hybrids, and how there are hybrids on foreign shores; but there’s no information on how or why the hybrid nature started. When did it begin? How did two souls in one body become the norm from birth, or has it always been this way? I wanted more background information for all my questions.

‘What’s left of Me’ is an exciting book that makes you think. I’m definitely getting the sequel as soon as I can.

4.5/5 stars

(Originally Posted on Goodreads)


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