Author: Kat Zhang
Series: 1st book in The Hybrid Chronicles
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Source: galley from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
So, it’s been awhile since I’ve read The Golden Compass and even longer still since I’ve seen Girl, Interruped, but I don’t think a cross between those is how I would pitch this novel. No, I think the comparisons to Meyer’s The Host are more apt, and though I appreciated that book quite a bit more than I expected to after reading Twilight, I still think What’s Left of Me handles the symbiotic relationship between two souls in a more fascinating manner. I’m not thumbing my nose at The Host by any means, though…I’m still as excited for the movie as the rest of you guys. J
I think I expected What’s Left of Me to be slow and methodical: a science fiction piece exploring the inner dialogue between two souls and the complexities that arise as they fight for control of one body. And there was plenty of that. But what I hadn’t expected was the external prodding to coexist that the two souls were faced with and where it came from. And how they reacted to such prompting. To say that there were lots of twists and unpredictable situations would be an understatement.
So…plenty of action, but also beaucoups of emotion, as well. It was so difficult to read from Eva’s point-of-view. She was the lesser soul, the one who was supposed to fade as Addie’s soul grew more dominant. To be trapped like that, inside your own body, and know that no one misses you…it’s unimaginable. And yet that’s the fate that Eva has suffered for the last three years because no one but Addie even knows she’s still there, desperate to move of her own volition.
This book could cause one to have an existential crisis. Dissociative identity disorder is a very real and very serious mental ailment. But what if it were really the manifestation of two souls battling for domination over one mind? Essentially, that’s what’s happening in Hybrids, where two souls remain past the age where one should have faded into nothingness. When other Hybrids were around Addie/Eva, you would have thought it would be difficult to discern which soul was present, but I never found it confusing or distracting, as Eva would always remark upon the change. And the way she described it was nothing like I expected, which was more like a person morphing into a Smith from The Matrix. No, the shift in a Hybrid was very subtle, just a straightening of features, a crook of the mouth, or a glint in the eyes that marked the change.
This is very much a science fiction novel, full of government conspiracies, sterile labs, and barely legal medical testing. If you read for romance, you might be slightly disappointed with this novel, because though the implications are there, the romance is hardly expanded upon and it takes a backseat to everything else in the book. But in my opinion, the book is better for it. How would you feel if the other entity living inside your head wanted to kiss someone you didn’t even really like? Yeah…I thought so.