Friday, September 7, 2012

Review: What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Friday, September 7, 2012 with 4 comments
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Title:  What's Left of Me
Author:  Kat Zhang
Series:  1st book in The Hybrid Chronicles
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Publication Date:  September 18, 2012
Source:  galley from publisher
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

What's Left of Me tells the story of a fifteen-year-old girl fighting for her right to survive in a world where two souls are born into each body and one is doomed to disappear. Pitched as The Golden Compass meets Girl, Interrupted.

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.

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.

Rating:  Photobucket 1/2


  1. Sounds like a very action pack and interesting novel. Thanks for writing up this review.

  2. Yeah it will be interesting to see how the romance develops in the next book. Weird to give up control and let your one soul kiss someone you don't want to kiss while you observe and then what you switch and take turns LOL Also must be so horrible to be the non dominant soul. To have no control and have no one know you exist. Eva was so desperate just for the few times she had Ryan talk to her. Maybe Addie can get with Devon? That is the only way I see hybrids relationships working.

  3. I just got a copy of this and I can't wait to read it. This is the first review I have read and you have got me even more excited for it. It sounds like such a unique concept and I think I will really enjoy it. Great review!

  4. I'm listening to the Host on audio right now, and while I'm not that far into it, I really see what you mean!

    Thanks so much for linking your review ;)


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