Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What's Left of Me - Kat Zhang

What's Left of Me Kat Zhang book cover
What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
Series: The Hybrid Chronicles #1
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Source: Borrowed from Elena (Thanks!) || ARC

Eva and Addie are two souls sharing one body - a hybrid. But there's a catch: at a certain point, one of them has to fade. To keep up appearances, Eva and Addie pretend that Eva is gone... even when she's still trapped inside the body they share. Things change when they discover that there may be a way for Eva to take control of their body again.

What’s Left of Me is certainly one of the most unique and most promising books I’ve read this year. I enjoyed reading it, and could not put it down once I had passed a certain point. I loved the fact that it made me wonder about what I would do if I were in the same situation as Eva and Addie.

The reader experiences the entire story from the perspective of Eva. Eva is an interesting character because she has little to no control over the body she’s in, as she’s the soul who was supposed to have “faded” away. While she’s still around, it is Addie who controls their body, and Addie whom everyone recognizes and acknowledges at all times. 

It isn’t hard to commiserate with Eva. Just thinking about being trapped in a body and unable to voice your opinions or move your own limbs makes me feel claustrophobic. I ached for her and my heart hurt reading about her thoughts and feelings. I wanted so much for her to be able to have her freedom!

As for Addie, she was simply... there. I think that surprised me, because it’s supposed to be the other way around - Eva is recessive, Addie is dominant. Instead, I get more of a sense of Eva in this book, than I do of Addie.

There were definitely moments I wanted to shake some sense into Addie. I could understand where she was coming from though, as her actions were borne out of fear and societal pressure and what was considered to be the norm. It would have been difficult living in a world where hybrids are not allowed and trying to hide the fact. 

One thing I will give Addie props for - she never once seriously considers getting rid of Eva by any means. In fact, I feel like she’d be lost without her and vice versa. They were bonded in a way unlike any other, and just being exposed to how they felt about one another was very interesting.

This book definitely does not explain why hybrids would actually be a problem in society, leaving it up to the reader to interpret the risk for themselves. While I would have appreciated a tad bit more world-building, it didn’t take away too much from my enjoyment. There was enough going on with these characters and what was happening to them to keep me invested. I’m definitely looking forward to the next installment in this series, and highly recommend What’s Left of Me as one of my top debuts for the year.

17 comments:

  1. What's Left of Me sounds great but it was only until your review that I realised I had reservations. Now? I can't wait to dive into it.

    The premise sounds fascinating and I'm so pleased to hear it's as unique as it sounds.

    I think your review was just the push I needed to really get excited about this so thank you! ♥

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  2. I've been wanting to read this one! It sounds really interesting. Great review :)

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  3. ooooh, a top debut, really? I've heard mixed things about this title but you definitely make me want to read it. I read and loved The Host (yeah, yeah, I know.) The concept of bonding to an entity that has essentially infiltrated....YOU? Crazy to me. I'll be checking this one out!

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  4. Great review! I actually just purchased this one myself so I'm looking forward to reading it.
    The lack of explanation of WHY the hybrids are dangerous seems to be one of the consistant complaints of peeople who have read it, but it's good to see that it doesn't affect their overall outcome of the story!
    Can't wait to start reading!

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  5. I agree with you, What's Left of Me is one of the most unique books I've ever read. I loved it! I'm glad you enjoyed it too, despite the lack of world-building.
    I've just discovered your blog, new follower :) Great review x

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  6. I'm a characters person, so as long as I can connect with them, I can let other things slide, so I'm glad that's the case with this book for you. Thanks, Alexa! :D

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  7. I'm with Jen...this one really reminds me of The Host - the central premise anyway. I think the lack of world-building bothers me here. Not knowing why hybrids exist...hmm, may have to wait and see if book 2 clears anything up before embarking on the series.

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  8. dang. i do not know why this just didn't work for me. i didn't connect with the characters and found eva to be whiny. i couldn't tell where the plot was going or what the ultimate goal was which made me feel like anything could me manufactured to work out perfectly. i like knowing what the goal is so i can think about what i would do and then compare what the characters are doing (and think about the reality of the situation). all hope is not lost, i'll probably read the 2nd book, but i hope i'm more intrigued.

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  9. I feel the same way about Addie and Eva. I was so much more focused on Eva, and Addie was just another character on the sidelines... though I did grow to like them both. Great review, Alexa!

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  10. From all the reviews I've read so far, this sounds like such a promising story! I kind of like the idea of Eva being the more dominant force (even if she's not so dominant in the body) because I think it would give the reader much more sympathy for her precarious situation. The premise seems so unique and I can't wait to read it!

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  11. I wish there had been more world-builing, too. The idea of two souls in one body is interesting, but more background would have been useful. I was surprised to only get to know Eva as well, but hopefully more of Addie's character will be explored in the next book. Kind of random, but have you read Stephenie Meyer's The Host? Sort of similar idea with two souls in one body, but I prefer how she handled the situation. I really love the book!

    Anyway, love the review!

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  12. Great review! I was also easily sympathizing for Eva it's a very mind boggling situation and really sad. I liked that part of the story the most. Glad you enjoyed it! :)

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  13. I wonder if I'm going to enjoy this because it seems pretty similar The Lost Girl which I enjoyed IMMENSELY! But after reading your review it does make me realize that maybe it seems to be a bit more different than I initially thought. I have a copy so hopefully I'll get to it soon!

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  14. I think that's really interesting that you find Eva to be the most dominant one, even though she is the one who cannot control her own body. The idea in general of two souls inhabiting a body isn't quite a new one - not if you think of alien possession stories like Animorphs or The Host, where people being controlled by aliens still had a sense of self left inside of them. But I do think it sounds as though Zhang is distinguishing her story in the details. I'm sure the lack of world-building would bother me some, but as you said this is only the first book in a trilogy. I'll definitely have to check this out!

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  15. yeah, the lack of world building was iffy for me but i think i liked this book overall? i don't think it resonated with me the way i wanted it to but i did like how it explored human nature. great review, alexa!

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  16. What an interesting sounding book! I am fairly certain this is the first I've heard of it which is shocking because it sounds so good & unique!

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  17. I agree that Eva is definitely the dominant one. I felt like we knew her a lot better than we knew Addie. This book definitely tore at my heart strings. I felt so bad for Eva being trapped, but I agree with your point that Eva and Addie are bonded together and I don't think that one could survive without the other.

    http://thelibrarycanary.blogspot.com/2013/03/whats-left-of-me-by-kat-zhang.html

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Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)

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