Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Not One, But Two

What's Left of Me Once We Were Echoes of Us book covers
by Kat Zhang
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Dates: September 18, 2012 / September 17, 2013 / September 16, 2014
Source/Format: Owned || Hardcover; Borrowed from the library || Hardcover

If we were to use a machine with three parts as an analogy for a trilogy, The Hybrid Chronicles would be a well-oiled machine. Each of these novels – What’s Left of Me, Once We Were and Echoes of Us – is an essential piece in ensuring that the final product (the series) is cohesive, independent and satisfying. If we take them apart and examine each one however, they cease to function properly and invite interesting commentary from the reader. 

In case you couldn’t already tell, I have mixed feelings about this trilogy. However, in spite of my personal reservations, here are three things that make The Hybrid Chronicles worth a read:

1. Hybrids, and what their existence means (for them and for others) – In this series, being a hybrid means that there are two souls residing in one body. The concept encourages readers to reflect on having more than one soul. From question of coexistence with one-souled people, to how it affects thought, intelligence and action, to more emotional takes (like romance, for instance), it definitely covers many branches of thought. Books that inspire reflection, particularly for “what if” scenarios, are always interesting and worth checking out, in my opinion. And this is definitely something The Hybrid Chronicles does.

2. Characters, particularly Eva & Addie – There’s a great array of diverse characters in these novels, friends and foes alike. While most of them will stay familiar only a surface level, Eva and Addie are certainly enough of a reason to read this series. As a hybrid, they’ve grown up intimately entwined with one another, as sisters, best friends and devil’s advocate. This series is primarily about their internal struggles: how they deal with one another’s presence, how they deal with sharing control of one body, the choices they make, the way they feel. It’s really something special to bear witness to watching them both grow up through the course of three books, and I would pinpoint this as one of the series’ strengths.

3. Action, suspense and unapologetic brutality – The world Eva and Addie live in is not kind to hybrids. They are being hunted, either to be killed, captured or admitted into a facility that will “fix” them. These circumstances are cruel and unfair, but it is what it is. There are, however, hybrids who have escaped, who fly under the radar even as they continue to do what they can to fight on behalf of their fellow hybrids. This makes room for a lot of tension, particularly as they try to navigate in a society that doesn’t accept hybrids and doesn’t know what to do with them. As Eva, Addie and their friends fight on behalf of the hybrids, they find themselves faced with difficult choices and harsh consequences. It’s not pretty, but it does feel authentic to how the world was set up.

If you find yourself feeling curious about any of these three things, then you certainly should give The Hybrid Chronicles a shot. However, do be warned that it works best if you binge read the series, since all three books simply read as one really long story. So, make sure you grab all three before you even start!

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In case you were curious, you can see my thoughts on each of the books below:

What’s Left of Me was still a very strong start for the series, with hybridity being detailed fairly well and Addie and Eva put in a position where they are forced to acknowledge a new way of thinking. In spite of knowing what was going to happen, it was still a pretty exciting read. (You can see more in my original review.)

Once We Were serves as filler and pivot point for the series. Readers learn more about hybrids, how those underground are fighting for equal, just treatment and how those vehemently opposed to hybridity keep trying to cure it and capture those who would sabotage their efforts. Eva and Addie are at their most complex, as they are learning to come to terms with their existence, the new knowledge they have of hybrids and what they are capable of and forming new relationships. There’s a lot of tension – between them two and between them versus others – so it always feels like something is hanging in the balance. I’ll admit that this one took me a little longer to read than I would have liked, though it was still fairly engaging.

Echoes of Us was definitely the kind of series finale readers will enjoy. The stakes get higher, the action more intense and the internal conflict more complex. Eva and Addie have come to terms with a lot of things, and they’ve become more comfortable in their own skin. But everything they know, everything they hold dear is tested here. Readers will be satisfied with how Eva and Addie choose to respond to all the difficulties they face. While everything wraps up a touch too easily, it still feels like a good ending for their story.

4 comments:

  1. I own the first book in this series, but haven't read it yet. Those three points you mentioned sound interesting, so I am hoping I will enjoy this series. I didn't realize the last book was already released. Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've only read the first book, but I really need to get my hands on the next two! I loved it in every way - great story, great characters, FAB cover! I'd almost forgotten about it - thanks for the reminder!

    Cait x

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  3. Despite your mixed feelings about this series, I think I'm going to check it out. Those covers are amazing and it sounds like such an interesting concept.

    Christina | www.passionobsession.co.uk

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  4. The Quiet ConcertMarch 11, 2015 at 3:41 PM

    I still need to finish this series (and quite a few others). I liked book 1 and 2 but wasn't blown away by either of them and that is why I keep deprioritizing Echoes of Us. But I'm glad to hear it is a good conclusion. This series was definitely different/interesting!

    ReplyDelete

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