What’s Left of Me – Book Review
Contains some spoilers
Kat Zhang (@KatZhang) has written a superb novel. Like many books I seem to be reading What’s Left of Me (affiliate link) is the first of a series (Hybrid Chronicles) and another one whose sequel I really, really don’t want to wait for.
I simply devoured this – it was so easy to read and I just felt for the characters straight away.
The book starts with an intriguing premise, that everybody is born with two souls but somewhen in early childhood one of the souls just fades away – this is called settling. Those who don’t – hybrids – are feared and children are put in institutions with the intent of ‘therapying’ away the weaker soul.
Addie is 15 years old, she learnt through therapy not to talk about Eva, the other soul inside of her but Eva never went away. When a sister (Hally/Lissa) and brother (Devon/Ryan) from her school identify that she is a hybrid (because they both are too) Eva pleads with Addie to let them teach her how to take over their body for periods of time. It’s difficult, but a budding relationship with Ryan drives Eva to achieve this. I felt for both girls here, Eva for never having had a voice and Addie for giving up and losing her control, seeing another’s happiness build as yours is disappearing.
But, of course, they are all found out and sent to an institution, where they discover that kids have gone mad, or died. We really feel Eva and Addie’s sense of betrayal because their parents ‘let’ them go. Also they are missing their little brother Lyle. Finding out that they are performing trial soul extractions (think Daemon splicings from His Dark Materials) the trio need to find a way to escape and quick because Hally and Lissa are next on the list.
Whatever Zhang did it really just drew me into the world and the pace of the story carried me through it. It was clear who was speaking via the layout so I didn’t get confused. The souls each have such a different personality and even the secondary characters such as the other kids in the institution are unique. The main point of view character was Eva the recessive soul, this clever choice was what made us root for the hybrids. I really wanted to keep reading as the book finished and suspect I shall take another trip back to the beginning before much longer.
I can’t rate it highly enough and 5 stars is well deserved. If my review hasn’t convinced you check out the book trailer here.
Thanks to HarperCollins for the review copy – the opinions and adoration of this book are my own.
You can read What’s Left of Me on 27th September 2012 – pre-order it now and clear your schedule.