Sunday, January 27, 2013

What's left of me by Kat Zhang

In a world where every body is born with two souls, it is the norm for one of those souls to fade into oblivion while the body is still a child, leaving one soul and one body - the way they say it should be.  But sometimes something doesn't happen (or does happen) and both souls survive, creating one of the dreaded hybrids that everyone fears so much.  Any child that doesn't settle at the right time, or when it is known for certain that the child is a hybrid, they are sent to one of the institutions to be "mended" so they can become part of society again.  It is a dangerous time to be a hybrid, and everyone knows to be on the lookout for the danger signs of a potential hybrid.
Eva and Addie live their lives with the constant knowledge that they can be discovered at any time - that one day someone will realise that Eva never fully faded away, that although she no longer has control over their body, she is still very much alive.  Addie has worked hard for both of them, keeping Eva a secret from everyone (including their family), trying to blend in with the other children so the doctors who watched her and waited for her to settle can relax and really believe the lie that she and Eva told.  It hasn't been easy, but they have managed until now - now they are both in danger, but it is a risk they both must be willing to take.
To tell you too much of the plot of What's left of me has the potential to ruin the story, because some of the greatest pleasure with this book is the unraveling secrets and the unfolding plot within plot that drives the story forward.  The idea behind the hybrid chronicles is fresh and original, the idea of each body being born with two souls is intriguing and makes you wonder what it would be like to have another personality (in fact another person) share your body with you, someone to talk to who has experienced everything you have, who can help with your homework when you are having a brain dead day - but then also realising that the other person ceases to exist (or you do) before you are fully out of childhood is just mind blowing.
On top of all that you add the fact that some people don't settle like they are "supposed" to, that some people become wanted criminals just because they are different - because they are hybrids.  The history of this world explains some of the paranoia, but the story also gives you intriguing glimpses of a conspiracy, or hidden ideas and dangerous secrets.  What's left of me was fascinating, gripping, and once you got used to the idea of how Eva and Addie "worked" it was a fast paced and smoothly written story that has left me desperate for book two to see what happens next.  While not as fully "dystopian" as some of the other books in this genre, this book will appeal to readers who like that genre.
If you like this book then try:
  • The hunger games by Suzanne Collins
  • Eve by Anna Carey
  • When we wake by Karen Healey
  • Slated by Teri Terry
  • Revived by Cat Patrick
  • Variant by Robison Wells
  • Subject seven by James A. Moore
  • Numbers by Rachel Ward
  • XVI by Julia Karr
  • Sleeper code by Tom Sniegoski
Reviewed by Brilla

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