Author: What's Left of Me
Series: The Hybrid Chronicles
Release Date: 18 Sep 2013
Date Read: Jan 2013
Well, folks, here's my first read of the year. Finished it on the new year's day.
So many things are just right in this book.
Seriously it's just plain beautiful. *covergasm* I would like to give the genius that came up with it a big fat kiss. This is how it's done.
Two souls inhabit one body, sharing control over it. Isn't that something? I was intrigued to say the least but also more than skeptical. I mean that kinda sounds a bit gimmicky and to be honest, dystopians are slowly getting worse and worse, with authors trying to one up each other to having the biggest, baddest, most complicated world. But bravo to Zhang for not only pulling off her impressive premise but also for doing it exceptionally well. I could believe her world and she somehow didn't make it seem like such a big stretch, being born with two souls. It's her own take on 'soul mates' nothing romantic, just literally two souls who are the best of mates. Two souls who know each other like no one else, who share everything (even if they don't have a choice in the matter), who love each other.
The World Building
Zhang didn't reveal all her cards when it came to world building. For a world inhabited with the idea of people with two souls I. One body, she made her world a lot simpler than I would have expected. The people of the Americas don't have two souls. The recessive soul disappear after a certain time leaving the dominant one full control and freedom to live however they want. They treat hybrids, those who still have two souls, like scum hated and feared. They went to war against the countries who still tolerated hybrids and in the end, isolated themselves from everyone else. Now normally, any mention of a war in any dystopia automatically makes me roll my eyes, expecting some poorly constructed excuse for the world building (*cough* Article 5 *cough* *cough*). But somehow Zhang made it work. Again. She included enough history, seamlessly and well crafted without sitting down the reader for an hour long lecture or something. I still would have liked more info about their society but Addie and Eva were carted off early on for anything more specific. Though, by the looks of the ending, we'll be getting more info about the bigger picture, not just how life is in the Americas. That's ok, I guess.
Addie and Eva are two souls in one body. Eva no longer holds any control over the body. She is but a consciousness hidden away in Addie's head, the only person who knows Eva still hasn't left. Surprisingly, Zhang made it seem easy, telling a story with two souls in on body. It wasn't at all confusing either even though there were moments where the souls with just switch control of the body in the middle of a conversation or while running or something. One second it would be Addie, then in the next it would be Eva. Not once did the personalities blend together. The souls were very distinct and there was no way you would mistake one for the other. Zhang achieved this not only with Addie and Eva but also the other hybrids. I would have liked to get to know Devon more though. He's more shy and reserved but I think I would like him. And Cal. Hopefully there's more of them in the next book.
Another thing was Addie and Eva's relationship. It can't be hard sharing everything with your sibling. It's hard enough to share my lollies with them, I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like sharing literally everything. *shudders* But Zhang portrayed it pretty well. She had no illusions of a perfect harmony between the two (They have more than enough disagreements) but you know that they love each other so very much and would do anything for the other. It was nice. Sibling love.
My only complaint would be the fact that its not as action-y as I would have liked. Maybe at the very end where the pace picked up a lot more but that was all. Most of what happened was subtle, but maybe that's good. Maybe that's what was right for the book.
What's Left of Me was not what I expected at all.