Wednesday, 23 July 2014

What's Left of Me - Kat Zhang

Blurb: I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.


The novel opens with the extremely interesting premise that each human is born with two souls instead of one, two consciousnesses that coexist in harmony until one of them, the dominant soul, eclipses the other, the recessive soul . Except in the case of Addie and Eva,our protagonists, the recessive soul, Eva,  never disappears. Addie and Eva still share the same body years after all their peers have lost their recessive soul.  People like this are called hybrids and they are thought to be dangerous by most of society. They live in fear of being discovered and being separated. The society that Eva and Addie live in is almost identical to our own, and this gave the book a slightly unnerving quality.

The book is told from Eva’s perspective, even though Addie is in control of their body. The dual souls idea  is kind of confusing to begin with, but I got used to it after a while. Zhang makes the distinction between Addie and Eva quite clear, but I found it difficult to distinguish between the other characters. To me they didn’t have a unique voice.

This is quite a page turner, and I was interested to see how the book ended the whole way through. Even though I found the characters a little dull, the plot was extremely engaging. l didn’t realise that this was the first book of a series when I first picked up the book, and I would definitely keep an eye out for the next one. I’m interested to see where the story goes from here, and there are an awful lot of questions I would like to be answered. Like how did the hybrids come to be, or do they just live in an alternate universe where people have always had two souls. Why did society came to fear and ostricise hybrids , even though in the other countries around the world hybrids are in the majority.

This book is a pretty solid dystopian thriller, definitely one of the better ones I have read (the standard in this genre is definitely slipping)

3 Stars

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