Author: Kat Zhang
Genres [according to Goodreads]:
Fiction > Science Fiction > Dystopia
Fantasy > Paranormal
Young Adult > Teen
Published/Publisher: September 18 2012/Harper Collins
Format Read In: Hardcover
Summary from Goodreads:
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 health 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.
My Review [SPOILERS AHEAD]:
“We’d been born with our souls’ fingers interlocked. What if we’d never let go?” Eva; What’s Left of Me, K. Zhang
Whoa what a book! It’s definitely a thrill ride from start to finish.
I didn’t feel bogged down by the information that introduced us to his warped version of the Western world (when the author calls the land ‘The Americas’, I assume she meant USA, Canada and Mexico) which is always something I’m cautious of when starting a new series; it’s a tiring blunder that often turns me off from reading the book ’cause I’m still trucking through all the facts that are crucial to the story. But I felt like the author really took her time and presented them well. The main theme of what is means to be a human drew me to the book in the first place and I’m glad the author jumped right into it without dilly-dallying.
I also really liked the way she writes! I could really feel all that Eva and Addie were feeling; all their emotions and feelings and reactions were captured really well and definitely made me feel exhausted after a scene (in a good way). I was at the edge of my seat, wondering what they would find next or whether they were really going to escape this time. It was great that the focus, even right up till the end, was on the souls and how one felt trapped while the other was terrified of being trapped. There were times when I greatly sympathized with Eva and disliked Addie but by the end, my sympathies were easily split as I began to see what Eva taking over would mean for the dominant Addie; when the book is told from Eva’s perspective, it’s not hard to imagine why it took me while to warm up to Addie.
The other characters were great aids, too, though I didn’t feel like we got enough time to spend understanding them so they felt rather one-dimensional to me (both the dominant and recessive souls). Jaime was introduced far too late for me to really care for him while Kitty was a rather forgettable, little-sister type who had no qualms trusting a stranger like Addie/Eva. Mr. Conivent was your average, neighbourhood villain with only one focus that’s never really explained. We definitely didn’t get to hear much from Devon, and Ryan seemed like the run-of-the-mill nice guy. Hally I felt was relegated early on as the air-headed but lovable sidekick while Lisse was the stronger-willed anchor that was more a yin to Hally’s yang. Which is fine, but the charm of these souls in my opinion is that they aren’t so different from each other; one isn’t the smart one while the other’s the dumb one, one isn’t the pacifist while the other is the brute. They share their characteristics like they share feelings. I can kind of forgive this fault in fleshing out the side characters since this is a series, thankfully, and the focus needed to be on the girls, but stiiiiiil…
Dr. Lyanne was the only one I really felt was coming into her own: a doctor whose own brother is a hybrid works in an institution that locks up hybrids and kills one of the souls? SO MANY QUESTIONS! I’m excited to read more about her and Peter and Jackson (whom I’m kind of suspicious of; who smiles that much?), the rest of the Underground and the world outside of the Americas.
It was especially interesting to me to see the book touch on real-world issues like racism, the distortion of history and governments lying to the public. The last one is pretty common theme but it’s different in every book and I never get tired of it!
All in all, I’m glad I picked this book up from the library and will definitely keep going with the series. The plot is unique and well-formatted. I still have many questions regarding the hybrids and where the troupe is headed to next. I’m not wholly invested in the drab love story, another fault of the book, but I’m very excited to see how Eva and Addie’s lives will shift now that they can share their body properly.