Whats Left of Me (Hybrid Chronicles 1) By Kat Zhang
Published by Harper Collins Children’s Books
4 out of 5 stars
Format: Late egally (available now in paperback, hardback and ebook here)
I’d heard many good things about WLOM, there was a bit of a buzz on the forums and when I saw it on egally I thought I’d give it ago. I wasn’t sure what to expect, something like Jefford’s Entangled? Something different? What ever it was, the premise sounded like something I’d enjoy so I requested it.
Meet Eva a smart, thoughtful teenage girl, and her twin, Addie slightly more selfish and less attentive but caring and likable. But the girls are not twins in the sense we know, they are twin souls, two souls, one body. In Eva and Addie’s world, everyone is born with two souls, one dominant, one submissive. For the first few years of life the two souls share the body (TBH I’m still not sure how that works, but they just DO) but as the child gets older the submissive soul disappears, leaving just one. Those that don’t ‘settle’ are hybrids – outcasts, destined to go crazy while their souls fight for control. Eva and Addie didn’t settle, but Eva lost strength and became trapped inside Addie, with Addie being the only one who knows that she is there, it is dangerous for anyone to know – they will be taken away for society’s sake (hybrids are terrorists, obviously), and so the girls go on in life, pretending. Until they meet another hybrid, and her brother, and things start to unravel quickly, they can give Eva some control back but before they can make real progress their friends are discovered and Eva and Addie face discovery themselves.
What ever I thought the book was going to be about, this wasnt’ it. The hybrid thing is a clever idea but I struggled to work out – how do they switch, do they choose who’s best for the situation, do they fight for control? Its a little confusing to get your head around. The first half to two thirds are pretty damn slow, they took me a long time to get into. Addie and Eva are well written, Addie in particular is a great character, she has everything she needs, and doesn’t really want to start messing and giving Eva strength back, not because she doesn’t love Eva but because she’s human. But she does it anyway, because she feels like she SHOULD, like she owes it to Eva. It makes her all the more likable. But there is not a hugh amount of story progression, it drags a little, its once things start going wrong that it gets good, and I read the last third in a night and it was the best part of the book, and the reason it is a four star, not a three. It was fast paced and totally unexpected, the twist isn’t obvious (although you think you know whats going to happen, and it doesn’t) and there are heartbreaking moments. Addie and Eva remain honest voices through out and the change in their characters is natural and believable, their character development, actually everyones development is a showcase of some brilliant writing by Kat Zhang.
Had the book continued on in the theme of the first half, I’d of been happy to leave the series and not return, but the final third or so has sold me, its brought up a load of new questions, new bad guys and more for Eva and Addie to explore. Book 2 is on my to read list for sure.
ARC/eGalley kindly provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review