Book Review : What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

November 13, 2013 Book review 11 ★★★½

What’s Left of me was a captivating and mind-boggling read for me. I really enjoyed it but kept over thinking about how exactly two souls in one body would work which lead to this book being a bit of a head wreck for me (in a good way!).

Book Review : What’s Left of Me by Kat ZhangWhat's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
Series: The Hybrid Chronicles #1
Published by Harper Collins on 18 Sept 2012
Genres: Dystopia, Fantasy, YA
Pages: 343
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon

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

My Recap :

One body, two souls. By the age of 5, one soul has faded and the other soul is left alone in the body to live a normal life. Not so for Eva and Addie, they are both still there. Addie is the one everyone sees and talks to but Eva is there present in their body unbeknownst to those around them. It is their biggest secret and one to guard with their life as being found out will be trouble with a capital T.

My Thoughts :

I’m not joking, this book made my head hurt. The thought of two souls in one body is so painful, the idea of another voice constantly present in your body, a voice with feelings and emotions that can vary so different to yours. It’s a head wreck and that was just for me reading it never mind how frustrating it must be for Eva and Addie.

My sympathies go straight to Eva as she is the person without an external voice, the person who can’t move around freely but must go and do whatever Addie wants. I found it interesting that the book is Eva’s voice even though in the world in which she lives she has no voice. It is told from her point of view and she is the person with whom I empathise most so that felt right to me.

Initially I was afraid this book would take a predictable route of a good soul and a bad soul but thankfully it didn’t. Both characters are likeable and have good points and bad ones. I think I feel that the dominant soul who survives is a more selfish person as they fought harder and care less about their other souls feelings and right to live. And that makes me think that a society inhabited by such people is not a great direction to take. I suppose you could argue that these souls are just fighters and more resilient but it still makes me feel uneasy.

I got myself into a bit of a pickle trying to figure out how Addie and Eva communicate, they don’t talk out loud and they don’t share all their thoughts. Once I figured out they had some means of filtering what they wanted the other soul to know, it all made more sense. While I had problems sorting this out, I had no problems separating the girls in my head as they are very distinct characters with very different personalities.

The pace of the book held up nicely. There was a sinister element of danger about what would happen if their secret was revealed or spotted and it was enough to keep me reading eagerly knowing what would happen but hoping it wouldn’t. I did wish it was twistier though as I felt it was very easy to predict what would happen next.

There is a hint of a romance for Eva as well but this I found hard to buy into. A threesome would be enough of a tangle but this would be a foursome and while I think of the characters as separate beings, they still share a body. There is a hint at how this could be resolved but there are still too many what if’s for me to let myself relax into the romance.

Overall this book this was very pleasant surprise. I had a few issues but still really enjoyed reading it and look forward to reading the next book fairly soon as I really want to know what happens next. And a huge plus is the writing style is great from the dialogue to the imagery used, I was a fan all the way and I’m in awe that this was written while the author was only 19 years old.

Who should read What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

I’d recommend this one to fans of YA dystopia as it’s very different from so many others out there and it’s one that gives you lots to think about. If you were a fan of Suzanne Young’s The Program then I’d think you’d enjoy this one also.


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11 Responses to “Book Review : What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang”

    • trish

      I know that cover is fab. The concept was cool but mind bending, I just kept thinking how awful it would be to be trapped in a body you had no control over. I’d go mad!

  1. Lark

    Just reading your review made me feel bad for Eva. I’m not sure I like the premise of this book…but at the same time I’m really curious to see how the whole thing turns out. Did it read pretty fast?
    Lark recently posted…Steampunk Fun…

    • trish

      I was so sorry for Eva, she had no external voice and no control over the body and I got frustrated on her behalf! It was a very quick read Lark, I loved the writing but just wanted less predictability from the plot. Still glad I read it though and I am looking forward to checking out the sequel.

  2. Kelley (Another Novel Read)

    Woohoo, we finally get to discuss this book! You make SUCH a great point about the dominant souls being more selfish and how that’s dangerous to have a whole society of people like that. I can’t believe that thought hadn’t occurred to me before! I had some trouble with the romance, too, for the same reason — sharing a body would be way too creepy for me. D: Greta review, Trish!
    Kelley (Another Novel Read) recently posted…Review: Relativity by Cristin Bishara

    • trish

      I think that thought haunted me a bit Kelley. How could all these people just ‘forget’ about their other soul and at such a young age be mean/self-centred enough to dominate the body. It gave me shivers for the adults they would grow into!
      The romance though is definitely creepy which is never a word you want to use in the same sentence as romance! I’m still raging I missed out chat, I’d love to have heard what you all had to say :O Next time, come hell or high water, I’ll be there!

  3. Asti (A Bookish Heart)

    Ah yes, I went into this review thinking “We already talked about this!” but then remembered we didn’t. Next time!

    I’m glad to see though that our thoughts weren’t too far different. The whole concept of two souls in one body was extremely hard for me to deal with, and yeah. Romance? That’s just… awkward. And yes, I did wish the book was a bit twistier as well.

    Still, it is all very original and interesting to read about! I’m curious, are you plan on reading the sequel? I know Amy already read it (and briefly mentioned it during the meeting) but I don’t think anyone else has. I’m not sure if I ever will.
    Asti (A Bookish Heart) recently posted…Bookish Thoughts: My Bookish Confessions (Part One)

    • trish

      LOL, well we did sort of discuss it! A little bit, when you posted your review 🙂
      Yes I can’t wrap my mind around the romance at all! Its too overcrowded for me :O Two is company, four is a crowd and I don’t like crowds in my romances!
      I am def going to read the sequel as I am invested enough to see what happens next.

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