Series: The Hybrid Chronicles #1
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Limited on 27-09-2012
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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.
Like Crewel, What’s Left of Me has a wonderfully unique premise, and I really enjoyed it. In Eva and Addie’s world, children are born with two souls, one of which will be naturally less dominant and should fade throughout childhood, until eventually only the dominant soul remains. In Eva and Addie’s case, the less dominant soul (Eva), never faded, and the two are having to hide their dual nature, or risk being shipped off to be treated for being a ‘hybrid’.
What makes this story really work is that Kat Zhang has created two unique, distinct characters in Eva and Addie. The story is told from Eva’s point of view, despite the fact that Addie is the dominant soul; the one calling all the shots. The perspective feels a little strange at first, particularly as where we would use ‘I’, Eva and Addie use ‘we’, but it makes sense for the story and it doesn’t take long to get used to. The relationship between the girls is fascinating and brilliant. Closer than twins, Eva and Addie still don’t agree on everything, and their disagreements only make the moments of co-operation more believable and meaningful.
The storyline is thought-provoking and had me mulling over possibilities for days, both before and after reading What’s Left of Me. Eva has clung onto life, but it’s now left her as almost an observer of her own body. Addie is the one calling all the shots, but could she ever let go of Eva? How do the souls not end up traumatised by the loss of their closer-than-twin? How do families cope with losing a child? What happens if the two souls survive but one wants to go on and study medicine while the other wants to be a professional ballerina? What if one soul falls in love but the other doesn’t like the partner in question? (As you can tell, I really wasn’t kidding when I said it made me think!)
The world-building was a little too vague for me, and I’d have liked to see more about the history and formation of the world. Despite that, the characters, the plot, and the quick pacing kept me riveted to What’s Left of Me and I’m definitely curious enough to pick up book 2, Once We Were.
Buy it? This is one that’s worth buying for me.
In a nutshell: A wonderfully unique premise in a genre that can feel done to death.