Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Book Review: What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)

Author| Kat Zhang
Edition| American Paperback
Genre| YA Dystopian
Publisher| HarperCollins
Rating| 4 Stars
This has been sitting on my shelf forever.  I actually got to meet Kat Zhang at a signing over a year ago, but didn't buy her book then (my loss).  When I later got around to purchasing it, I never thought much of it.  But it was eagerly recommended to me, and I'm so glad I picked it up and gave it a try.

What's Left of Me follows Addie and Eva, two sides of the same person.  In their world, everyone is born with two souls- the dominant one takes over and the other goes to sleep, forever.  Except for in Hybrids, like Addie/Eva is.  When they're found they're sent to an asylum along with some friends.  It's there that they uncover a conspiracy that changes everything.

I liked the concept.  It reminded me of The Fire Sermon, to be honest, though I think it did a better job than that did in telling stories.  It also managed to capture feelings of the hospital- a real hospital and not a romanticized one you often see in these kind of things.

I classify this book as dystopian, but it's not set in the far future.  In fact, it's set in relatively present day.  I guess it's more of a parallel universe than a dystopian.  But it has many aspects those books have- a government with too much control, a character who steps outside society, a society that bands against a threat that isn't real, a false sense of security.  The list goes on.

The characters are well developed, but there are moments where they fall completely flat.  None of them had a special spark to them that makes them worth remembering.  It's this lackluster character building that weighs on me the most.  However, I think, if I spend more time with them (and pick up the sequels) this shouldn't be a problem.  Still, for a debut book that's a lot to ask a reader.

I will be picking up the next book in the series, at least, because the ending was wonderful.  Not what I expected at all but in a good way.  I'm hoping for similar surprises in the future.

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