Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Review: What's Left Of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles #1) by Kat Zhang

Title: What's Left Of My (The Hybrid Chronicles #1)
Author: Kat Zhang
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publishing Date: September 18th 2012
Length: 352 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, fantasy, romance, dystopia
Source: Edelweiss

What's Left of Me tells the story of a fifteen-year-old girl fighting for her right to survive in a world where two souls are born into each body and one is doomed to disappear. Pitched as The Golden Compass meets Girl, Interrupted.

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.

Summary by Goodreads

When I first heard about it, WHAT'S LEFT OF ME reminded me a bit of THE HOST by Stephenie Meyer. From its general idea of two souls living in one body. But that's where all similarities end. Kat Zhang's story goes an entirely different way.

It's hard to describe the setting of WHAT'S LEFT OF ME. The world feel apart a long time ago, with the US in the middle of riots and fights for power. So that makes it feel like a dystopian.  At the same time the protagonists' lives feels ordinary and almost boring in the first few chapters. I would've wished for a bit more action.

The concept of living with two souls in one body, is called hybridity. It's perfectly normal to start out with two differen personalities, but children are encouraged or forced to abandon one in the process of maturing. It's forbidden to be a hybrid to ensure stability and order.
So that's where our protagonist Addie & Eva come into play. Addie's the dominant soul controlling their body and pretending to be the only soul left in that girl's body, but there's still Eva left. Always in the background of their life. The interesting part is that the story is told from Eva's point of view. She's been the best observer all along, only concentrating on still being a part somehow and not getting lost. I enjoyed Eva's voice and her telling the story, but I've got a bunch of things that just didn't work for me.

The first chapter does a good job of introducing us to the setting, characters and the point that our main character Addie & Eva is a hybrid, which is forbidden. We get the conflict and know what to expect in future. A clash between hybrids and the government, Eva & Addie and the rest of society.
The next several chapters, follow the same rythm though. All the time circling around Addie & Eva being a hyrid and what it means for them, for their family, for their neighbours, fellow students. At some point I felt too tired to listed to that anymore.
With two souls in one body it might not be easy to live together and there is a higher conflict potential, but their inner quarrels about doing this or doing that, the right and wrong thing, got on my nerve after some time. Could also be because I didn't really find a connection to Addie, and only to Eva.

A big part of the novel is made up of inner conversation between Eva and Addie, which makes an easy to read dialogue. It's marked through special signs; so that you don't get too confused about who's speaking. 
There is action to some extend and the setting changes to something more threatening after some time into the story. Addie & Eva are confronted with several obstacles and revelations concerning the being of hybrids. They are forced to make rash decisions to not only save their lives but these of their friends, too.

There's also a time span in which Addie & Eva mostly interact with fellow hybrids to experience what it means being hybrid. That's when they also meet the potential love interest, Ryan. The bond between Eva and him was the only thing that kept me reading til the end, because I really wanted to know how their feelings for each other unfolded and in how far a relationship would be possible with Eva who's never really been in control over their body.

1) of never letting go
2) of a really intriguing hybridity concept
3) of an impossible romance made possible
4) of the chance to find your own voice
5) of a moment to feel normal again 

2,5/5 **/* WHAT'S LEFT OF ME - Or better what's left of my patience. Two or three likeable characters can't increase my interest in this very slow paced dystopia.

The HYBRID CHRONICLES are based on an interesting concept and Kate Zhang really did find a good voice for protagonist Eva and an intriguing way to develop the romance between her and Ryan. But there were just too many aspects about the story that were not to my liking. I'm not sure if I'll find the time and patience to read the sequel of WHAT'S LEFT OF ME if it's held in the same detailed and slow paced writing, but I still recommend you to give this story a try if the summary and story concept sound appealing to you.

* Read an excerpt of WHAT'S LEFT OF ME.

* Want to meet Kat Zhang? Check out her schedule.

* Click here to see a list of interviews and guest posts by Kat Zhang.

* For further information about Kat Zhang and her books visit


  1. I'm sorry to hear you didn't like it so much. I know the feeling when you can't connecting to the characters. It really can spoil the story, but this one sounds so fascinating. I'm still going to try this one out, but thanks for your honesty and I will keep your points in mind :)

    1. Please let me know what you think of the book once you've read it! Enjoy:)

  2. Ich glaub du warst deutsch oder?:)

    Irgendwie klingt das Buch vom Inhalt her echt toll, aber in deiner Beschreibung hört es sich schon relativ langatmig und öde an >.< Hmm...

    1. Ja, deutsche Kommentare sind natürlich auch immer gerne gesehen. Vom Inhalt her fand ich es auch toll und die Idee ist schon spannend. Aber die Umsetzung hat für mich leider nicht gepasst. Wirklich zu langatmig. Aber wag dich am besten einfach mal an die Leseprobe, dann kriegst du einen ersten Eindruck und kannst ja vielleicht sehen, ob es etwas für dich ist:)

  3. I don't think I'll be reading this novel. I have the HARDEST time with slow paced stories. If they ever make it a movie I'll probably watch it. Thanks for the review.

    Sara @ Just Another Story

    1. A movie would be great! Have you seen the book trailer? To me, it's as uneventful as the book.

  4. Hi Sarah,

    Thanks for the review, but I will still give it a try. Your review is so thorough and I love it :D


  5. I'm sorry this didn't completely work for you Sarah, but I can understand why from your points. Great review! :)

  6. I thought it looked really interesting from the summary too. As I read on though, it did get kind of boring. I still read through and plan to read the rest of the series when it comes out.

  7. hiya i LOVED this book,and i CANT WAIT for the sequel! i agree about it being slow and the end then seemed a bit fast in comparison. i love all the characters and the plot and think anyone should read it if they get a chance. the trailer isnt very good though