Okay, Mindhutters. Are you ready for a tale bursting with paranormal/sci-fi/dystopian/post-apocalyptic goodness? I hope so, because we're about to tell you all about What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang.
The premise: Addie lives in a world much like ours, except for one huge, mind-boggling difference. Every person that's born into this world has two souls. But by the age of ten, one of the souls is supposed to have retreated and disappeared. There's one girl, however, whose second soul has survived. Her name is Addie, and her second soul is called Eva, and the fact that Eva still exists is Addie's darkest, most dangerous secret.
Anyone with two souls is called a hybrid, and hybrids are social outcasts in this world. So Addie and Eva did what they thought was best—they pretended like Eva was gone, and Addie was the only one left. They've been living that way for three years, hiding in plain sight. But when someone comes along who offers Eva the chance to be free, will Addie allow her twin soul to take the crazy risk and make a figurative run for it?
It's a really unique, interesting premise and the way it's told is certainly different. The reader gets to experience the story from the point of view of Eva—watching and waiting, never quite in control of what's happening to the body she lives in. The writing is clear and easy to read; Zhang draws the reader in quickly with her engaging style.
The story is good, but not mind-blowing. There's a game-changer about one-third of the way through the novel which takes the plot in an unexpected, though not unwelcome, direction. After this, though, things become a bit less exciting. The reader knows the story is building up to something, but it takes quite awhile to get there. The revelations are worth the wait, but there is definitely a wait involved.
What's Left of Me is a solid start to The Hybrid Chronicles trilogy. Eva and Addie are both great characters and Zhang has set the stage for a very interesting second novel, with many personal and moral dilemmas. This is a thought-provoking read, but also an enjoyable one, and one you should consider picking up if you want something to think about while being entertained.
What would you do if you had two souls?