Jason's Reviews > What's Left of Me

What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang
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's review
Sep 18, 2012

it was ok

Rating: 2.5 stars

I read the excerpt. It's...okay so far. Zhang does have writing talent, though nothing really stands out to me as that quotable. Eva is relatively likable, Addie less so. The world-building is super sketchy and I can't tell if we're supposed to take this as a future America or an alternate history America; it doesn't seem very futuristic. And the central conceit also comes off less dystopian and more fantasy - dystopian fiction generally revolves around a society that could happen thanks to issues in our current society, but I don't see a future in which 2 souls are born in each body.

Tonally and character-wise I'm reminded of Delirium, complete with a predictably different friend who already seems more interesting than the protagonist, but with a twist that makes me think of the daemons from His Dark Materials. Both of those series started out great and fell a lot after the first installment, and I don't think this book will reach greatness at all. I plan to finish it, though, hoping that it gets better. That happens sometimes...though at least usually after dozens of pages I have a good gauge of whether I'll love a book (i.e. Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Gone Girl recently).

ETA: Okay, I've read the rest now. Mostly I just noted the similarities it has with other books/series as I went along, which isn't a stellar recommendation for it. I suppose it's relatively engaging, though not enough happens and/or what happens is so predictable that it just feels like there isn't that much plot. The writing is pretty enough I suppose, with occasional phrases that evoke strong emotions in me, though I don't know if that's strong craftsmanship or Zhang wringing out emotion from the kind of easy plot points/moments that are obviously made to evoke emotion. Characterization - eh, world-building - poor, ending - eh. Maybe I'll read another Zhang book a few years from now when she comes up with a more original storyline and gets a stronger grasp on elements aside from her prose and storytelling, which are the ones good enough that they're not detrimental to the book.

Notes While Reading: I guess this is more Divergent than Delirium, since people who catch the delirium while highly frowned upon are not that rare, while divergents/hybrids are abominations for some vague reason. Better written than Divergent so far though not as emotionally moving as Delirium (even if Pandemonium fails). Though the slow process of mentally un-conditioning crossed with physical training is a bit of both. The (view spoiler)

Treated as a disease to be cured – Delirium.
That was a nice poignant moment.

Review board – Golden Compass-y. The bold girl turns out to be less “badass” than the protag – Delirium. Oh, that makes sense, and more Delirium again. I guess it’s not very Divergent actually.
You gotta give them hope. – Okay, this book is nothing like Milk, but that’s my favorite hope quote.

Either plot contrivance, or red herring turning out to be another kind of contrivance? I’m finding Eva whiny and Selfless Sue. This is a lot less exciting/badass than in The Golden Compass. Oh great job, Eva. Slight shades of THG and Divergent here.

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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Lorena (new)

Lorena I am still in the process of finishing this book, but so far i think it is very boring, and i disagree with you, i think Divergent was better written and a lot more interesting....

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