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What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)
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Fantasy/Sci-Fi > What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang

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Celeste (celeste_bocchicchio) | 88 comments I just finished reading What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang and would love to hear what other people thought of it. I thought the basic premise (two souls in one body) was really interesting and different from anything else I have read. I think the series has a lot of potential for escaping heteronormative monogamy, although that doesn't really come out in this book.

My only big issue with the book was the fact that the book is set in an alternative version of the world where sometime in the 20th century two continents combined into one country called the Americas, and yet two of the main characters are described as conspicuously foreign looking because they have "olive skin" and hair that is dark brown "almost black." There is no way you can have North and South America combine and end up with a homogeneously white population.


Maree | 233 comments Here's most of my review of the book:

This book is actually pretty philosophical if you think about it. Two souls inhabiting one body, with one gradually fading away to leave the other 'settled' in the body. But when the two souls stay together in the body, it's seen as a monstrosity, and they're sent away to be 'fixed.' The concept itself is pretty amazing, but when you get down to choosing which soul lives and which fades away, does that amass to murder? And why force them to change at all?

I suspect the answer to my second question will be explored in a later book, but let me say that I'm pretty impressed just with the first book. It didn't have a first book feel to it - when I was getting to the end, I was thinking it would be the same as Matched or other dytopian books - now they join the revolution and fight. But instead, they kind of take a breath, which I really appreciated.

The world - I had a little trouble because I had just read Legend and then started this one, and they're both about the west coast of the US fighting against the east coast. I had to keep remembering that the quarter had nothing to do with this one. I'm still unsure why being a hybrid is seen as bad when the rest of the world doesn't seem to think so. The explanations seem very vague and even with the government labs and such, everything seems to revolve around the twin souls as the difference.

The characters - it was interesting that the story was told from the non-dominant, Eva, the one who had little to lose and the one trapped inside, unable to move. I'm sure it's meant to make us more sympathetic, and (as I read this as a traveling book) a lot of people really seemed to be hating on the active soul, Addie, for not getting it or for being mad at Eva. I wouldn't say that I was the opposite, but I didn't think that Addie had it easy just because she was in control of the body, or that she had no right to be upset with Eva over what she wanted to do just because she was the one who got to ultimately decide. Being the ultimate decision-maker every time all the time can be no picnic either. Nor can pretending to be normal when someone is talking in your head all the time.

Don't let my saying that make you think that I didn't like Eva, because I did. I just think that if Eva was really unselfish, she would have let Addie be 'normal' and faded. But of course, we need a heroine who has to fight for survival. Though for me, it's an interesting contrast, because at other times, we need a hero who is willing to die for their family. Eva could be both, though with one we wouldn't have a story, which is why we have to be set so much against it by liking her.

Regardless, it was strange but cool to always have her saying 'our hand' and 'we moved' and how, with other hybrids, there could be that quick switch from one to the other right in front of you. It's definitely an original idea, and I think Zhang played it out well.

I think that's a good point about the race of the characters. It's not something I usually catch in books. I usually picture the characters however I want. :)


Celeste (celeste_bocchicchio) | 88 comments Maree said
I had a little trouble because I had just read Legend and then started this one, and they're both about the west coast of the US fighting against the east coast. I had to keep remembering that the quarter had nothing to do with this one. I'm still unsure why being a hybrid is seen as bad when the rest of the world doesn't seem to think so. The explanations seem very vague and even with the government labs and such, everything seems to revolve around the twin souls as the difference


I got a different sense of the geography than you did. What's Left of Me is set in Ontario, Canada in a version of our world where North and South America have joined into one country (hence my issues with race). As to why hybrids are considered a problem, Addie and Eva were taught in school that two Great Wars and a bunch of hybrid rebellions basically decimated Europe, Asia, Oceania, and Africa, although by the end of the book (view spoiler)

I haven't read anyone else's review of this book, so I didn't know that people were hating on Addie so much. I liked both characters and I think that the struggles between them, the ways in which they had to negotiate their shared body and the danger that saving Eva posed to both of them were really well written.


Maree | 233 comments Ohhh, Canada, okay. Yeah, I'm not the best with remembering hair color or locations, lol. I was just confusing myself, then.

Well, would you say that Ontario is pretty Caucasian? It doesn't really matter that the two have merged if the city itself is primarily white. And did they also say that they kind of drove a lot of people of other races out or they drove themselves out because people who stayed hybrids were looked down upon there? Eventually it was outlawed, but I think they were saying that staying a hybrid came easier to other races and that many of them escaped because of it. Though I could be making that up.


Celeste (celeste_bocchicchio) | 88 comments No, you are right about that, I'm just not sure how feasible that kind of purge would have been. The only place in Ontario I have ever been is Toronto, which is as cosmopolitan as any city in the United States, but the book takes place more in small towns and rural areas--and I can't speak to the diversity of those parts of Ontario. I guess I could see the intolerance of local people, but the book seemed to be portraying the distrust of non-white (although I am not even sure that "olive skinned" counts as non-white) people was a national or even governmental thing.


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