Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Blog Tour: Teen Read Week {Hybrid Chronicles Review}

What's Left of Me and Once We Were by Kat Zhang
{Books One and Two of the Hybrid Chronicles}

Amazon Page: What's Left of Me
Amazon Page: Once We Were
GoodReads Page: What's Left of Me
GoodReads Page: Once We Were
LibraryThing Page: What's Left of Me
LibraryThing: Once We Were
Author Website

Amazon Summary - What's Left of Me:
What's Left of Me, the first book of the Hybrid Chronicles, is set in an alternate reality where everyone is born with two souls. But one soul is naturally dominant, and in early childhood, the other soul fades away.
That didn't happen for Addie and Eva. Now fifteen, Eva clings to life inside the body she shares with Addie, although she can no longer speak or even move.
Addie does everything she can to hide the presence of her sister soul. Eva's very existence is illegal. If their secret is revealed, it could mean death for both of them.


Amazon Summary - Once We Were:
In this riveting sequel to What's Left of Me, Eva and Addie struggle to share their body as they clash over romance and join the fight for hybrid freedom. With a powerful voice, an intense sibling relationship, and a sweet romance against the odds, this second novel in the Hybrid Chronicles is perfect for fans of Ally Condie, Lauren Oliver, and Scott Westerfeld.
Addie and Eva escaped imprisonment at a horrific psychiatric hospital. Now they should be safe, living among an underground hybrid movement. But safety is starting to feel constricting. Faced with the possibility of being in hiding forever, the girls are eager to help bring about change—now. The answer seems to lie within a splinter group willing to go to extremes for hybrid freedom, but as Addie and Eva fall ever deeper into their plans, what they thought was the solution to their problems just might be the thing that destroys everything—including their bond to each other.

My Thoughts:

These books go so well together, and my opinions on each are so similar, I decided to just write one review for both.

I showed up at the Crossroads Writers' Conference with book money in my pocket. As soon as the sales tables opened up, I made a beeline for that oh-so-familiar cover - and discovered there was another one right beside it! But more about that in a minute.

This concept is so mind-blowing, you can't help but wonder how in the world Kat ever came up with it. The idea of two souls - two people - in every body brings up so many questions. What about love and romance? How does the body decide which soul stays and which goes? Do they really go insane like Addie and Eva are told? I mean, it doesn't seem that hard to believe.

Addie and Eva are very similar girls, but I think Kat still did well at keeping them two distinct characters. Their separate dreams and desires clash, while their sisterhood and their knitted souls hold them together even when they're not getting along. The explanations and coping mechanisms for hybrids are realistic and work well with the story, too.

The world is actually just an alternate reality - still with the same television, cars, schools, museums, etc. - rather than a full-blown new dystopian realm. However, the taste of dystopia is certainly not lacking. The oppressive government, swirling character emotions, and absolutely horrid secrets that come to light all aid this book in holding its weight next to classics like The Giver or bestsellers like The Hunger Games.

I'd really, really love to rave about these books more, but I'm afraid I'll have to hold back for fear of spoilers. Basically, five stars and go buy them now!


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