What’s Left of Me is Kat Zhang’s debut novel, started when she just was eighteen years old, and tells the story of Eva and Addie. Two souls in the same body. Set in a world where everyone has two souls, but the less dominant soul fades away and vanishes in childhood, Addie is the passive soul. However she hasn’t vanished and has clung to some semblance of existence but is unable to move or talk. Only Addie knows she still exists and the two guard their secret closely. They have been told Hybrids are evil and dangerous so pretend that it is just Addie and Eva is long gone, but when they meet another hybrid and discover a way for Eva to move again everything changes.
What’s Left Of Me has a truly different concept and really tries to challenge the reader to consider life and existence as well as the soul. Neither Addie or Eva have any privacy from one another at any point, something I thought Zhang explored really well. Zhang demonstrates a great handle on prose and character, particularly the sibling bond, and considering this is a debut makes me excited to see what else she will write.
In some ways, there is a ghost of semblance between this and Meyer’s sci-fi novel The Host in the sense of exploring two beings in one body. That said, this book is different in the sense that Eva and Addie have always had each other and have an extremely close bond to one another and they are both young souls. The love and difficulties of being unable to escape your sister are well written and explored by Zhang. The claustrophobia was great, plus the sheer horror of Eva’s existence was chilling: paralysed in a body you cannot move. At times, I felt quite uncomfortable because of this lack of privacy or power the two characters faced.
I thought that the main male characters Ryan/Devon were brilliant and I really enjoyed every scene they were in. The development of their friendship with Eva in particular was well explored, as was Addie’s subsequent difficulties in sharing Eva after keeping her existence quiet for so long. The opening half of the novel establishes the world Eva and Addie inhabit well, but the second half really picks up the action and pace and leads to a thrilling final section.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. However, at times I did feel a little distant from Addie in particular. I did really like Eva and I thought that there was a lot of potential for the series. The scenes in the hospital were at times chilling, particularly one of the early realisations you make that I don’t want to spoil, and the host of characters there interesting.
I received a free review copy from Harper Collins Children’s Books (UK) for reviewing purposes. What’s Left Of Me is available to buy now.