10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
(I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins publishers, and Edelweiss.)
15-year-old Addie lives in a world where every baby is born with two souls; two different consciousness' living in the same body and mind. Between the ages of 5 and 10, every child loses their second soul, in a process known as `settling'. The dominant soul fully takes control of the body, and the recessive soul simply fades away.
Addie is unusual in that she didn't settle until she was 12. A fact that nearly cost her her life, but what nobody knows is that while Addie has full control of her body, her sister Eva still lives on within her mind. Addie/Eva are what is known as a hybrid, and in the USA this is basically illegal, if they are caught they will be experimented on or killed, so Addie says nothing, and Eva remains trapped in her own body.
When a girl at school Hally reveals herself to Addie as a hybrid too and tries to get Addie to admit that Eva never disappeared, Addie wonders if it is a trick, but Eva is desperate to find out if she could get her control back and no longer have to live imprisoned in her body.
Unfortunately though, Hally manages to get herself sent to an institution for hybrids, and tells the people there Addie's secret, meaning that Addie is taken too, and must now find a way out, before the people there try to take Eva away from her forever.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the relationship between Addie and Eva, and felt sorry for poor Eva being totally unable to exert control over her own body. Eva was such a strong character, stronger even than Addie who was supposedly the `dominant' soul. She hung on in there, desperate to hang onto life, not wanting to fade away, always wanting to experience more, even when everybody told her that she should be gone already.
I felt sorry for Eva in the way that she was treated, even by Addie, who at one point blames their hybrid status on Eva, because if Eva had just let herself fade away like she should have, Addie would be normal.
I also felt sorry for the other children at the institute who were being experimented on. It was so terrible how their other halves were being ripped away from them, and how they were told that they were sick and wrong because they were hybrids.
I really don't understand how people could possibly live with this kind of torture! Having a child who has two separate personalities inside, naming them different names, and then having to live with the knowledge that at some point one of them will basically cease to exist! I also find it very difficult to imagine living with someone else in your head, and having to share a body, but also, if you had had someone else in your head since birth, how would it be to have them disappear and be no longer there! The grief that the children felt about the loss of their twin was just so poignant, and sad.
I did find it quite strange initially that the story was told from Eva's point of view, but this wasn't an issue once I got into the story, and it was interesting to see things from Eva's point of view. I did find it a bit confusing at times though when Eva referred to things as `ours' - our arm, our sock etc. I also cringed every time Addie accidentally said `us' instead of I; convinced that they were going to give themselves away!
The whole idea of two souls in one body, and the way one was dominant did massively remind me of `The Host' by Stephenie Meyer, even though the story itself wasn't similar. The way that the two different people communicated and had different ideas and desires, was very similar though - not that this was a bad thing.
The story was well paced, and the finale was so tense! My heart was racing, my hands were shaking, and I was silently begging `They've got to make it, they've got to make it!'
There was a little touch of romance, but nothing too much, I'm guessing that this might be explored more in future books.
Overall; I really enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the next books in the series! If you love dystopian YA, you'll love this!
8.75 out of 10.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
- Publié sur Amazon.com
What's Left of Me was one of my most highly anticipated reads of the year. I absolutely loved the premise, even if I was a bit wary of the science behind it, and I couldn't wait to read it.
And now here we are and sadly, I didn't love it as much as I'd hoped I would.
It started out great. I was immediately sympathetic to Addie and Eva and their situation, though I do wish as the novel had gone on that the complexity of their relationship and dynamic had been better explored. We get bits and pieces of it here and there and while those pieces are good, I wanted a lot more. Still, what we had was sweet and heartbreaking, and there are always more chances for it to be explored in later books.
I was enjoying the book up until Hally and Devon, two other hybrids who offer to teach Eva how to regain control of her body, give Addie some tea that's laced with a drug that'll put her to sleep without her permission. They drug her without her consent, two people who are offering to help her and who are supposed to be her friends. Given that Addie agreed to come to them and learn how to let Eva take control, why couldn't they have asked her to just take the tea, tell her what it would have done and prepared her for it? Forcibly drugging her only broke her already shaky trust in them. This scene bothered me intensely when I read it, and the more I thought about it, the less sense it made. Why do this? Was it to make Eva's eventual success at saying something more dramatic? To make the writing easier? It wouldn't teach Addie how to let go and let Eva have control, seeing as how Addie's asleep during this entire thing. Eva would be learning how to control her body, but Addie wouldn't be learning how to let her when she's awake.
And while there is a mention of how this effects Addie, there's little to no fallout from it. Addie continues to see Hally and Devon for Eva's sake, and Eva's so overjoyed at having talked that she doesn't really seem to contemplate how terrifying the ordeal must have been for Addie. And given that the fact that Hally stole the drug they used from her mother's hospital was later used as evidence against Addie and Eva to take them away, it felt like an overly convenient plot device that wasn't entirely successful.
Still, I kept reading because I was still interested in Addie and Eva's plight. I wanted to see how things unraveled. The novel is very engrossing and addicting and the prose is readable, making a hundred pages fly by easily. It definitely kept me reading even when I was irritated with it.
The science at times was a little shaky--the drug used to suppress the dominant soul so the recessive could take over doesn't really hold up to deep thought. If it affects the brain, then it should also keep the recessive soul asleep as well. Eva doesn't have her own separate brain that wouldn't be unaffected by the drugs. The clinic they're both eventually sent to also has some technology that can somehow tell if a person is a hybrid, and it's not really explained how. It just is. The same problem exists for the hatred against the hybrids; we're told they're dangerous but we're not really told why, and everyone goes along with it. While there were some good points to this, like the government making up stories of the powers hybrids have to turn other people against them, it was a weak point.
Another weak point was, at times, it seemed like everyone had a little too much freedom. The book is listed as a dystopia and it does have strong elements of that, but Addie and her friends are able to talk about their hybridness out in public, in the complete open, and nothing comes from that. While they're very short conversations, I couldn't help but feel that if the dystopia was as strong as it should have been, they wouldn't have risked talking about it in public or in the open at all.
And then we get to the big reveal of what the government does to people to kill the recessive soul, and the worst point of the book for me.
Addie and Eva find out that the government kills the recessive soul by using the drug Hally used to put Addie to sleep, by putting it into vaccinations that everyone receives. This is, of course, done without the knowledge of the general public and they're told it's natural for the recessive soul to simply die off. This is actually a very clever and good idea, and I would have gladly gone along with it.
Except we're currently living in a country that's got a very strong anti-vaccination backlash going on. I'm not going to comment or say what the author believes in, as it's not my place and I don't know her personal views. However, I strongly question the wisdom in including this sort of plot device in a book aimed at young teens that seems to uphold the anti-vaccination view, which is that getting vaccinations will do more harm to children than good. The last thing that opinion needs is more encouragement, especially as we're already facing some of the affects of it: Parents are refusing to vaccinate their children, causing them to get sick, causing other children to get sick, and causing older people who the vaccinations have weakened on to get sick as well.
It makes sense, in the world of the story. But I found it an intensely uncomfortable plot device to use and message to send. It seriously hurt my opinion of the story, which I had still been enjoying up until that point. Especially where this is concerned, I think you need to be intensely aware of the message you're sending out to your readers.
I didn't entirely hate What's Left of Me, but there were several issues that kept me from truly loving it like I had hoped. I may still read the rest of the series, because I'm still interested in seeing how Addie and Eva's story unfolds. But I'm going to be very, very wary of doing so in the future.
6 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
The Housework Can Wait
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This book took some getting used to, because of the unnatural (yet accurate for the story) use of pronouns and verb conjugations. Because there are two people sharing one body, you get paragraphs like this:
"Kind of," Addie said. She managed to keep our voice bland despite Hally's dogged high spirits, but our fingers tugged at the bottom of our blouse. It had fit at the beginning of the year, when we'd bought all new uniforms for high school, but we'd grown taller since then. Our parents hadn't noticed, not with -- well, not with everything that was happening with Lyle -- and we hadn't said anything.
"Want to come over?" Hally said.
Addie's smile was strained. As far as we knew, Hally had never asked anyone over.
- page 8, What's Left of Me
Keeping in mind that all those "our"s and "we"s are talking about two individuals sharing the same body. Sometimes Addie acts independently of Eva, sometimes they act together. Sometimes people are addressing both of them, sometimes just one. You'd think it would be really confusing, but it's not once you get used to it. I do, however, feel sorry for Kat's editor. Grammarcheck would have had a hard time with this one.
I really liked that this story was told from the perspective of Eva, the recessive soul. It was fascinating watching Eva and Addie's sibling dynamic, when one of them had only a voice and no body. They could communicate with each other, but Eva couldn't speak with their voice to anyone else. So lots of times, Eva sat helplessly inside their body, urging Addie toward a course of action, only to have to suffer the consequences when Addie made a different choice.
Although it wasn't a major plot point of the book, I was completely fascinated by the family dynamics in the book. Eva and Addie's parents both, at some point during their lives, tell them that they love both of them. But at the same time, they urge Eva to fade away, and for Addie to assert her dominance. It's such a weird and challenging concept -- how should a parent's love be affected by having two children inhabiting the same body? And should they mourn the "death" of one for the good of the other, or should they simply accept it as the way life works? Eva, obviously, feels hurt by the withdrawal of her parents' affection -- from her, not Addie -- even as she tries to tell herself it's normal for them to stop talking to her. Again, this isn't actually a huge part of the story, but it was such an interesting question to me.
And the question necessarily expands to intertwine with the main narrative. Should one soul be forced to fade away, or do both have a right to share the body? And if both souls have equal rights to the body, who gets to choose what they do? If one soul is romantically attracted to someone and the other is not, which gets to follow their heart?
As Eva and Addie struggle with these philosophical questions, they have to deal with the physical problem of being taken and incarcerated if their hybrid nature is discovered. And so in addition to the internal struggle, there is a lot of external action, adventure, and peril. Even a touch of romance, although that too becomes a delicate and challenging situation. It's a great mix, and I was completely sucked in.
Eva's narration is sparse but effective, and the storytelling flowed nicely. There's still some huge questions at the end of the book, but it's not a cliffhanger. Truthfully, I don't know if it's possible to fully and neatly answer all of the questions raised by this book, so in that way, it would actually work as a standalone (even though it's the first of a trilogy). Oh, and although it's being touted as a dystopian, it's really not. Nor is it really sci-fi. More of an alternate reality. It's one of those books that's kind of hard to define, which I think actually broadens its appeal.
Although I actually have no tangible complaints with this book, I'm not giving it an A rating. This seems weird, but basically, I felt like there was room for something more, either more connection with the characters or more insight into this strange world. It's not that I think the book did anything wrong, it's that I feel there's potential for better. Because I thought this book was really good, but it didn't completely knock me off my feet. I feel like it could, and I'm almost expecting that from the sequel. But while this one was highly enjoyable, it didn't quite crack that amorphous bubble that houses my all-time favorites. That said, I still highly recommend it.