September 18, 2013

Latest Read: Once We Were by Kat Zhang

Here are the basics ...
Once We Were (The Hybrid Chronicles, #2) by Kat Zhang
Publication date: Sept. 17, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins
Category: Young Adult - Science Fiction
Source: Received ARC at BEA (Thanks!)

Summary: Eva, as the recessive soul, she should have faded away years ago. Instead, she lingers in the body she shares with her sister soul, Addie. When the government discovered the truth, they tried to “cure” the girls, but Eva and Addie escaped. Now fugitives, they find shelter with a group of hybrids who run an underground resistance. Surrounded by others like them, the girls learn how to temporarily disappear to give each soul some much-needed privacy. Eva is thrilled at the chance to be alone with Ryan, the boy she’s falling for, but troubled by the growing chasm between her and Addie. Despite clashes over their shared body, both girls are eager to join the rebellion. Yet as they are drawn deeper into the escalating violence, they start to wonder: How far are they willing to go to fight for hybrid freedom? (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: The idea of two souls sharing one body simultaneously intrigues me and completely freaks me out. I feel almost as unsettled as Eva and Addie do as they figure out how to live this way and the difficulties are twice as apparent in Once You Were. They've escaped Nornand, the hospital set on "curing" hybrids even if means dozens of children die in the process. But their safety is only temporary. They're in hiding with other hybrids, including their friends Ryan/Devon, Hally/Lissa and Jackson/Vince. Peter, the man who saved them, is doing his best to save others like them but are his efforts enough? This is one of the many questions Eva and Addie begin to ask themselves.

The second book felt more introspective. Despite the stakes being higher and all this political intrigue going on, it seemed to take a backseat to what Eva and Addie were going through internally. More than ever they're questioning what it means to be hybrids. In the very beginning, Eva was the recessive soul in their body, almost like a comforting voice in Addie's head. Then she learned to take control but now, she and Addie are fighting for it. They have separate wants, different opinions and need alone time but they have this one body. I kept trying to imagine that. It especially becomes uncomfortable as the relationship between Eva and Ryan deepens, despite Addie's clear unease. Can you even imagine? Your body having to kiss someone because your twin soul wants to even though you don't? It's a startling thought and I kept wondering how their story will unfold. How can both Eva and Addie find their own separate happiness this way? That's what makes this series so interesting. It's completely unique and thought-provoking.

(Some) reservations: I'm not sure if it's because many more characters are introduced this time around but I struggled with keeping everyone's names straight. Almost every person equals two souls. So you have to keep track of both names and ideally, each soul's defining personality quirks. It gets easier as the book progresses but I wouldn't mind having a little chart in the next book (hint hint!). Also, as with the first book, I don't still understand Addie. What is with her aversion to being touched or why is she in a constant state of nervousness? I had hoped to get to know her better here but I don't feel as connected to her as Eva. It's funny because for someone who's the recessive soul, Eva sure is dominant.

Do I recommend?: It's a really interesting premise so if you'd like to try something different from what you usually read, this might be right up your alley.

Happy reading!

2 comments:

  1. Ahhh!!! I wanna read this one so much! I read the 1st book and loved it! But aww, more characters?! Yeah, that does kind of suck when you have too many people to keep up with. Hmm, I'll have to see how I feel about all this. Great review hon!

    Vi
    AKA Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm very excited to read this sequel! I enjoyed What's Left of Me last year, so it'll be great to catch up with Eva and Addie and their friends. I think it's interesting that Kat chose to make this one more introspective; it makes sense though!

    ReplyDelete