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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Audio Review: What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

Posted by Irish in Review3 Comments

Title: What’s Left of Me (Goodreads)

Publisher: Harper Audio (Audio);  HarperCollins (Print)
Publication Date: 18 September 2012 (Audio & Print)
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: B009CMOFCG (Audio), 0062114875 (Hardcover)
Format: Audio
Audio Length: ~9.5 hrs
Narrator: Kim Mai Guest

The Author on the Web:

Place(s) Traveled to: The mid-west and coast in an alternate universe

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

First Line: Addie and I were born into the same body, our souls’ ghostly fingers entwined  before we gasped our very first breath.

Buy the Book:  

Hybrid Chronicles Series Order

Book 1: What’s Left of Me
Book 2: Once We Were (29 Aug 2013)

Book 3: Untitled (~Fall 2014)

When I first received an ARC of Kat Zhang’s What’s Left of Me I fell in love with the cover. I love the duality of it and its the perfect image for the concept of this book which involves two souls inhabiting the same body. In some ways its a little like Stephenie Meyer’s The Host only without the microbe aliens and with Meyer’s book there is an explanation for the duality. In Zhang’s What’s Left of Me everyone is born with two souls inside of them and then over time one soul fades away, or settles, leaving just one. Those who don’t settle are known as hybrids and are considered dangerous so they are whisked away to institutions. 

There isn’t a ton of action contained in What’s Left of Me but its not actionless are there are several tense moments throughout the book. And underlying it all is the constant fear of discovery and then wondering what will happen next. The story is narrated by Addie and she weaves a compelling story that kept me listening long after I was done with my daily driving activities. I loved learning Addie and Eva’s history and watching their journey. I loved meeting their friends and I was terrified along with them when their secret was suspected. 

What bothered me about this book was that there was never an explanation as to why hybrids were so bad. After all it was natural and hybrids seemed to exist just fine in other parts of the world. There was also lots of allusion to a war against the hybrids which caused the US to shut itself off from the world but these were often glossed over and not given much detail. I thought that this was a wasted opportunity and some of the extraneous scenes in this book could have been cut in favor of adding in this history of the world. Without it the world just didn’t seem all that fleshed out to me. So I’m hoping that as the series progresses we learn more about this missing history.

Overall though I did like this story and found it to be a fresh and unique addition to the dystopian genre. I liked the lyrical writing style of Kat Zhang and for the most part the story really flowed well. There were moments when the plot seemed to drag out a bit and my attention would wander but I was always brought back into the story.

Kim Mai Guest does a wonderful job with the narration and it was never difficult to tell who was speaking when. It also wasn’t hard to tell what was thought and what was conversation. And Addie and Eva had distinct voices despite being the same person. I fell in love with Guest’s style and was often reminded of Khristine Hvam throughout the course of this audio. In fact, I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t Hvam throughout my listen of this audio. Guest will definitively be a narrator that I look forward to listening to more of in the future and any fan of Hvam’s will probably like Guest just as much.

As an audio, What’s Left of Me was a wonderful listen though I’m not sure I would have liked it as much if I’d read it in print. So with that in mind I recommend the listening over the reading of this story. 

3 Responses to “Audio Review: What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang”

  1. Well-Read Reviews

    It is going to be a trilogy, right? So maybe it is possible the questions you had will get answered in further books?

    I haven’t read this book, yet. But, I did like the cover, too! I just noticed it had another face on it when you had mentioned it, though. Heh.

    Book Reviews

  2. Vivien

    I wish I could have listened to this one. The prose was really fabulous in some parts. Though I have a bunch of unanswered questions. This is a promising start to a new series!