ARC Review: “Once We Were” by Kat Zhang

Once We WereOnce We Were (The Hybrid Chronicles #2) by Kat Zhang

Goodreads | Amazon

“I’m lucky just to be alive”

Eva was never supposed to have survived this long. 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 before the doctors could strip Eva’s soul away.

Now fugitives, Eva and Addie 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? Faced with uncertainty and incredible danger, their answers may tear them apart forever.

Four and a half stars

Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss for this eARC! This title will be released September 17th, 2013.

WARNING: This review WILL include spoilers for the first book, What’s Left of Me. Read my review for more!

Getting a hold of an ARC of this book became an absolute necessity after reading the first book. When Edelweiss declined my first request, I requested again – basically until they let me have it. I was like a dog with a bone for this book, and with good reason. What’s Left of Me blew me out of the water and then some. Of course, after that, it was impossible to like the second one as much as the first, but the book gave me a good go, anyways!

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ARC Review: “What’s Left of Me” by Kat Zhang

What’s Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles #1) by Kat Zhang

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Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…
For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable–hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

5 stars

A big thanks to Edelweiss and HarperCollins for this ARC! You can get a copy for yourself on September 18th, 2012.

When I requested this on Edelweiss, I thought I’d make a big mistake. I already had a have-but-need-to-read list of 20 books. At least 7 of those were books I had to review. Some of them I’d had from NetGalley since the previous month and needed to be read YESTERDAY. But I thought “…what the heck?” Then it came through and I thought, “What have I done, I can’t read this fast enough to get the review done in time!”

I finished this in one afternoon. I couldn’t have put it down even when my mother asked me to.

The premise is just as interesting as it sounds. I drank up every little detail about it, and there was lots of that. In places it was a little infodump-ish, but I didn’t mind. Zhang had so many layers built into this world that I never even dreamed of. After all, who would think to go PAST a world where two souls start out in every body? That’s got enough going for it as it is. But Zhang also added a global element to this book. The setting is in a dystopian United States, where the Americas are supposedly cut off from the rest of the world because hybrids are burning up every other continent with their wars. This aspect was only mentioned briefly, but it opens up the other books in this series for literally a world of possibilities that are very intriguing.

The characters of Eva and Addie were also very well done. It was always easy to tell who was talking and thinking, because they did have a slightly different way of talking and acting. I also loved how yet another level of the plot was Eva and Addie’s constant battle and pact with each other. After all, they are two parts of the same whole, yet they are two different people. It would have been so easy to make Addie seem evil for not wanting Eva to take control, but Zhang gives you just enough of each girl so that you are emotionally invested in both their sides of the argument and there is no black and white.

The plot never stopped moving. Eva and Addie had to roll with so many punches that just kept coming and coming and coming. I wasn’t particularly shocked by any of them, but Zhang’s impeccable writing kept my heart rate up the whole time. Even in moment’s where it seems like the plot is slowing down, your nerves aren’t because you just KNOW something is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER.

Somehow, this plot is also devoid of some of my “favorite” clichés. Insta-love? Addie and Eva never had the freaking time, they were too busy trying to survive. Love triangles? I thought it would be way too easy to fall into this, what with two people inhabiting a bunch of bodies and all, but Zhang didn’t lower herself to that, either. Instead, the small fraction of romance in this book was done spectacularly well, yet somehow made me feel so sad for both Addie and Eva at the same time. (No, I won’t tell you which one is in love. Read it and find out!)

Basically, this book is everything I want a book to be, which makes it really hard to write a review about it. It had plenty of action, a fantastic premise, impeccable writing and great characters. It lacked any YA love clichés and wasn’t romance focused, though it did include romance that I actually enjoyed. I have nothing left to say besides READ THIS BOOK ASAP!