|Pardon the extremely blurry picture. >.< My camera was acting up.|
Q: What writing device or trick most irritates you when reading a book? For example, if an author employs an omnipotent narrator that is sometimes considered bad form.
I should not exist. But I do.
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.
What’s Left of Me was the type of book that leaves you speechless—it certainly wasn’t what I expected.
First of all, the premise of the book is very unique. It’s not the usual overused, clichéd plot that you see in many YA novels today. (Even the best books fall victim to this!) The idea of a hybrid—two souls entwined in a single human body was extremely and deeply interesting. Kat Zhang could go many ways with this plot and if written beautifully, she could astound readers with the depth of the novel and the rawness of her characters in this new, alternate universe.
There were a lot of things I liked about this novel.
Eva was literally, an inner voice in Addie’s body. She was the recessive soul which was the soul which was supposed to ‘fade away’ over time. However, she held on to whatever remnants of control she had left and managed to stay in Addie’s body—able to think and mind-speak, but unable to walk or control their body in any way. To be honest, at the start of the novel, I couldn’t sympathize with Eva. For some reason, I preferred Addie’s voice over hers. But as the story progressed, I started seeing things in her POV, and how frustrating it was to have a body, but not having any control over it.
I especially liked how Kat described the relationship between Eva and Addie. It was realistic—they got into fights, like normal siblings, and they carried a burden together—the secret they had to keep in order to stay normal, to keep both of them alive. The two sisters experienced everything together, but the emotions each of them felt—jealousy, happiness, anger, and sadness, were truly and uniquely their own. Kat managed to make both of them connected, but separated at the same time.
I have two contradicting comments about the plot and world-building, though.
Though I liked Kat’s writing style and how she kept the book going at a slow pace, it was also tiring at the same time, because sometimes it seemed like nothing was moving on. The events sometimes seemed stuck in between chapters. However, this proved to be good in one thing—the relationship between Ryan and Eva. It was slow-paced, unlike the relationships in many YA novels nowadays. One pet peeve of mine is an ‘I love you’ after a few chapters, though if written correctly, could be bonus points for the writer.
The world-building was also quite good, though everything still seems somewhat confusing. The mysteries of the setting, I think, is still yet to be revealed in the next book, so I will be waiting patiently for that.
Hopefully, in the next installment of the Hybrid Chronicles, it will be a little more fast-paced and action-packed, but still retaining the beauty and intricacy of Kat Zhang’s writing.
What’s Left of Me was a refreshing and unique story, with raw, new characters—nothing in the novel was clichéd or overused, and the whole plot was carefully formed with the detailed and precise writing of an extremely talented debut author, Kat Zhang.
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Reviews
Q: What do you hope to accomplish with your blog? Is it to one day become an author yourself, just for fun, maybe get some online attention, or maybe something very different?
A: Ah, since it’s just been two months since Tiffany and I started the blog, so I guess I’m not sure yet. But there are tons of ideas going through my head at the moment. There are so many things to do- some that we thought were impossible before. But looking at the blog now, I realized that it only takes time and effort to be able to accomplish such a feat. And just like Tiff said, we’re working towards helping people appreciate books the way that we do- and see the beauty and power behind words.
Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.
Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.
There was one thing for sure: Once you step into Nevernever, your life will change— forever. For years, Meghan had lived a simple life of a farmer girl in Louisiana with her mother, stepdad and her little brother. It seems like a nice, quiet and normal life, doesn’t it? However, in first novel, when her brother got kidnapped, she realized that there was more than just school, and boys and the mean cheerleaders who occasionally victimized her. She was half-faery, half-mortal. To top it off, Meghan was also the daughter of King Oberon, king of the summer court.
Struggling to adapt to this reality that was only a dream before, trying to be the person everyone envisioned her to be and aching for the boy whom she would give her heart in a second to, there is only so much a person can take.
Now, she’s back in Nevernever, taken as hostage by Queen Mab. But, at the feast after the Scepter of Seasons was transferred from Summer to Winter, there was an attack, and the scepter was stolen by the much-feared Iron Fey. They’re practically immune to attacks, and since they are made of iron, fatal to the other faeries.
Determined that she wasn’t the type of girl to stand back behind the scenes, Meghan decides to prove that she is worthy for her title and go after the precious weapon.
However, she isn’t alone. Accompanying her in her mission to retrieve the scepter, is Prince Ash. Otherwise known as the Winter Prince. A seemingly tough exterior, yet troubled and lost inside. Third in line to the Winter throne, Ash can make any girl—mortal or fey—fifty feet away swoon.
But, Prince Ash held a few secrets of his own, which gave him this sort of mysterious aura throughout the story. This made me anticipate parts wherein Ash would appear— especially when he would be talking to Meghan (Did I mention that not only is he drop-dead gorgeous, but extremely sweet and protective and loyal as well? No? Well, he is. There.)
He’s Meghan’s main love interest, but he refuses to return her feelings because he was terrified of what the consequences may be, and the harm that can come upon Meghan. This is because since Ash is Winter, and she’s Summer, even smiling at each other was frowned upon by people from both courts.
Of course, in almost every story, the main character has to have a best friend.
You can call him Puck.
Funny, outrageous and every bit like the infamous Puck in the Midsummer’s Dream— because they are both one and the same. Subtlety, (quote unquote from Ash) was never his strong suit. Robin Goodfellow, another name which he is called, always opted to turn people’s wigs into ferrets as a distraction, a far contrast from the Winter Prince, who prefered using glamour and less suspicious means as well. He’s Meghan’s best friend and steadfast as well. Puck never failed to put Meghan first, even though it meant risking his own life. Charged by the Summer King to take care of his daughter, Puck was sent to live in the Mortal world for sixteen years—an very hard thing for the fey to do, because they can only stay a certain time in the mortal world before going crazy. Yet, being a loyal subject of the Summer court did not fail King Oberon for he stayed— not only because he was sworn to duty, but because of his growing love for Meghan.
Oh, and one last little—okay, major—detail. Puck and Prince Ash are enemies. Not the petty, you-knocked-over-my-glass-of-juice-and-didn’t-say-sorry kind or rivalry, but the I’m-gonna-run-a-sword-through-you-the-next-time-we-meet-and-laugh-as-you-bleed sort.
However, though I loved the storyline and the romance between Meghan and Ash, I was wavering on what rating I was going to give Iron Daughter. This little bit of criticism mainly centers on the characters. I do wish that Megan would have spent more time with Ash, at least to get to know him more. Also, I would have wanted to see Meghan stand up for herself and be strong— especially during the time when Ash was treating her horribly in front of the Winter Court— instead of weeping when she was alone. But perhaps there is a reason why Julie Kagawa made her personality this way at this stage of the series—who knows, maybe Meghan will evolve in the third installment.
Overall, the plot itself was amazing. Filled with adventure yet shrouded with mystery at the same time, this is a read that I will recommend to anyone who loves a good YA novel with humor, romance and thrill all expertly woven together.
Check it out on:
The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.
Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.
Elsie Chapman’s suspenseful YA debut weaves unexpected romance into a novel full of fast-paced action and thought-provoking philosophy. When the story ends, discussions will begin about this future society where every adult is a murderer and every child knows there is another out there who just might be better.
If you liked Fifty Shades of Grey, you would love THE SLEEPING BEAUTY TRILOGY.