Review: Echoes of Us by Kat Zhang

I received this book for free from YA Books Central in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Echoes of Us by Kat ZhangEchoes of Us by Kat Zhang
Series: The Hybrid Chronicles #3
Published by HarperCollins on September 16, 2014
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
Source: YA Books Central
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To change the world, I may lose everything

All Eva ever wanted was the chance to be herself. But in the Americas, to be hybrid—to share your body with a second soul—is not tolerated past childhood. Now Eva and Addie, her sister soul, are constantly on the move, hiding from the officials who seek to capture them. But the tide is changing. A revolution is brewing, and people are starting to question the hybrids' mistreatment.

Then Marion, an ambitious reporter, offers Eva and Addie a daring proposal: If they go undercover and film the wretched conditions of a hybrid institution, she will not only rescue them, she'll find a way to free Jackson, the boy Addie loves. It's risky, and Eva will have to leave Ryan and her friends behind, but if she succeeds, it could also tip the scales forever and lead to hybrid freedom.

As Eva and Addie walk into danger, they cling to each other and the hope of a better future. But the price they might pay is higher than they ever could have imagined.

Kat Zhang’s debut, What’s Left of Me, is one of the best YA dystopian novels and, more than that, it remains one of the most creative novels I’ve read. The concept of this series is beautiful and thought-provoking. That’s what kept me coming back to the series, despite the fact that I have trouble remembering much of the plot. Echoes of Us is a satisfying ending, but still lacks the spark to make the characters come alive and the book to stick in my memory.

The Hybrid Chronicles is one of those series that defies categorization. It is actually dystopian, but, aside from that, what is it? These books aren’t particularly romantic. They’re set in our world, but not. The locations are the same, the technology is similar, and the government isn’t incredibly far off. However, in this world, everyone is born with two souls residing inside one body. I am just as charmed and awed by this concept now as I was in the first book.

In Echoes of Us, the possibility of no longer being a hybrid comes front and center. This part was, for me, the most emotional aspect. Though there’s a lot of awkwardness in sharing a body, especially when both Addie and Eva have love interests, that’s all they know. Sure, I wouldn’t choose to share my body, even with my best friend, but if that’s how things have always been? Losing your other soul would be like losing a sibling and part of yourself all at once.

In Echoes of Us, Zhang also does a really great job exploring the political landscape. While remaining a bit hopeful, the book doesn’t shy away from harsh realities like propaganda and manipulation. I think that often, it’s books like this one, which aren’t explicitly about our current political realities, that manage to reflect on the real world more than those that are overt. What really struck me was how many people had to die for the media and the public to take interest in the Hybrid cause. It’s tragic because that’s not something dreamed up in fiction, as recent political events have shown.

The overall plot, as has been the case with the other books, lacks forward propulsion. Things happen, but, by its own nature, there’s really no sense of the the overall plot arc. Eva and Addie don’t know what’s going to happen and they’re drifting, trying to survive and keep their friends alive too. On top of that, I really don’t care about or remember most of the characters. These two factors combine to make Echoes of Us sometimes a bit of a struggle to get through.

While I do like Eva a lot as a character, I’m really not invested in anyone else. Even with Eva, I probably wouldn’t be too sad if she died. She’s most interesting and I admire her idealism and determination, but even she isn’t precisely real to me. I’ve spent three books with these characters and I still don’t know who some of the significant secondary characters are. Everything’s always focused on what’s happening, and there’s little evidence of personality outside of the hybrid cause.

I recommend The Hybrid Chronicles to readers who don’t mind a slow pace and love high concept reads. Personally, I’m excited to see what Kat Zhang will do next, and I hope that there will be a bit more emphasis on characterization.

Favorite Quote:

Addie and I had skirted around death our entire lives. I’d been destined to die years ago. They didn’t call it dying when a recessive soul faded away, but that was what it was. Death hidden under semantics.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 gif cool concept ish

2 responses to “Review: Echoes of Us by Kat Zhang”

  1. Gillian says:

    Yessss that’s just how I feel about this series, which is so excellent in many ways but kind of fails to stick in my mind. That gif is perfection.
    Gillian recently posted…Review: My True Love Gave to Me ed. Stephanie PerkinsMy Profile

  2. I just couldn’t get away from your site before advising i truly treasured the common information and facts anyone present inside your visitors? Will probably be just as before frequently so as to inspect completely new discussions

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