Review: Once We Were by Kat Zhang

December 18, 2013 3 stars, Book Review 14 ★★★

Once We Were

“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.

Following the aftermath of Eva and Addie’s escape from the institution, Once We Were starts off with them hiding out in a Resistance member’s apartment. This city has quite a number of resistance members and those hybrids the resistance has saved.

We get to see them interact and how Eva and Addie adapt to a life hiding out. I guess in a way they were always used to hiding something about themselves but now they are pretty much wanted fugitives.

There is some unrest among the younger generation as to how active the older resistance members are in regards to rescuing hybrids. You see somewhat of a change between the roles Eva and Addie seemed to play in the first book, What’s Left of Me.

I have to admit I couldn’t even remember who was who there for awhile. It took a good number of chapters to get reacquainted with them as characters.  I think some of this might have to do with the largest cast of characters and the fact that pretty much everyone has two personae living inside them so there was just so many names flying around constantly.  Being the fast reader that I am this could at times cause me to really slow down, backtrack and reread. Not to mention we met several new characters. Some I could have done with out but overall good additions.

Now, the relationship developments I really enjoyed. They were slow and thought out, not just between the guys and girls but also the way that the relationship between Eva and Addie changed. As they are adjusting to the fact that both of them deserve to be there and them trying to toy with the one of them going to sleep to give the other private time.

While I wasn’t wow’d this was ultimately a good second showing for Kat Zhang and a nice continuation of the story.

Read my review of Book One: What’s Left of Me

Once We Were (The Hybrid Chronicles #2)

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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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14 Responses to “Review: Once We Were by Kat Zhang”

  1. Kelley (Another Novel Read)

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who got bogged down with the extensive cast of characters in this book! It didn’t bother me as much in book 1, but in this book I had a lot of trouble remembering who was who, or who was paired or whatever. After a while, I pretty much stopped trying, and just treated them all as “the people in the resistant group” lol. I do agree that the relationships (at least, some of them) were nicely developed in this one, I still would have liked a bit more. I feel like some important questions were raised, but they didn’t so much answer them as just kind of acknowledge them and then try to pretend they didn’t exist, almost.
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      • Tabitha the Pabkins

        Hooray!! So glad you can comment now! we turned off that plugin yesterday and are in the search for a different one. You weren’t the only one that ended up letting us know they haven’t been able to comment with that same error you told me about.

        I agree – all the people in this one just pretty much started to bleed together. The first book didn’t have quite so many people. I don’t know if I’ll continue with it. It’s not a priority for be since both books for me were like 3’s.

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      That’s how I felt about What’s Left of Me also so I did continue and now I’m doubtful that I’ll read the last. It’s not that it was bad, it wasn’t. I just wasn’t impressed enough.

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      Oh hey – I never even thought about that being similar to The Host. But yeah that’s true a similar type of concept. Except in this case both souls are born into the same body and thats normal. I haven’t read The Host though I watched the movie.

      I think that book probably would be easier to follow though since not everyones other soul is referenced so much probably where as here there are SOO many characters that have two names/souls.

  2. Cait D

    I wasn’t a massive fan of the first book, but I ADORE the premise! Seriously, how cool is that?! I have Once We Were sitting on my desk now. Juuust not at the top of my TBR. I’m really interested to see where Kat Zhang’s going to take the story. 🙂

    • Tabitha the Pabkins

      See I wasn’t a massive fan of it either. It was just ok enough for me to pick up the second book. But I’m satisfied now I believe. I won’t be continuing. Though I’m sure others will probably enjoy it a lot.