Monday, September 16, 2013

Review: Once We Were

Once We Were (Hybrid Chronicles, book two)
By Kat Zhang
Expected publication September 17, 2013 by HarperCollins

WARNING: There will likely be spoilers for book one ahead. To read my review of that book, go here.

 Eva and Addie should be counting their blessings. Technically, only one of them is supposed to exist. Amazingly, they are both still alive, having escaped the hospital and the doctor determined to "cure" them once and for all. It isn't long, however, before Eva and Addie find themselves once again caught up in a mission against Dr. Jenson - and this time, the stakes are even more deadly.

I really enjoyed What's Left of Me when I read it this spring, and I was definitely interested in picking up the sequel. I was really excited to get an egalley of the book and read it just before the book's release. This volume continues in Eva's perspective, though that is a bit different now as she has learned how to regain control of the body she thought was lost to her forever. The romance - which I found pretty intriguing in the first book - takes a backseat here in book two, as this is very much an action-focused, plot-driven entry in the series. The romance is still there and is, in fact, explored in more depth, but it becomes a lesser storyline in light of the other events taking place. I liked the introduction of some new characters, though I didn't like the fact that Hally and Lissa, and even to an extent Ryan and Devon, were given significantly less page time in light of the appearance of these new characters. The main focus here is a plot to encourage a Hybrid rebellion, to stop a new institution from opening. As in book one, this book raised a lot of interesting questions. How do we decide what is right? How far is too far? Who can we really trust to hold our best interests at heart?

Once again, Zhang is successful with pacing - short chapters and plenty of dialogue keep the story moving at a nice clip. It helps build the tension that Eva and Addie are feeling as well, as they struggle to decide if their course of action is truly the one they should be choosing. I mentioned in my review of book one that I wasn't sure how I felt about this being a series and I have to admit that this book was not as exciting or engaging as the first. Additionally, I'm left at the end of book two once again feeling that it was a self-contained adventure and I don't see an overwhelming need for another book. That being said, I know there will be a book three and I'll surely read it, just to see what Zhang's master plan is.

Thanks to the publisher for a digital advance reader's copy, provided via Edelweiss.

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