Once We Were
Author: Kat Zhang
Series: The Hybrid Chronicles #2
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy, Dystopia
Release Date: September 17, 2013
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.
First Sentence: We share a heart, Addie and I.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.
Once We Were was probably the most talked about book when it went up for review on Edelweiss. It’s easy to understand why: What’s Left of Me was one of the most memorable books I’ve read last year. With a premise of two souls sharing one body called hybrids and a society that doesn’t accept them, What’s Left of Me captured my attention in a heartbeat. What’s Left of Me had me feeling so many different emotions from feeling happy to feeling conflicted in a span of a minute because of the whole hybrid situation Addie and Eva are in. I just can’t help but want more of the hybrid universe, more of Kat Zhang’s awesome writing, and more hybrid action.
I love Kat Zhang’s writing. It’s so delicate and just so elegant. I honestly wish I can write like her. I cherish every single sentence I read in both What’s Left of Me and Once We Were, reading it ultra slowly just to enjoy her writing fully. I can definitely see Kat Zhang writing even more books in the future and me reading them all just to enjoy her writing.
But the thing is, sharing hands doesn’t mean sharing goals. Sharing eyes doesn’t mean sharing visions. And sharing a heart doesn’t mean sharing the things we love. (ARC 1)
The pacing in Once We Were was the thing I had the most problems with. The pacing in the first three-thirds or so of Once We Were was a bit slow, but I wasn’t all that bothered about it. Kat Zhang’s writing made up for it. The first three-thirds of Once We Were consisted of Addie and Eva learning and practicing more about fully controlling their body by themselves, learning more about the new people in their group, trying to join the hybrid rebellion, and making tons of plans.
The last quarter of Once We Were is a whole different story. It was full of tons of action and tension; there was never a dull moment. I was worried about every single character in the book, I mean almost every single character (because come on, you can’t cheer for the bad guys), and was hoping that they’ll survive and get away safety.
I tried not to think about the deliberate way Nina’s frown had disappeared. As if she’d forced it away, along with her curiosity. As if, even at eleven, Nina had learned that her life would always be full of other people’s secrets, and some were dangerous, and sometimes it was better not to know. (ARC 55)
Unlike What’s Left of Me, Addie didn’t anger me as much in Once We Were. She wasn’t as selfish as she was in What’s Left of Me and this time, I totally got her. I felt like Eva was a little more selfish than Addie in Once We Were, but then again, if I was in Eva’s situation, I can’t help but want more in my life either.
I didn’t really connect with Ryan and see the appeal of him in What’s Left of Me. However, in Once We Were, I slowly started to see why Eva was so attracted to him. Even though Ryan is a person of a few words, he’s pretty sweet to Eva. Ryan just lurks up to you and captures your heart slowly and quietly until you realize that it’s too late.
But so many weeks of waiting, of wanting, of thinking and hoping and daydreaming were catching up to me. Then he was laughing, too, shaking his head, the edge of his hand pressing against his forehead. (ARC 112)
I have to admit, when I first read What’s Left of Me, I honestly didn’t like the direction the last half of What’s Left of Me was heading towards. It felt like the unique beginning of What’s Left of Me was turning into any other dystopians out there: finding out that your government is corrupt, then some fighting and struggles, and finally rebelling against said government. In the end, I still have mixed reactions towards the direction this entire series is heading, but Once We Were was a pretty good read despite my worries.
Would I recommend Once We Were? If you can get through a major slow beginning to finally get to the amazing and tension-filled ending, then yes, I’ll definitely recommend that you read Once We Were.