Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Review: The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

Title: The Lost Girl
Author: Sangu Mandanna
Author Info: Website|Blog|Twitter|Facebook
Genre: Dystopian
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Publication Date: 3rd January 2013

Tell Me About It
Eva’s life is not her own. She is a creation, an abomination – an echo. Made by the Weavers as a copy of someone else, she is expected to replace a girl named Amarra, her ‘other’, if she ever died. Eva studies what Amarra does, what she eats, what it’s like to kiss her boyfriend, Ray. So when Amarra is killed in a car crash, Eva should be ready.

But fifteen years of studying never prepared her for this.

Now she must abandon everything she’s ever known – the guardians who raised her, the boy she’s forbidden to love – to move to India and convince the world that Amarra is still alive ...

My Thoughts
What would you do if you were able to create an Echo of someone you loved and didn't want to lose. Even if it meant keeping the Echo a secret, hidden away from the Hunters and people against Echoes, but ready to be there if needed.  That is exactly what Alisha And Neil do.  Parents to Amarra, they ask the Weavers to make an Echo of their daughter in the rare chance they lose her.
Eva, Amarra's Echo, must learn every single thing about Amarra.  Her likes, dislikes, mannerisms, speech patterns, friends, boyfriends, even getting a tattoo. She has no say in the matter and is doing what she was made to do, echo Amarra's life.  When the unthinkable happens and Amarra loses her life, Eva must leave her home and travel to Bangalore, to take the place of Amarra.  Her life now stands on the balance.  Will all her practising be enough to be able to seamlessly slide into Amarra's life, or will someone spot the fake and cause Eva to lose her own life too.

The Lost Girl was a book that had me hooked from the very first page, and kept me engrossed all the way to the end. I loved the whole idea behind Echoes and why they are made, but I also felt sorry for Eva and what she has to do each day in order to be a true Echo, rules she has to follow, being like her human in every way.  When she is eventually sent to her 'family', the prejudice she fights against to prove that she is human, that she is alive and not just an 'it' or a monster, every minute that she is there made me want to pick her up, squeeze her in a suitcase and bring her back to her real family, the family she grew up with and who treated her like a human being.
I thought she was a strong, determined character that no matter what was thrown in her face, she does what she can to beat it back down and carry on.  Facing the world, and a country, that is against Echoes, and standing up for her rights, her feelings and herself takes true courage, and while she does have immature moments, being raised in seclusion would do that for anyone not ready to face the real world.
Another character close to my heart was Lekha.  She knows what Eva is and isn't afraid to stand by her side when others shun her, but most of all I love the way she confuses words and it had me giggling to myself.
She shakes her head. 'I think I'd have a coroner if I were you,' she says. 'I have a very low tolerance for turmoil.'
'No, sweetie pie,' she says tenderly. 'That's someone who works in a morgue.'
[Lekha to Eva]
The Lost Girl has been on my radar for a while, and while I have been looking forward to reading it I was wary about how much I would like it, having not heard of the author before.  All my worries quickly disappeared and I am glad I got a chance to read this book.

.After reading The Lost Girl I can see both points of view, for and against the existence of Echoes, and while I have my own answer on what I would do, I have a question for you....

Given the chance, would you have an Echo made of someone you loved and couldn't stand to lose?

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