09 April, 2013

#BookReview:: The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

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...

I had heard so much about this book before picking it up, that I started reading it the moment it arrived in mail. There was so much hype about it and couple of other bloggers that I follow had recommended it to me over and over. And now that I have finished reading it, I am glad to report that, all that hype is well deserved.

‘Lost Girl’ takes you to a world where humans can order an echo to be made of their loved ones so that in case they lose someone to death, the echo can take their place. Our protagonist is a 16 year old echo who has named herself Eva after an elephant. She is an echo of a girl called Amarra who lives in Bangalore, India and thus has spent her whole life in the way Amarra lives her life. She is supposed to know what Amarra knows, like what Amarra likes, hate what Amarra hates and basically be a carbon copy in every way. Echoes are not supposed to live their own lives or have their own wishes. Afterall, when a human dies, the echo has to take their place and live their life for them.  Eva is special. Her guardians, Mina Ma, Erik, and Sean love her and have often tweaked the rules for her. Eva has experienced things and has the love other echoes couldn’t have. But when Amarra loses her life in a road accident Eva is forced to leave everything and take her new place.

The author has created a mesmerizing world, I tell you. On one hand the Weavers (creators of echoes) have been portrayed as mysterious, omnipresent and powerful people who can create life from mere ash and bones. It is very clear that they are not to be trifled with. On the other hand are the echoes, who have no life of their own. They are forced to live the life of the human they are destined to replace. Then there are the humans. While echoes are illegal in many countries, human find a way to ‘order’ for echoes. They are supposed to bring hope to the survivors, yet somehow I felt that the echoes were there so that the survivors didn’t have to deal with loss, grieve and move on. Then again, the way some humans look at echoes, as if they are stealing somebody’s life and that they have no feelings or wishes/rights of their own was so appalling.

I have lived the ups and downs of being and echo with Eva. She is indeed a special girl who has a mind of her own and is brave. I loved Sean for being the person he is. I loved Lekha for being a true friend, Nikhil and Sasha for being understanding and Mina Ma and Erik for giving Eva a chance at her own life just by being there for her. Ray frankly irritated the hell out of me. Ophelia was a total mush. Adrian played the part of an antagonist well enough but not to the build-up he got. And frankly speaking I still can’t decide what to think of Matthew. The plot accommodates such a wide variety of characters and each of them are well developed.

The writing style of the author was really simple. I didn’t have to look up a single meaning. Yet the narration was anything but simple. It is so beautifully done that you can almost picturise each character and situation in the mind’s eye. The flow is smooth and at no point did I feel that the story was dragging. I tried to look up whether the author has lived in Bangalore or not, but her website only says that she is currently living in England. I have a feeling that the author must have lived in Bangalore (or atleast in South India) for a while because she has captured the essence of the Bangalore citizen so well. I mean locations and landmarks can be googled, but to capture the thought process and mentality of the local people in such an authentic manner, the author must have spent some time there. If not, then I simply have to bow down to her research on it.

Overall, it’s a page turner and an exciting book to read. It is a must read for all dystopian lovers. I hope there’s a sequel soon.

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1 comment:

  1. I think it's time that I read my copy soon! Like you, I've heard awesome things about this book, but I just haven't got the time yet. I'm going to make some time free now. I love the sound of the world and I'm always a fan of flowing writing-styles.