Book Review: The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna

View from the window seat:
Eva is an echo: a copy of someone else made by the Weavers so that if anything happens to her original, Amarra, she can replace her. Eva has spent her whole life studying every move that Amarra makes. Even so, Eva has grown up to be her own person, something so forbidden by the Weavers strict laws that she and everyone she loves is in constant danger. Then the unthinkable happens: Amarra dies in a car crash and Eva has to leave her home to go to Bangalore, where Amarra’s grief-stricken family awaits. Eva will face a choice: to live forever as someone else or to break free from the Weavers’ control and live her own life.

When I read Frankenstein in high school, I wasn’t a fan (that’s putting it lightly). Even now I’m bored with the whole Frankenstein/Dr. Whale storyline on Once Upon a Time. Though I’m pretty sure I’m bored with any storyline on Once that doesn’t involve hot sheriff (HOT SHERIFF NOOOOOOO) or Captain Hook, but I digress. The point is that when I realized however-many-pages into this book that it was based on Frankenstein, I should’ve been turned off by the whole thing. Too bad I was busy being completely enthralled by the story, because seriously, this book is great.

I love Eva. I. love. her. Her whole life she’s been told she’s the property of the Weavers. At any time, they can choose to kill her or hurt the guardians she was never supposed to love (or be loved by). The majority of the world views echoes as abominations, things that don’t have feelings or souls. Faced with all of this adversity, with society and her creators making her into an object, she never wavers. She never stops believing that she deserves a life of her own, one where she can make her own choices and love whoever she wants to love. Not only does she believe this, but she fights tooth-and-nail to make it a reality. Fierce and loyal, Eva is the kind of sympathetic and strong heroine that your heart roots and aches for.

This book opens a lot of ethical issues, which I found to be fascinating. There’s the blatant prejudice and the Weavers playing God by creating life. Mostly, I was stunned by the casual cruelty Eva faces from Amarra, Amarra’s parents, and her school peers (including Amarra’s best friends and boyfriend). Eva has to lie when she takes over Amarra’s life, and everyone blames her for it, even though she has no choice. At times I was so angry and frustrated with the way people were treating Eva. This was tempered by the undeniable love and kindness shown to Eva by her guardians Mina Ma, Erik, and Ophelia and by Amarra’s siblings, Nikhil and Sasha.

Overall impression:
Beautifully written with an amazing heroine, The Lost Girl is perfect for readers who want books with depth and feeling.

Rating:
8

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