Publisher: Random House UK
Publication date: 3rd January 2013.
My rating: 4.5 stars
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
The Lost Girl weaves an intricate tale of a society where echoes are created. Echoes are never given the chance to live their own lives but are created so they can replace the life of their others when they have died. It’s so that the family doesn’t have to experience any loss of any sort, they may never have the exact family member back but a similar replica who whilst being born has learnt everything about their other; their friends, what they’re currently learning in school but also getting distinguishable features like them, a slanting fringe one week, a tattoo the next. So whenever the time comes they are able to step into their others shoes immediately like they haven’t been gone at all.
Eva has been created by the loon to take over Amarra’s life. It’s clear through the daily journals that Eva receives from Amarra that Amarra doesn’t want Eva taking over her life, but nothing can be done unless agreed upon by Amarra’s parents. Eva at the beginning had it all to deal with, she’s brought up in one environment where people around her love and care for her, but one day through no chance of her own she will be uprooted from it all and have to live with a completely different family, she’s learnt about them for years but it’s still not the same, she has to pretend to be someone she’s not with everyone Amarra knows and millions of miles away in Bangalore, India. That’s not all, Eva’s life is constantly at risk because in certain counties like India, echoes are illegal, so if found Eva could lose her life and risk her family’s life too. Then there are the hunters who are always on the trail of echoes, hell bent on destroying them. To top it off, if Eva doesn’t continue to live her life as Amarra intended to, the loom can just get rid of Eva as they wish.
Honestly The Lost Girl was just one thrilling ride, Sangu Mandanna managed to create such a unique story that I was just tearing through this book. The dangerous world the loom created had me highly captivated. I can never imagine being born just to live someone else’s life, especially as Eva had to do in a different country where they had a different culture and just leaving my loved ones behind and never having contact with them again. But unlike other echoes Eva was a resilient echo, she was never quick to admit defeat when her back was against the wall, but decided to battle through it all. I truly admired her strength and determination; I loved watching her go through so many life experiences and see the character at the end which emerged.
The Lost Girl couldn’t have been such a fantastic novel if it wasn’t for the strong set of secondary characters. They all in their own ways had their own spunk and drive which made meeting them such a wonderful reading experience. I started the story with a few favourites, but picked up a lot more along Eva’s journey, that I had such a tough time parting ways with some of them over the course of the book.
The Lost Girl was a majestic debut from Sangu Mandanna. This early on in the year, I am happy to declare this book already as one of my favourites. I hope Sangu decides to give us more from Eva’s fantastic world because I for one would love to dive back into it.