Review: The Lost Girl, Sangu Mandanna

Eva is an echo. She was created to be the perfect double of a girl called Amarra, insurance against the possibility that Amarra might one day die. Every week, Amarra writes letters to Eva, describing everything she’s learned and seen and done, so that Eva will have all the same memories and all the same knowledge. If Amarra gets a tattoo, Eva has to get one to match it. In her small house in England, hedged about with Guardians to remind her of her duties, Eva chafes against her restrictions and dreams of being free.

I wanted to like The Lost Girl more than I liked it. I was interested in the premise, which reminded me of Never Let Me Go (it’s not a spoiler! Ishiguro’s not hiding it!), and I wish I did not have to make all the following criticisms of it:

  • I didn’t buy the romance. They went to a zoo one time, and? Apart from the fact that Sean is literally the only guy her age that Eva has ever met, I couldn’t tell why these two characters were supposed to be in so much looooove. It wasn’t insta-love, but it was still not set up well.
  • The resolution of the story — which I won’t go into — felt like it happened because the book needed to end, not because it made sense organically to what had happened already. How is Eva different from all the other echoes that the rules would bend this way for her? Not made clear to me. (Is it just that she has a very strong sense of self???)
  • (spoilers here) Eva’s furious forever with Amarra’s ex-boyfriend for telling the Hunters where to find her, but she does not seem to have the same level of wrath for Amarra’s parents, who sign a Sleep Order which is killing her. Eva never says, I am a person, and if you sign this order, that is the same as killing me to them. Nobody does! Shouldn’t someone yell at them about that? Sean or someone?

Oh well. Win some, lose some.

American cover
American cover
British cover
British cover

Cover report: American cover by a lot. The British one is ever so generic.

  • It certainly does sound reminiscent of Never Let Me Go! Sorry it didn’t work that well for you. I like the American cover best, but mostly because I hate the British cover.

  • This sounds interesting though it’s too bad that the book wasn’t better. I’ve never read Never Let Me Go so that’s going on the tbr list because of you.

  • That’s a bummer. You can’t really compete with Ishiguro but it sounded like it had possibility. Too bad it fell short.

  • Ok, that story sounds really good. I am pretty sure I would read it too, just from the premise. What a bummer that it wasn’t as good as we would hope it to be.

  • Aww…Shoot. It does sound like it would rock and that’s the worst. A book that has a great premise but fails in execution.

  • Sounds like Never Let me Go and the film The Island had already covered most of the available bases.