Book Review,  Reviews

The Lost Girl – Sangu Mandanna

“I remember being in town with Mina Ma. I must have been about ten. She wanted to buy a lottery ticket and I stood outside the newsagent’s and looked in the window of the toyshop next door. There was a man in the shop, sitting on a stool with a knife and a large piece of wood in his hands. I watched him for ages…
His hands moved so delicately, so lovingly.” 

Eva wasn’t born, she was made, by The Weavers. She has been sculpted into someone else her entire life by her guardians, her other and her familiars. She is an Echo, she exists purely to replace her other, if her other dies. She has to follow rules and she cannot step out of line. But Eva has never been one for following the rules, until now. Her other, Amarra, has been involved in a car accident and Eva has to perform her duty, become the girl she has studied her entire life. 
I first heard about The Lost Girl at the RHCP book blogger brunch last year. One of the lovely publicists mentioned it but couldn’t talk in length about it because of its far away release date. I knew when she mentioned Echos and what they were that I needed to read it and I’m so glad the chance came around quickly. 
The Lost Girl was incredible. There’s no other way of saying it. I loved the storyline and the ethics involved with what was going on. I was shocked and appalled at what they do to Echos, how they are treated and what goes down with Eva when she is accused of being one. Right at the beginning of the book she mentions that the local children find out about her and throw things at the cottage she loves in and its awful to see her have to go through that. There’s actually not all that much fantasy and science in The Lost Girl which I really liked, it was more contemporary with a twist that dystopian or sci-fi. I think that lends itself to the book well because that’s what Eva is, she is a real life person, not just some science experiment. 
At times Eva comes across as a little bratty and self absorbed, but she has grown up in a world that hates her, where she could be killed just for what she is and she’s got to study and learn to be a girl who obviously hates her. Its an awful situation which I thought she handled appropriately. Once she is in India with her others family she becomes a nicer person and you can tell she is trying so hard to be Amarra, and it was hard to actually read for me, because she just wasn’t Amarra. I wanted her to be her own person so badly. 
Eva’s guardians are amazing characters and I loved all of them, except for the naive Ophelia. I wanted Eva and Sean to run off in the sunset and be together before Eva even went to India because it felt right but I knew it couldn’t happen. I loved Amarra’s family and her friends too, until certain events happened and caused me to shout at a couple of them in particular. I think my favourite character from the whole book had to be Nik because of how open minded and down to earth he was about the whole thing, about how her knew Eva wasn’t his sister but he still tried to take her in and love her all the same. There were very few characters I could hate and its just one more reason why I loved The Lost Girl. 
The ethics intrigued me in this book, there were many things I was telling myself weren’t right especially to do with Eva and her familiars, Amarra’s parents. I liked her dad but I could have really torn into him if I was Eva, lets just leave it at that. It made me think about what I would do if this was possible, would I get an Echo of my child made and if so could I love them the same way if they had to step in for my child after 16 years. I know I wouldn’t and I couldn’t but I can see why some people would think they needed too. I loved how much this book made me really think about certain things like that though.
Unfortunately I am going to have to end this review on a bit of a downside and say that I wasn’t all too impressed with the Matthew and Eva side of things. I didn’t understand why Matthew did the things he did and although I have an idea I don’t think it was put across, or tied up very well. It made me feel like there was something left unresolved and that there could perhaps be a second book, even though I don’t believe there will be. That was the only thing I didn’t enjoy about the book though and thought the rest was fantastic and wrapped up nicely.  I will definitely be looking out for more by Sangu Mandanna in the future. 
The Lost Girl was published by Definitions, a Random House Children’s Publishers imprint on January 3rd. My copy was sent from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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