The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna
Summary: Eva is an echo: a copy made to replace someone, should that person die. Eva has been raised to be exactly like Amarra, her “other”, but has always pushed against her restraints. When the time comes for Eva to take Amarra’s place, the difference between the two girls is noticeable. Eva fights to belong in a life that isn’t hers, but she can only take so much abuse.
My thoughts: Sangu Mandanna gives a nod to Frankenstein in her stellar debut novel. The Lost Girl explores the relationship between creator and creation, as well as the dynamic between a copy and the people who loved her original. All this is done in an engaging, modern way—readers will sympathize with Eva, a girl trying to find herself despite being told who she will be. She’s a fierce protagonist without being overly so; Eva is brazen, but she knows when to exert self-control—a quality that makes reading The Lost Girl an even better experience. Eva’s journey is a long one, but Sangu Mandanna’s prose makes it fly by.
As in Frankenstein, the mechanics behind the creation of echoes is left up to the reader’s imagination. Like Mary Shelley, Mandanna still manages to make her concept believable and interesting. The world in which echoes exist is one that is quite unnerving, and it causes the reader to put themselves in the place of both Eva and Amarra. Would you want an echo for your loved ones? Is the creation of echoes selfish? It’s clear Mandanna has an opinion, but readers are given the opportunity to form their own position.
The Lost Girl, amongst its intriguing themes and engaging journey, boasts a heart-meltingly sweet romance. Mandanna never lets the love story upstage Eva’s personal growth, but it’s there and notable because of how naturally it develops. Readers fond of the “slow burn” will be delighted with the romance in The Lost Girl. Although Eva’s love is forbidden, it never becomes overdramatic.
Science fiction fans, as well as fans of Frankenstein, should give The Lost Girl a read. Sangu Mandanna’s debut is remarkably clever and constantly heartbreaking. I enjoyed it immensely, and I think you will, too.
For those who like: sci-fi, issues of morality