Thursday, January 10, 2013

Review and Interview - The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna


Title - The Lost Girl
Author - Sangu Mandanna
Genre - YA
Pages - 400
Publisher - Definitions
Source - ARC for Review


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 ...
From the moment I received this through the post, I knew this would be a books for me. Through the inspiration of Frankenstein, I was curious to see how the classic could influence or combine the nature of novel in to this YA. All I can say is... Forget Frankenstein, try The Lost Girl.

But first I'd like to say Thank you to Jessica over at Booked Up for doing a Read-along with her. As she would say: "We *fangirled* together" . You can see her review here

Warning some minor spoilers.

Mandanna has created a refreshing and a unique take on the classic. The plot intrigued from the very beginning; an Echo, a creation stitched by the Weavers as a replacement of human nature. Is she real?Does she have a choice in her own life? No Echo does and that's the pain of watching someone's life flash through your eyes, knowing that your going to be next.  Eva was stitched at the Loom in London, its argued whether she was born at all or rather than made. But I felt quite strongly about this subject, she living, she breathing, she has a brain and she unlike Frankenstein's Monster, is the living embodiment of a normal human being. How Mandanna was able to make me feel and empathise with these character is a brilliant trait in writing that I admire her for. The pace Part 1 was slightly off and didn't have the constant for that the rest of the novel had. However what I loved about TLG was the transition between Amarra and Eva, London and Bangalore and a human and an Echo.

The main protagonist, Eva, is strong, opinionated, artistic, passionate and a brave soul for an Echo. She is   especially unique echo, gutsy and fight for what she believes in. However, she has a vulnerable side, one that makes her realistic, makes her human. Its said in the history of Echos, they only have one chance, Eva has 3.  Sean the green-eyed love interest and Guardian, lets just say everybody needs one. His charisma and characteristics broke your heart at Part 1, *sniffles* and then he's the beating heart of the novel. The moment when you just want them kiss is overwhelming and horrible- but that is one of the many rules that the Weavers set in place; no relationship between Guardian and Echo. But hey, she 's broke all the rules, what's one more? 
"Eva", he says, and my eyes tear. "Do you still dream of cities?""Yes", I say. I hear the sound of him swallowing. "Do you still dream of me?""Yes". I thought things might have changed."No" he says. "I haven't either," and he hangs up.

Some of the secondary characters were equally brilliant; Matthew, Eva's creator is the arrogance of Frankenstein, he's the unfeeling consciousness of the Loom. He sees no reason only the craft of his creations. Matthew's character is infuriating at best, when he states the line between both sides of human nature. Eva is no more than a human than everyone else! (*Grrrrr*) I loved Sasha and Nikhil, the Familiar's family was more than accepting of Eva's status and Sasha was the bubbliest character of them all. Ray, Ammara's love interest, was cunning, deceiving and the cause of Eva's downfall. Finally, Lekha, Eva's best friend, she may have seen through her eyes, but she is the spark that Eva needs to continue this life. 

Mandanna has created a spectacular achievement and expectation for her debut novel. For a Standalone its brilliant, yet the ending leaves you wondering. Wondering whether where it will take you next. I hope Mandanna has a sequel in the making, because I will be the first to buy it. This is one of my very first reads of 2013 and it has set me on a high for something different and fresh. 
Rating: 4.5
Thank you to Random House for sending me the copy, for an honest review.

Now you can get an insight into Sangu Mandanna, a spectacular  debut author of 2013. 

Hi Sangu! Thanks so much for being here!
Thank you so much for having me!

How did the incredibly unique idea for The Lost Girl first come about?
I was in my second year at university and we were studying Frankenstein, and while I'd read it before and loved it, I found myself looking at it in a whole new way. I was really intrigued by the idea of stitching together a human being, a life, from scratch and I also really wanted to tell a story from the misunderstood, abandoned, lonely monster's point of view. That's where the idea really came from. It took months for me to actually start the story, though, because I had a lot of false starts. Eventually Eva broke through and started talking to me. Like an imaginary friend. And we were off...


If you could spend a day with one of your characters from The Lost Girl, who would it be and why?
I think I'd want to spend a day with Matthew. He'd drive me mad, no doubt, and would probably let a bus run over me if it suited him, but he can be really funny and I'd be able to pester him with so many questions!

When was the moment you decided you wanted to be an author?
I have absolutely no idea. I know I've always been writing - I wrote my first story when I was four years old - but I also know that for a long time writing was simply something I did, it was something I didn't know how not to do, and I never thought of it as a potential job in the future. It was only later, maybe when I was around thirteen or fourteen, that I first thought about getting published and I guess that's where it started?

What aspect of Frankenstein did your inspiration come from?
Definitely from the plight of Frankenstein's Creature. He is so angry and lonely, so conflicted between hating Victor and loving him in spite of everything. That kind of warped creator-creation relationship really fascinated me and I wanted to create my own in my own story. I also wanted to kind of explore the what-ifs: what if the Creature had grown up with love? Because, in spite of all her struggle, Eva does grow up with love and that shapes her. That makes her better than the Creature ever got a chance to be. I wanted to write about that possibility. I wanted to write about monsters that are not really monsters.

Do any of the characters have any personal or similar personalities/qualities to yourself?
You know, I think they all do in some way. I'm stubborn and impulsive like Eva, but I'm also quite quiet like Amarra (sometimes, anyway). I love the Power Rangers like Sasha does, and Sherlock Holmes like Sean does. They're all very much their own characters. I don't choose what I want them to be. They decide. They're really the ones in charge when I write. But I think they all have a little piece of me nevertheless.

Why did you choose to write a YA?
I didn't, funnily enough! I've always written my books for me. Because this is how my stories want to go. I've written adult stories before and stories for young children. With The Lost Girl, I wrote the story for me, without any idea of audience or genre, and when I finished a draft I looked at it and thought 'it's YA'. I've also always loved reading YA and children's books, so I guess it's not surprising that this is the genre I love writing most and the one I ended up being an author of.

Dystopian or Contemporary?
Can I say both? I love dystopian and I do tend to gravitate toward stories with a strange, magical or fantastical element, but I've read some incredible contemporary fiction lately and that's made me feel like I'm planted firmly in both camps now.

Keyboard or pen+paper?
Keyboard for writing drafts, pen + paper for notes and scribbles.

Best book boyfriend?
I have so many! But right now, this very instant, my favourite is Jonah Griggs from On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta.

5 words to describe The Lost Girl?
Haunting, eerie, heartbreaking, romantic, exciting. I hope so, anyway!

Favourite author?
Too many! Audrey Niffenegger, JK Rowling, loads and loads more...

Print or ebook?
A year ago I'd have said print outright. And print still wins. But I do think ebooks have a place in my heart. You can't beat them for travel - not to mention the instant gratification of being able to download a book and read it straight away!

Thank you for your brilliant answers!
Thanks again for inviting me here! It's been so much fun answering your questions :-)

Jessica and I couldn't believe we got an interview as well! We were so lucky! I hope you all enjoy getting to know Sangu and The Lost Girl like myself and Jess did! 


12 comments:

  1. yayayay this sounds SO AWESOME! I REALLY want to read this book, and im so glad you loved it!! and Eva sounds like a character i would love! yay for being artistic! Great review dear! and I love the interview!
    = Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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  2. Jonah Griggs! I have several book boyfriends too, but he is sure to make the list. ;)

    Brilliant interview and review! I don't think I have read a single negative review for this book yet, so I am fairly sure I will enjoy it once I get around to it. I love that it's inspiration came from Frankenstein. Thanks for sharing! :)

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  3. I can't believe I still haven't read The Lost Girl! It sounds awesome and so intriguing! Awesome review and a fabulous interview Emma! :)

    Janhvi @ The Readdicts

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  4. Thanks for having me here today, Emma, and for such a lovely review! (Also, that Lost Girl banner at the top of the post is GORGEOUS...)

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  5. I've heard so many good things about this book and the UK cover is so gorgeous! Definitely can't wait to pick it up now. :)

    Great review & interview!

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  6. I NEED THIS BOOK! It sounds utterly amazing. Great review and interview, I really enjoyed reading them. :)
    "Haunting, eerie, heartbreaking, romantic, exciting." sounds like the perfect book for me. :)
    Read-A-Longs look so much fun.. and that banner is gorgeous! :o Thanks for sharing, Emma xx

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  7. Lovely review! I really like the idea of adding an interview to reviews! You get a better insight in to the book as well, as you can see the author's thoughts when they were writing it.
    The Lost Girl sounds amazing and I'm going to have to read it now! Yet another book to my wishlist..!

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  8. YES! I am SO glad you enjoyed this one! It's one of my all-time favorites and Mandanna is such an incredible person as well as author. For me, The Lost Girl was just such a powerful and thought-compelling read and goodness, SEAN!<3 I love that Jonah Griggs is one of Mandanna's book boyfriends because, really, he should be everyone's and I can see so many of the best similarities between him and Sean. Plus, like her, I'd probably pick Matthew to spend the day with because he obviously has so many more layers to him which I would love to find out. (Actually, this is only after I'd spend a day with Sean because I just LOVE him!) Wonderful review, Emma! :D

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  9. I've wanted to pick this up for sometime now, and even more so now with your lovely review, Emma. I love this sound of this. :)

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  10. Brilliant review! I am SO happy you loved this book - it's one of my favs! And I loved that quote! xD

    Great interview too! "Haunting, eerie, heartbreaking, romantic, exciting" is exactly how I'd describe this book! :D

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  11. Loved your review, Emma! Eva seems so strong and ... human. Maybe I'll have to re-arrange my read-list to squeeze this one in. Thanks for sharing :)

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  12. Oh I've been seeing so much love around for this book lately Emma, I started my copy today and can see why everyone else is so enthusiastic about it! Lovely review and interview Emma! :)

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