Author: Jessica Brody
Series: Unremembered, #1
Release date: March 5th 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Hardcover, 320 pages
Buy: The Book Depository
When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?
Call it a character flaw if you will, but I have a desperate need for things to make sense, or at the very least, I want to be tricked into thinking they do. This is especially true with sci-fi – obviously not everything is possible, or even probable, but there are ways of making even the most unlikely things seem real. (Authors, if you don’t know how, just ask Mira Grant.) This is where Jessica Brody failed: her ambition was bigger than her skill, and when the time came to offer explanations, she took the easy way out. In this case, easy also meant unconvincing.
While I adore the subject of memory loss, it is a slippery slope for authors and very few of them do a good enough job. Human brain is still a big mystery, which I suppose allows writers to take certain liberties, but not everything can be random. An example of memory loss handled convincingly in YA would be Thyla by Kate Gordon, in my opinion, but like with her sci-fi elements, Jessica Brody bit off more than she could chew.
The doctors say I should remember things like that. Although my personal memories seem to be ‘temporarily’ lost, I should be familiar with everyday objects and brands and the names of celebrities. But I’m not.
It took me a while to really get interested in Unremembered, but I have to admit that there were a few chapters around the middle that were pretty exciting. Then, as the truth started coming to light, I found myself more and more disappointed by the revelations.
It is a sad, sad day when I have to rely on romance to balance my review, especially in a genre like sci-fi. The entire situation screams wasted potential. But the fact that Zen was the saving grace of Unremembered is one I can’t change. I loved his loyalty and determination, his courage and smarts. On Sera’s end, the romance wasn’t as convincing. He was basically the only boy she’s ever seen, which somehow made her feelings less valuable in my eyes.
That said, the blurb for the second book, Unforgotten, (to be released in 2014), makes it clear that there’s a love triangle coming, so even the romance, the only part I actually liked, will be thoroughly ruined in the future.
This is where Jessica Brody and I part ways, at least until she comes up with another, hopefully better thought out series.