Friday, April 12, 2013

Review: Unremembered (Unremembered, #1)


Unremembered (Unremembered, #1)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.



32 comments:

  1. Oh deary dear me... another negative review of Unremembered :/ I had so much hope for this book, I mean LOOK AT THE COVER O_O *sighs* Shame you're not going to read Unforgotten, and love triangle? Blegh. Better be good.

    Great review!

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  2. Aww, Maja. That's too bad. :( I actually liked the premise of this. But you saying that Jessica took the easy way out sounds so off for me. Another thing is the romance! I sort of hate it when the story itself is being dragged upon by the character's romantic life. :(

    Thank you for being honest! :)

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  3. I finished this the other day and was quite disappointed by it too. Unlike you however I quite enjoyed the first half, but the second half had me utterly confused. I've also decided to part with this series, I'm glad I did as I don't think I would be able to deal with the love triangle! Another lovely review Maja! :)

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  4. The "wasted potential" is what would kill me. I love when there's an unusual premise and I'm pulled in only to find that it just doesn't quite work. SADNESS!! And you're right. With scifi, the elements all have to work to make it believable.

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  5. Oh no! I had high hopes for this one. I am so sad it was completely unbelievable. It doesn't even sound like the romance (while a saving grace) was still really enough to save the whole story. :(
    Darn!
    Great, thoughtful honest review!
    Have a nice weekend!

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  6. Awwww sorry you didn't like this one Maja! I really enjoyed it, but I had not seen the blurb for the second book, so I'm disappointed to learn there's going to be a love triangle. WHY? There's enough going on with Sera and Zen that I don't feel any added emotional drama is necessary. Boo.

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  7. Oh no, I hadn't read the blurb for the second one but when you mentioned it at the end there I actually let out a groan. I didn't like this one either, why the hell was no one questioning her purple eyes? Do people have purple eyes and I don't know?!?!?! This one went wrong in so many ways.

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  8. This really bums me out, because I had read just enough positive reviews to get excited enough to give this one a try. I have an ARC but haven't had time to get to it. Now I think I'll just skip it. I don't need to start yet another YA series where the author tries to distract from their weak plot with love triangle drama. I am more interested in giving Thyla a try. Thanks for your honesty! Have a great weeknd :-)

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  9. Another buzz book bites the dust. I have read several mediocre reviews on this and now I know I am skipping it. If the romance was the best part of a thriller/sci fi then you are definitely in trouble. Plus if in the future it is turning into a love triangle, no thanks! I am glad you set me straight!

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  10. Yikes! I've been seeing mixed reviews for this one, and it looks like you're part of the group that didn't quite enjoy this novel. It's always disappointing when authors lack in explanation, and readers aren't able to fully believe in the idea with such little information. Zen sounds like a sweet character, but if there's a love triangle coming on... That makes me nervous for the potential of the rest of the series. Anyhow, thanks for honest review, Maja! :)

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  11. I probably wouldn't have as much of a problem with this, Maja, especially if you liked the romance. With that being said, I'm running the other direction from this one. I'm sick to death of love triangle and I need a lengthy break. Wonderful review. :)

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  12. I'm with you. Sci-fi is for the believable unbelievable! Uh, I think you know what I mean. You can suspend belief but it still has to have plausibility. Too bad it falls short here. Right there would bother me. Oh and then it looks like the romance will be messed with? Hm... doesn't sound like a series for me. Too bad.

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  13. I feel like it's almost a MUST when it comes to sci-fi, dystopian, or fantasy to explain the world and actions in it because it's so different from our own. In fact, it's in the genre description, I'm sure, and I absolutely LOATHE authors who leave me with questions instead of answers. I know for a fact I won't pick this one up, so thanks for the helpful review. Also, I thought False Memory by Dan Krokos was really good sci-fi. It takes awhile for all the explanations to come to light, but when they do? Mind. Blown. ;)

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  14. I totally agree with you. It had potential and there were a few moments that made it worth hanging in to see what happened but ultimately I gave up.

    A love triangle?? I was on the fence with giving the second book a shot but forget it....I won't bother continuing.

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  15. Oh my... I'am totally inlove with the cover and it's too bad that it's not that good. I've been seeing some bad review on this. Will not give this book a shot. Thanks for the review :D

    -Dannielle

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  16. Oh no, there's a love triangle coming in the next one?! The romance was my favorite part of this book. I felt like the sci fi elements were lacking, but because I enjoyed the bullying issues and all that I still found myself thoroughly enjoying the book. I also REALLY liked the romance a lot. But I get all your points as well. I had to kind of adjust my expectations a bit. And I started to read it more as a contemporary book with sci fi elements instead of a sci fi with contemporary issues.

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  17. Love triangles ... concern me, but I won't get into that. I'm sorry you didn't like this book. I've been hearing a lot of mixed reviews about it. On the one hand, I really want to read it ... but on the other, reading reviews like this make me not so sure if I should. It really bothers me when things don't make sense and then suddenly do. Killing Me Softly by Cross did this to me. The author took the easy (very easy) way out at the end and it ruined the experience. Making difficult choices that ultimately make sense is a sign of a good author.

    Great review!

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  18. Oh boy. Well, I contemplated reading this, but I don't feel like I'm missing out on much if I don't. I know exactly what you mean about needing things to make sense. I do too.

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  19. Aww, I'm sorry to hear this turned out to be a disappointment for you. I'm not really sure about picking this up since I've been seeing a lot of mix reviews. It's definitely sad though since when I read the blurb it sounds very interesting. Thanks for the honest review, Maja! :)

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  20. I also need that the story makes sense. That problem I have while reading some books. As I can see the same problem is with this one. I though about requesting it as I've seen it billion times but maybe not. Great review Maja :)

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  21. I was interested in this book but the response to it hasn't been very positive. I'm sorry this didn't work out for you. The points you make does put me off a little to be honest. It's too bad the romance was the only interesting part for you. I do really like the sound of Zen. He sounds like a sweet heart. But a love triangle in the next book? Ughh! Just ughh!

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  22. Fantastic review, Maja! I am sorry that it disappointed you. I was going to request this for review the other day but decided against it, and I am glad that I did now. I don't think that it is a character flaw that everything has to make sense, like you mentioned earlier. Even in paranormal and sci-fi books, I prefer there to be some realism and for things to be clearly laid out. The idea of memory loss is interesting but I don't think I'll be reading this one.
    Thanks for the honest review! :)

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  23. Sorry that this one was disappointing for you, it does have a great premise, pity. I understand where you're coming from when you say you didn't find the romance as convincing from Sera's side as I felt like that about Kale, in Touch by Jus Accardo, when Deznee was the only girl he could touch. Great honest review Maja.

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  24. I haven't seen many reviews of this book, but from memory none have sung its praises. I do think that most authors struggle with writing about memory loss, it must be hard to make it realistic enough - and you're right, Thyla, is a great example!

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  25. I liked this one just as little more than you did, though my journey with this series will be ending with this book. Someone on Goodreads pointed out the upcoming love triangle to me, and that pretty much sealed the deal. I'll have to try Thyla one day. I can't think of many memory-loss books that have blown me away... Great review, Maja!

    On a side note, I hope you do give Shadow and Bone a try. As far as I know, there are some cultural and linguistic inaccuracies, though these were completely unnoticed by me. (It probably helps that I know next to nothing about the Russian language!) I hope you still enjoy it, despite that. :)

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  26. Oooh..not good, sorry this one fell flat for you. The premises sounds so good, but I think I will pass on this one, thanks Maja

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  27. Aw, it's too bad you didn't really enjoy this one. I am kind of interested in reading it but at the same time I feel like Brody's sci-fi novel might not be as entertaining as her contemp novels. Thanks for the review, Maja.

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  28. Oh no! I have this on my TBR pile and I've been passing it over for some reason! A couple of good chapters in the middle just doesn't cut it! I'm with you about things needing to make some sort of sense in your head, I hate being left confused! I might have to pass this over a little bit more... Thanks for a great, honest review! :)

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  29. Oh bummer. And yes, memory loss is a tricky subject. And it's an easy escape when things don't mess too. Sorry it feel flat for you.

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  30. Heh, well if that is a character flaw, then I have a pretty big flaw when it comes to that particular aspect because I NEED a book to make sense. I am perhaps too left-brained, but I can't help but analyze every little thing that doesn't get a satisfactory explanation in books. I think it's most important in sci fi. This is such a shame because I love memory loss books, too. Ah well, thanks for the helpful review anyways, Maja!!

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  31. I would not call wanting things to make sense a character flaw. This book made me crazy with that too. Especially how she ended up in the ocean. Like, okay, you time traveled to the wrong place. Fine, whatever, I accept that. But why THAT place and THAT time? It's so obvious she just ended up there because it makes for a really dramatic opening scene, but that shit does not fly (just like that plane didn't).

    Oh yeah, and her memory loss was weird. She remembered most vocabulary just fine, but certain words were just gone. There didn't seem to be much logic to what she could remember and what she couldn't.

    At least the romance worked for you. It didn't for me. Basically, the best thing this book had going for it is that it didn't make me angry; I just sort of feel bad for it.

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  32. I agree - if there's not a semblance - or at least more than a superficial attempt - of plausibility within a futuristic story, I am quick to start judging it negatively. That's too bad that Unremembered falls prey to this issue. Unremembered never looked that appealing to me, and now I definitely won't be making the effort to read it. Sorry you had to have an unfortunate reading experience, Maja!

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