Review: Unremembered by Jessica Brody

April 1, 2013 3 - 3.5 Stars, Jessica Brody, Science Fiction 6 ★★★

Unremembered by Jessica Brody
Series: Unremembered # 1
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux on March 5, 2013
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 307
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars
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?

From popular young adult author Jessica Brody comes a compelling and suspenseful new sci-fi series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.
I loved the concept of this book.  In an online chat with Jessica Brody, she said that she got the idea from an actual plane crash that left only one survivor.  This seems like fertile ground for an author, with some exciting options to explain how it could happen.  There could be a sole survivor crash, similar to Unremembered, except there is no doubt that the person was a passenger.  (I believe this was a Dean Koontz book from a long time ago.)  Or, the person could show up on scene and pretend to be a survivor as part of a conspiracy.  Brody provides uncertainty as to whether Sera was even on the plane.  Yes, she was found in the wreckage, but she wasn’t on the manifest, and the gate agent is positive she didn’t see Sera board.  With this set-up in place, Brody takes the story in what is probably the most rational direction; she didn’t, for instance, decide to make Sera an alien sent down to Earth to infiltrate and destroy us.

This book is perfectly acceptable: it’s entertaining, it’s well-written, and I was never bored.  However, I just kind of floated along with the book, never getting my emotions engaged, even during scenes of danger.  And when I finished this quick read, I closed it without giving it much additional thought.

I’m going to point out a few character actions that seemed unnatural or inconsistent with the plot and only designed to get the characters to do what Brody needs them to do.  NOTE -THESE COMMENTS CONTAIN SPOILERS.

 – Kira’s foster brother, Cody, gave her a stolen phone and keys to a car, both of which (especially the phone) are easy to trace.  She is supposed to be smart enough to know better.

– We keep hearing about all the intense security at the compound.  So how was Zen able to climb the wall without getting caught?  When he was found out, the Diotech employees worried about the effect this socializing would have on Sera, so why wasn’t Zen immediately banished?  Yes, they needed his mother, but they could have seriously threatened him, or threatened to hurt Sera or his mother, at a minimum, to get him to behave.

– I like the idea of the DNA tracker that functions as a permanent tattoo.  But why was it designed to buzz in Sera’s skin when the trackers get close?  It seems that if this intelligent tracker could be built, it could be built with a silent mode!  The buzzing only benefits Sera and gives her a head-up to take off running.  Yes, these close calls with bad men provide some thrills, but it didn’t make much sense.

– Why would Dr. Maxxer allow Cody to come along to find Alixter?  And why did Sera encourage it? This put him in great danger for no benefit that I could discern.

– When Alixter pulls the gun on Sera, I kind of laughed.  Is that bad?  I just pictured it as a clumsy scene from a movie – Rio has the upper hand and then inexplicably hesitates while allowing Alixter to pull his gun out of his pants.  It’s described as happening “in a blur,” but it seems hard to believe unless Rio is totally incompetent.

END OF SPOILERS.

My biggest pet peeve with this otherwise enjoyable story is at the end when the villain explains all of his/her dastardly plans to the protagonist.   Up until that point, there had been a nice, gradual progression of revelations, and then all of a sudden, the big surprises are released in a flurry.  An unfortunate side effect is that all of the chit-chat made the villain seem so much less threatening.

Despite the shortcomings, I would still recommend Unremembered to readers interested in a good science fiction story.  The books ends with a nice cliffhanger that makes me want to read the sequel, and I hope that my qualms with this story will be forgotten.  (See what I did there?)  🙂

Review posted at Goodreads and Amazon

Stephanie

6 Responses to “Review: Unremembered by Jessica Brody”

  1. Lectus Read

    Ah! some times authors add dump things in the story just to get things moving. I hate when that happens. Some bloggers loved the book, others, like you, are in between 🙂

  2. Aman

    I don’t like the chit chatty villain too, but I’m very interested in reading Sera’s story. Did she get on the plane? What really happened? I have so many questions that I just have to read the book.

  3. Nikki R

    I was intrigued by the synopsis right away, so I’ll probably read this just to find out what happens and where Sera came from. Disappointing that the characters/situations weren’t enough to get emotionally invested in, though. A book can be super exciting but still a total letdown if you’re not actually invested in the story. =/

  4. rivie bleu

    But the book sounds like it’s really good. Though I tend to like things others don’t. I guess life would be boring if we all liked the same things like you said. I like to see how we are all different when I see why they didn’t like things I like.

  5. malvoliosStockings

    I completely agree with you. I liked the book but it certainly wasn’t very consistent. It really annoyed me when Sera thought the scribbles on the tv screen in the hospital looked like they meant something but she didn’t know what. Yet 20 pages later, she can read a note that she found in her locket. So in 20 pages she learned to read. hmmm! Right, thats believable. I felt the author got lazy about what things Sera did and didn’t recognize. But like you, i also enjoyed the book anyways 🙂

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