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A Reader of Fictions: Review: Unremembered

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Monday, March 11, 2013

Review: Unremembered

Unremembered, Book 1

Author: Jessica Brody
Pages: 320
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Publication Date: March 5, 2013
Source: Publisher for review

Description from Goodreads:
The only thing worse than forgetting her past... is remembering it.

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 mesmerizing and suspenseful new series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.

First Sentence: "The water is cold and ruthless, lapping against my cheek."

Unremembered is the kind of book that is really difficult to review. For one thing, Brody relies heavily on twists, which means that the less you know going into it, the more fun it's going to be for you. I would actually recommend not reading the blurb first. I didn't know anything when I started except that she survived a plane crash, and that was about ideal. The other thing that makes this tricky is that, while Unremembered is a fun read, I don't have all that much praise to give it, so it's going to come across more negative than perhaps intended.

What makes Unremembered a fun read and one that I don't regret taking the time to sift through is that it's full of action and mystery. Brody keeps the story moving along at a quick pace, and you can't help wanting to find out what her explanation for everything is. Brody successfully snagged my interest, and I sped through the book. Unremembered might be a good title for more reluctant readers, though I would recommend the somewhat similar Mila 2.0, which I'm reading right now to readers not threatened by the addition of 200 more pages.

On the downside, though, Brody's explanation, as it unfolds, really does not make any sense, and there are some definite plot holes. There are so many strange things where I just could not suspend disbelief. For example, when Violet, a name given to her for her purple eyes (*rolls eyes*), is pulled from the wreckage, doctors run tests on her and determine that she is definitely sixteen. This is a small thing and really doesn't matter much, but how? Kids develop at different rates, and it's not like humans have rings you can count to determine age like trees do. Maybe this is possible, but I really don't think it would be that easy to figure out if she's precisely 16. That might be their best guess, but how could they really know?

The only other oddness I can mention without spoiling anything for you is that the reader never actually finds out how Violet ends up in the plane crash. This is such a huge gaping error. You learn some things that are supposed to make that make sense, but it's actually not settled. This is a huge plot hole that I really can't ignore. Many of the other explanations have a lot of issues too, but I can't get into them now.

Then there's Violet, the main character, who has a perfect memory for language and a largely perfect vocabulary, but holes for a number of terms. Some things make sense for her not to know, but there are plenty of words she finds confusing that there is absolutely no reason for her not to be familiar with. Her personality is very similar to the main character in Rachel Cohn's Beta or to the dolls on Joss Whedon's show Dollhouse. For those who are familiar with those, you know that it's not a particularly engaging personality, involving a lot of head-tilting and wide-eyed innocence. I also found that her ability to react to situations with human emotions was incredibly inconsistent, because she shows a lot of anger and passion in the first couple of chapters, but then proceeds to act like a robot for all of the middle of the book.

If you're looking for a quick, fast-paced read and aren't the type of reader to get hung up on logic, then Unremembered is a good choice for you. For me, though, I suspect Unremembered will ultimately live up to its title.

Rating: 2.5/5

Favorite Quote: "'What can I say? I was curious. You put a giant concrete wall in front of a guy, he's gonna try to find out what's on the other side.'"

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Blogger Kayla Beck said...

Heh, I guessed your rating within a half point when I read "purple eyes". I also wonder how I would've been aged if I had been found in a p,ane wreck with no memory. When I was 25, I easily passed for 16 in nearly all aspects except having given birth. (I like to pretend most 16 year olds haven't.) I think I'll pass on this one - the fact that there's no plane crash resolution would bother me muchly.

March 11, 2013 at 8:19 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ugh. I'll still read this, but I'm disappointed there were gaping holes! I loved Jessica Brody's other book. But I tend to get really annoyed if the author hasn't explained a certain thing. However, I'm glad it was a fun read.

Love the review!

March 11, 2013 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Jenni said...

I had really thought that she was a robot for much of the novel. She reminded me of the girl from that TV show The Sarah Connor Chronicles. I didn't give a damn about anyone in this book or anything that happened. I admit I was pretty interested in the beginning but that got old pretty quickly. And yeah the purple eyes, why the hell was that not weird? That's so weird!

March 11, 2013 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yeah, it was an easy enough read that I wanted to give it 3, but had enough problems it maybe deserved 2, so I went for the middle. I didn't dislike it exactly, but I didn't like it, so it gets the meh rating.

Well, it sounded like they ran a battery of tests, not just eyeballing her for age. Still, weird.

March 11, 2013 at 9:24 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Her other books are contemporary, though, right? Maybe science fiction just isn't what she does best. I'm still planning to try her other books, because they're such different things.

March 11, 2013 at 9:25 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Purple eyes are in every book. They MAY exist, but they're still super rare. Purple eyes are a sure sign of a speshul snowflake. STOP DOING THIS, AUTHORS.

I totally thought she was a robot.

March 11, 2013 at 9:26 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

"...hung up on logic"

Well, there goes any chance of me enjoying Unremembered! I can suspend disbelief for something fantastical, but it still has to make sense. All those plot holes are giving me anxiety already...

March 11, 2013 at 11:07 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Sad, but true. It just doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

March 11, 2013 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Steph Sinclair said...

Is is possible for doctors to guess an age. This mostly comes by way of examining the teeth and bones of the patient. But, I don't think they could definitely pin point her exact age without cutting her open.

Also, I thought her eyes would indicate something important, but was saddened to see it was only to make her appear super duper special.

March 11, 2013 at 11:14 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I don't think they would have cut her open, but probably took blood samples and stuff. She wasn't injured so surgery merely to determine her precise age seems a bit extreme.

Well, her eyes sort of mean something, but mostly that's she's special.

March 11, 2013 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

Purple eyes.........yeah.

The plot holes worry me, especially if the plane crash isn't explained. I mean, isn't that kind of the catalyst to the beginning of the story?

This sounds like the kind of book where I'd have to like Violet to enjoy it and I don't know that I really would....

March 11, 2013 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger Blogger10 said...

Ughhh I totally get hung up on logic. I would have a real hard time with this one. Eyerolling is not one of my favorite reading activities. Too bad though, because the description makes it sound awesome!

March 11, 2013 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger Maggie @ Just a Couple More Pages said...

I was so excited to read this but all the reviews I've been reading seem to say all the negative things you're saying. I'll probably still pick it up, but it's disappointing.

March 11, 2013 at 3:36 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Since I have a copy of this one I'm still going to read it but I really don't have high expectations. I've been seeing so many reviews like this one. I was so intrigued by the summary and cover so it sucks that this one isn't that great. Thanks for the honest review!

March 11, 2013 at 4:31 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I totally tried to read this one like 3 times and I just couldn't get into it. Perhaps I will eventually get back to it, but with how much trouble I was having getting into it, and the fact it's getting a lot of not so great reviews, I'm not in a rush.

March 11, 2013 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Oh man, purple eyes? That's such a classic no-no. GAH. CHRISTINA. I'm torn now. I've read one or two really good reviews of this one buuuut yours makes so much sense, and you pointed out things you didn't like, and those things are things that *I* wouldn't like, soooo. I think I'll see if my library has it. It sounds like it's one of those books that some like and some are just not going to care for.

Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

March 11, 2013 at 7:37 PM  
Blogger Kimberly @ Midnight Book Girl said...

So according to wikipedia true violet eyes only occur because of albinism, some blue eyes can appear violet in certain lights or in photos but they are not violet, they are blue.

I'm not too picky on everything making perfect sense, especially when it comes to science stuff, but I do not like plot holes. They make me sad :(

March 12, 2013 at 9:31 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Well, the plane crash itself makes sense, but some elements surrounding her being there...

Violet is really flat and annoying.

March 12, 2013 at 10:28 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Hahaha, the description does make it sound great, but I just don't think this was well done. It's a pleasant-enough read, but I would recommend Beta or Mila 2.0 over it, though this girl isn't an android like they are (sort of).

March 12, 2013 at 10:41 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Picking it up and trying yourself certainly can't hurt. You might love it, because obviously someone did or it wouldn't be published. If you don't love it, you can DNF.

March 12, 2013 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

I can't tell you how many times I've had a copy of something and been so excited, only to see all those reviews roll out. It's sad, but maybe the low expectations will help!

March 12, 2013 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ha, I can see why. I think DNFing is valid. You gave it the old college try.

March 12, 2013 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

For real. I don't know why authors are STILL doing this. Oh really? I have yet to see an enthusiastic review of this one. Three stars is the highest I've seen. Library is a good choice.

March 12, 2013 at 11:05 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Huh. I heard Elizabeth Taylor had violet eyes. They sort of looked violet, but hers might have been caused by some other condition. Whether they happen or not, they do not occur frequently enough to be in this many novels.


March 12, 2013 at 11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aghhhhh. This is the first book I've read for this review and now I'm all sad :(. I was really excited to read this one! But that probably won't happen anymore. You don't find out how she ended up in the crash? I feel like that's one of the things that HAS to happen in this book. I hate hate hate plot holes and a lack of logic. I mean, I already have a difficult time reading anything other than contemporary because it's difficult for me to suspend disbelief, and then this isn't even logical? Yeah. I don't think this one's going to work for me. I'm glad you were honest, though. I love that about you :)

March 12, 2013 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Hahaha, transposition is funny. Also, I'm sorry that I busted your dreams for this.

You do find out HOW she's in the crash, but not WHY, and that bothers me a lot.

Thanks, dear!

March 12, 2013 at 1:08 PM  
Blogger Renae @ Respiring Thoughts said...

I'm really excited to read this one, but now I'm kind of afraid I won't, what with all the 2 star reviews that popped up. Flawed logic = no thanks, 9 times out of 10. Guess we'll see, though!

March 13, 2013 at 9:06 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Ha, I feel like odds of you enjoying this are slim, but you might five-star it just to confound me.

March 13, 2013 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Estelle said...

I tried to read a book by Brody and I couldn't get passed the third chapter. I've had this review stored in my email to see if you could change my mind, but I just don't think it's going to happen.

Thanks for being honest as always! :)

March 14, 2013 at 4:40 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Oh dear. Yeah, I can't convince you to change your mind. It's not terrible, but definitely not an essential read by any means.

March 18, 2013 at 12:09 PM  

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