Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Review: Unremembered by Jessica Brody

Title: Unremembered
Author: Jessica Brody
Publisher: Macmillan
Released: March 05, 2013
Buy: The Book Depository
“…[voids] can be as short as the blink of an eye, or they can be infinite. Consuming your entire existence in a flash of meaningless white. Leaving you with nothing. No memories. No names. No faces.”
Jessica Brody’s first venture out of the contemporary genre is a pleasingly sturdy one. While there is definite room for improvement, Unremembered, on the whole, is an engaging and satisfying read.

Memory loss is a key feature of this book, with a confused and appropriately naive main character leading the way. Following a highly-publicised plane crash – Freedom Airlines’ Flight 121, of which our protagonist is the sole survivor – Sera finds herself living in foster care, with no recollection of the crash or her past before that. The memory loss is, for the most part, handled surprisingly well. Creating a plausible personality while taking into account the character’s lack of remembered experience isn’t, I imagine, the easiest of tasks, yet Jessica Brody does a commendable enough job. Sera, although initially uncomfortably close to being too inconsistent, is a refreshing main character whose story is instantly an intriguing one. Her lack of knowledge also provides moments of unexpected but welcomed entertainment. By and large, she is fascinating, and it is not at all difficult connecting with her.

As perhaps anticipated, much of the plot focuses on Sera’s mysterious survival and sudden amnesia. It is quickly apparent that she may not have even been a passenger on Flight 121, and with this, we are handed another boat load of exciting questions. Enter Zen, the boy with all the answers, and the romantic plot slowly weaves in. The romance is a believable and likeable one, with plenty of well-paced tender scenes and flashbacks. Admittedly, it is a little too clichéd and standard to really make much of a significant impression, but, despite that, it satisfies. As a character, Zen is less captivating the Sera, and could do with some refining personality-wise, but he is by no means unlikeable. It is easy to appreciate his role in the story as more than just the love interest.

The strengths of this book, funnily enough, also stem into areas of slight weakness. There is a science fiction element to the storyline that is aptly used to its full potential, even surpassing it in a few places. The ideas are gripping and atypical, and combine two areas of the genre in fascinating ways. These provide a complicated explanation for Sera’s situation, one that is easily admired from afar. The issue is, unfortunately, that it is not much of a challenge piecing the fragments together prematurely. Parts of the story are painfully easy to predict, and combined with the all too typical role of the antagonist, it results in moments of anti-climax. Still, the creativity in the plot twists are evident, even if the execution is in need of sharpening.

Although Unremembered is not free of faults, it is a fairly decent book overall, with moments of true charm. It certainly makes me curious about the rest of this series. In fact, after the way this instalment ended, I am very curious to see what will happen next. 

Rating: 3.5 stars

43 comments:

  1. I've been debating this--I think I'll get it---interesting plot and I like hearing you enjoyed the MC. Great review Sam!

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  2. I've been seeing this around a lot now, and most people had a similar reaction to it. I'm glad that you enjoyed the book despite some of the flaws, Sam. This actually sounds like something that I might enjoy. Definitely going to give it a try.
    Brilliant review, Sam!

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  3. Oooh, I was just looking at this today, but it had a really ugly cover (a different one to the one you've got pictured here) and so I decided not to get it. Because I'm shallow. But now I might have to go back to it, it sounds really interesting. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  4. I really enjoyed Brody's 52 Reasons To Hate My Father, so I'm really looking forward to Unremembered. Nice review. :)

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  5. I think I'll probably skip this one, mostly because cliches and predictability seem to annoy me more than most readers. Plus, just the idea of this seemed a little too typical, but I'm interested to see how the series plays out. I might have to pick it up if it improves at all. Wonderful review, Sam! :D

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  6. I haven't heard of this before, but I think I might have to check it out. It sounds very interesting :) Great review!

    Brittany @ bythelamplight

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  7. I actually like bits and pieces of this one though I am getting mightily tired of the amnesia shtick. I found the ending to be lacking and rather abrupt and what was up with the way they disposed of the "brother" after so much time was spent developing their relationship. I liked Sera, I thought her lack of human-ness made for a fascinating study. But at the same time, I'm wondering if the novelty can be sustained with her memory being (sporadically) returned. I guess we'll find out.

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  8. I'm so glad that you liked this overall, Sam, even if you didn't think it was perfect. I've been seeing a lot of 2 and 5 star reviews with not much in the middle. I'm really looking forward to picking this one up!

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  9. What a well-articulated review! I really feel like I've got a great, general sense of what to expect from Unremembered, once I get a chance to pick up a copy. I have heard that it is fairly predictable, but that, like you said, it's enjoyable nonetheless.

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  10. I haven't really paid any attention to this book before, so I've no idea that there is a sci-fi element to the story. Thanks to your review, I now have a better idea about what this book is about. Thank you, Sam!

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  11. This sounds like it would've been an interesting psychological drama...hopefully there's some of that when I get around to reading it. I also find unreliable characters fascinating. Is that Sera's situation or are we privy to some information she isn't? Great review, Sam. And I see you're reading Doll Bones...jealous!

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    1. Not as far as I can remember! It's her amnesia here that defines much of her behaviour and speech (or lack of). I should warn you though, K - if you're after something with a distinct psychological edge, this probably isn't the book.

      And Doll Bones is going pretty well so far. ;)

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  12. I really loved this book and I must say that I found the mysteries the strongest aspect of the story. The SciFi element totally surprised me even though I think I must have seen this coming :) Glad you enjoyed it Sam and I hope that the sequel will have some things straightened out.

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  13. Never heard of this book! Well, it sounds good and I'm loving that it's strength comes from the sci-fi element :) I'll have to check it out. Excellent review, Sam.

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  14. I've read Brody's The Karma Club and liked it so I was curious to see how she would do with a sci-fi novel. I'm not a big fan of that genre, but this one doesn't seem to sci-fish and I like that the characters are decent so I'll check this out. Thanks, Sam!

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  15. Great review, Sam :D I'm glad you enjoyed this book. <3 Sigh. I just loved it :) The characters are just amazing, and I did enjoy the plot a whole lot ;) Cannot wait for the next one. <3 I do understand about the small things that annoyed you, but I'm glad you managed to enjoy it, still ;p

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  16. I think that quote was a little bit of a spoiler itself! ;P Anyway, I'm kind of disappointed that this didn't render a higher rating for you, since I was really looking forward to it. I've never read any of Jessica Brody's books, but it's nice to hear that her first attempt at a sci-fi novel was a pretty good one. :) Zen doesn't particularly catch my attention, though!

    Glad you enjoyed this overall, Sam, and great review!

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  17. I've been seeing this around so much lately. I'm glad you enjoyed this despite the issues that came along with it. The characters seem likeable, and the genre elements sound intriguing! Wonderful review, Sam. :)

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  18. You know, I've never thought about it before, but I do agree with what you had to say about creating a plausible personality for a character with amnesia. It would be hard! I didn't know that there was an element of science fiction in this one... that's interesting. It's too bad that the story was a bit predictable, but all around, I could see myself enjoying this one actually! Thanks for this review, Sam!!

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  19. Oh, this sound good Sam! I like that Sera is a good character and that her romance with Zen is believable. There is always something fascinating about characters with amnesia. The way you get to unravel the story together with them is always exciting. Despite the minor flaws, I think I will really like this book :)

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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  20. I'm definitely curious about the rest of the series too Sam, I really enjoyed this one. I agree the romance wasn't epic on any level, but it was enough to keep me interested. I just don't think we got to know Zen enough in this book for their romance to be the kind that gets under your skin, but I'm hoping we'll get more on him in the next book:) So glad you enjoyed it for the most part!

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  21. It's tough for an author to switch genres, but I'm glad you think that she has potential, Sam.

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  22. I admit to knowing nothing about this book before reading your review, and not having seen this around too much either. Have I been living under a stone? Maybe lol. But, your review makes me feel it's something I'd like. Most of the time the cliches don't bother me, it would be the weakness in the characters that might get to me, but it's definitely one for consideration. Thanks for your awesome review Sam.

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  23. I really love the sound of this but have been hearing some mixed things. It's a shame that this was predictable as I love to be thrown for a loop with this type of book. You've got me curious about that ending now! Great review as always Sam. :)

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  24. I'm glad you ended up liking this one! I've been very curious about it for a while now, and I think, based on your review, it does sound like something I could truly enjoy. I'm curious to see what the real secret is in this book!

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  25. I can handle a bit of predictability and cliche as far as plot and romance go because I did not read the words love triangle or cliffhanger in your review. I am curious about this one and I might just give it a whirl!

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  26. I've seen this around, but haven't paid much attention to what exactly it's about. This actually sounds more interesting than what I was expecting. Thanks, Sam!

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  27. I received this book and I can see the predictable elements of the book. Though the novel's faults seem to be a strength which is interesting. Sera seems like a very serious yet fun character to contend with. It's always nice having a character such as Zen to admire ;) Lovely review, Sam as always!

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  28. I am yet to read anything by Jessica, but I have wanted to read some of her contemps and now you have me interested in this book, too! The memory loss doesn't sound unique but it does when coupled with the plane crash and the sci-fi element.

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  29. I'm thrilled to hear that you liked this one, in spite of the predictability. I'm definitely drawn in by the premise. Glad the romance is satisfying, if not blazingly original.

    I just bought this, and I can't wait to read it now. Wonderful review!

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  30. I actually this in my bookshelf, or on my desk, rather, waiting for me to read this month! I'm hoping it at least meets the level of likeableness that it gave you, but there sound like there are plently of faults and I'm cringing at the cliche love interest factor.
    Awesome review, the sci-fi element sounds really interesting, and I hope I like it, too!

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  31. This sounds amazing, Sam! I'm so glad to read quite positive review from you, especially since this is the author's first sci-fi book. The protagonist sounds lovely as well, since most protagonists sound very... unrealistic when they lose their memory. And of course, just like you said, we need the boy with all the answers. Why does it have to be a boy? Sorry, silly question. :P

    Thank you for the review, hun! <3 I'm not a big fan of sci-fi, but it's glad to know that there's a great sci-fi book I can pick in case I'm in the mood of something other than my usual genres! Wonderful review as always! x)

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  32. Despite the fact that you were able to piece things together, the blend of elements sound intriguing, delightful review and I am admittedly curious about this one.

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  33. Oh, I really like your well-written review! You touched upon all of the elements that I would want to know a bit about before deciding whether or not to pick up this book. And while I still don't think I'll read this, as I may be more harsh on it, I'm glad that it wasn't disappointing. The author's been around for a while, and it's good to know that she can continue to do new things with her writing.

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  34. I can't believe I haven't seen this review until now. I'm so relieved that the things you shared about Unremembered are mostly positive. I'm starting it now and I'm very much looking forward to it. The predictability will surely bother me, but the characters sound interesting enough and the romance is believable so i guess I'll live.

    Great review, Sam.

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  35. Predictability sucks, but I'm glad that you enjoyed this one, if only a little. I think it's well balanced review. Sera sounds okay, but I'm not really sure that I'll like her, because she sounds a little like she has no personality...but I suppose it would be hard to write a personality for a character with no memory, right? ;) Lovely review, Sam! (:

    Loves,
    Megan@The Book Babe

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  36. When I first heard of this one the plane crash had my thoughts flying to Lost, although it sounds entirely different.

    It sounds like there need to be some stronger characters, but that overall I could probably deal.

    Despite the plots predictability you definitely have me intrigued.

    Super review, Sam! :)

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  37. I though this was some paranormal or dystopian book. Haha. Anyhoo, I'm glad that you find this enjoyable despite some of it's slight issues. The characters sounds very interesting too and the romance's pretty good. Gotta go check this out now. Lovely review, Sam. :)

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  38. Beautiful review! Despite the predictability of this one, as well as an unoriginal villain, I think I'd still give it a try. It seems riveting and the memory loss is intriguing.

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  39. Lovely review Sam. I really enjoyed this book despite it being predictable. I kind of wished for more at the end but I guess more will come from the next book. xoxox

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  40. So pleased you enjoyed this, Sam! I feel like going & ripping out my copy now just to see what the ending is all about, lol! Sera does sound fascinating & I can't wait to meet her now! Thanks for a super review! :)

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  41. This sounds pretty good, even though you thought some parts could do with improving. I don't mind predictability if I enjoy the rest of it. Great review, Sam!

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  42. I am actually very excited to read this one! Although, you found some parts lacking, I'm glad you still found it enjoyable. I can't wait to see for myself how it turns out, and the memory loss I actually find interesting. The characters seem great too, and I am very excited to meet Zen and even if the romance is cliche, for a hopeless romantic like me, I think I can kinda over look it. lol ;p

    Fabulous review, Sam! :D

    ~ Maida

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