2014 EVENTS:
Holly Bourne, Non Pratt and James Dawson - 30th October
Becca Fitzpatrick - 15th November

Sunday, 19 October 2014

REVIEW: Unremembered - Jessica Brody

Sunday, 19 October 2014
PAGES: 302
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Kids
BUY IT: Waterstones
RATING: 4 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?

I'm lucky enough to have received an advance copy of this book from a rep and was immediately intrigued by its premise. I don't read contemporary novels very often but was glad that I picked this up. It errs towards science fiction and is as fast-paced as a spy thriller.

It's premise is great: A girl, named Violet by the nurses in hospital, is found floating in the ocean after a suspicious plane crash. After being placed with a foster family she becomes determined to find out where she comes from, and to also find out more about the mysterious boy who continues to follow her every move.

The Unremembered is a fantastically built novel. The suspense gradually grows into a high octane thriller that will have you gripping your seat. I was shocked time and time again by the abilities Violet discovers in herself and it was really fun to discover everything she can do at the same time she does. There were several times I was completely unsure how Violet was going to get out of the situations she gets in, which reminded me of the twists of The Hunger Games. You're never sure who to trust, or if any of her memories are ever real. It's not really a dystopian novel as such but will appeal to fans of these.

Thematically it centres are the themes of both love and scientific advancement, one a modern miracle and the other a timeless concept. It asks how love exists within us: Is it something that is lodged deep down and can't be erased or damaged as part of our brain? Is it a lingering part of a persons soul that can always react to someone you love? Or are there just different parts of our brains that are harder to damage? I really enjoyed these questions and finding out about Violet's past in the flashbacks as she 'restores' her memories.

One thought that struck me through the whole novel is how it seemed to pull the themes of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein into the modern age. Frankenstein asks us the price of scientific advancement and if it is worth sacrificing our humanity or morality. Unremembered asks these too, and also what faculties the modern world would demand of us if we were trying to recreate Dr. Frankenstein's Creature today. 

I highly recommend this book for adults, for teens, and even for younger readers ready to move up to teenage. I don't think there is anything in there that parents would have a problem with. Add this to your Goodreads and get pre-ordering, you won't be disappointed.

- Bex.

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