Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: March 5th 2013 by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (BYR)
Source: Net Galley
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.
The premise of this novel is not original – amnesia seems to be affecting quite a number of YA protagonists – but the characterization of the main character in all her blank glory reads far more authentically than others. Violet is like a blank slate – I am not certain she is even human. Who she is, what she is, where she is from – these are questions that seem to have no answers to her. It is more than amnesia that affects her, however. Violet doesn’t seem to know anything. Not hugs, not macaroni and cheese, nothing. She is a blank slate and Brody does a fantastic job in portraying that.
The novel is compulsively readable with a rapid pace and sequences with high tension and danger. There are men in black trying to capture Violet and a strange boy who makes Violet feel emotions she doesn’t understand. I thought that the execution of the whole romance portion a bit tired. It didn’t make sense that (spoiler) Violet (aka Sera) would erase not just the boy she purports to love but also the memories of their time together while knowing that the trip they’re planning to take is chockfull of uncertainties and there are no guarantees that things would go as smoothly as they had hoped it would.
Zen has a lot of potential as a character but right now he is limited by his role as a love interest. He is defined by it and he is not rounded as a character with his own dreams, thoughts and desires that exist outside his love for Violet. The plot is very interesting and again, has a lot of space for further development but the latter part of the novel is rushed and the ending, a somewhat cliffhanger, does not answer questions that I really want have answered. Who and what is Sera? Is she human? The manner in which Sera/Violet handles her stepbrother is abrupt and perhaps a bit too neat to suit the story.
While the novel is entertaining, these gaping holes and unanswered questions make for a clunky read with frequent pauses as you try to decipher what’s going on. Perhaps the story will find its rhythm in the second book in the series. For now, I say give it a whirl. It’s not the best one out there, but it is entertaining. You may like it more than I did.