Joelene Reviews: Jessica Brody's - "Unremembered"

brody_UnrememberedWhen a plane goes down in the ocean, only one survivor is found – a sixteen year old girl who has no memory of her past.

She cannot recall her name, her face or her life before the accident. When a mysterious boy shows up, claiming to know her, she doesn’t know what to believe. But believing him means giving up any illusion of safety she has.

Usually, I try to keep reviews relatively spoiler-free, but the main premise of Unremembered doesn’t begin until about half-way through the book; so, it’s impossible to discuss without giving away some major plot-points: be warned!

I wouldn’t say that Unremembered starts out slow; but, it does explore a lot of Violet/Sera’s reactions to everything around her. When no one comes forward to claim her, she has to try to understand the way the world works with the help of her new foster family. This is one of the most interesting parts of the story, seeing how she struggles with everyday words and ideas, while being able to solve complex puzzles in record time.

Unremembered has an amazing premise. Amnesia, a super-smart girl, a shady organisation and a mysterious boy who may or may not be a friend. Unfortunately, there is something lacking in the execution of the story. For my part, I think it is complexity. Brody is playing with some serious ethical dilemmas here, but instead of delving into the mess, she sweeps it aside to follow a basic story-line. This isn’t a problem. Some of the best stories are uncomplicated; but, considering the moral issues that Unremembered stirs up, I would really love to see more analysis in that regard.

Violet/Sera’s abnormal intelligence and lack of understanding of current trends, along with the fact that she initially thinks that the year is 1609, makes it clear from not-very-far-in that this is a time-travel novel, though the reveal doesn’t come until much later. This too, Brody could have handled with more intricacy. Time does not merely change technology, it changes entire mindsets. The whole structure of the social and political world should alter with time, but Brody’s characters all seem to be in keeping with our time, not theirs.

Unremembered is in no way a bad novel. It’s beautifully crafted, compelling and easy to read. However, it could have been so much more. It has all of the ingredients for a gripping dystopian action-adventure; it just comes out a bit fluffier.

Unremembered would best suit YA readers who liked their romance with a side of fantasy, rather than liking fantasy with a dash of romance. While there are heavy sci-fi elements to the story, none of them are explored deeply. It’s more of a romance-action-adventure with a little mystery thrown in. Anyone who has read and loved Lauren Kate or Becca Fitzpatrick should relish this one.



Unremembered – Jessica Brody

Macmillan (February 28, 2013)

ISBN: 9781447221128

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