Review: Unremembered by Jessica Brody

29 March, 2013 Reviews 21 comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Unremembered by Jessica BrodyUnremembered by Jessica Brody
Series: Unremembered #1
Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux for Young Readers on March 5th 2013
Pages: 320
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository
Goodreads
two-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?

From popular young adult author Jessica Brody comes a compelling and suspenseful new sci-fi series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.

Be warned: This review does contain mild spoilers.

You know that feeling when you are expecting one thing out of a book and it completely delivers something else, and not for the better? It’s the kind of situation where you expectations completely sabotage your reading experience. That’s what happened with Unremembered and I. Technically, there isn’t anything wrong with the story. I fairly enjoyed the writing style and the characters, but in the end it’s not very memorable. It reminds me a lot of a few other sci-fi novels I’ve read recently: Origin and Eve & Adam. They all feature people created by science in some way or another, each with varying degrees of complexity. I’d situate Unremembered somewhere in between the two.

The premise is what really drew me in. Seraphina is found at the scene of a plane crash with no memory of how she got there or anything from her past, including her name. As the novel wears on, the reader and Seraphina learn more and more about her past thanks mostly the Mysterious Boy that she feels drawn to. In the beginning, I was really enjoying it because it was intriguing. However, once the romance manifested and consumed the plot, the original excitement I had began to die off. There is a scene where the love interest, Zen, is more focused on her remembering him instead of other memories I felt were a bit more important given her situation (AKA, bad guys are after her and she doesn’t know why). Apparently, he didn’t feel that was important, which struck me as odd. Sure, he told her the basics, but his main priority was her remembering their love. Yes, this is me rolling my eyes.

The other thing I took issue with was the whole, “Zomg! Science is evil! It will destroy our love!” View Spoiler » The whole Evil Science is something some reviewers took issue with Jessica Khoury’s Origin. I didn’t because I felt like Origin only addressed the evil of what a few particular scientists were doing, whereas Unremembered lumps all of science in as evil. So if you had issues with Origin, it might be best to skip this one.

And let’s not forget these are teenagers claiming their love transcends all things a la Romeo and Juliet. It’s the whole, “They won’t let us be together, let’s run away” plot, when what you think you’re getting is a novel that is more than just a tragic love story. Zen is the only boy Seraphina meets. Her life experiences are severely limited because of what she is and most of their romantic interactions take place through brief flashbacks. This made it really hard for me to believe in their love and connect on that level. Not to mention, external forces are not the only things that complicate relationships and are generally not what tear couples apart. Unremembered creates this illusion that their love would be perfect if it weren’t for Evil Science.

And my final issue? Predictability. I had almost the entire plot figured out in the first 25%. I knew exactly why Seraphina ran away. I knew exactly where she ran away to (that one was incredibly obvious). I knew where she was from. I knew what she was. (BTW, what’s with the purple eyes? I thought it would be relevant in some way, but it seems it was thrown in just for kicks to make Seraphina even more speshul than what she already is. But all it did was paint a gigantic Mary Sue marquee on her forehead.) The not-so-subtle plot twists helped to kill any left over excitement to finish the book. But I did, and was equally as underwhelmed with the ending.

In the end, I find myself agreeing with Emily where she says Unremembered would be best suited for newer YA Sci-fi readers. It’s swift and fairly action-packed, making it an easy read. It just doesn’t do it as well as other sci-fi novels.

ARC was received via Macmillan in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Steph Sinclair

Steph Sinclair

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
I'm a bibliophile trying to make it through my never-ending To-Be-Read list, equal opportunity snarker and fangirl, YA Books Central editor and co-blogger here at Cuddlebuggery. Find me on GoodReads.
Steph Sinclair
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21 Responses to “Review: Unremembered by Jessica Brody”

  1. anothernovelread

    Hmmm, you know, I see what you’re saying about the evil science in this book, but I think I slightly disagree. You were okay with it in Origin because it was a select group of scientists. But isn’t that also the case in Unremembered? It’s that group of scientists from that company (can’t remember the name) that are trying to track down Sera. I thought they just had to escape to a time before “science” so that the select group of evil scientists couldn’t make use of whatever science was available at whatever time period, in order to catch up to them.
    Okay, but my point: it’s a select group of evil scientists using science for evil, so they escape to a point in time beyond the evil scientists’ reach. Right? No?

    • Stephanie Sinclair
      Twitter:

      anothernovelread I guess, it’s mostly because Zen viewed all science as evil, thus wanting to being in a time period where not only that corporation could find them, but also where it wasn’t advanced enough to be a threat to them. It’s like they viewed any and all advanced science evil on some level. But for Pia, she still viewed herself as a scientist, just one that had decency. Her mission was to escape that little community NOT all of science. 
      So I think, for me, it was the main characters’ reactions to science which was the difference for me.

    • Stephanie Sinclair
      Twitter:

      anothernovelread I guess, it’s mostly because Zen viewed all science as evil, thus wanting to being in a time period where not only that corporation could find them, but also where it wasn’t advanced enough to be a threat to them. It’s like they viewed any and all advanced science evil on some level. But for Pia, she still viewed herself as a scientist, just one that had decency. Her mission was to escape that little community NOT all of science. 
      So I think, for me, it was the main characters’ reactions to science which was the difference for me.

  2. anothernovelread

    Hmmm, you know, I see what you’re saying about the evil science in this book, but I think I slightly disagree. You were okay with it in Origin because it was a select group of scientists. But isn’t that also the case in Unremembered? It’s that group of scientists from that company (can’t remember the name) that are trying to track down Sera. I thought they just had to escape to a time before “science” so that the select group of evil scientists couldn’t make use of whatever science was available at whatever time period, in order to catch up to them.
    Okay, but my point: it’s a select group of evil scientists using science for evil, so they escape to a point in time beyond the evil scientists’ reach. Right? No?

  3. tripsis

    Aww I’m sorry you didn’t really enjoy this!  I liked this book a lot but I completely understand why you didn’t.  I know the book itself is really kind of “cookie cutter”, and the romance was meh.. but the cookie cutter thing didn’t bother me at all because it happened to be a cookie cutter that I love.  But if you’re not crazy about the topic or if cookie cutters in general bother you, then it totally makes sense that you wouldn’t enjoy the book!

  4. Kara_M
    Twitter:

    Agreed about the predictability. I think I mentioned that in my review too. For something that was supposedly so twisty, it really wasn’t all the surprising. And I hate the way the plot details were revealed. BORING. I was not impressed with this one.

  5. Kara_M
    Twitter:

    Agreed about the predictability. I think I mentioned that in my review too. For something that was supposedly so twisty, it really wasn’t all the surprising. And I hate the way the plot details were revealed. BORING. I was not impressed with this one.

  6. Realm of Fiction
    Twitter:

    I agree about the purple eyes. I think I picked something up straight afterwards and the character in that had violet eyes, too. I have never, in all my years of living, actually seen real purple eyes before. Anyway, sorry to see that you didn’t care for this one too much, Steph. I liked it just a little more, though I do agree that it’s not very memorable.

    • Stephanie Sinclair
      Twitter:

      Realm of Fiction They said she was created perfect. Perfect=purple? I don’t know. I’ve heard that the author’s contemporary novels are better, so I’ll probably check those out at some point.

  7. Lilysbookblog

    i actually really enjoyed reading this one, but I get why it isn’t for everyone. I’ve read a lot of books similar to this one, but overall somehow I managed to actually really enjoy this one. yeah some things were weak and the romance was ‘okay’ but I think it was just the whole mystery element of it all that kpet me intrigued. 
    Lily @ lilysbookblog

  8. cynicalsapphire

    I look forward to the day I come here and a review contains spicy spoilers.
    Okay, so it REALLY bothered me that her name is Seraphina, even though obviously this book would have already been written when Hartman’s came out, but ugh. That added a comparison to a book so far superior. It was just sad.
    I mostly feel bad for this book, because of how meh it is. From what I can tell, Brody should stay with contemporaries, because I’ve heard good things about those. 
    Also, fuck purple eyes. I hate them.

  9. Hillary

    I actually need to ask, what is the name of the guy who kidnapped her and wanted to kill Zen? Also, what is the name of the gun her used? Please, please, I really really need to know because I doing a review of the ending.

  10. KeyaniRainey

    I absolute loved the book from beginning to end. But I can truly say I don’t fully understand the ending where they jumped. We’re they killing themselves for “eternity love” or were they going to transcending themselves to the year 1609 for “eternity love” ? I’ve read the book twice and still don’t totally understand.

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