Review: Unforgotten by Jessica Brody

Unforgotten
Jessica Brody

Farrar, Straus & Giroux
I received an advanced ARC from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Released February 25, 2014
416 pages
YA / SciFi / Time Travel

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Some memories are better left forgotten...

After a daring escape from the scientists at Diotech who created her, Seraphina believes she is finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await Sera and her boyfriend, Zen, at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend her. A weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long.

Packed with mystery, suspense, and romance, this riveting second installment of Jessica Brody’s Unremembered trilogy delivers more heart-pounding action as loyalties are tested, love becomes a weapon, and no one’s memories are safe.

I’m not sure how well I can review Jessica Brody’s Unforgotten. It’s the sequel to Unremembered, which I enjoyed last year. Unfortunately I was in the middle of the book when the parameters of my life drastically changed and a death in the family took all thoughts of reading from my mind for over a week. This reading gap makes it unfair and a bit difficult to review this book, but I’m going to try anyway.

SPOILERS FOR UNREMEMBERED

Sera remains a fish out of water despite having some of her memories returned. She and Zen have finally reached 1609, where they are living a simple life as farm workers. At night they sneak away to work on Sera’s unfortunate flight-over-fight instinct. It’s only a matter of time that Sera – unfamiliar with even the most basic things and way over her head around normal people – would give her specialness away. It’s incredibly inconvenient that she and Zen chose to inhabit a time period where anything unusual was considered witchcraft.

It doesn’t take long for these simple people to realize Sera is a little something other than human and she’s tried for witchcraft. This starts a series of events that lead Sera back to a time much closer to modern times, where she meets Kaelen, the Adam to her Eve – an overly attractive male version of herself that can also jump through time with little consequence. Together they have to follow a sort of treasure map on an adventure that takes a couple of turns, but never truly surprises.

Unremembered loses a bit of the charm found in the first book simply because the conceits of the world and the people in it are already known. There isn’t the mystery of Sera’s identity or a discovery of her missing memories. Instead there’s a path laid out in front of the characters with a pretty obvious conclusion. Despite that obviousness, the final few pages were genuinely surprising and leave me wondering where the series will go next.

Brody’s writing gets a little repetitive here in there, primarily whenever it comes to her physical reaction to being around Kaelen. Descriptions of her physical attraction to him were plentiful and on-going. Other doubts and thoughts made frequent appearances as well, so at times living in Sera’s head became repetitive and lessened any excitement caused by the events.

The idea of implanted memories could have been the magic key for this story as the forgotten and recovered memories were for the first one, but the plot focused more on interpersonal relationships and nurture versus nature more than it did on the scifi tropes that it was laying out. The precognitive dream becoming reality could have led to more exciting moments, but got left behind after a time or two for more of Sera’s obsessive thought processes.

My thoughts are definitely colored by real life events that prevented me from reading this book at my usual speed. Unforgotten continues the easily read series, but it slows down compared to Unremembered. Brody has still created some interesting characters that manage to stay away from Mary Sue-esque stereotypes of perfection and the final pages leave open some very interesting possibilities for the next book. I look forward to continuing the series, hopefully with Real Life being a little kinder when I do.

 

I received an advanced ARC from the publisher in return for an honest review.