The Bourne Identity meets Divergent in this action-packed debut thriller with a Katniss-esque heroine fighting to regain her memories and stay alive, set against a dystopian hospital background.
Sarah starts a crazy battle for her life within the walls of her hospital-turned-prison when a procedure to eliminate her memory goes awry and she starts to remember snatches of her past. Was she an urban terrorist or vigilante? Has the procedure been her salvation or her destruction?
The answers lie trapped within her mind. To access them, she’ll need the help of the teen computer hacker who’s trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, and a pill that’s blocked by an army of mercenary soldiers poised to eliminate her for good. If only she knew why .
Description taken from Netgalley. I received an advance copy of this book via the publisher from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.
There really was just one issue when it came to me and my experience with TABULA RASA. I’ve been really excited for this book for a long time, mainly TABULA RASA is a thriller, it’s a stand-alone, it’s a debut and because Kristen is a part of the YA Valentines–and they’re all awesome.
The thing that went wrong for me was the issue of drawn-out suspense and teasing when it came to answers to all the questions that are asked throughout this book. Too many times, the teasing just didn’t work for me. I got so frustrated trying to figure out what was going on and how the questions were being answered only to realize they weren’t being answered at all. I felt like as a reader, I had to know what was going on in certain parts of the story, but I wasn’t getting anything, and the teasing approach in TABULA RASA just didn’t work.
Not to mention that the way everything was answered at the end in one huge dump was entirely anticlimactic. I don’t think that the one thing that went wrong for me and TABULA RASA should reflect on the author, because it’s a skill that requires time and patience to master, and I believe that Kristen can fully do that in her books to come.
I did like a variety of things in TABULA RASA though. I loved the descriptions and how graphic it was without being too much. I thought the world-building was excellently done and believable, and the memory issues were realistic. I really enjoyed the way that Sarah never gave up, and her relationships grew and developed. I wasn’t a fan of the romance at first, but I grew not to mind it and enjoy parts of it. The pace is very fast and the book goes by really nicely. The action elements and themes didn’t get bogged down by the journey and search part of it, and I really liked the steady pace.
Overall, not the best debut I’ve ever read or the best thriller, but I did enjoy this book and appreciate many aspects of it. I’m really looking forward to what else Kristen comes up with, and I would recommend it. 3 stars. Be sure to check out this interview with Kristen to learn more about her and the book!
pg count: 352