Published by Egmont USA on September 23, 2014
Genres: Science fiction, Young Adult
*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
Sixteen-year-old Sarah has a rare chance at a new life. Or so the doctors tell her. She’s been undergoing a cutting-edge procedure that will render her a tabula rasa—a blank slate. Memory by memory her troubled past is being taken away.
But when her final surgery is interrupted and a team of elite soldiers invades the isolated hospital under cover of a massive blizzard, her fresh start could be her end.
Navigating familiar halls that have become a dangerous maze with the help of a teen computer hacker who's trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, Sarah starts to piece together who she is and why someone would want her erased. And she won’t be silenced again.
A high-stakes thriller featuring a non-stop race for survival and a smart heroine who will risk everything, Tabula Rasa is, in short, unforgettable.
So many things I liked and so many things I hated in Tabula Rasa. Really, I think it was more on the lower side of a three since the bad outweigh the good, but hell, it wasn’t too bad for a read.
Lets talk about the hates:
1. I’m not a huge fan of the writings style. There’s a lot of unusual descriptions like:
“Her voice is like a razor blade covered in nectar” (58) and “A sickening pool of dread rises and soaks through me” (170)
That and there’s a crap ton of telling the readers rather than showing them. Which I never go crazy for. I like coming to conclusions on my own by the character’s actions or decisions. We are told her feelings about certain situations instead of seeing her act those feelings out.
2. This also makes it hard for me to believe the character’s choices that they make in the story. At times, it can be really inconsistent and confusing. And the dialogue! There’s way too much of it and I can see some sarcasm/humor trying to be attempted but it all fell flat for me. Much like the love interest and the semi-romantic relationship.
3. The male MC is a damsel in distress. Need I say more? No strong male characters.
4. There are events in Tabula Rasa that don’t make a whole lot of sense and didn’t even have a purpose. I could literally cut them out of the book and there wouldn’t be much of a difference. Those could have been taken out in order to help the worldbuilding and plotholes…because let me tell you, that needed some work.
Will try not to say much about that for keeping this spoiler free.
5. Lots of racism toward Mexicans. Only a minor issue for me as it didn’t bother me most of the time, but I sure as shit noticed it.
6. There is essentially very little worldbuilding, which can be a good or bad thing, but in this case with the ability to take away memories or get them back through pills is a pretty big deal. Why was a hacker hired to steal this special project? Why was Sarah so special to begin with (not explained)? What “word” did Larry have to say to make her “access all of her abilities” (ALSO not explained)? Was it because she somehow “played dead” twice in one book without anyone noticing?–my believability is out the window at this point.
7. The ending was horseshit.
Okay, okay, time for the likes:
1. I liked the characters and the complexity of their background stories. Sarah was a strong character that’s easy to connect to and keep reading on for. She finds herself through her memories and I felt right there with her learning new information along the journey.
2. I liked that they all have troubled pasts and that each character has their own story to tell.
3. Not all the dialogue was bad, I really enjoyed some of the exchanges between Sarah and Pierce and their relationship (even though I thought got worse as they started some sort of “I love you” assery toward the end) was really nice to see play out.
4. I looooove the ideas behind this story. I just wish there were more explanations. The idea of memory loss and taking away memories is something that I find very intriguing. I also liked the PTSD aspect (taking away the painful memories of war). That’s something that I would love to see in a sci-fi as well as in the real world itself.
“The procedures have taken away these men’s ability to remember, which is to take away their ability to grieve, which is to take away their ability to love” (224).
5. There are some really good twist in this story, that I can proudly say, I didn’t see coming. And I love it when that happens.
Overall: Tabula Rasa is not a bad read, just one with more cons than pros for me at least.
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