Sunday, August 24, 2014

Review: Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin

Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin
Publisher: Egmont USA
Publication Dae: September 23, 2014
Rating: 3 stars
Source: ARC sent by the author

Summary (from Goodreads):

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 . . .

What I Liked:

Sarah doesn't know who she is, her background, her past, her identity. Everything is being wiped from her memory - or so she thought. When the power goes out in her "hospital" compound, Sarah escapes - and she starts remembering. She stumbles upon a hacker genius about her age, and together, they try and get her the medicine that will allow her to remember everything faster. But there are many people that want to kill Sarah, but Sarah isn't giving up that easily.

I liked this book. I know that my three-star reviews usually seem a little more negative than positive (not my intention though), but I usually at least *like* the 3-star-rated books. I liked this one. It's a thriller, a standalone, and I'm happy for both of those things. There aren't enough standalone debuts. And there aren't enough good thrillers. I wouldn't say that this is the most spellbinding and remarkable thriller I've read, but I liked it.

The book starts with Sarah getting another procedure done in her head. The imagery is very vivid and almost graphic, but not to the point where a squeamish person will freak out. Everything is really well-described though, in terms of the surgeries and what's being done to Sarah's head, and Sarah's emptiness and confusion. Then Sarah escapes, and the rest of the book is spent with Pierce/Thomas and Sarah trying to figure out how to gain access to the medical locker, to get Sarah's pills.

The imagery and descriptions are very thorough, in the beginning of the book. I'm not sure about the rest of the book, but this really stood out to me in the first part of the book, before Sarah escapes. It really sucks you in. The writing is very simple and easy to read - so it's not unique and lush and gorgeous, but it's easy to read and helps the book go faster.

I liked Sarah, and I liked Thomas. I can't say I really connected with either of them, but I liked them. I liked following their story. I wanted to know who Sarah was before she was admitted to the "hospital", why she was there, etc. The mystery surrounding the protagonist was interesting. I wanted to know what was going - but this was a little frustrating, because I felt like the author wasn't explaining things fast enough. Read on!

What I Did Not Like:

I found the plot frustrating, because I felt like information wasn't being revealed fast enough, or at all, yet information should have been revealed. It was like the author was trying to show us things and she was trying to be tricksy and sneaky with it but it just wasn't working out for her. Like, something would be hinted at, but it wouldn't be explained, but this was frustrating! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. In this case, it didn't really work. I mean, I wanted to know what would happen, and I kept reading, but I was frustrated while reading. Hints about Sarah's mother, father, past, potential criminal record, etc. were all dropped along the story, but I wanted to KNOW, not be teased.

I found Sarah's past to be annoying and frustrating as well. The author built up this epic character with a crazy past, but I felt like Sarah didn't live up to her past. Her past seemed like a legend's past, a rockstar, an actress, someone who mattered. But Sarah didn't seem that way. Like I said, this was frustrating.

The "big reveal"/climax was extremely anticlimactic, in my opinion. I'm referring to the big infodump, when the villain reveals his/her diabolical plan. So anticlimactic. I rolled my eyes several times. It was so cliche! And obvious! Couldn't it have been something more complex?!

Would I Recommend It:

Despite the fact that this book frustrated me a great deal, I liked it. I especially liked that it is a standalone, and so I won't have to "suffer" through another book (I liked this one enough to read a second book, if there would be another, but it wouldn't be a priority). I think you should read this one if you were already interested in it! It won't (necessarily) disappoint!


3 stars. Not a bad debut at all! Not a favorite, but I'm glad I read it. I'll be keeping my eye on the author's upcoming novels.

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  1. I have this one in my review pile, so I'm glad to hear that thought not perfect by any means, it will be a likeable enough read!
    Thanks for the warning about the frustrating lack of info with all the hints, that usually bothers me loads too!

    1. You'll at least enjoy it, I hope! Let me know when you read it :D

  2. Hmmm... I think I would get annoyed too. I was invited to read and review this one but I passed. I am glad I read your review.

    1. Sounds like it was a good decision for you! Thank you for reading, Heidi :)

  3. I don't think that a 3-star review is a bad thing at all. This cover is so creepy that it just puts me out.

    1. PHEW. And yes, it is really creepy... but really significant, because her eyes are the only things she really knows about herself. But yes, creepy indeed!

  4. I actually really liked this one! I enjoyed the prolonged mystery of slowly seeing the identity hints dropped throughout, but I can see it being frustrating for some readers. In some ways, I liked the disconnect between who Sarah was and who she is in the book; I'm not sure I would have liked that larger than life girl as much as the scared, confused, but still butt-kicking heroine we had.

    The climax definitely dropped the ball. It felt exactly like that moment in "The Incredibles": "So I'm at his mercy, and what does he do? He starts monologuing, going on and on about his whole evil plan and how I'm so powerless to stop him."

    Still, overall a fun debut and a standalone. :)

    1. I'm completely missing the part about The Incredibles, but everything else makes sense :D Usually, I like the hint-dropping and whatnot, because it's like a challenge, but in this book, it was even frustrating, it just pissed me off and then made me feel nothing. Blaaahhh lol

    2. Just that the villain starts monologuing, explaining her whole evil plan, instead of, you know, doing the smart thing and just killing Sarah. :)

    3. HAHAHAHA WAIT OKAY HOW DID I NOT UNDERSTAND THAT. I get you. It's been a long day, really, it has O_O

  5. I just finished this the other day and will be writing my review soon, so I just skimmed yours, but we have similar feelings. I liked both characters - I thought their banter was cute - but didn't feel a strong emotional connection. Plus the plot became something that's been done again and again and again. I was annoyed it went in that direction. :/

    1. Cool, I'm glad you read it! And I'm happy to know that I'm not alone in my middle-of-the-road thoughts on this book. Good thing it's a standalone though!


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