Monday, March 9, 2015

Review: Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin (ARC)

Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Release Date: September 23rd, 2014
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.
"The concept of the book itself was intriguing and though the execution wasn't the best, it's far from the worst."

Disclaimer: I won an ARC from the author. This did not impact my review in any way, nor am I being compensated for it.

(I am so glad I wrote down some notes after reading this book because otherwise, this review would either be really sucky or it wouldn't be here at all.)

What you'll find in this review is that most of what I have to say seems to show that I didn't enjoy the book much. There's a lot that I didn't like, but there was some quality about the book that made me still really enjoy it. I'm still unable to pinpoint exactly what that quality is, so I hope you understand that it's not something I can really discuss in this review because I don't even know exactly why I enjoyed it so much despite most of things I have in this review.

The first aspect of the book I want to address is the pacing. I had a hard time making myself get through the first portion of the book. It wasn't that it wasn't enjoyable; there was definitely a lot going on, but at the same time, it wasn't particularly engaging for me. There were too many questions that weren't answered. It makes sense in the context of the book, but it made it tough for me, as the reader, to get through the story. I know it's because Sarah herself has no idea what's going on, but it made me feel very disconnected from the plot and from the story. However, once things are finally set up, Tabula Rasa was SO action-packed and suspenseful. It ended up being a fairly engaging read as a whole but much of that was concentrated in the last half of the book. I loved the ending (unlike many other people), and I wish there was a sequel. (I was also able to predict some parts that were probably meant as plot twists?) My last pacing qualm is that I feel like it said somewhere that this happens over the course of three days. Now, I may be wrong about that, but if it's true, a LOT happens in that time. I don't know how reasonable that is...

I also had issues with the characters. While there were some that I loved (for various reasons), there were also many issues I had with them. I didn't necessarily feel any connection towards the characters, making me a bit aloof or outside of what was going on. The exception was Sarah herself, as there were times when I did either connect to her or understood her and her actions. The other characters aren't bad characters by any means, and there are portions where I really enjoyed reading about them and where I did feel a bit of a connection or something. For the most part, however, I felt that the secondary characters, even Thomas at times, didn't seem very well fleshed out. Maybe this is what contributed to the slight awkward feeling I had towards Thomas and Angel's relationship. While I loved them towards the end, for a large majority of the book, I wasn't fully on board with their romance. (There were also portions that made me feel uncomfortable because it seemed to put Mexicans in a bad light, and it seemed really stereotypical.)

I also wish that there had been more about Angel's background. We obviously learned A LOT about her as she slowly pieces together her past, but it feels like there was something missing. I would have liked to learn more, and I was hoping that there would be another book. It seems like the end was set up to accommodate a sequel because there's still so much left unanswered. 

In the end, I guess what I did enjoy was the action and all that happens in the latter half of the book. It was then that I felt like the book was engaging and engrossing, leaving me feeling better about the book. The concept of the book itself was intriguing and though the execution wasn't the best, it's far from the worst. I would semi-hesitantly recommend the book, but I enjoyed it enough that makes me think others would get something more out of it.
Tabula Rasa: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
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