Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Review: The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Title: The Forgetting
Author: Sharon Cameron
Rating: 4.5 Stars
I didn't expect The Forgetting to become by favorite of Sharon Cameron's works when I picked it up. It's a complete 180 from her typical brand of historical fiction, for one, and for another, this novel is much more mature and dark from the beginning. I loved it. I haven't read a sci-fi/dystopian thriller in what seems like years, but is almost definitely a few months. Cameron's launch back into the genre, with a fresh new twist, surprised me--after all, I was quite sure we, as YA consumers, had exhausted everything this genre had to offer. I'm glad the era of Hunger Games look-a-likes and love-triangle infused tropes are over, though, so that a novel like The Forgetting can hopefully set the tone for future sci-fi/dystopian reads.
Nadia's world revolves around The Forgetting, an event that happens every twelve years and wipes away the memories of every human in her village. As such, her society is protected by walls--because who knows what's outside when no one can remember?--and no one ever leaves the house without their books, where they have written everything they can remember about each day. Their books are their truth and without them, they are no one. It's a shocking, dark realm but Nadia is seemingly the only one who can remember. As threats of food shortages emerge from the Council who governs Canaan, Nadia begins to use her memories and her knowledge of the world outside Canaan to solve the mysteries behind her town--and hopefully save her family, too.
Nadia is the heart and soul of this story and I loved her narration. It's unflinching and honest, in a world where no one remembers and lives could very well be built on lies. I was with her every step of the way as she uncovered the layers to Canaan and the plot twists were not ones I saw coming in the least. Nadia's relationship with her family--her mother, on the brink of craziness, her older sister, who believes she's an imposter, and her younger sister, who loves her dearly--were impeccably written. Many of the secondary characters truly came alive and I loved the romance with Gray, the glassblower's son, who becomes central to both the plot and to Nadia's growth. It's the perfect slow-burn with plenty of development but it takes a back-seat when needed to the action and plot at the core of this story.
My only complaint with this novel is that the ending felt a little too Disney-like for me. Just one villain, just one hero, etc. There are so many gray layers to the secondary characters in this story that I was disappointed by the black-and-white treatment of the villain. I love this world, though, and am so curious to learn more about Nadia's future exploits that I hope Cameron writes a companion novel, or the very least a few novellas to satisfy my curiosity. For fans of Cameron, or even those who haven't been charmed by her historical fiction/steampunk works in the past, The Forgetting is a completely new venture from her and one I think older readers, in particular, will appreciate. Cameron's previous works definitely read on the side of naivety, when it came to her heroines, so I love that she holds back no punches with Nadia's fierce personality. Believe me, you won't be forgetting this story very easily; not even in twelve years.