Friday, August 18, 2017

Audiobook Review: The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron

Title: The Forgetting (The Forgetting #1)
Author: Sharon Cameron
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 403
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What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes.

Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.

In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.

But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.

In the city of Canaan, everyone loses all of their memories every twelve years in a terrifying event called the Forgetting. In order to cope with this phenomenon and return some semblance to their lives, the citizens write everything down and archive all of their books. This way they can remember who they are (and who their family is) when they wake up from the Forgetting. But if they don't write something down, it is lost forever, giving people the perfect opportunity to commit crimes. But Nadia is special. Somehow, she has never forgotten. She remembers the wrongs that were done to her family. Determined to learn more about the Forgetting and how Canaan came to be, Nadia stumbles upon huge secrets and unearths atrocities that no one saw coming.

Ugh. I was really intrigued by this book, and ultimately I was let down. the biggest complaint that readers seem to have about this book is that the pacing is very slow. And that is definitely true. But I have read Sharon Cameron's books before, so I knew what to expect. Despite her writing style, I still loved her other work, so I thought I could find a new love in The Forgetting as well. I was very wrong.

Yes, the pacing is slow, but that didn't bother me very much. One of my biggest issues was with the main character of Nadia. She was SO. ANNOYING. She had an endless train of thought going through her head, but she very rarely spoke aloud. The narrator of the audiobook also read Nadia in such a way that every single thought she had carried a sense of extreme urgency. It was exhausting to listen to. Taking a bath does not require an underlying panic in your voice. Calm down.

I was also majorly disappointed with the plot. First of all, the synopsis of the book makes it sound like there would be tons of action and gore. If you are familiar with Sharon Cameron's writing, you would know that you shouldn't expect that from her books. The tagline of the book is "What isn't written isn't remembered. Even your crimes." It makes it sound like that movie The Purge, where the entire city goes crazy before a Forgetting and commits every crime they can think of. The synopsis goes on to reference the "bloody chaos of the forgetting, a day of no remorse." Wrong. There is ONE crime committed during a Forgetting in this book. It is not a bloody day. Everyone gets into their bed before the Forgetting and they wake up crying because they can't remember anything. Then they read their books and everyone is fine again. No blood. No mass murder. Everyone is sad for a few minutes. Boo hoo.

I also really did not like the twist in the plot. For most of the book, I was noticing a lot of similarities to The Giver, a book which I love. I didn't mind reading a story with similar vibes. But then the twist happened and we find out the history of the Forgetting. It felt like such a cheap shot. There were so many awesome ways this phenomenon could have been explained, but the author took the easy way out. I immediately lost interest in the story after this big reveal, turned my audiobook up to 2x speed, and powered through the rest just so I could finish it.

Another small note on the plot: There were a lot of holes in the storytelling. Characters would reference a conversation that happened earlier and mention things that never actually happened. The timeline was really off during a lot of parts. And the people of Canaan could live to be at least 150 years old and it was never explained. The characters actually SAY it doesn't make any sense, yet it is just brushed over like it's no big deal. WHAT?!?!

Suffice it to say, I was not a fan of The Forgetting. I don't think I will be continuing on with this series because I am just not invested in it. The synopsis for the sequel, The Knowing, looks almost exactly like that of The Forgetting. One girl who never forgets is intrigued by the outside world and wants to learn more about Canaan. Didn't we just go through that with Nadia?

PS - Don't read the synopsis for The Knowing if you don't want to be spoiled for The Forgetting.