“Today I found I’m not afraid of the unknown. Today I discovered that the unknown loved me, and that I loved it back.”
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.
TW: self-harm, suicide, genocide, attempted sexual assault, needles, murder
If anything, this book surprised me. I came in imagining this would be a fantasy book, expecting a romance I wouldn’t particularly love. But then it wasn’t fantasy, and I didn’t hate the romance, and all my expectations turned out to be lower than reality. Which is great!
Anyways, after a bit of a rocky start that was too much info with too little context (bear in mind, I was reading a gifted ARC, so this may be somewhat different in the final version), and a love interest who made me uneasy, I found myself really enjoying the world built. Some aspects of it are predictable, as this does have the flavor of a dystopian novel. You have secrets and betrayal and unexpected origins. And a wall, of course, for keeping people in, rather than keeping them out.
And yet, despite those predictable aspects, there was enough to keep me guessing, enough to keep me concerned about the fate Nadia would meet.
Nadia herself I really liked. I get the sense that she’s one of those characters some people don’t, because she’s not talkative most the time, and she tends to shut people out. But she’s curious and clever, and most interesting of all, she’s the only person in Canaan who does not forget. Even when the Forgetting comes, twelve years apart on the dot, Nadia remembers, and when no one else does, it creates a horrible loneliness that makes perfect sense for the way she acts. And I’m always attached to the isolated, cautious types in female characters, right up there with the prickly, angry ones. All the unlikeables. They’re my favorites.
And Gray, too, I came to enjoy. He had a few qualities that usually turn me away (namely irritating the protagonist after she tells him to buzz the hell off), but as he and Nadia were more open with one another about the ways they experience the Forgetting and its consequences, I actually liked their interactions. Gray even has a playful sort of snark that I like, a teasing that isn’t crossing too many lines.
But most of all, I liked how the story took a direction I wasn’t expecting until only a few pages before it happened. It surprised me more than once, which I always appreciate, and I actually liked the way it resolved itself. And while I was confused about how there could possibly be a second book in the series (this wraps up extremely nicely, trust me), reading the summary of The Knowing makes a big difference and a lot of sense.
That said, I think my only major frustration is that Nadia is functionally special, and in a way that is somewhat explained, but also doesn’t quite fully lay it out. Why her, and not others somewhat like her? And I suppose how on earth does it work anyway? It’s one of the only places in the book that got truly sciencey, and I don’t know enough about bio or chem or anything like that to quite wrap my head around how it works or if it’s plausible, which is still bugging me a little.
All in all, I think The Forgetting was a damn good book. It doesn’t have the oomph I’d like to see in a five star read, not quite, and I don’t think it’s up there with my favorites for any particular reason, but I can’t deny that I enjoyed it and that I plan to read the sequel as soon as I can. That in itself, I think is enough for four stars!
So, have you read The Forgetting? If so, what did you think? If not, think you’ll try it now? I can promise some interesting sci-fi that’s not too heavy on the science, if you’re thinking of giving it a go! Either way, let’s talk!