Lippert-Martin, Kristen. 2014. Tabula Rasa. New York: Egmont USA.
Rating 3,5 stars
(review in Indonesian, click here)
(review in Indonesian, click here)
I received this book via NetGalley, it is expected to be published in September 2014.
I first noticed about this book when I saw it in a shelf of a Goodreads fellow. The cover looks cool, and I became very interested when I read the blurb. It says, this book is The Bourne Identity meets Divergent. Well, I haven’t read Divergent yet, but judging from the hype so far, looks like it’s a pretty decent read. And of course, I was AND am a huge fan of The Bourne series, so I was instantly curious about this one. Further reading the blurb, this book is about a girl who lost her memories (my favorite kind of story!). In a nutshell:
|Gimme da book! Me WANT!|
So, I requested its ARC (advance reader copy) via NetGalley. Although the publisher notes that they are preferred members from US and Canada only, I couldn’t help but just tried my luck, I was really eager to be able reading this! Then, I got the book and I totally did this,
What I’m trying to say is, I expected BIG on this. Unfortunately, I ended up a bit unimpressed. I still think this book is a good book, but just not as good as I expected. It’s okay for a light and fun reading though. Anyway, according to Merriam-Webster, ‘tabula rasa’ means ‘blank slate’, or to be exact,
1 : the mind in its hypothetical primary blank or empty state before receiving outside impressions2 : something existing in its original pristine state
This ‘blank slate’-like condition is what Sarah, the bald female main character, is about to receive through some brain surgeries in order to erase her memories. The Tabula Rasa project is said to be helping people with traumatic past that affected their psychology state, by swiping it off.
In this novel, there are a lot of people who want to forget their past and eventually become a blank slate to ease their mind. Meanwhile, Sarah who has lost almost her memories completely, starts feeling the I-shouldn’t-be-here feeling. She thinks that whatever happened in the past, whatever what she’d been through, that’s what shaped her up. And now, with no memory and no clue at all about her past, she feels like nobody. No one. Nothing. She feels like nothing. Then, she meets Thomas, a boy about her age, that will help her to escape from the hospital. Turns out, Thomas envy Sarah’s non-ability to remember the past.
What do you think about this? Will you jump at the chance to join the Tabula Rasa project and erase your troubled past? Or, do you agree with Sarah? Probably, most of us will agree with Sarah (because I do), BUT, I don’t think people who choose the other path by swiping their minds off are wrong or anything. There’s this saying by Paulo Coelho that I keep in mind since the first time I heard it, it says, “We can never judge the lives of others, because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path, but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”
What I really like from Tabula Rasa is the well-developed relationship between Sarah and Thomas, which is quite fast and happened in a very short time, but still feels logic and sweet without felt like an insta-love. Maybe the life-and-death struggling in the story plot helps it to look more believable, because, you know, in that kind of situation, they are pushed to depend on and trust each other.
The dialogues between the two are smooth, witty and funny, and that just made me want to see more of them. I’m okay with Sarah, but Thomas is really the character I like most in this novel. He’s totally lovable with his humor, so-called good smile, kindness, and intelligence. And, I don’t know what happened to me, but I personally thought that Thomas’ kissing theory (it’s not really a theory, really) is too sweet too handle, and I was just,
Most of all, I was totally satisfied with the ending. In my opinion, that’s the best point to end the story, right there, that is good. I even grinned creepily for a full minute as I read the ending over and over. I was just super liking the ending!
Now, there are several things I don’t really like about this novel. The most disturbing part will be the one time, OH NO, the TWO times Sarah fooled the professional mercenaries by her play-dead. It’s so unbelievable. The most ridiculous thing about this is how unprofessional the mercenaries in making sure Sarah’s death. Plain stupid.
Nearing the end, I felt the whole point of the problem was too exaggerated. I think, the villain in this story doesn’t have enough ‘acceptable’ reason to do what s/he does, at such a great length like that. At some particular parts, the entire story became too light and corny. I just couldn’t accepted it.
Despite that Tabula Rasa is categorized as a thriller novel, I didn’t feel the thrill enough. Instead, I grew more interest to the romantic relationship between the two main characters. Nevertheless, it’s an awesome debut! Kristen Lippert-Martin, I’m looking forward to your next novel and I REALLY hope you’ll consider to write romance, because I think you definitely will nail it.
Here’s one conversation between Sarah and Thomas,
“I’m sorry. I thought I was losing you.”His eyes open to slits. “I’m still here. For you.”“What is it? What is the Velocious thing?”“We should kiss now,” he says.“Thomas, please.”“No, I mean it. These tragic circumstances require it. Plus, it’s the second thing on my bucket list: Kiss a bald girl. You can’t say no.”“I’m not going to be a tragic victim, and neither are you.”“Kiss me and I’ll tell you what Velocious is. What are you.”“That’s not fair.”“I know. I’m a huge jerk.”