Aug 06, 13
Read in August, 2013
Despite its flaws, I found False Memory by Dan Krokos to be an entertaining thrill ride that left me immediately looking to see when the next book comes out (one week from today).
Miranda North wakes up on a bench in a mall with no clue as to how she got there, where she's supposed to go or even who she is. She quickly discovers, however, that not only does she have amazing hand-to-hand combat skills (think Jason Bourne) but that she has the cognitive ability to inflict fear in the minds of nearby unsuspecting citizens.
The chaos that ensues was a bit frenetic for me and unfocused and I feel like that's the case for most of the book's action sequences. That's saying something because I like action. Heck, I write action.
I enjoyed the opening terror sequence at first because it was different but then it got tiresome because I wasn't entirely sure what was going on because the protagonist didn't know what was going on. And I wanted to get to finding out who Miranda was and why she had these abilities.
The chaos eventually stops when she escapes the mall with Peter, a boy she doesn't know (or remember) but he obviously knows her. From there, the plot levels out in a somewhat good, somewhat bad way.
On the good side, we do discover who and what Miranda is. She's part of a quartet of similarly-skilled teenagers who live, eat and train together.
On the bad side, the story gets bogged down by Krokos's attempt to cram a love triangle into things. Miranda finds herself drawn to both Peter and another boy, Noah, and both are drawn to her (of course). In fact, I would venture to say that this book features a "love square" as Olive has feelings for Noah.
This aspect of the story felt a bit forced and unrealistic to me. I know that romance in young adult fiction is pretty much mandatory but you can usually count on one person in a group of hormonal teens to focus on the task at hand without worrying about who's kissing who.
Once the reader gets to the heart of the matter, which is why the team exists, that's when things get exciting.
Many battles are fought and many discoveries are made. When Miranda, who I found to be a strong narrator, finds out about her true origins, that alone makes the book worth reading. In short (and without giving away too much) the truth is not exactly what Miranda and her teammates think it is.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, False Memory is not without its flaws. I found the characters, with the exception of Miranda, to be one-dimensional. Although it may be a function of the use of first-person point-of-view, the secondary characters are never given time and space to develop and we never really know what makes them tick, other than which boy or girl they like. If not for the complexities of amnesia, Miranda would have fallen into the same trap, I feel. And, again, the action sequences were a tad hazy and probably could have used a bit of a polish in the editing phase, but neither flaw took away from my enjoyment of the book. It's the book's themes, discoveries and end result that makes it work, not its secondary characters or its action.
Overall, I recommend this unique story to those who enjoy reading young adult fiction that features flashes of action and science fiction.
One more note for parents looking for a book to give their children: If False Memory were a movie, it'd be rated PG-13, though its violence borders on R-rated fare (lots of guns, people getting shot in the chest and head and being impaled by swords on numerous occasions). There is also adult language but, depending on how old your child is, it's probably not anything he or she hasn't heard in the school cafeteria. So long as you use the PG-13 idea as a guideline, you should be fine to give this to your kid.