Author: C. Edward Baldwin
Genres: Fantasy | Paranormal | Thriller
Length: 350 pages | 3900 locations
Kallie doesn’t know she is a Rememberer; she has an ability which goes against everything she and most people believe.
Kallie just wants to be a normal girl, but will find herself in a fight of good against evil, not knowing who to trust.
When I first saw this title on Netgalley, I thought the cover was quite immature, but I was very intrigued by the premise. I am a sucker for people who have brains that work differently from common folks’, and then the deja vus… Matrix, anyone?
So I picked this up and, as I started reading, I was intrigued. A priest who could have played basketball professionally. An agent coming to interview him because his business card was found at a murder scene. The priest’s evasive answers… Although I was a bit annoyed with the dialogue, since the priest seemed to repeat everything the agent said, I supposed that is what people do when trying to hide something.
And boy, was he ever. He has a discussion on the phone about Rememberers, people who can basically predict catastrophes, and the secret group which controls this knowledge and how to deal with it. I was engaged, but there was something about the writing that just did not allow me to be fully there; maybe it was all the backstory – I wished it could have been more weaved into the action. But I wanted to know more.
However, the more I read, the more I realized the narrative just did not have the power to reel me in. The writing felt clumsy and awkward; it was green, juvenile, repetitive.
Small example: “No,” she reiterated, “my sensations aren’t related to grief.” She paused again, this time making it the terminus point. She didn’t know what else to say. She was only certain that the sensations weren’t related to grief.
Things that had been said in previous chapters were extensively repeated in the beginning of following ones.
A lot of words were used when they could and should have been abbreviated.
At times, there were way too many adverbs and adjectives.
Then the plot… First of all, when she gets to Dr Frost’s, Kallie wants answers, help on why she has these sensations. We are told close to nothing of what their first talk is like, if Kallie even mentioned that her teacher referred her there; the time immediately fast-forwards, and the next minute she is already their test subject! She is agreeing to all sorts of things without the slightest hint of conflict.
I think that is one of the main things that was off to me in this book. Lack of conflict. Everything was easy and bland, even when the action was faster paced.
Like her thing with Seth. What is her deal with him? One minute she gets all flushed near him and has this major crush, the next she is all nonchalant about it. The guy has obviously been into her for a while but apparently she has been in her own little bubble fantasizing about how dreamy he is.
Or has she? Maybe she only remembers she has a thing for him when he’s nearby? Even when they have a date it’s like it’s no big deal. And then they have a huge fight and when they make up they are visiting each other’s families?? I just don’t get any of it. That last bit in particular struck me as an excuse to get Kallie to talk to a so-called normal clergyman about eternal return and other developments in the plot later on. Not well achieved, in my opinion.
The story didn’t flow. I felt like I was being fed chunks of this, then chunks of that, a lot of information being dumped and never in a natural way.
Even the premise which got me so interested – the deja vu thing – did not feel well-developed. I never really got that wonderful feeling of duality between being in reality and the visions at the same time, although there were attempts to convey it.
I just could not accurately tell what Kellie was seeing and how she was reacting in the ‘real world’. I thought it was so weird that no one around her seemed to notice any changes on her. We are basically told she panics during the attacks but don’t actually see it – she looks around and everyone is minding their own business.
Since the beginning of the book, lots of telling and not enough showing put me off, big time. But I trudged on.
There wasn’t much to the story. The demons mentioned in the blurb, for instance, only come up around 70% of the book, and it all seems to appear a bit out of nowhere, the why and how never fully explained. A portal opened. That’s all.
The progress of Kallie’s ability was also very sudden. I did not get what the priming technique consisted of, and I felt everything that happened after that was utterly abrupt. One minute she can’t deal or control any of it and the next she seems to be fully able to master it.
She closed her eyes, thought fiftieth floor, and suddenly she was there (…)
Swag did explain that is what it would feel like, but it just seemed overly simplistic to me, like the author was taking the easy way out of explaining something which could be amazing. And I got that feeling so many times throughout the book.
And this is around the time where I grew from bored to angry. I was appalled when I found the author constantly acknowledging, or rather giving heads up, to what had made me completely lose any interest in the narrative, besides all the telling instead of showing.
As my example above, where Swag ‘warned’ Kellie developing her ability would be incredibly easy, there’s also this: Calling them out had seemed so ridiculously simple(…). Them, referring to the demons. I was like… Gee, really? What in this book did not sound ridiculously simple? From Kallie figuring out how to do whatever she needed to do, to then doing it (Kallie’s moves were fluid, matrix-like, and came in droves – this on the first minutes of her very first fight), to being just so darn perfect! Seriously: she looks absolutely gorgeous without any make-up whatsoever, is envied by her room mates because she can get ready in less than 15 minutes, seems to be admired by many people (including boys), dealt perfectly with losing her mother and never having met her father – anything you can think of, she is perfect and everything comes easily to her.
There were so many plot holes I don’t even know where to begin. I will try to state a few, but please don’t read them if you intend to read the book, because the following text contains major spoilers.
At first, we are told that Gerald Principe killed Phillip Beamer, maiming him and leaving the card pointing to McCarthy. Principe himself admits he let himself get driven by ego: It was ego that had him tagging bodies in Cairo and London, and recently in South Carolina. And then, he wondered if his ruse had been successful in putting the authorities on the scent of Alliance of Initiates(…), referring to the card placed on Beamer’s crime scene. Much later we are told Swag killed the guy after all. Judging from what we were told before, especially Principe’s own thoughts, I had trouble accepting that premise, but even assuming it really was Swag who killed Beamer and not Principe, what exactly was Principe’s role in all that? Did he clean up after Swag? Was he only intending to save his own ass? Had he and Swag even ever met?
Swag hangs up on McCarthy with a cryptic final line, proceeds to turn off his phone, rendering any chance of communication impossible, and McCarthy doesn’t call Bishop Boland, his ‘boss’ in AI? He knows something is wrong – heck, he has been suspicious of Swag for ages now -, and instead of taking immediate action he goes to bed??
When Swag kills professor Sampson, a servant is mentioned in a very mysterious way, hinting that he or she played a reasonable part in the story. I thought that it was someone Kallie trusted, but we are never told his or hers identity. Major opportunity to spice things up wasted here.
I don’t even get why the professor had to be killed. Not like there weren’t people all over the city being possessed like he was.
The whole thing with Kallie tasting her blood after being struck first on both occasions seems cheesy to me. I don’t even know what it was supposed to make me feel. That she’s a badass? It didn’t. Again, she felt bland to me throughout the book.
How on earth can a video exert mind control? I guess it could be done through subliminal messages but, again, nothing is explained. The guy is just that awesome. He can control someone who has an absolute faith in God through a video, utterly destroying said faith.
And Josh. Well before he knew much of everything, we are reading that There was something unique about her, something even beyond her remembering ability. He could sense it. How?? Why?? What clued him in?!
He remembered how Kallie looked whenever she talked about Seth. Her face lit up. She’d been really into him. Really? Was I supposed to get that impression? Cause I didn’t! Ever! As I said above, she seemed to hover between gushing about him in a very platonic way and then being upset at him, in almost equal amounts. It is said they had a couple of interesting conversations, then the trip to their families’ (which came completely out of the blue) but, really, she was so into him? I was actually constantly expecting her to tell Seth she just wanted to be friends with him and would finally realize Josh was the guy for her *sigh* Go figure.
I believe Swag was originally a Rememberer who’s now demon-possessed. Again, how? How does he know? Where did he even get a clue? Was it the Book of Origins? If so, why aren’t we told??
“Are you even sure they’re at the church?” “No,” Josh said and looked out the passenger side window. “I have no idea where they are. I’m going on gut now. So just get there.”
As you can imagine, by this point I was pretty upset. Constantly being told something is happening because someone says so, with not even a hint to why, let alone a full explanation, I actually felt offended. As a reader, I did not feel respected. I felt like I was being fed completely undeveloped concepts and premises and expected to just take it. I honestly felt I absolutely wasted my time reading this book.
And then there were all the ludicrous theories.
The one where Lucifer wants to first inherit and then later share God’s throne, which obviously wasn’t possible, so God, wanting to reward Lucifer, creates a son, who would take Lucifer’s much yearned for place. Seriously? How could that appease Lucifer? How can we be told God believed creating an heir after telling Lucifer he would never be his heir possibly soothe him and even reward him? I felt like God is constantly made either dumb or non-existent throughout the book.
The theory about Kallie never having met or experienced her father’s company throughout her entire life because her mother decided not to marry the guy so he would have a brilliant political career is equally ridiculous. They utterly loved each other, the fruit of their love was on the way, and they just say to hell with all this, screw this kid’s future and ours? In what world??
Yet another utterly absurd theory is Kali self deleting her memories of what Lucifer had done to her. Way to learn from your mistakes and not let it happen again, huh? Right, ignorance is totally going to save you. *eyeroll and yet another sigh*
And the ending… Oh the ending. Perfect to such a bland book, I suppose.
So in a nutshell, I do not recommend this book. There are good things in it, of course, or at least hints to interesting things, like the idea of a secret religious organization, eternal return, remembering, deja-vus and whatnot, but the concepts are never fully developed.
Also, there are plenty of paranormal books out there with characters you can actually relate to, they are well-developed as well as the world where action takes place. Sadly, this is not one of those books.
Note: It seems I am the first reviewer who has actually finished the book to give it 1 star, at least on GR. But I feel I have to be true to the experience it gave me and unfortunately it just was not a positive one. I hope I have justified my rating well enough.
Disclaimer: I would like to thank the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Read from May 17 to May 21, 2015