Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin

Posted June 26, 2014 by Brin in Reviews / 1 Comment

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-MartinTabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin
Series: Tabula Rasa #1
on September 23 2014
Pages: 352
Format: eARC

The Bourne Identity meets Divergent in this action-packed debut thriller with a Katniss-esque heroine fighting to regain her memories and stay alive, set against a dystopian hospital background.

Sarah starts a crazy battle for her life within the walls of her hospital-turned-prison when a procedure to eliminate her memory goes awry and she starts to remember snatches of her past. Was she an urban terrorist or vigilante? Has the procedure been her salvation or her destruction? The answers lie trapped within her mind.

To access them, she'll need the help of the teen computer hacker who's trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, and a pill that's blocked by an army of mercenary soldiers poised to eliminate her for good. If only she knew why...

Tabula Rasa is the debut novel from Kristen Lippert-Martin, an exciting science fiction/dystopian tale described as a cross between The Bourne Identity and Divergent. This description certainly caught my attention and I was really excited to read this. Was it a flawless read? No. Did it deliver on its promises? Not entirely. Still, I thought it was a strong debut and I am definitely interested in reading the next entry in what looks to be an interesting series.

The story starts off with Sarah, a patient undergoing a new and edgy procedure – one that will supposedly grant her a new life. Sarah is nearing the end of her treatment so she has no memory of who she was before – she only knows that she must have done something really terrible  to warrant the procedure in the first place.

While undergoing the final steps, fate steps in and Sarah is given the opportunity to remember her prior life. When all hell breaks loose at the secretive, secluded facility where she is being held, Sarah opts to regain her memories. A team of elite soldiers are on her trail – they have been led to the facility and Sarah soon realizes that they are coming specifically for her, killing everyone who gets in their way.

While trying to escape from the hospital, Sarah comes across a young hacker called Thomas, who is there for reasons of his own. Together, they must work together to try to elude the soldiers and escape from the desolate environment where Sarah has been kept prisoner. As memories from her past begin to return, Sarah realizes there is a reason someone wants to silence her for good…

Sounds like a really exciting, tense read doesn’t it? And it definitely was…I was intrigued by the premise and Sarah was a really strong and capable YA protagonist – even if at the beginning she didn’t quite realize or remember that about herself. Thomas was also an interesting character. There was maybe a hint of romance between the two but it never took centre stage or got in the way of the action at all.

The beginning was super-intense. From the frightening procedure Sarah was about to complete, to the soldiers wreaking havoc, to the fates of some of the other patients which was surprisingly heart-breaking despite never really getting to know any of them, I knew I was in for a thrilling experience but the book began to lose me a little as it progressed.

I realize it is science fiction but some of the scenarios seemed a little bit too contrived and the ease in which Sarah and Thomas got themselves out of some of the intense situations they were facing left me scratching my head a little. Everything fell together just a little too easy. I had to suspend my disbelief several times and it took me out of the story.

Overall though, this was a very engrossing and enjoyable read. The story was certainly very interesting (the idea of becoming a ‘blank slate’ is quite a scary one) and the characters, especially Sarah, were very well depicted and realistic. I really loved Thomas as well. He was really a genuinely nice guy and that is quite rare in this genre.

I did have some issues with the denouement and the villain (who ended up becoming almost too much of a caricature – very over-the-top evil despite the seeming lack of motivation) but otherwise I found this to be a satisfying read, one that I would strongly recommend.


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