By: Larissa | April 15, 2014 | (28) Comments

Review: Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-MartinTabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin
Publisher: Egmont USA
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Genres: Action, Romance, YA
Pages: 352
Source: Received in exchange for review
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The Bourne Identity meets Divergent in this heart-pounding debut.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah has a rare chance at a new life. Or so the doctors tell her. She’s been undergoing a cutting-edge procedure that will render her a tabula rasa—a blank slate. Memory by memory her troubled past is being taken away.

But when her final surgery is interrupted and a team of elite soldiers invades the isolated hospital under cover of a massive blizzard, her fresh start could be her end.

Navigating familiar halls that have become a dangerous maze with the help of a teen computer hacker who's trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, Sarah starts to piece together who she is and why someone would want her erased. And she won’t be silenced again.

A high-stakes thriller featuring a non-stop race for survival and a smart heroine who will risk everything, Tabula Rasa is, in short, unforgettable.

Tabula Rasa is an unforgettable novel, according to the summary. Do I agree with that? Well, I’ll let you know at the end of this review.

I’ve not read many books like Tabula Rasa  in the YA genre. It’s definitely a page turner, one full of non-stop action. It captivates you and makes you not want to take a break from the story.  It’s undeniably pulse racing and will hook you from the very beginning to the end. It truly did feel like an action movie, and there were no slow moments in Tabula Rasa  at all. It makes for some interesting situations and solutions.  Though it did work for me in the beginning, I felt like by the end of the novel I just couldn’t suspend my sense of disbelief any further. Things just became too convenient and unbelievable. I couldn’t take Tabula Rasa  seriously by the end. It also led to the writing being a bit simplistic and sometimes glossing over important details and explanations.

The story itself was one that I was easily engrossed in. The premise itself  intrigued me, the title basically means blank slate. To achieve this ‘blank slate’ your memories are whipped from your mind through a number of brain surgeries. I was afraid that this surgery that happened to the main character would make her extremely hard to connect with or like. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case though and I found myself sympathizing with Sarah’s plight from the very beginning.  Being in her mind was quite interesting and I loved her moments of well timed sarcasm. She didn’t slut shame or do anything to drive me insane. I call that a win!

As we began to explore her memories I found myself very invested and found myself itching to find out more about Sarah’s past. As you find out more I found myself liking Sarah’s character either. She’s one of strength and reading about her connection with her mom was so endearing and heartbreaking. She felt realistic and I loved that even though she was in a tough situation, she didn’t dissolve into tears. Too often. I also loved that she broke the mould of typically “unearthly beautiful” heroines that seem to be so common in YA. Or heroines that are beautiful but don’t even know it. Sarah is bald from all of her surgeries and had metal clips stuck in her head for goodness sakes!

Another aspect I actually found myself shockingly enjoying was the romance. The love interest was a hacker named Thomas who I actually enjoyed. He wasn’t annoying in any sense, he wasn’t stupidly reckless nor was he an douchebag in any way. I found him to be quite hilarious at certain points and he offered some great comedic relief. He was sweet and actually cared for Sarah which was quite cute to witness as his feelings grew. They did have some genuine swoon worthy moments together and I felt like they had some real chemistry.  The relationship did move quite quickly, though I personally wouldn’t classify it as insta love. There was definitely insta-attraction though. I feel like romance matched the fast paced action of the story. It didn’t take over the plot line though, it was a bit heavy near the end of the book however.

The ending of Tabula Rasa was not so enjoyable. The antagonist of the story was revealed in full force and it was so contrived and cheesy. The villain basically gave a “MWAHAHAHAH I’M SO EVIL, LET ME TELL YOU MY WHOLE PLAN AND HOW IT’S WORKING WOOT WOOT” speech.

(This was literally the villain for a good 15 pages)

That speech was full of info dumping and was definitely not enjoyable to read. It made what is supposed to be the most heart racing and pulse pounding part of the book seem laughable and lame. The speech honestly didn’t really explain much either?? It just confirmed that the antagonist was evil. I felt like I still had a lot of questions.

Overall Tabula Rasa  was a book that will definitely appeal to those looking for a quick and action packed read. Those who are looking for a bit more depth and explanations may be disappointed though.

~Thank you Egmont USA for sending me this copy!~


3 Stars
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Larissa was born and still is living in the land of ice, snow and maple syrup. She's 18 years old and really has no idea what to do with her life lately. Larissa's plans are constantly changing--though there’s one thing has remained constant throughout her seventeen years, and that’s reading. It takes her to another world and puts her into impossible situations and that’s why she loves it so much.

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28 Responses to Review: Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert-Martin

  1. Hmm, I think I’m going to let this one pass. 🙂 Great review Larissa!
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  2. Tanja says:

    I have never heard of this one but my knowledge of Latin can be summed up in this title 😀 Anyhow I’m really glad it was a good read overall, only I hate it when I have so much questions at the end it is never a good sigh. Also that speech seems really bad. Great review, Larissa 🙂
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    • Larissa says:

      Haha yes [; Lol I actually had no idea what the title even meant till I googled it. Overall it was a good read, just with faults. It just all depends on how much you can look over them. Hahaha! The speech was so bad omg. It actually made me laugh at how ridiculous it got at one point. Thank you! (:

  3. I do like myself some action-packed stories! I’ll admit, the cover’s really off-putting and I’m not so sure about the title either. BUT, I really enjoy intriguing premises, strong (non-beautiful) heroines and cute love interests, so I’m a bit closer to adding this to my wishlist! Lovely review, Larissa! ^_^ (I’ll probably skip a lot in that 15-page speech, though.)
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    • Larissa says:

      Yes! I feel like soley action based stories aren’t done too often in YA. Lol yeah the cover and title was not for me. Until I googled what the title meant after reading the book, and the title actually fits the book well. I’m still hating on the cover though. Thank you girl! And believe me- you won’t be missing anything from that overly dramatic speech of nothingness.

  4. It’s so frustrating when we don’t get the answers that we were looking for when reading a book. Lovely review Larissa!
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  5. I can’t really say I was interested in this book in the first place, but I think your review just solidified my decision. The villain, especially, sounds so one-dimensional and cliched. At least, the romance was decent though and there were parts you enjoyed.
    Lovely review, Larissa!
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, I wasn’t even aware of this one till I got auto-approved on Netgalley for it. The villain was definitely the weakest part of this novel. Super contrived and cliche, like you said. The romance surprisingly wasn’t bad, not overly cheesy except for one bit near the end.

      Thank you! (:

  6. Siiri says:

    I’m glad to hear that you liked the premise and the story was intriguing and wow! I actually like that even though Sarah.. um, I feel a little uncomfortable about the metal clips, I’m glad she’s not the perfect-looking (or just an average) heroine. I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy the ending 🙁 LOLS! Those kind of villain monologues? Yeahhh. Just don’t lol. Great review Larissa and spot-on gif haha 😀
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah I was totally gripped into this book. It really does take you into the story with the crazy action. Yeah, the metal clips was nasty. Especially the description of when Sarah takes them out…UM EW. Lol yeah the ending definitely made the rest of the story seems less appealing. Thank you haha! (: I felt like the gif was quite an accurate summary of the ending

  7. I do like action-packed books, it’s like watching a movie. I’d probably enjoy this, but would probably laugh at the villain “speech” in the end. It’s like KILL THEM ALREADY, STOP TALKING! I’m one of those people who shouts to the television when this happens in a show/movie that I watch. I also do it when I’m reading books. 😛
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, Tabula Rasa would make quite an good action movie I think. LOLOLOL yeah I was definitely laughing at the speech too, it was quite hard to take it seriously. Omg, I know right! Like the villain could have killed them like 3098423908 times during the speech. But, nope. Lol I’m also an TV/book yeller. I just get worked up easily lol

  8. Giselle says:

    This is a new one for me it sounds like a really fun and humorous read. Thomas is def someone I would click with – any character who can make me laugh is awesome in my book! Plus he’s a hacker which is interesting! The ending sounds kind of annoying and a bit much though that’s a shame. I’m finding lately the endings of books are really either too rushed or cheesy or just plain done in 2 seconds. What’s up, ending gods? >.<
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah it was quite unexpected for me. I was thinking it’d be stereotypical or boring, but it wasn’t either of those things. Thomas was great! (: Honestly, the ending was probably one of the worst parts of the book. Didn’t help that the villain giving the speech was super contrived. It brought down the rest of the book. Yeah! Come on ending gods, you need to step up your game.

  9. But hey at least it wasn’t your typical YA heroine. Ultimately this one doesn’t look like its for me. And frankly the cover scared me away.
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, Sarah was quite the refreshing heroine. I don’t think this one will work for some, but for others it’ll be a shining gem. I was somewhere in the middle lol. The cover is scary haha!

  10. Eh, I’m not sure if I want to go for this or not! Frankly, I’m a bit tired of mediocre reads (gah, I’ve been rating a heap of books 3-stars lately. lol I feel guilty!) And the cover reminds me of the Eden Chronicles which I couldn’t STAND at all. Why is everyone wiping memories in YA books, anyway?? What’s wrong with memories? I like remembering all my wonderful birthday meals. Cake. I wouldn’t want to forget that.
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah /: This book was honestly not super amazing or totally awful. So I suppose it would fall into that middle ground. And me too, honestly! Though I’ve just finished Dorothy must Die and OMG. Adored it c: Lol will write a review for it soon. I never heard of the Eden chronicles (okay, I probably have but I have awful memory so)! Lol yes, memories are a fragile and often dislike thing in YA. I’d never want to forget cake! <33

  11. Melanie says:

    ooh damn that is one creepy cover. I haven’t read many fast paced action novels of the late so I’ll keep this one in mind. Huh, shame that there was instant-attraction though, but I guess I can deal with it if the romance is swoon worthy like you mentioned 🙂

    Brilliant review, girly! <33

    • Larissa says:

      Lol yep, definitely not the most appealing one. This one will definitely deliver on action, if that’s what you seek. There was insta attraction, but I think the romance worked considering the dire circumstances. It was getting at a “love can even spawn at super dangerous times” thing. Still, I feel like it didn’t take over the action of the story

  12. Melliane says:

    I think it’s a little strange in this kind of books when the romance takes a really big place in the story because it’s not ulrimately the goal, or I think so. But well it sounds also interesting because I confess I didn’t know this one.
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    • Larissa says:

      Yeah, it does take a large role in this story. However I still think that the action side of this story is the prevailing thing. I’m glad to have put Tabula Rasa on your radar c:

  13. Lily B says:

    Sorry the ending didn’t sit well with you, but it sounds like some of the story made up for it.
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  14. LOL! Seriously, villains, is there really a need for all the theatrics? Why not just showcase your power and do what you were supposed to do already? Why make a long-ass lame speech? /smh on the other hand, I’m glad this was a decent read overall. I have an ARC of this so I really need to get to it asap! Nice review, love 🙂

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