I don’t often read science fiction but I am a sucker for a medical thriller so when #cjsreads decided to read Clarity, by Keith Thomas, I was on board. Experimentation, conspiracies, past lives and “night doctors” collide to create a fast paced, action packed novel. Truly, I loved the concept but, in the end, I struggled with the execution.
Let me explain.
The novel opens with the introduction of several different characters including Matilda, a psychologist who specializes in memories and Ashanique, an eleven-year-old girl who has violent and traumatic memories of being in WWI. Right away, I was hooked. The “past lives phenomenon” thread moving throughout the plot was extremely interesting. I don’t know how I feel about this issue, or if I believe in it, but reading about it was fascinating! Especially the little bits of medical jargon and lectures that Matilda’s character brings to the plot.
However, what started to irk me with this novel was the delivery. For starters, several things had me a little bit confused. It took me a long time to figure out who each character was (once I understood the role of everyone it was fine) but it took about 30% of the plot for me to be able to identify the main character and the sub characters and acknowledge their roles. And, for me, after about 30% of the book completed, I wanted to be able to settle in and enjoy the story instead of trying to navigate characters.
Overall, an interesting and compelling read for conspiracy and sci-fi fans; perhaps I wasn’t the right reader!
Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for a digital copy of this novel; it was my pleasure to provide an honest review.
We read The Clarity for a #cjsreads pick; want to see what Jessica and Chandra thought of this one? Keep reading to see!
What Chandra Thought:
I’m not even sure where to begin with this one. I absolutely love the concept of this. Medical experimentation allowing some to be able to remember past lives. A young girl “gifted” with this ability who is being chased by a murderer named Rade who wants a secret hidden in these memories that only Ash (the young girl) can seem to provide. The author takes us on an action packed excursion.
I did enjoy the past memories as Ash pummels into them. While Ash and Matilda (her guardian) were interesting characters, I think I was most fascinated with Rade. Not really filled with any type of emotion, he simply acts on orders and takes them to the extreme. I swear, I will never look at a cheese grater the same EVER again. **shiver**
I was fully intrigued with the first half of the book but then found my interest waning the further I got in. I’m not sure what exactly it was that wasn’t quite working for me the way that I wanted it to but while I was still finding the storyline entertaining, I couldn’t quite feel fully invested. “Where is Fifty-One” Who are these Night Doctors? ….. It had that sci-fi/thriller feel that I usually love in books of this nature, with a fairly unique take on mind control… and yet, even with some explanation, I don’t understand exactly where we were going most of the time… or I stopped caring.
Don’t get me wrong – I did enjoy this book. I just didn’t find myself loving it. I’m fairly certain this is a standalone even though the ending hints at more to come. I’m going to assume that it was left this way as we know that even though they may have gotten to their own “ending” of sorts, any medical/government experimentation, etc. just doesn’t disappear because your story “ends”. If that makes any sense.
I may need to stew on this one for a bit. Am I glad I read this? Yes. Do I need more answers? I think so. Would I read on if this story continued? I’m not certain if I would. Definitely torn down the middle with this one. If sci-fi/action thrillers suit you, I would give this one a go as it is a unique take on memory manipulation.
What Jessica Thought:
Dr. Matilda Deacon has been researching how memories are created and stored in the human brain. She meets a young girl named Ash and discovers that she is gifted with the memories of a past life. Her memories are from that of the last soldier killed in WWI – despite all of her doubts and skepticism Matilda slowly begins to realize she might be telling the truth.
They quickly realize that Ash is in serious danger when they learn of a deadly assassin that’s been following her. Rade is on a mission to keep secrets hidden but Ash is putting that all in jeopardy. Are her memories of a past life the key to what Rade is trying to prevent from being leaked?
Overall, this was an incredibly unique read. Medical experimentation, cat and mouse with an assassin, memories from your past life? All of this combined made for an enjoyable read. There were a few places where the momentum slowed down for me. Just like my buddy reader, Chandra, said, I will never see cheese graters the same after reading this!