Hello, people of the internet!
I apologise for being absent last week. A lot of things were happening at once, but luckily I’ve kept up with my reading despite my suddenly incredibly busy schedule.
And this is the book I read.
Title: The Sudden Appearance of Hope
Author: Claire North
Published date: 26th Jan 2017
My name is Hope Arden.
I am the girl the world forgets.
It started when I was sixteen years old.
A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A friend who looks at me and sees a stranger.
No matter what I do, the words I say, the crimes I commit – you will never remember who I am.
That makes my life tricky. It also makes me dangerous…
Let me tell you I have never read anything like this before. The concept is completely new to me and so I couldn’t predict where the story was going to go. I normally tend to predict what would happen (and sometimes be correct), but with The Sudden Appearance of Hope, I couldn’t. To me, that’s a great thing!
Hope as a character is very realistic and memorable (see what I did there?). I felt I understood why she was angry, why she was miserable, why she felt she had no other choice, etc.. Not once did I feel she was written badly. In fact, I was hoping she would be remembered! I haven’t read a character like Hope Arden before and I doubt I ever will.
(I’m trying so hard not to spoil this wonderful book, but seriously…)
Anyway, I should mention a feature other readers found a bit off-putting. As a coping mechanism, Hope counts numbers and informs the reader of information that her current situation is reminding her of. These bits of information doesn’t add to the plot and can slow down the pace. However, I find it a well-written, defining personality trait of hers and adds depth to her character, showing readers how she copes with the dangerous and emotionally draining events she encounters. I will be honest though and say that I found myself skimming over some of these parts because I felt they were too long. Other than that, I had no problem with it.
What I love about this book are the themes. The modern world and its ideas of perfection as well as the media and technology offers a lot to think about during and after reading. How the characters react to what society deems as ‘perfection’ and their desire to accomplish/destroy it was a theme I wasn’t expecting. Of course, I have read stories which had this theme before, but when combined with the book’s other theme (memory and forgetting), it is something new to me as well as something thought-provoking.
I will say this: it can be repetitive. That is understandable when the other characters keep forgetting who Hope is, but I felt it had a hit-and-miss effect. There were moments when Hope’s own parents forgot who she was and I felt someone had broken into my house, punched me in the stomach and left. These moments were extremely powerful and heart-breaking! However, there were moments when it happened too many times in quick succession when I felt it wasn’t necessary. Further on in the book, I knew she would quickly be forgotten and I skimmed the parts when other, less important characters reintroduce themselves to Hope, for that I already know the drill at this point. That being said, the repetition of people forgetting who Hope is also a feature I love. It does really hit home that Hope is indeed forgotten; that hospital staff forget she needs assistance; that her parents and friends have no idea who she is; when done right, it is an emotional read. It creates a lot of sympathy for Hope’s character and a fantastic protagonist to read about.
As for the other characters, I felt they were well written too. To me, this is an emotional rollercoaster of a book and that’s because of its characters. There were quite a few monologues from different people and they work to the book’s advantage. I understood their motivations, their fears and their desires.
However, there is quite a lot of swearing in this book. Not that I have a problem with it, it does add more emotion and tension, but there were times when I felt it was overdone. Also, there are sections that are extremely violent and graphically written. Once again, I have no problem with this because I felt it added more suspense. I just thought I let people know in case it is something they aren’t comfortable with.
The story takes place all over the world and it certainly feels that way. I could envision these places and its different cultures. I felt I was there with Hope on her journey.
I love this book. Believe me, I will look for more of Claire North’s work! I’m giving this book 4 stars out of 5. If you enjoy books with a slight sci-fi feel to it, I would recommend The Sudden Appearance of Hope. It definitely conjures a lot of emotions and it is a memorable read…Funny how for a character who people keep forgetting, Hope Arden and her story are, quite simply, unforgettable.
Thank you for reading!