Title: The Sudden Appearance of Hope
Author: Claire North
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Genre: Adult Fantasy/Science Fiction
Note: An advanced copy was provided by the publisher (Redhook), but opinions are my own.
Synopsis: Hope Arden is the woman everyone forgets. She can have an hour long conversation with someone, walk away, and if she returns a minute later the person she was talking to before will have no idea who she is.
This has made Hope a very good thief, but when one of Hope’s targets ends up dead she takes it upon herself to investigate. What she discovers could have the ability to change everything, or nothing at all.
Thoughts: After thoroughly enjoying Claire North’s other novel, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this book. While I did enjoy this novel, my overall opinion is very mixed.
My favorite aspect of the book is its concept. The idea of people hiding in plain sight has always intrigued me, and this book explores how being forgettable can affect someone’s life in ways I had not considered.
Our main character, Hope, has had no relationships lasting more than a day since she was sixteen-years-old. Her own parents have no memory of her. The only thing that remembers her are machines. This makes holding a job and obtaining medical care beyond complicated for her.
This novel uses Hope’s unusual circumstances to explore aspects of modern society including the idea of “perfection” through the use of an app that the author made seem so plausible it was a little scary.
This novel is fairly slow pace with repetition that comes with having a character who needs to reintroduce herself to everyone everyday. The most frustrating aspect of this book is that because of the constant reintroduction there wasn’t much in the way of prominent secondary characters. No one trusted hope because they couldn’t get to know her, and, therefore, never opened up to her. This allows the reader to understand just how alone Hope’s situation has made her, but at the same time makes it more difficult to connect to the story.
The writing style is unconventional. There were a number of bulleted lists spread throughout the text as opposed to at the beginnings of chapters like it normally might be. I’m still not sure how I feel about this technique. One one hand, some of the information was very interesting and added to the story. On the other hand, at times it could go on so long I skipped it because it felt a bit like an info-dump.
The plot structure isn’t typical either. Rather than building to a climax, the story ends on a note that leaves more questions than answers.
Rating: This book is very thought provoking, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone looking for something fast-paced. Those who enjoyed The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August might like this.