False Memory: review

August 13, 2012 2012, 4 star books, dan krokos, sci fi or futuristic, Wendy 62

False Memory
by Dan Krokos

Of the many young adult science fiction novels that have been released recently, False Memory stands out as an extremly fun, solidly entertaining debut. This action-packed, suspenseful story follows Miranda North, a teenage girl who wakes up without any memory of who she is. Before long, she discovers that her unusual ability to release a painful pulse of energy is the reason why she’s being relentlessly pursued…and the reason why her life, as well as the lives of many others, is now in danger.

From brain wave manipulation to rogue agents to a tonally genuine romance, this book includes a lot of different elements, and manages to present them all in a surprisingly engaging way. The author understands how to balance tension and levity, as well as how to up the ante both physically and emotionally as the story builds to its climax. It’s rare to find a YA action novel that is this well-paced, especially since most of its protagonists are also well-developed. Miranda’s blind panic and fight-or-flight adrenaline practically leaps off the page with her POV, but her observations about the other characters also allow us to know them as well.

This novel is notable for: 

  • an original, well-plotted story with exciting, unpredictable twists
  • a believably conflicted, responsible heroine
  • memorable characters
  • well-choreographed fight sequences
  • great dialogue
  • scientific science fiction.

I had a really great time reading this story because it was just so much fun, but what I appreciate most about it is an interesting sensitivity in its heroine that I frankly find rather unusual coming from a male YA author. Miranda is a sensible, fast-thinking character, but she’s also very feminine in a way that doesn’t rely upon endless descriptions of her appearance or other surface things; it’s more of a subtle but very present emotional mindset that I found very appealing, particularly in the way her feelings about her teammates Peter and Noah change over the course of the book.

I really liked the way the love triangle is handled here, by the way. Miranda is placed in a very tricky situation, and even though her confusion and anger lead to some complicated situations, it wasn’t hard to understand her predicament, nor to feel sympathy for everyone involved.

This novel is a promising start to a planned trilogy, and it’s going to be thrilling to see where the story goes next. False Memory surprised me with its electrifying blend of mystery, drama, and action, and my guess is that fans of science fiction thrillers will absolutely love it. 

Recommended for: fans of Divergent, Legend, The Darkest Powers series, Unraveling, and Partials.

Release Date: August 14, 2012

Rated 4 out of 5 stars

This review also appears on GoodReads. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.


On a more serious note,  I want to briefly address the fact that I originally placed this book on a “will never read” shelf following a serious incident back in January. The author made some rather ill-advised remarks in defense of a fellow author on a pre-review written by a friend of mine, and like many others, I was absolutely outraged that she was repeatedly goaded on her own space in that way. The author did apologize to the reviewer, however, and following some additional information that I learned, I decided to give the book a chance–and I’m very glad I did, for more reasons than one.

If you’d like more information about what happened, there is a long discussion on my GoodReads thread, and my reasoning for changing my mind is posted here. I’ve also had the opportunity to discuss what happened with the author at some length since then, he has some very interesting insights from an author’s perspective. I’ve invited Dan to the blog for a chat that will appear next week, so I hope you’ll come back for that discussion. I think anyone who is concerned about this current author/reader divide will be interested in hearing what he has to say.

62 Responses to “False Memory: review”

  1. Janita @ Book, Interrupted

    Out of the recommends that I’ve read from your list, most of them are my favourites, so I definitely need to read this one! Just jumped to this review from your post about Dan Krokos’ new book. :)

  2. Xia

    I’m going to have to check this one out. It sounds interesting. Great review by the way. =)

  3. Lili

    I’m so glad you gave this book a chance and loved it! I really can’t wait for it. Though I’ve never heard of this Goodreads incident, I still eagerly anticipate my opportunity to read this!

  4. Rachel

    Wendy, I’m going to come and spend some time on your blog tomorrow! I’ve been so behind but I wanted to stop by and say hello. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks sweetie. :) I’ve been gone on vacation for awhile so I have a lot of catching up to do myself soon. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Veronika

    I must been living under the rock because I’ve never heard about the incident on Goodreads. The book sounds fun though, but I’m a little wary about it because I don’t really read sci-fi books. Thank you for the review!

    • Wendy Darling

      It’s just as well, Veronika, hopefully the drama is over surrounding both books in this case.

      I’d say if you enjoy action movies, you might like this one, too! It’s non-stop thrills the whole way through.

  6. Maji Bookshelf

    oh wow, I really need to get my hands on this dystopian novel. Honestly there has been many, and I’m usually excited but then totally forget about it. However i’ve only heard great things about false memory and knowing the female protagonist was likable and the love triangle was GOOD, I’m definitely picking it up!

    great review Wendy!

    – Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  7. Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings

    I was,thinking in my head that this might be a bit like Partials with good scientific science fiction and a strong and likeable female protagonist written by a male author and then I saw you recommended this for fans of Partial. I am also glad to see that this author went out of his way to smooth over some of the bad blood that we have all seen too much of lately!

    • Wendy Darling

      Yes! Partials was very top-of-mind as I was writing this review. Although I am a big fan of that book, I have to admit I think Dan Krokos has the edge as far as strong female protagonists go (that still feel like teenagers).

  8. Ashley

    Awesome review! I’m so glad you loved it! I almost didn’t read this book either, but for completely different reasons. But I’m SO GLAD I did! I enjoyed this book so much more than I thought I would. It was totally unexpected and totally awesome!

    • Wendy Darling

      Yay! I’m glad you enjoyed this one too, Ashley. It was such a pleasant surprise, and I think most action/sci fi fans will really like it.

  9. Ali @ Ginger-read

    I’ve really been trying to avoid love triangles (hard to do), BUT this book sounds great and I will take you at your word that it is handled well here. It’s really nice to see such an insurgence of YA Sci-Fi of late, I’m kind of digging it! Great review!

    • Wendy Darling

      Well, another thing that helps for a story like this is that the love triangle isn’t the be-all and end-all of the girl’s existence. I love that we’re seeing so many great YA science fiction books, too! And thank you. :)

  10. Cayce

    I absolutely love male YA authors, and Miranda sounds like a great character. And wow no memory at all? That sounds tough. Wonder what she’ll do….

    I didn’t know about the “incident”, but this book sounds like something I’d enjoy. I’ll add it to my ‘maybe’ shelf for now :)

    Thank you for the great review Wendy!

    • Wendy Darling

      Nope, no memory at all, and the reason for it is more complicated than you can imagine. I was very impressed by how well-plotted this story is, and how FUN. :) Let me know if you end up reading it!

  11. Lis

    I never thought about this book, like i do now… you really make me want to read it!!
    Thanks for this amazing review, I think I founds all the things I need to knew about a book!

  12. Ash @ Paranormal Indulgence

    First, Wendy, your review is seriously kick ass. This had already been on my to-read pile and part of my wishlist, but mostly because of the intriguing first few sentences in the synopsis and the beautiful cover. I wasn’t planning on hunting this one down for a bit, but now I’m making it a top priority.

    Also, I love that you were able to come to terms with the author and actually found his insight interesting and grounded. I’m interested to see what this chat is all about!

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks Ash! I’m always pleased when I’m able to virtually shove books into my friends’ hands. :D

      I have come away from my correspondence with the author feeling nothing but positive emotion, so I’m very glad he contacted me. Hope you enjoy the chat. It’s…very, very long, hah.

  13. Karen

    A “fun” YA. I was beginning to think there weren’t too many of those left other than the contempt romance genre. I’ll have to check this one out.

  14. Amy

    Great review. This book sounds really good and I have been getting into sci-fi a lot more lately. I am glad that you decided to read it and enjoyed it. I am also looking forward to the post next week with the author.

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks Amy! I’m surprised by how much I liked this book, which is always a good thing. I’m glad you’ll be tuning in next week for the chat as well, this kind of stuff affects everyone who blogs or uses social media.

  15. Sarah (saz101)

    Wendy, I love your review as ALWAYS, and I’m so excited you enjoyed this so thoroughly! I’m seriously excited to read it. I love sci-fi and so want more in my life, and this is sound like it totally has that bent. LURVE.

  16. Bookworm1858

    I don’t usually read a lot of YA sci-fi so this is definitely one I’ll want to check out and hopefully give a try.

    • Wendy Darling

      I thInk this type of sci to is very accessible, Bookworm. I’d say if you enjoy action movies, especially the ones that are a little smarter or science-y, you’ll likely enjoy this!

  17. A Canadian Girl

    I’m not a big sci-fi fan but I’ve got this one on my wishlist since it sounds super interesting. I’ve also seen some good reviews for it, and obviously want to read an action-packed story with great dialogue and well-developed characters :)

    I missed this author’s drama when it happened but I’ve seen others’ so it’ll be interesting to see your chat with Dan, Wendy.

    • Wendy Darling

      I’m glad you missed the drama, Z., it wasn’t fun. But suffice to say I’m glad things are back on track again, and we can think about what’s important: BOOKS. :)

  18. Vegan YA Nerds

    Fun is always a big selling point to me and while I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, I have read a few lately and now I want to read MORE! Great review, I’m going to add this to me list ;)

  19. Andrea @The Bookish Babes

    To be honest, I was not at all interested in False Memory. I’m not a big Sci Fi fan. But your review is compelling. I will probably give the book a try at some point in the near future. Thanks for an informative review!

  20. Sam

    This really does sound fantastic. Seeing as though I loved Divergent, Legend, The Darkest Powers series AND Unravelling, I’m sure this book will go down well with me. I’m glad you reviewed this Wendy! I can’t wait to pick it up now.

    On a side note, I’m looking forward to the author’s post. :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Did I make up an imaginary checklist for Sam again?! Yay, I would say there is a 99.9% chance you will love this book, then!

      And thanks, I hope the conversation will be of interest to people. I know it’s a topic that is very important to me.

  21. Lexie

    I hadn’t been intending to read this one, for the same reasons that you’d marked it as will-never-read, but seeing your reasoning for giving it a try–and this wonderful review, which makes it sound like the kind of read I would most definitely enjoy–I think I might just pick it up myself.

    • Wendy Darling

      Well, if the review makes it sound like something you’d like, I think there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy it! And thanks Lexie–I wanted to make sure it seemed as though the author was coming from a genuine place before I changed my mind, and all I can say is that in the past few weeks, I have been satisfied–and encouraged–by what I’ve heard. Let me know if you end up reading it though, I’m curious what you’ll think of it!

  22. P.E.

    I definitely want to read this book. I always thought the summary sounded really entertaining, and I’m interested in seeing the author’s POV. Great review, as always :)

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks P.E.! It’s a pretty cool premise, and it’s executed very well. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on next week’s discussion, too.

  23. Lee723

    I’m so looking forward to your chat with Dan, Wendy!

    You certainly made the book seem rather appealing.

    I’ve definitely upgraded this book from my ‘will-not-read’ shelf to my ‘maybe’ shelf.
    Although I’m still not sure whether I will read it, but I’ve def given it some thought.

    Lisa (Fic Talk)

    • Wendy Darling

      Well, a “maybe read” is definitely an improvement! I do understand why you still may have reservations, Lisa–I quizzed my friend about her BEA encounter before I changed my own mind, and I’m glad to say that the emails I’ve exchanged with the author since have been very positive. (And seriously, my bullshit radar is pretty good.) But people should definitely make their own choices about this type of thing. I will be curious to see if our chat with the author helps to change your mind at all.

  24. Fic Talk

    Looking forward to the chat with Dan, Wendy!

    Also, your review made the book seem rather appealing.

    Great job!

    Not too sure if I’ll pick it up but it’s definitely moved to my ‘maybe’ shelf instead or my ‘will-not-read’ shelf.

  25. Melliane

    I didn’t know this one, well I don’t read a lot of Sci-fi books, I don’t why it’s not for me. Thanks for the review!

  26. Keertana

    Wonderful review, Wendy! I’m actually very excited to read this novel and it was your discussion on GoodReads that truly convinced me to give this one a shot, despite the author’s previous mistakes. I’m thrilled though that you’ve invited Dan Krokos to the blog next week as I believe it’s important to get an author’s perspective on the current events in the blogosphere. It’s disheartening really to see many readers move to LibraryThing or leave the book blogging community entirely because of the many allegations pressed against them and their friends, so I’ll definitely be returning to see what Dan – and you – have to say about this! Anyway, this was yet another brilliant review, Wendy!(:

    Ivy Book Bindings

    • Wendy Darling

      Thanks Keertana! I thought about it long and hard before inviting the author here for a chat, but I do believe his regret is sincere–and if we can provide a platform for some discussion about this issue, I think that’s a good thing.

  27. Eunice

    I was a actually little conflicted to pick this one up before because of the issue regarding this author but I’m glad that it was finally resolved and that he apologized.

    Fantastic review as always, Wendy. To hear from you that this is a well-paced novel with well-developed protagonists is just amazing. I’m definitely going to pick this up someday. :)

    Eunice @ Book Overdose

    • Wendy Darling

      Kira told me the author has been quite gracious to her since this all blew over, Eunice, which I was very glad to hear about. Knowing she herself had added it back onto her list helped cinch the deal for me.

      I hope you end up enjoying this as much as I did! It is, aside from everything else, a very fun book.

  28. elena

    This sounds like such a fun book! I love all the reasons you list and I’d like to read more sci-fi YA books. Yay for a love triangle that’s handled well. I have to admit, I was wary about this book despite its awesome premise due to the author drama. I’m glad you addressed it & I’m curious about the upcoming chat.

    • Wendy Darling

      Definitely a stand-out among recently published YA science fiction, Elena. The triangle didn’t bother me at all (and if I may spoil this a bit–it’s nice when there’s actually a choice made in book one), do hopefully it won’t bother you either!

      I thought about the decision to add this back onto my list for a long time, and I think I made the right decision. I always believe people should keep informed and make up their minds for themselves, but hopefully next week’s chat will help shed some light on a few things as well.