Disclaimer: English is my third language, so I want to apologize in advance for there may be mistakes in the text below. If you find any, please let me know so that I can correct it. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks. You can read this review also in spanish here.
If there is an author who has appeared repeatedly and insistently in the last months on my social networks is Claire North (pseudonym of the young and prolific british writer Catherine Webb). Most of the comments of her novels are very appreciative, and because they are made by people whose judgment I trust, I have ready and waiting in my reader a couple of his novels: Touch and The first fifteen lives of Harry August.
But as usual followers of this blog already know, I'm a fan of new products, so the first novel I've read of this author is the last one she has published, The sudden appearence of Hope.
The main point of the story is very surprising and original. The protagonist, Hope, has a strange gift (or curse, I have not finished deciding yet): people can not remember her. They can't remember her face, or her appearance, neither her voice nor the conversations they have with her ... after a minute is as if she had never existed and the impact of her actions are attributed to other factors. It's like what happens to the protagonist of the film Memento, but completely reversed.
Claire North has a double merit, imagine this original ability and know how to squeeze it to explain its consequences in many situations, both advantageous and the disadvantageous. I recognize that she has managed to surprise me and that I have spent a lot of time thiking what would I do if I had this ability. Nothing good, I assure you.
The story is told by Hope in first person, in short chapters and with many temporal jumps, alternating chapters to tell how she acquired her skill and how she adapted to it in order to survive, along with chapters for the main plot of the novel, which, without going into details to not spoil the reading, Hope is involved in a fight against a corporation that manages an application called Perfection.
This application aims to maximize the positive characteristics of the users controlling their shopping, activities, trips ... and advising them to reach their full potential. Positive actions accumulate points, but they can loose points if they don't do what Perfection tells them. When the users get to a certain score, they get rewards. The use of this application is widespread among the population, and is causing important changes in habits, appearance and the way of thinking of many people.
Besides being a good thriller with action, intrigue, moments of tension and very surprising situations, the novel also serves North to reflect on several more significant aspects: individual freedom, pursuit of happiness, the use of new scientific discoveries, and just raising the question of whether the end justifies the means. An interesting mixture of fun and reflection.
The novel has a negative aspect in my oppinion, its extension. I think that some situations are a bit repetitive and unnecessary.
In short: a very successful first contact with an author who I was eager to met. I will read more of her books, for sure. A highly recommendable novel, with a very original approach, with action and mystery, but also with very interesting moments of reflexion.