*I received a free copy of The Sudden Appearance of Hope from Redhook via BEA16. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North
Published by Redhook on 17 May 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Fantasy, Mystery
All the world forgets me. First my face, then my voice, then the consequences of my deeds.
So listen. Remember me.
My name is Hope Arden, and you won't know who I am. We've met before - a thousand times. But I am the girl the world forgets.
It started when I was sixteen years old. A slow declining, an isolation, one piece at a time.
A father forgetting to drive me to school. A mother setting the table for three, not four. A teacher who forgets to chase my missing homework. A friend who looks straight through me and sees a stranger.
No matter what I do, the words I say, the people I hurt, the crimes I commit - you will never remember who I am.
That makes my life tricky. But it also makes me dangerous . . .
The Sudden Appearance of Hope is a fascinating novel, intricate, complex, and beautifully written. Are we still real if nobody else knows us?
The Sudden Appearance of Hope is dubbed as a fantasy, but I think it’s much closer to contemporary, with some light paranormal elements in some ways. Hope Arden is the girl / woman you’ll never know you met! From when she was 16 years old, people would forget her almost as soon as they looked somewhere else, and it was almost as if she didn’t exist at all. Both the story and the prose are very particular, and the peculiarity is one of the things that won me over and made me feel like there was more to the story than a woman who could disappear almost in plain view if she wished to do so.
Most of The Sudden Appearance of Hope happens ‘now’ but there are flash-backs to Hope’s past, both from when people remembered her, and from when they had already started to forget her. And how in the world would anyone be able to continue moving forward if nobody remembered us? No friends, family, teachers, lovers, bosses, or enemies. As soon as Hope was out of sight, she was so completely out of mind that people didn’t even remember having been with anyone – nor that they had spoken to anyone.
While Hope did try to us her own moral compass, there were instances where she had to cheat, lie and steal in order to survive. The only way anyone was able to remember anything about her was via written messages – either on the darknet or by e-mail. And while this made Hope feel very lonely and sometimes sad, it also made her feel strong and close to invincible. Her newest mission in life became to do her best to stop an app called perfection – not only an app for fun and games, but one where those who used it – almost religiously – could advance in their life, both when it came to their career, their personal life, their health, love, wealth, beauty… All could become perfection, but nobody understood at what cost.
Through her investigations, Hope met some very interesting people, some who were dangerous to her, others who were seemingly on her side. And once more, she found herself confronted with the fact that once she met people, they would forget her. However, at the same time, she needed to meet some people in person so she could decide whether she could trust them or not, and if she could trust them – how much. There is mystery, travel, intrigue, sex, scandal, death and longing, and The Sudden Appearance of Hope fascinated me from start to finish. Written in first person, past tense, Hope is the narrator of her own story, and this definitely makes sense, as all other characters forgot about her when she was not with them.
“Who are you?”
“I’m Hope’s friend,” I answered. “I was just staying the night.”
My mum, frozen in the kitchen door, broken egg shell oozing clear juice between her fingers.
“Goodbye,” I said, and let myself out into the morning.
Now I’ll step out.
And I didn’t move.
A pilgrim, of sorts.
Alone, you can lose yourself, or you may find yourself, and most of the time you do both.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: