Book Review: The Knowing is Amazing

When I reviewed Sharon Cameron’s book The Forgetting almost a year ago today (where has the time gone?), I told you I was amazed by the author’s talent for sending me on a journey of the imagination that I had a hard time coming back from. I just finished the second book in that series–The Knowing–and as much as I was amazed then, I was even more so by this book. Mind you, it’s been a busy week for me, with Halloween, work, and another batch of query letters that I’m sending out to agents, so it was hard to find reading time, but it was worth it. The Knowing is amazing.

What The Knowing is About

Goodread’s description:  Samara doesn’t forget. And she isn’t the only one. Safe underground in the city of New Canaan, she lives in a privileged world free from the Forgetting. Yet she wonders if she really is free, with the memories that plague her and secrets that surround her. Samara is determined to unearth the answers, even if she must escape to the old, cursed city of Canaan to find them.

Someone else is on their way to Canaan too . . . a spaceship from Earth is heading toward the planet, like a figment of the city’s forgotten past. Beck is traveling with his parents, researchers tasked with finding the abandoned settlement effort. When Beck is stranded without communication, he will find more in Canaan than he was ever trained for. What will happen when worlds and memories, beliefs — and truths-collide?

Why I Thought it was Amazing

There’s a lot that goes on beneath the surface (interestingly enough, given the setting of the book) of what’s happening in the book. On the face of it, Samara escapes to Old Canaan to find a cure for the Knowing, and Beckett goes there too to [long spoiler alert] find out what happened to the colonists his predecessors sent to this planet, then the three accidentally meet, and are in fact, forced to hide from New Canaan’s Council for fear of capture. Then, they embark on a journey back/to New Canaan, each for very different reasons and feelings, thoughts, loyalties, and plans changing a lot along the way. By the time they make it to the Outside settlement on the surface, before they descend Underneath, Samara to hide until she can get into the Archives to maybe find a cure for the Knowing and then give herself up for execution, and possibly Beckett and Jillian too in place of her imprisoned parents, Beckett to discover as much as he can about this people (to heck with the protocol), and Jillian because she’s being dragged along, Samara has decided she can’t give Beckett in but doesn’t know what to do with him, Beckett keeps following (almost blindly) [end long spoiler alert].

It’s that undercurrent that carries the first two-thirds of the book: the evolution of both Samara’s and Beckett’s knowledge about what happened to the people of Old Canaan (i.e. the people of The Forgetting), the actions they take once they learn that, and the feelings that each possesses about each other and the other key characters in the book. The rest is action that happens so fast that it’s a little hard to keep up with, and all of that action is in reaction to the complicated discoveries made in the first two-thirds. If I had to compare this to a visual (e.g., gif or meme), as I am wont to do, I would say that this represents the book pretty well:

As far as stars, I’d give it 9.5 out of 10 just because I feel like there were one or two incidences where Cameron didn’t reveal certain things (like the reason for the existence of the Outsider village by the Underneath) until too late in the story, which made it harder to keep up with things.

If I were to make a nutrition label for this book, I would say that there was no sex, no swearing, a fair amount of violence, and some great descriptions of both valorous and ignoble deeds.

Who Would Like This Book?

Fans of any of Sharon Cameron’s other books would obviously like this book, as would those of Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking Series and of Amy Kaufman’s and Meagan Spooner’s These Broken Stars. Speaking of Amy Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, I’ve just started reading their not-yet-released Unearthed! I’m excited.

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