Atria Books, August 1, 2017.
Joshua is a blind teenager who believes that his vision impairment is part of a larger family curse that also caused the deaths of his biological parents. Now the father who raised him, Detective Logan, has been killed while investigating the murder of a young woman. The only good news to come from this tragedy is that Joshua is being offered corneal implant surgery to regain his vision – he will receive the eyes of his deceased surrogate father.
The surgery seems to be a success, but Joshua begins to recognize people and places that he has never seen before. He sees and feels memories that may have belonged to the previous owner of his transplanted corneas – and not all of the memories seem to be coming from his father. It soon comes to light that there has been a mix up at the hospital – Joshua received one eye from Detective Logan, and one from the suspect that was killed by Logan’s partner on that same morning. The images that come to Joshua from the eye of the suspect, Simon Bower, show him the darkness that exists in his new world of sight.
In alternative chapters, Simon’s accomplice Vincent wants revenge for the death of his friend. Logan’s surviving friends and family become targets in his scheme, and he is getting increasingly closer to Joshua. Meanwhile, he is also involved in the case of the murdered young woman, and the disappearance of several others. Although Vincent is somewhat flat as a character, the multiple points of view work well to form a full picture of the events of the novel.
I found the issue of cellular memory (Joshua’s ability to “see” the memories of his eyes’ previous owners) to be very interesting, and even if it isn’t based in scientific fact, I could suspend disbelief and consider the possibilities. However, I just didn’t find the plot to be particularly thrilling or scary. It was mostly just unbelievable and not even that exciting. The characters were undeveloped and the dialogue was stilted and unrealistic. The layered plot is what kept me reading, but when all the threads came together in the end, it was disappointing. I enjoyed this novel for what it was, and I would probably read something else by Cleave, but in the end I found both the plot and the characters lacking in depth and excitement.
I received this book from Atria Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.