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review 2018-04-08 17:08
Tabula Rasa by Ruth Downie
Tabula Rasa - Ruth Downie

Series: Gaius Ruso #6


This installment of the Roman Medicus series takes places near Hadrian's wall in northern Britain. Ruso's clerk disappears, and then a local boy disappears and there's tension with the natives in the form of demonstrations and the burning of houses.


There were some fun characters in this one, like the hypochondriac centurion Fabius and the pregnant, gossipy Viranna who's always on the lookout for potential husbands.


The novel does disappoint a little with its ridiculously quick and urgent labour and delivery near the end, but I guess the author just wanted to wrap things up. An exact time isn't given, but it doesn't seem like it could have been more than a couple hours.


Anyway, overall the book doesn't disappoint and I'll happily read the next one in the series.

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text 2018-03-30 02:14
Non-book post: Tabula Rasa

I've been watching this Belgian show called Tabula Rasa on Netflix. The first few episodes were good but sent me hunting for content warnings - I was worried that a later episode would reveal that Mie, the main character, had been raped at some point and didn't remember because of her amnesia, and I wanted some advance warning. Does the Dog Die was light on info but did at least let me know that I'd need to brace myself for something else, so hey, that's something. I've now made it to the end of episode 5 (out of 9 total), and my face is basically like this:




The verdict so far is that it's really good, but the horror aspects are occasionally almost too much for me. This is primarily a mystery/thriller series, but the way Mie's amnesia is depicted shifts the genre, at times, from mystery/thriller into horror as her brain blends times and events together in an attempt to make sense of what's going on around her.


I'll probably binge-watch the rest of the series over the weekend, if my nerves can handle that much at once.

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review 2015-03-06 11:06
Tabula Rasa by Kristen Lippert Martin
Tabula Rasa - Kristen Lippert-Martin

Title: Tabula Rasa
Author: Kristen Lippert-Martin
Publication Date: September 23rd 2014 by Egmont USA
Rating: ★★★★
Amazon // Book Depository // Goodreads


The Bourne Identity meets Divergent in this heart-pounding debut.

Sixteen-year-old Sarah has a rare chance at a new life. Or so the doctors tell her. She’s been undergoing a cutting-edge procedure that will render her a tabula rasa—a blank slate. Memory by memory her troubled past is being taken away.

But when her final surgery is interrupted and a team of elite soldiers invades the isolated hospital under cover of a massive blizzard, her fresh start could be her end.

Navigating familiar halls that have become a dangerous maze with the help of a teen computer hacker who’s trying to bring the hospital down for his own reasons, Sarah starts to piece together who she is and why someone would want her erased. And she won’t be silenced again.

A high-stakes thriller featuring a non-stop race for survival and a smart heroine who will risk everything, Tabula Rasa is, in short, unforgettable.


Tabula Rasa somehow reminded me of Scarlett Johansson’s recent movie, Lucy. If you’ve seen the movie, you probably know about Lucy’s ability to access her brain’s functions fully because of the drug that has been absorbed by her body. Here in the book, it’s a bit like that. The main character, Sarah, basically has advanced skills developed from a drug.


The book started pretty amazing. Sarah cannot recall her memories and she’s being held at a special kind of hospital. One minute she was just taking some lab tests, then few pages after she’s being chased by soldiers just because she has “green eyes”. That fact has been one of the major anchors in the story. After she managed to escape the hospital, she met Thomas and they helped each other to basically reach their goals.


The characters were very intriguing, in general and I love the way they were written. Sarah and Thomas’ chemistry was very adorable. I loved every single scene of them together., which means the bulk of the book. Hahaha!


The book was very fast-paced but it suited the story because it was action-packed and really thrilling. I really loved the way it was written because everytime you finish a chapter, you just crave for more. It’s very unique, fresh, compelling and captivating. It’s certainly a must-read for fans of action and science fiction/dystopia.

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review 2015-02-24 00:00
Tabula Rasa
Tabula Rasa - Ruth Downie TABULA RASA, BY RUTH DOWNIE (Book 6 of Medicus Investigation)

This series was a recommendation from my sister. She dangled the book in front of me while saying "It's mystery... set in Britannia when it was part of the Roman Empire... and the detective is a doctor," before I tackled her to the ground and took it from her hands. I have enjoyed the previous ones immensely, and this was no different.

Synopsis: While the Twentieth Legion finishes its work in building Hadrian's wall in the north of Britannia, a rumor starts that there's a body buried in the wall. Their medicus, Gaius Petreius Ruso, with the help of his Briton wife, Tilla, tries to investigate, but is sidetracked by mysterious the disappearance of his assistant and of a local boy.

Overall enjoyment: I quite liked it. The mystery part took a while to start, but the developments were very entertaining.

Plot: Very well developed, full of twists and turns, all of them perfectly foreshadowed.

Characters: The "regular cast" of Gaius, Tilla, Valens and Albanus was brilliant, as usual. I love how well characterized they are, and how they develop with each book, instead of remaining stationary. The "visiting cast", of characters just for this book, was also very well done.

World/setting: In all her books, Downie admits that she took a lot of liberties in recreating this setting. Other than the few specks of evidence that remain today and the knowledge of the Roman Empire in itself, very little is known of the the day-to-day living in that part of the world and those times. That being so, she makes a wonderful job of portraying it, with a very vivid and particular atmosphere.

Writing style: Even though sometimes she uses expressions and analogies that are decidedly not Roman, I still love the way she writes. It's fluid and direct, with a delightful twist of humor to it.

Representation: Very poor when it comes to POC. The whole debate of historical accuracy would fit in this part, I honestly don't know enough history to criticize. Maybe there should be some more dark-skinned soldiers? I'm pretty sure there were Africans in the Legions at that time. Then again, I have this notion that each Legion would be more likely to absorb the locals that wanted to join where it was, rather than dislodge people from remote parts of the Empire. Really, I wouldn't know.

Political correctness: This is a difficult category. She is trying to portray the Roman Empire, so her characters have the views that were common at the time, with slavery being commonplace and homosexuality being accepted not because of equal rights, but because it was the pinnacle of misogyny. On the other hand, she also always makes sure to tell the other side of the story, from the point of view of the Britons who were conquered.

Up next: An Untamed State, by Roxane Gay
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review 2014-12-21 00:00
Tabula Rasa
Tabula Rasa - Kristen Lippert-Martin Heart-racing blockbuster of a debut.

Tabula Rasa means ""blank slate"" and it is the name of a procedure designed to remove the worst traumatic memories from the minds of people in order to give them a fresh start in life. Sarah is a patient at a medical center in the middle of nowhere - literally, on top of a snowy mountain and surrounded by electrified fences, with no roads that can reach it. The surgeries and treatments that are part of the treatment leave Sarah numb, empty, and feeling ""like she is nothing."" So Sarah really doesn't know much about her surroundings, has a vague sense of time, but she is still pretty curious about things.
However, Sarah doesn't stay this way for long. The power flashes in and out during her supposedly final surgery, and someone slips her a packet of pills - mysterious unmarked pills that she is supposed to take every 24 hours. As soon as she is alone, Sarah takes a pill. Someone is finally trying to help her, and she accepts it without question. It makes sense - she's obviously a reckless girl and acts on impulse. It's exactly what I would have done.
From there, everything is turned upside down. Sarah's memories start returning, the power goes out for good, and the Center is stormed by soldiers. The action does not stop at all for the rest of the book! There is action, suspense, a tinge of romance, there is humor and science fiction and oh, did I mention action?!
Great for fans of movies like The Matrix, Lucy, The Island, and the new James Bond films, TABULA RASA is a spectacular heart-pounding adventure that will keep you turning the pages long into the night. It is a single novel - no sequels or novellas here, which is a refreshing change from the inevitable YA trilogy.

Grades: 8 and up.
Literary Merit: Great.
CHaracterization: Great
recommended: Highly
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