I went over the wall.
When we were younger in the learning room, Eshan once asked why Canaan had a wall around it. Our teacher said that we’d forgotten what was outside Canaan, but that was exactly why we needed the wall in the first place. To keep us safe from what we did not know. What if there were insects that could sting or bite? What if you fell off a cliff or into a deep hole? What if there was no food, and you starved? What if, the teacher said, you were outside the walls and you forgot? You’d wander alone, forever, never able to find a way home again. We stay inside the walls because that is what we know, and where we are safe.
It made me wonder, does the wall protect us, or keep us in?
Today I found I’m not afraid of the unknown. Today I discovered that the unknown loved me, and that I loved it back.
Nadia The Dyer’s Daughter
Book 13, page 64, 11 years after the Forgetting
What isn’t written, isn’t remembered. Even your crimes.
In the city of Canaan, life is safe. Life is structured and planned and monitored. There are tall white stone walls surrounding the city that keep them safe. No one has any memory of what from, but walls are there to protect, right?
Every twelve years, a bloody purging happens known as the Forgetting. The city descends into chaos, a day with no consequences and no regrets because when the sun rises the next morning, you won’t remember anything other than what you’ve recorded in your Book, which you carry everywhere and details your entire life-parents, kids, love, job, etc. If you lose your book, you lose your previous life and become one of the Lost. In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn’t written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.
As she starts to get closer to Gray, the glassblower’s son, she begins to use her memories to solve the questions she has surrounding Canaan, the forgetting, and the wall that separates them from the outside world. The Forgetting is fast approaching and Nadia is running out of time to find a way to prevent the Forgetting and the heartbreaking crimes that she discovers are planned to happen.
This book ended up being a lot more science fiction than I was expecting, but it was a pleasant surprise! I connected on a pretty intensely personal level with Nadia, a girl who rarely speaks outside of her own head and finds herself lost in her own world and thoughts pretty often. She’s worried about her mother, who hasn’t been quite right since the last Forgetting, in which her father burned all their books and replaced them with new “truths” to leave them and form a new identity. Not that her mother remembers this, but she knows someone is missing. With her father gone, her old sister is now suspicious of how Nadia is related to them, bearing no physical resemblance to her mother and sisters. She is threatening Nadia, insisting that she cross her family out of her book as her sister plans to do to her. She wants her to become one of the Lost, the people who wake up after the Forgetting with no book to remind them who they are. And now Gray, the glassblower’s son, is showing her intense interest and insisting on sneaking over the wall with her, forcing her to form bonds she’s tried so hard to avoid all these years.
I was frustrated with how hesitant she was about making any decisions. It does make sense for her character, she’s very cautious, and for the plot, adds the element of the tension it needs to propel the story forward, but the things she hesitates over hardly constitute the need in my opinion.
I did enjoy it, and will definitely be reading the sequel. I also happen to like this author a lot. I’ve read her other book, Rook, and thought it was pretty fantastic.
I think that this book is good for upper middle school and up. It’s clean and fairly easy to understand.
Coincidentally, my sister read the same book around the same time as me and reviewed it last week without either of us discussing our blog post plans, so I consider this a bout of happy happenstance. Check her review out here.