Reset by Sarina Dahlan is a sci-fi romance. Reset imagines a world in which we must lose all our memories every 4 years besides the necessary ones.
Can you love someone you don’t remember?
After the Last War destroyed most of the world, survivors form a new society in four self-sustaining cities in the Mojave Desert. In the utopia of the Four Cities, inspired by the lyrics of “Imagine” and Buddhist philosophy, everything is carefully planned and controlled: the seasons, the weather—and the residents. To prevent mankind from destroying each other again, its citizens undergo a memory wipe every four years in a process called tabula rasa, a blank slate, to remove learned prejudices. With each new cycle, they begin again with new names, jobs, homes, and lives.
Aris, a scientist who shuns love, embraces tabula rasa and the excitement of unknown futures. Walling herself off from emotional attachments, she only sees relationships as pointless and avoids deep connections. But she is haunted by a recurring dream that becomes more frequent and vivid as time passes. After meeting Benja, a handsome free-spirited writer who believes his dreams of a past lover are memories, her world is turned upside down. Obsessed with finding the Dreamers, a secret organization thought to have a way to recover memories, Benja draws her down a dangerous path toward the past. When Metis, the leader of the Dreamers, appears in Aris’s life, everything she believes falls to pieces. With little time left before the next tabula rasa, they begin a bittersweet romance, navigating love in a world where names, lives, and moments are systematically destroyed.
Thought-provoking and emotionally resonant, Reset will make you consider the haunting reality of love and loss, and the indelible marks they leave behind.
“The knowledge that somewhere out there the woman he loves is lost in the sea of forgetfulness has brought him nothing but pain.”
As stated above, we follow Aris. She is not particularly likeable or unlikeable, and she feels like the most neutral party in all of this. I found her a little boring at times, and the side characters much more interesting than her. I would have appreciated more from the perspective of the Sandman- her husband- Metis. His history seemed the most interesting part of the story. I almost wished for more of it due to this. However, having the story slowly develop in the way that it did took me a bit by surprise.
“You haven’t experienced agony until you stare into the eyes of someone you love and see no trace of recognition, I’ve witnessed what it can do to a person.”
You go into this book expecting it to be the love story of Aris and Metis- but it is truly this overarching love story that has spanned the entirety of tabula rasa. For a standalone book, Dahlan does an incredible job of giving us the answers to most of our questions. Even down to explaining what brought about Tabula Rasa in the first place and who the creator really was and his motivations. Their story was really mind-blowing and I think that if Dahlan wanted to write anything else in this universe, writing about them would be a fantastic choice.
“He misses her. The woman she was. The woman she is. And every version of her in between.”
I think this book would be a good read for people who enjoyed Eternal Sunshine of A Spotless Mind. It has the same concept of true love bringing people back to their memories- without the toxicity of manic pixie dream girls. I gave this book a solid 4 out of 5 stars. The only reason that it lost a star is that some of the logic was lost on me. How the memories are pulled from people didn’t quite make sense. I felt a little confused over reality and how it fits into this story at times.
“They did not want to light the world on fire with change. They simply wanted each other. If each human choose one another, humanity may endure.”