Foreign Identity is a novel by Becca J. Campbell. I read it a couple days ago. I enjoyed it. I picked it up partly because I like sci-fi, but mostly because I have gotten to know the author a bit (she lives less than 5 minutes from me - yet we've only met online!) and I think she's pretty cool. I purchased the book on sale for my Kindle and finished it in a day. That is not necessarily unusual for me, but I would assume most people would want to finish it quickly to find out what happens. :)
The book starts with a man and a woman who wake up in a room, chained to the walls, with no memory at all. By working together, they uncover a puzzle that frees them from the room, but only releases them into a maze with more puzzles. Throughout the story they seek to escape and to find help with a desire to find home - even though they don't know where that is. They have to, somehow, work together and trust each other in order to be free.
I loved how she worked the amnesia. I've seen it used several times as a way to drive the plot, and that really bugs me. Becca, however, totally wiped their personal memories and left them that way. There's never a 'Oh! I remember that!' moment at a critical time to push the plot forward. That said, she has her characters have feelings or instincts for certain things - which they cleverly don't know if they should trust - which add depth to the character, both in what they remember and what they don't as well as how they react to it. Very fun!
The characters. I really liked them. They were believable and consistent. I enjoyed getting to know them even as they got to know themselves. And after the little bit of the past we learn about their lives, they are even more relatable and understandable.
The Sci-Fi aspect. (I love sci-fi, fantasy, etc in case you didn't know) The aliens (I hope that's not a spoiler) are fun and different. I would have liked them to be a little more prevalent and explained a little more in-depth, but they were an interesting puzzle. This is definitely LIGHT sci-fi. It's much more of a mystery/adventure/romance-ish with a sci-fi twist. I have so many questions about her aliens and how they interact and why the problem occurred... It just wasn't that book. They were fun though. I liked Zap. :)
The puzzles. I found them to be fairly simple. That doesn't mean they're not interesting for the characters to figure out, but they weren't fascinating and intricate for ME to figure out. (just fyi, I LOVE puzzles and I'm fairly good at them, and I read a lot of sci-fi, so the twists that may seem shocking to someone else, were fairly expected to me). That doesn't diminish from her writing, it just made it a really light read for me. Like I said, it was fun to see them figure some of the things out. (Although, sometimes one of them seemed a little too dense...the squares? Really? Didn't get that one? So the balance between the characters was a lot slanted most of the time.)
The plot. Was it completely shocking? No. Did I know exactly what would happen? No. I had several guesses, some of which were fairly close to the mark, while others not so much. It was fun to guess, and just because I got close didn't mean it wasn't fun to find out what was happening. It was both fun and interesting.
My Favorite Bit: The idea of a new beginning. That at any point, no matter what has happened, no matter how hard life has been, you can start over. You can choose to do things differently, better. Life is not stuck in some rut that you can't get out of - if you just have the perspective to see the rut, you can climb out and start over.
The end was very satisfying. I really enjoyed it. The themes of trust and faithfulness were beautifully done. I recommend it.