Imagine waking up one morning, not knowing where you are and overhearing the order for your death. Imagine learning that everything you know about your life, your world, and even yourself is a lie. What would it take for someone to convince you that you are not who you think you are? How hard would you fight for what you believe to be the truth?
The Last Thing I Remember is a cross between The Bourne Identity and 24. It's fast paced and action-filled, with a likable protagonist. Charlie West is a 17 year old kid who sees the world in black and white terms--good guys and bad guys. He believes in America, in God, and in being the best guy he can be. He excels in all areas of life: school, karate, family. Life, generally speaking, is good.
Life is good, that is, until he wakes up in a cement cell, chained to a chair where he has been tortured, and overhears the order for his death. From that point on, Charlie is in a race to save his own life. Things get complicated, however, when he learns that he is being pursued by not just the bad guys (Islamic terrorists), but the good guys (American Law Enforcement) as well. Everything that Charlie has always believed about himself is put into question and he is forced to examine what he knows to be true versus what he is told about himself.
The tones of Patriotism and Religion are thick in this novel, which at first made me uncomfortable. However, as the story unfolds, the importance of those themes begins to make sense as a necessary part of the plot. Charlie West seems like a somewhat overdone hero--I mean realistically, how many 17-year-olds could un-arm and outwit a group of Islamic terrorists intent on ending his life?--but he is also plausible in many ways. He gets nervous around girls, he's shy, he dislikes his older sister simply for being an annoying older sister, he stresses out about grades and college. He is simultaneously a superhero and the boy next door.
The Last Thing I Remember is the first book in the Homelander Series, and my interest is admittedly piqued. I'm interested to see how the story of Charlie West is going to unravel.