Book Review: The Memory Thief

The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

Releases: October 1, 2019

The overall readability of this book is good--I finished it quickly, and it kept my attention. In fact, after the first part of the book, I really devoured it. The cover is gorgeous, so props to the designer because it's very cool. The idea behind it is new and interesting; it's what truly made me excited to read this book. However, it just wasn't executed well enough to be the book it deserved to be. I was a little lost in the beginning, intrigued by the middle, and just sort of meh by the end.

Here's a little synopsis of the book so you know what I'm talking about:

Etta Lark lives in a society dictated by memories. In her world, you're either Gifted and able to receive and transfer memories, or Ungifted. Her home, Craewick, is ruled by the wicked Madame who transfers memories from prisoners to the highest bidder. Memories are more than just warm, fuzzy feelings you get from remembering happier times: taking a memory can give you skills and abilities. But, Etta doesn't want to use her Gifted powers, not after the accident that made her mother bedridden in the asylum. When her mother's life is in danger, however, Etta must return to the people of her past, the Shadows who fight against Madame's rule, in order to save her mother. With the formidable Reid at her side, Etta must steal the memories of a prison from one of the most dangerous men in the realms in order to break out the one person that can help her.

Not my best summary, but there was a lot going on in this book. The whole premise of the memory thing--being Gifted or Ungifted--didn't really make sense to me. As the book went on, I kind of wrapped my head around it, but I don't think I had a solid enough grasp on it and the world Mansy created to really appreciate it. I think the world and the "magic" system had a lot of potential, but it didn't quite reach the heights it could have to really flush it out and make sense. While it's written in present tense, first person, Julietta is constantly recounting things that happened previously, whether in the past four years or earlier that morning. It overshadows what's happening then and there and really put me off. I can appreciate when looking into the past is helpful towards the story, especially one like this that deals with memories, but it was so constant that it didn't work for me. I know the flashbacks were interspersed in the story for shock value for what they revealed, but most of the time her looking into the past could have been cut or the chapter should have started where she was thinking back on. As I've said in previous reviews, I'm a sucker for romance. I love love! However, Julietta and Reid's connection was a little predictable and happened too quickly for my liking, but I liked them together for the most part. I think their relationship was stronger in the middle to the end and more believable than it was in the beginning. I will say that there were a few twists in the middle of the book that I didn't expect and I think that's really what kept me reading. But, the pacing was too quick and everything happened too easily for my liking. I wanted some more hardships for them, especially since it was such a dangerous mission.

I felt as if it tried too hard to create a message that was relevant outside of the book and focused too much on pushing that message, especially through dialogue, making it seem unnatural. I'm all for underlying messages and meanings, but this one was very "in my face" and almost made me roll my eyes at how blatant it was. Overall, it was an interesting concept, but didn't pull enough punches to really get me to truly like it.

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