The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy
My Rating: 4/5
In the city of Craewick, memories reign. The power-obsessed ruler of the city, Madame, has cultivated a society in which memories are currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please.
Seventeen-year-old Etta Lark is desperate to live outside of the corrupt culture, but grapples with the guilt of an accident that has left her mother bedridden in the city’s asylum. When Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, a Craewick practice in which a “criminal’s” memories are sold to the highest bidder before being killed, Etta will do whatever it takes to save her. Even if it means rejoining the Shadows, the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier.
To prove her allegiance to the Shadows and rescue her mother, Etta must steal a memorized map of the Maze, a formidable prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm. So she sets out on a journey in which she faces startling attacks, unexpected romance, and, above all, her own past in order to set things right in her world.
I love standalones books for a very good reason, some stories don’t need to be continued on and on. We don’t always need a continuation to them, sometimes it’s a lot more emotional to have a journey been shorter then having one of big epic propositions that strand for another book or even two for that matter. A good book with a fine ending always get to me especially with Lauren Mansy first debut novel, The Memory Thief. I received it from my book box, Book Hooked Box which I highly recommend checking out 😉
Etta is trapped in a world that is too rough so she had to be roughed too. She used to work with the shadows, the group that fight for those who can’t help themselves but alas she had to make a tough choice for the sake of her mother and she betrayed them. People got killed, you know how that goes and now she’s closed off from everyone. Things get a turn for the worse when her mother, who in the last couple of years have been in an asylum due to her condition, is going to be kicked on and now she has no one else to turn to for help. Now she has to earn back that group trust and help in their plot to overturn the tyrant of their city in favor of preventing her mother auction which will also means her early unfairly demise.
“You were right about me, you know. The only thing I’m good at is stealing what people love the most. I’m the perfect thief.”
I love Etta character alot! She is such a fascinating study of morally gray character who simply became what the world and her society wanted her to be. She didn’t meant to betrayed her group nor cause their cruel fate and jeopardize everything they work for, but you can’t but feel her anguish alongside it. She’s just a girl who’s trying to do right for her mother and trying to amend for her past sins. Etta grows throughout the book but she is flawed because who can blame her really.
Sadly Etta is probably the only character I can talk about that I remember I’m afraid. The book pace is very fast pace, we going through Etta’s journey and her memories of the past all masquerading between the pages and yet everyone else feels like an extra in this big production of a show. The only one who I can vividly remember is Etta’s mother who her relationship on its own and whats going on with her recovering from her coma is heartbreaking since it reminds me a lot of my poor grandmother (god bless her soul) and her fight against Alzheimer. I feel that despite how good the writing is the author should have focus more on making the characters more memorable.
“Having similar goals doesn’t make people friends. After this job, I won’t move foreword if-“
“If you don’t break ties with your past? But I’m not in your past.”
“You will be.”
Which brings me to the romance in the book which is sorta sweet. It feels like cotton candy, fun to eat but nothing to take home for. Feels exactly what you need for a story like this but Etta and Reid, the boy in question relationship is interesting. They learn to trust in each other and confine in one another and it doesn’t feel too rushed. I just wished it didn’t feel too much Insta- love, you know?
Lauren created such a unique concept I haven’t seen before in a fantasy book. Memories are such a interesting thing to talk about in a book. Like just reading from the summary above you immediately thrown into a unique world that capitalize on people waging their memories in auctions as type of wage to survive the end of the day. Some people seek to buy talents like drawing, playing musical instruments, martial arts, etc from the memory of other people and then there’s others who simply want to experience the adrenaline thrill of the excitement of a athletic jumping off a mountain, or a soldier fighting in a war or perhaps they want to erase themselves and become someone new entirely or worse. You feel how both mystifying and scary this world can be and you can’t but understand our Protagonist, Etta plight.
Would I recommend this book? Sure, why not if you want a fun fast read with unique world and intriguing main character. I think that in the end of the day what matter is that we make new memories all the time but it doesn’t mean we should forget the old ones either. I definitely won’t forget this book for a very long time and I can’t wait for another work from Lauren Mansy.