Title: The Memory Thief
Author: Lauren Mansy
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: October 1st, 2019 (Blink)
Synopsis: 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.
Thank you to the publisher, Blink, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Etta lives in the city of Craewick which is ruled by the ruthless Madame. In this world, Gifted individuals can transfer memories through touch. Four years ago, after an accident that left her mother in a coma, Etta made a deal with Madame to keep her safe in the asylum. But now, Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, to sell all her memories, and the only way Etta can save her is to seek the aid of the rebel group known as the Shadows – the same group Etta was once sworn to, and betrayed. To prove her loyalty this time though, she must embark on a quest to steal a map of a dangerous prison known as the Maze from the mind of the cruel ruler of a neighbouring city and free someone she has thought long dead.
I loved the concept of this book, and reading about how the Gifted’s talents work. The world-building within the limited time is excellent and it is easy to visualize this dark and desperate society. Etta is an exceptional main character, determined to do whatever it takes to save her mother, but also flawed, haunted by the losses she has experienced in life. The plot twists completely took me by surprise and the flashbacks in the story gives some really good insight into the characters. I have to add here that the pretty cover is half the reason I initially noticed this book. I do wish, however, that this book had been extended into atleast a duology. There are so many ways the plot could have gone, and so much more of this world to explore – for starters, Aravid before Porter’s transformation.
Considering all she has been through, Etta is remarkably trusting. She believes what she finds in Aravid too easily, and I was almost sure there was going to be a plot twist there and that things were going to go downhill at that point. We learn about Madame, the main villain, almost entirely through Etta’s memories, and she doesn’t really appear until the end, which I found odd, especially since this is a standalone. I always prefer when the villain is complex and gets their share of page time.
While I expected to enjoy this book way more than I did, it was still an entertaining read. The Memory Thief has a unique concept and a writing style and pacing that makes it very easy to follow. I would recommend this if you’re looking for a standalone fantasy novel that is a quick and not overly complicated read.
The Memory Thief releases on October 1st, 2019.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!