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.
Review: 2 Stars
I really thought that I was going to love this book even after seeing several negative reviews. The idea of memories as currency was absolutely fascinating to me and the cover was so eye catching that I was excited to have a copy. While I think the bare bones of the plot were great, the execution was not. I had so many issues with this novel and honestly I think that it’s a shame that it wasn’t great because I felt like the plot had so much potential, but this book fell short of what it could have been,
The characters felt incredibly flat for me, Their emotions didn’t feel real to me. The characters could be hard to keep track of even though there were only a few of them and the plot felt jumpy at times. The conflict between the villain and the protagonist made very little sense to me as well. The whole thing just felt so rushed. Things were brought up in the book like the reader should know what was going on, but in reality it was the first time we were hearing of it. There were so many plot holes and I had so many questions about how the memory thieving actually worked. Memories seemed to work completely different in this book than in real life, but these differences aren’t acknowledged at all.
The world could have been cool, but the world building was extremely brief. I am glad that they touched on the economics of what it would be like as having memories as currency, especially for the poor, but there were way too many aspects of this world that were left unexplored. The writing just wasn’t very good. Everything was told to you and nothing was shown. There were numerous times when the author should have used dialogue, but instead explained what was said between two characters in summary form. While I think that maybe if this book was longer it could have achieved more depth, at the same time I wonder if it just should have undergone more editing than it did.
Obviously I had a myriad of issues with this novel even though I really wanted to love it. I thought that the ideas behind the book were really cool and while this book had so much potential I just don’t think that it came anywhere near reaching it. It should have been a powerful and interesting fantasy, but instead it was dull and easily forgettable.