Title: The Memory Thief
Author: Lauren Mansy
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
No. of pages: Hardcover, 320 pgs
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Date Read: October 8, 2019
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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.
Many thanks to Blink for having me on this tour and sending me the book to review!
The Memory Thief is one of those books that grab your heart and keeps pulling at the strings. I loved this book and honestly, it was probably one of the best books I’ve read this year.
The Memory Thief follows Etta, a girl with the gift of her thoughts being unreadable who has betrayed all the people she loved in order to save her mother. When her mother’s life is thrown into jeopardy by the ruler of Creswick, the one she made deals with to keep her mother safe, she turns to the only people she knows that can help; the same people she betrayed. After reaching the Shadows headquarters, she’s tasked with getting the map of a Maze out of the mind of one of the most dangerous men, the ruler of Aravid, who has been known to torture people for fun. Etta knows that this is the only way to save her mother, to risk her own life in order to get this map. As her and another Shadow head to get the map nothing turns out like it seems it will. Etta has to face her difficult past in order to make room for a better future.
One of my favorite things about this book is Etta. Etta’s strong-willed and fiercely loyal to those that she loves. She feels guilt deeply for all the people she’s betrayed, all the people she’s caused hurt to, and for all the people that loved that were killed because of a choice she made. When she has to make the choice to turn back to the rebel group, the Shadows, in order to save her mother, it’s clear that she’s truly sorry and feels like she deserves all the grief that she gets from the leader. When Reid, who travels with her to Aravid shows her grace, mercy, and compassion, she has a hard time accepting it because she feels like she doesn’t deserve it. The transformation that Etta has from the beginning of the book to the end is one of growth. She learns that in order to move forward, she must face her past and learn from her mistakes; admitting what she did to those that she hurt and apologizing. Etta truly becomes a model to follow in accepting forgiveness from others, and also forgiving herself.
Another thing that I loved about this book was that nothing was as it seemed. There were so many twists and turns in this book that I couldn’t put it down. The connections between the characters that were established as the book went on were so surprising. There were a few times where I had to go back because hints were there from the beginning, it just didn’t come together until it was finally revealed. Also, one of the great things about this book was the idea of memories being used as a kind of currency: something valuable that everyone wanted. It kind of had a Everless vibe to it but the creative way that Mansy wrote this world was something super new. I loved the idea of how the Gifts manifest and can be used. It was a super fresh fantasy idea and it definitely worked.
Also, short note, I loved the witty banter between Etta and Reid throughout the book. It was super cute, adorable, and definitely appropriate based on their situation. Their whole relationship is one that I really loved the evolution of. That’s all.
I really, really liked this book and it’s one that I’ll most definitely be picking up again. The Memory Thief is one of those books that opens up a fresh door to fantasy. This is absolutely one that I recommend!!
Lauren lives in the Chicago area, where she’s spent years working with youth, from young children to high schoolers. When she’s not writing, Lauren is usually with her family or exploring the city to find the best deep dish pizza. The Memory Thief, which was inspired by Lauren’s own journey with her mother, is her first novel.
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