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Review: The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

the memory thief lauren mansy

The Memory Thief

Lauren Mansy

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…more.

My Rating:

Slow and silently burning, The Memory Thief deals in guilt and what it means to try and patch yourself back together and live. This YA novel by Lauren Mansy has all the makings of a darkly unique world where memories are the most traded, most prized commodity. But things weren’t always so cut and dried.

The story follows Julietta, otherwise known as Etta to her friends. She is a young woman with a very special gift, though she isn’t the only one with said gifts. In the city of Craewick, a lovely name for a sinister place, Madame rules the roost. She herself has the gift to take memories and sort them, selling to the highest bidder. But all this exchange and tampering of thoughts comes with a price. For those who refuse to live their own lives, make their own memories, their brains eventually can collapse, and they end up in comas, requisitioned to the asylum. Etta’s mother is in the asylum, given room and board at a price that Etta paid. A payment not of money, or memories, this decision has haunted young Etta, and a good deal of the book slogs through her regrets at nearly every turn.

Though not is all as it seems, and how could it be when real life could have been erased from the mind, when a person’s past could have been exchanged for another with the barest touch. The adventure the reader takes could be called one of redemption, a struggle for Etta to not only save her mother, but the whole of Craewick, from this vilest of the Gifted. However, in many aspects this falls limp, this notion of redeeming oneself. Even in the face of accepting something so simple as help, Etta continues to defy and it paints her as either, or both, obnoxiously defiant or single mindedly attempting to save her mother. Which is strange, because it’s clear she has/had many deep affections and connections to others. Three of her friends, killed by Madame, remain a constant reminder of her failings because she wears their bracelets around her wrist.

It’s almost as if Etta is a glutton for punishment. That same willfulness could get her current friend(s) in a heap of trouble, could see them dead too, and yet she persists in pushing people away to the detriment of her end goal. But then again, her end goal is a bit foggy at times. It’s Etta who really traps this novel from expanding into a most unique world, filled with intrigue and heaps of rich, nefarious adventures. But the novel itself has moments where it wraps you up in a dark hood and drags you off to the despair of living in a world ruled by a mad woman. The atmosphere is gloomy, save for a few scant parts. The city is relatively richly painted, a well-manicured outline that leaves it to the reader to fill in with detail. One can see the grunge, the sweat and tears if one looks for it in the subtleties of Mansy’s writing.

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book review the memory thief by lauren mansy
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