Welcome to my stop on The Memory Thief book tour! Thank you to Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing the tour and allowing me to participate as a tour stop!
ABOUT THE BOOK
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 received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Shadows can help her.
I brush the memory of Ryder’s plan away as another replaces it.
They help people who can’t help themselves.
In a world where memories are transferred as money, we follow Etta, a 17-year-old girl living in the shadows and trying to keep her secret safe from those around her: she is a “Gifted” labeled as an “Ungifted”, but the catch is that people only see blankness when they look into her mind. Under a corrupt government, the “Gifted” have all of the power. Four years ago, Etta made a deal with Madame (her enemy at the time) and betrayed her allies in order to have a place for her mother to stay in the asylum. Now, with the Auction day upon her, she realizes that her mother is up for auction and all deals between herself and Madame are off. When a person is put up for auction, the memories are put up for sale until the person has nothing left of value and dies. In order to save her mother once again, Etta is forced to confront the people she betrayed to ask for her. But the only way to save her mother is to embark on a mission to save the “Shadows'” leader.
“Gifteds” can transfer memories between people by touch.
“Ungifteds” have no special powers.
“Sifters” can transfer memories without touch.
“Shadows” are the “protectors” of the realm, but are thieves and contribute to a black market of memories.
“Ghosts” give unpleasant memories in order to make people suffer.
“Hunters” take the memories of animals.
The idea of memories being a form of currency is a unique and intriguing idea. It slightly reminds me of the pensieve from Harry Potter. Ryder, Etta’s sidekick reminds me of Rue from The Hunger Games. She is comical, brave, and loyal to a fault. She looks up to Etta as an older sister. I wish we learned a little more about the backstory of the other people in Etta’s life, specifically the ones she has the leather bracelets of.
The one thing I had a hard time with was the instance romance. I thought I missed reading 100 pages all of a sudden. Also, I wish Etta wasn’t as gullible as she is made out to be. She wasn’t exactly the easiest to relate to. With a few tweaks to the story and the pacing, I think this novel has a real chance to be a star since the concept is so gripping.
The Memory Thief was a concept unlike anything else: memories being used as currency in a corrupt government, where the removal of memories can truly change someone’s life. The Memory Thief is a story of loss, grief, lies, deceit, and the ability to forgive oneself for mistakes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
Q & A
Q: What was the hardest scene to write? What was the easiest?
LM: The scene where Etta visits her mother in the asylum was actually both the hardest and the easiest to write. Because this book is based off memories that I share with my mom, that scene was very cathartic yet difficult to put down on paper. It caused me to revisit a lot of my memories of when my mom was in the hospital, and it was very uncertain if she would survive. I remember how vulnerable my mom had been yet she never stopped fighting to get better. Ultimately, it was her ability to cling to hope even in hardship which made me want to share this story, so writing that scene will forever have a big impact on me.
Q: Did you hide any secrets in your book? (names of friends, little jokes, references to things only some people will get)
LM: What a fun question! When I was drafting, quite a few characters were named after family members, all of whom actually ended up being cut during my revision stage! Since none of the characters made it onto the final pages, I like to joke that the famous writers’ phrase “kill your darlings” took on a whole new meaning for me 🙂
Q: What do you hope people remember about The Memory Thief?
LM: The main thing that I hope people take away from TMT is that it isn’t the hardships of the past which define us but the strength we find in overcoming them. Etta is a character who struggles with a lot of regret and has lost hope that things will ever get better. But on Etta’s journey to save her mother, she begins to realize that she’s believed a lot of lies, not only about the world around her but about herself, as well. I hope Etta’s story might inspire readers to never give up fighting for what you believe in, even in the midst of impossible odds.
Q: Did The Memory Thief have a certain soundtrack you listened to while writing?
LM: I was all about the Jurassic Park soundtrack while drafting TMT! I adore movie soundtracks, and John Williams is a favorite composer of mine. I’d highly recommending listening to “Remembering Petticoat Lane”. It’s hauntingly beautiful and was on repeat for about 95% of drafting TMT!
Q: What is your dream cast for The Memory Thief?
LM: Oooh, great question! I love movies, tv shows, plays, and musicals, and I have such a huge amount of respect for those who are able to visually bring stories to life. Whenever I’m drafting, the characters always embody their personalities, which results in a feeling for me rather than an actual face. So while I don’t have any specific actors in mind, I’d say that my dream cast would be filled with individuals whose passion for storytelling really shines through – a trait actors express so wonderfully. It’d be such an honor to see The Memory Thief brought to life in this way!
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