Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Review: The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan

The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Released: September 4th 2014
My Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

"No one can take your memories from you... can they?"

Seven is a thief with a difference - he steals downloadable memories from banks and memoriums to sell onto London's black market, trading secrets and hidden pasts for a chance at a future of his own. He makes sure he keeps some special stuff back to 'surf' himself though - it's the only real form of entertainment he can afford. But one night, as Seven is breaking into a private memorium in a wealthy part of London, he is caught in the act by one of its residents; Alba, the teenage daughter of London's most famous criminal prosecutor. Instead of giving him away, Alba promises to keep Seven's secret - as long as he allows her to go memory-surfing herself. In doing so, they discover a hidden memory about Seven's past, revealing a shocking secret about Seven's childhood, the government and a mysterious experiment known as The Memory Keepers...

Now Seven and Alba will have to race against time to unlock the maze of The Memory Keepers - but can they keep themselves out of harm's way before the London Guard - and Alba's father - catches up with them?
(from Goodreads)

I unfortunately did not enjoy The Memory Keepers. It was the type of book I felt like I'd already read a hundred times and I didn't enjoy the writing style.

There was dual POV from the two main characters, Seven and Alba. I have to say, I wasn't a fan of either of these characters. First of all, they trusted each other way, way too easily. I have no idea why Alba didn't start screaming when she found a stranger, obviously there to steal something, in her house, ESPECIALLY since in this world, theft was a crime punishable by death (worse than rape apparently, because that wasn't on the death sentence list. Sorry, but I just thought that was really messed up. Alba was like "oh, only the WORST crimes are punishable by death" - yeah because stealing is really on par with, you know, rape and murder). Second of all, insta-love, yet again. And it was the annoying kind of insta-love too where apparently three of four meetings where the conversations do not involve getting to know each other at all results in undying love -_-.

Seven was just bland in my opinion and he thought he was so funny when really, he wasn't. At all. He had the sense of humour of a nine year old, and that's being generous. I also really didn't like the way that he suggested he enjoyed having power over Alba. It was creepy. I get that he was happy he was in charge instead of the rich people for a change, but it was weird when he talked about it in relation to her as an individual. Plus he kept going on about how he was risking everything - like, seriously. He didn't have to come back! He didn't have to keep that stupid promise, he could have just left and saved himself the trouble. Was keeping a promise with a random stranger really worth risking his life, or was it just because he thought Alba was pretty and he was a complete idiot. Alba...just what. She was literally a stereotype of that "I'm super rich but I just want to SEE THE WORLD" character and we were supposed to like her because she cared about the poorer areas and wanted things to change to help the people of South - except, no she didn't really because she only started kind of giving a toss when she met Seven and had never properly disagreed with her father before that. Plus she was absurdly grateful to Seven for like, no reason, and I didn't get their whole relationship at all. The only character I actually liked was Dolly, and she was hardly in it.

Plot-wise, the whole memories business thing was just lost on me. I didn't understand at all why memory machines existed, why surfing other people's memories became such a popular thing that society became based on it, or why anyone would ever want to do it enough to hand over so much money. It made no sense. Plus, how did it work? How were memories recorded, and why? Alba's mother's memory that was revealed at the end - why did that memory even exist outside of her mind?! Did she report the incident to the police and create the memory recording as evidence? It didn't seem like it - so how on earth did that memory ever come into existence for others to view? Were ALL memories just recorded somewhere? If so, that is entirely implausible. Why did no-one seem to mind that their private memories were just available for the world to see? And the whole thing at the end made no sense either - suddenly Seven was able to perform a certain act with NO experience whatsoever. Sheer willpower, apparently, enabled him to do this really complicated thing that he'd never been trained to do. How incredibly lucky for him. [spoiler, highlight to read] And the whole alteration of memories issue wasn't even a real issue. I mean, if one memory skid/recording thing whatever was altered, couldn't they just obtain a true memory from a person involved in the incident? Unless everyone was dead, wouldn't that work? And wouldn't there be more than one recording of the same memory anyway? The skid-thieves has no issues copying memories - was there like one original memory that if altered, altered all the copies? I DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW THE DAMN THINGS WORKED.[end of spoiler] Also, everything was resolved so easily at the end. It was a cop-out.

I also had a real issue with the writing. It felt a bit juvenile to me with loads of needless words and weird metaphors/descriptions, and there was cliché after cliché. So many clichés, I can't even explain. I felt like almost every description was a line I'd heard a thousand times before. I honestly got so fed up. I ended up skimming towards the end just to avoid the language (the amount of times the word "effing" was used as well, oh my God. I hate swear word substitutes when they are used so often. Just swear or keep the substitutes to a minimum!).

Overall, The Memory Keepers was not for me. I think I've just read too many similar books. Maybe if this isn't a genre you usually read, you might enjoy this, otherwise I can't recommend it.

2 comments:

  1. Oooh, I hate when author's give their character the "funny" card and it turns out their just not funny. That's a definitely a turn off for me, especially when they just come across as immature. I remember being really curious about this one at one time, but I think I'll pass. :(

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  2. Oh, no! It's a shame this one didn't work at all. I remember Arianne saying something similar about the writing style when she reviewed The Elites on the blog. To me the plot sounds a little bit like The Memory of After with memory machines/downloads etc.

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