Hello everyone, and welcome to my stop for the blog tour for The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy! This was such a unique book and I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you all below. Keep reading for my review of the book and the book cover design, plus a giveaway!!!
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.
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.
Book Cover Review and Actual Review
Let’s start with my review of the book cover itself! I’ll include another picture of it down here for reference.
I’ve been loving the YA book cover trends toward more simplistic designs where the typography and imagery really shine. The Memory Thief’s dark, elegant cover definitely fits in that trend, and I love it. The gorgeous filigree elements really work to frame the title and the lock below it, almost forming a frame to show off the words, which are presented in a lovely decorative font that isn’t too decorative. The careful usage of swooping letterforms (note the different M’s in the word memory) keep the title looking clean and legible, which is so important in book cover design. The gold color of the word Memory, in addition to the filigree, create a clear focal point, and from there, the viewer’s eyes can wander all across the cover to the other important elements. I also love the dark, textured background color. It really lets the other elements pop, and it also reflects the darkness of the corrupt city of Craewick from the novel.
I love this cover and would definitely give it a 5/5
Now, let’s move into the actual book review! The Memory Thief is a standalone YA fantasy novel, which is something that I wish was more common in the world of YA publishing! Most fantasy novels are a part of a larger series (anywhere from a duology to a massive epic!) so this novel was definitely a breath of fresh air in that regard.
I was very surprised and put off to see that the start of the novel had a glossary of terms and a description of the four realms. Even though it wasn’t part of the narrative itself, it was essentially a huge info dump before we can even get into the story! I would much rather have seen those descriptions and terms woven into the narrative. There were times when a certain group would be first mentioned much later into the story and I’d have to flip back to the start to find out what they are.
As for the story itself, I liked it. The world and its rules all felt unique and believable. The concept of the “gifted” people was also quite unique, and I don’t think I’ve read anything like it before. The ability to steal and give memories was definitely thought provoking. There were several twists, red herrings, and misleading elements that really kept me engaged all the way through.
The characters within this world were a bit lacking. While Etta, our POV character, was very fleshed out and rounded, many of the other characters felt a lot more flat. I found it hard to care about most of them. It definitely felt like the world revolved around Etta, even though a major revolution is about to happen. There’s a love interest character, but I’m glad it doesn’t turn into much of a romance, especially given everything else that’s going on.
My other issue is pacing. Some parts felt much too rushed, and others, like long treks through the forest, felt too long. I wish that the climax scene had been a bit longer and clearer, as I was basically just as confused as Etta seemed to be, and then there was an info dump from a character explaining what had happened. Ugh.
All in all, I’d still give The Memory Thief 4/5 stars for its unique plot and world, and also for being a standalone! This was Lauren Mansy’s debut novel, so I’ll excuse some of the issues and hope that in time, she’ll come to perfect her craft. I can’t wait to see what imaginative novel she’ll write next.
Prize: 1 finished copy of The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy + a poster and signed bookplate (USA only)
Thank you for checking out my tour stop! Be sure to check out the other tour stops at this link! Thank you again to the publisher, author, and The Fantastic Flying Book Club for including me on this tour!
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