The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy

Publication date: October 1st 2019

three dragons

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My thanks to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

What a beautiful cover! All the golden swirls set against the black really stick with the viewer as a visual representation of how memories can intertwine and color everything with light or darkness.

One positive for The Memory Thief is that for the characters remembering something is like reliving it. Each memory has an intrusive quality which makes perfect sense given the memory powers people have.

The plot line itself was good and entertaining but overall this book had a ton of issues.

The relationship between Etta and Reid was insta-love and insta-trust. It went from “I can’t trust this guy at all” to “I trust him with my life” in the space of two pages. At one point Etta literally thinks “three days ago this guy was nothing to me, but now he means everything.” Three days. If that’s not insta-love then nothing qualifies.

All emotions are rushed. Love. Trust. Grief. **potential spoiler** Etta’s mom basically shrugs when someone dies and says well at least I got to talk to them one last time. Like really? **end of potential spoiler**

Mansy cuts out character development for a “he was evil and now he’s not” solution that doesn’t fit. And the reason why he is suddenly not evil isn’t even a good or well-developed reason. And even worse it completely cuts the climax out. Imagine that characters are traveling to inevitable doom that they must fight against and defeat the bad guy to get through the terrible maze and … oh wait the bad guy is not that bad and the maze is pretty easy with a built-in guide. Awkward. But wait remember that big bad from the beginning of the book let’s go back to fighting that person. Flawless.

There’s also a vibe of good people automatically forgive Etta while bad people hold grudges for awful things she did. Because everyone who disagrees with us should be labeled awful and untrustworthy, right?

Around eighty-one percent the push to finish the book crapped out. I didn’t feel that inexorable push forward that is so necessary when you are in the last fifteen percent of a book (or the last forty to fifty pages). I only finished it because I was so close to the end, but it had a predictable ending especially for a mind reading/mind control as torture style book.

Quiz time

Does the big bad:

  • A) live happily ever after
  • B) die horrifically
  • C) live on in a mental institution tortured by the worst memories of their life

Spoiler: it’s C.

Let me just state again that most of the storyline was pretty good, but the writing of said plot was terrible and rushed. I wish Mansy had taken more time and had some harsh beta readers to help turn this plot line into what it deserved. Is this the worst book I’ve read this year? Not by a long shot, but it definitely could have been better.

Would recommend only for readers who love predictable and simplistic YA with zero character development but a fair amount of action.

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