Thursday, 23 April 2015

REVIEW || The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan

Book Title: The Memory Keepers
Author: Natasha Ngan
Publisher: Hot Key Books, September 4th, 2014
Format: Paperback, 410 pages
LinksGoodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
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?
The Memory Keepers is a fun, edgy, thriller-type book set in future London surrounding two characters, Alba and Seven. Seven is a skid-thief, someone who steals memories from the North, the elite, where they eventually get sold on the black market. Alba is the daughter of Alastair White.

I had my doubts about the two points of view because very rarely in my experience does it ever really work successfully, but despite both perspectives being similar due to the linking writing style I still could tell when the book alternated between the two characters, and they held their own during that; both having distinctive voices. I also enjoyed the moments when it wasn’t told in completely chronological order; it was a nice change but didn’t interrupt the telling of the story itself. And one thing I was personally very grateful for was the lack of info-dumping!

Ngan created a world where the divide was clear, and brought it out really well in her descriptions – you got a real gritty feel when plunged into South and it was very vividly done too. I enjoyed seeing how the two characters were at odd ends of each other at times; it definitely wasn’t insta-love! There are a lot of interesting aspects to The Memory Keepers, it isn’t just one thing alone, its quite a few things all intertwined to create one plot and I think that, despite the being the potential for at least a duology, it was great that the author kept it altogether in one book – the ending itself was so bittersweet it did claw at my heart a little bit.

I would have liked a little more development on the skids themselves and memory surfing as it was something that I really enjoyed reading about, but what we did get to experience was quite realistic. I liked the fact that both the main characters weren’t perfect, as Alba recounts Seven is “funny looking” and vice versa Seven headily pointed out that Alba was “chubby” – its this diversity and difference of character and personality that made me fall in love with them both on separate levels. They’re both relatable in different ways, some more subtle than others.

Overall, The Memory Keepers gave me more than I bargained for with conspiracy, a little bit of swashbuckling action towards the end and a whole lot of great writing. 

Rating = 4 Bookish Birds

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