Thursday, February 26, 2015

Review: The Memory Key by Liana Liu

Title: The Memory Key
Author: Liana Liu
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Release Date: 3 March, 2015
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss

In a five-minutes-into-the-future world, a bereaved daughter must choose between losing memories of her mother to the haze of time and the reality-distorting, visceral pain of complete, perfect recall.

Lora Mint is determined not to forget.

Though her mother’s been dead for five years, Lora struggles to remember every detail about her—most importantly, the specific events that occurred the night she sped off in her car, never to return.

But in a world ravaged by Vergets disease, a viral form of Alzheimer’s, that isn’t easy. Usually Lora is aided by her memory key, a standard-issue chip embedded in her brain that preserves memories just the way a human brain would. Then a minor accident damages Lora’s key, and her memories go haywire. Suddenly Lora remembers a moment from the night of her mother’s disappearance that indicates her death was no accident. Can she trust these formerly forgotten memories? Or is her ability to remember every painful part of her past driving her slowly mad—burying the truth forever?

Lora’s longing for her lost mother and journey to patch up her broken memories is filled with authentic and poignant emotion. Her race to uncover the truth is a twisty ride. In the end, Liana Liu’s story will spark topical conversations about memory and privacy in a world that is reliant on increasingly invasive forms of technology.
Review by Nara

So, I'm going to start off with one of the maybe better aspects of the book: the world building. The world building was okay, but not really something that was explored as much as I would have liked. Then again, I'm quite a harsh world building critic, and I have seen a fair few people commenting that they found the world building pretty good, so who knows. In any case, this wasn't really something that was focused on in the book, but there were other things that drew my attention away from this flaw- other, unfortunately, disappointing things.

The characters, relationships and romance were among some of these disappointing aspects. I had a lot of difficulty connecting with the characters and really being able to immerse myself in the book. Part of this problem has to do with what I talk about in my next paragraph, but there was also just the simple fact that the characters were very generic and lifeless. Main character Lora's relationship with her best friend Wendy seemed incredibly bland and I honestly feel like I don't understand why the two are best friends. The romance is an underdeveloped love triangle and I didn't feel invested in either of the two sides.

The writing was simply one of the worst aspects of the book. It was jarring and clumsy and most definitely the thing that brought down my enjoyment of the book the most. The speech of the main characters was annoyingly formal and clunky and many sentences were phrased in ways that were difficult to read over without stumbling, or cringe inducing, or simply just not something you'd like to see in a book with a young adult protagonist.

Well, I'm sure you've gathered that this isn't the most positive of reviews, and that's because The Memory Key wasn't exactly something I enjoyed that much. It gets an "okay" rating from me, which is mostly because the premise and basic plot were enough to push the book up from the "didn't like it" range. I have to admit, I struggled through most of the book.

It was okay
Overall: 3/10
Plot: 2/5
Romance: 1/5
Writing: 1.5/5
World Building: 1.5/5
Characters: 2/5
Cover: 4/5