Monday, 29 September 2014

The Memory Keepers

In a future London, memories are traded by the rich, just as stocks are shares once were. In the North, the residents live freely and comfortably. In the South, you’re lucky to know where your next meal is coming from. Seven ekes a living from stealing memories and selling them on the black market, a crime punishable by death. The man responsible for handing out that justice? Alba White’s father. Alba’s life may appear to be worlds apart from Seven’s, but she is trapped all the same, and their paths are about to cross.

I do like science fiction that explores memory and The Memory Keepers does skirt around the idea of eye witness fallibility. In this future, memories that can be downloaded can be used in a court of law. It does get a bit wishy-washy with the how in places, but overall it’s an engaging romp through the underbelly and high society of our near future.

I liked how Alba wasn’t supposed to be super-toned or skinny; in fact her upbringing meant she had extra weight compared to the Southers. At one point she is harshly called chubby but throughout she is always described as beautiful. And she still manages to have adventures. Seven repeatedly said her beauty was annoying, which started to annoy me, and it also signposted a romantic involvement. The boy protests too much. I know it’s something we have come to expect from young adult but I think it would have worked just as well with a friendship that spanned divides.

The use of effing as a swear word just wasn’t convincing. I understand when it might be used as a placeholder, for the reader to imagine their swearing, but on several occasions the same character actually says “fuck”. I cannot see someone who has spent their life as part of a criminal gang self-censoring their language so much. It would have made sense if it were Alba, which would have illustrated a contrast between the two characters’ backgrounds.

The huge divide between rich and poor in this London is rather telling. The media is full of tales of rising property prices, how the young are struggling to afford to stay in the capital and flat sharing turning into room, and even bed, sharing. The Memory Keepers changes the economy to one based on memories, but it’s not a future that’s too hard to imagine. Actually, I was surprised that Seven’s home seemed so spacious!

The Memory Keepers is published by Hot Key Books and is available now in paperback and ebook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

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