In Craewick, memories mean power ever since the power-hungry Madame became its ruler. Silent wars are waged between the defenseless Ungifted and the Gifted, those who can steal memories with a touch. When Etta Lark’s comatose mother is set to be auctioned – a process by which Madame steals a person’s memories and sells them to the highest bidder before killing them – she’ll do everything she can to save her. Even if that means facing the horrors of her past.
*warning: spoilers in paragraph 2!*
The Memory Thief seems to have it all – love, loss, heartbreak, hope – all within a compelling narrative that really makes the reader contemplate the importance of their own memories. I’ve seen the concept of reading mind and memories before, even that of taking them, but never one where they’re traded as currency. The story is so rich in considering what morals and structures might prevail when one’s own mind is free to be read and manipulated. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep readers engaged, and I really must commend the author for taking typical fantasy YA narratives and making them her own.
I think that really satisfied me about this book was the way the endings was handled. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much prolonged hope in many YA books. Even if the villain is defeated, there tends to be a threat that they or others like them will return. I have seen many instances of a villain being killed only to mess up the hero by making a threatening remark moments before death. This book has none of that. Not only is Madame left alive, albeit to suffer, she no longer holds anything over Etta. She is truly defeated. This way, Etta and the others are allowed to leave her and her memory behind. Especially now, I think this an element that many people need in books; something that tells us it is possible to truly win and begin healing.
Yours in love and literature, Page.
Content warning(s): death, torture, violence
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