Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Memory Key Review

The Memory Key by Liana Liu
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 368
Keywords: memories, family, secrets, government
Format Read: ARC via publisher (thanks!)
Goodreads | IndieBound
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?
I like this one. Mostly because of the intricacies in the background. I think it fits really well with the feel of the book. I'm not madly in love with it, but it does the job and fits with the book, so we're doing good.

This was different from your "average dystopia" read. I liked that it took a problem that we deal with today, an issue like families dealing with loved ones affected by Alzheimer's, and proposed a futuristic solution from the government. It was less removed and felt more real and more of something that could happen soon to us, which was an aspect I thought was really interesting and important.

Unfortunately, I had more issues with the book than points that I liked. The style of the narration was confusing to me. Most of the text was split 50/50 between Lora's actions in real time and inside Lora's memories and past trying to figure out what happened. However, these are mixed together in the text, only differentiated by italics. It switched back and forth so quickly that it was difficult to keep up, even with the type being different.
I also had an issue with the plot. I don't think we saw enough of how the memory chips were supposed to work prior to the accident that messed Lora's up. I didn't really get a feel for her life or her friends before everything changed, so it was difficult to gauge what was happening in the present because I wasn't sure of the difference between the two times.
I also think there were a few relationships that were just too weird/convenient/plot devices only. Her relationship with the boy from the nursing home seemed to only be there for plot, and I really couldn't figure out why she was talking to him or liked him in the first place if the whole time she really had a crush on someone else.
In general, most of the things that were happening just seemed to be gigantic neon signs that blinked PLOT DEVICE throughout the whole book.

I also saw right where the book was going. For a premise about memories and the fact that the government could control people's memory chips, I thought there was going to be a couple crazy twists at the end, but it was extremely predictable and I kind of saw right where everything would end up.

Exploring today's disease and a solution was really interesting, but the final product was not my favorite. Obvious plot movers and too much predictability were what made me ultimately decide this book wasn't one that I particularly enjoyed.

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