Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5 / 5 stars)
Memories are sacred. The memori claim to know this, but they continue to steal them. Sarilla is vehemently aware of this as well. King Renford has ordered her to steal memories, more than she can count, and each one has hung heavily on her soul. Meanwhile, Falon is determined to get his memories back…and he will make Sarilla help him, whether she wants to or not.
In a gripping adventure that takes Sarilla and Falon down a path of memories, we’re introduced to this unique idea of the Memori. They take memories, determined to get back their inherita (or their history), by sending out tendrils of black vine into the kingdom. Horrific and deadly, it tears apart the landscape, leaving anyone who encounters it an empty shell.
And this is the essence of the story: without our memories, who are we? And when we loose a memory, is worth fighting to get it back? Or should we move on and create our own identity?
I loved the concept and the discussion of how memory ties us all together. The memori are a unique entity, positioned as both friends and foe when looked at from both side. They want their history back, but they also threaten humanity. There is no black and white in this battle. Everything is gray. It is always interesting to read a story muddling the lines between dark and light. In the end, it leaves you wondering…who can you trust?
While I loved the concept and the overarching plot, unfortunately I found the execution to be a disservice to the novel. The first half of the novel is told from Sarilla’s point of view, and with good reason due to who is telling the story, before switching over to Falon’s point of view. Really now, writing this review, I realize more why it starts this way. But, I find that for us to really understand this memoria and Falon’s struggles with his memory, the story might have been better off just told from Falon’s single point of view (perhaps starting at the point where he lost his memories). It would have given us a chance to get to know his friends better, and when certain disheartening moments occurred, we would have felt the pain. As is the essence of memories, so much of the novel is a reflection instead of placing the readers in the actual plot. Any novel like this that bounces between memories will either be executed well or be executed poorly. While I wouldn’t say this was the worst execution of the story, the story definitely struggled in the beginning because of it.
Since I did get a chance to talk with Rachel Emma Shaw a few months ago, I do understand her process on writing the novel. It was written as an audio adaptation, and upon reading it, I can see how it would work as an audio book. Some day I might listen to at least a few pieces of the audio book, since has piqued my interest.
That being said, I am curious to see what the second book in the duology will hold. Will Sarilla come to terms with who she is? Will memories finally be free? I do want to find out, so I am eagerly awaiting that book’s release for sure.
If you enjoy fast paced dark fantasy with a romantic and horror element, I encourage you to check out Last Memoria.
And remember…everyone lies.
What’s it about?
There’s nothing Sarilla hates more than stealing memories, but the king forces her to, just so he can keep his subjects in line. She wants to escape to where nobody knows what she is or what she can do, but her plans go awry when she runs into someone she would much rather forget.
Falon has a six-month void in his memories that he’s desperate to restore. He doesn’t know why they were taken or what they contained, nor why the man he loves is acting so cagily about what happened during that time. He hopes to use Sarilla to get back what was stolen from him and isn’t interested in why she’s so desperate to escape. She will help him get back what he’s lost, whether she wants to or not.
Join Sarilla and Falon in this twisted tale about how sometimes good intentions aren’t enough to keep the darkness at bay