Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Julie's Review: The Memory Thief

Summary: In Emily Colin’s exquisite debut novel, perfect for the fans of Kristin Hannah, one man’s vow to his wife sparks a remarkable journey that tests the pull of memory and reaffirms the bonds of love. Before Madeleine Kimble’s mountaineer husband, Aidan, climbs Mount McKinley’s south face, he makes her a solemn vow: I will come back to you. But late one night, Maddie gets the devastating news that Aidan has died in an avalanche, leaving her to care for their son—a small boy with a very big secret. The call comes from J.C., Aidan’s best friend and fellow climber, whose grief is seasoned with survivor’s guilt . . . and something more. J.C. has loved Maddie for years, but he never wanted his chance with her to come at so terrible a cost. Across the country, Nicholas Sullivan wakes from a motorcycle crash with his memory wiped clean. Yet his dreams are haunted by visions of a mysterious woman and a young boy, neither of whom he has ever met. Convinced that these strangers hold the answers he seeks, Nicholas leaves everything behind to find them. What he discovers will require a leap of faith that will change all of their lives forever. ~amazon.com  

Review:  Let me start by saying that you pretty much know where this is going from the get go. It's not that the ending of a good part of the plot is predictable but it's the way that Ms. Colin handles it that keeps it from falling into cliche territory.

While The Memory Thief definitely has the whole paranormal thing going on, for me it was the relationships between these characters that kept the book grounded for me. It was the dynamic between J.C., A.J. and Maddie that had me itching to know what happened and how it was resolved. I also found Nicholas to be an intriguing character and how he dealt with a major change in his life.

I'm going to say immediately that I didn't like Aidan a.k.a. AJ, very much when I first started the novel and by the end of the novel I didn't like him very much either. I thought even though he loved Maddie and Gabe, he was selfish in the end. He held onto his promise to Maddie by coming back but to do so he messed up the life of someone else, Nicholas. While I never liked Aidan, Maddie knew what she was getting into when she married him and because of the risks he took knew that his life would more than likely be cut short. I did like J.C. but I also felt that he should have respected boundaries especially since Maddie's emotions were so precarious. I can't say that I agree with the quick path J.C. and Maddie took but given the history, it wasn't a surprise.

I did thoroughly enjoy the different voices that Ms. Colin wrote the novel in. We got to read it from Maddie's,  Nicholas' and Aidan's points of view. I feel that by doing it this way we were able to truly get the full picture of everything that was happening, especially since a lot of it felt that it was happening simultaneously.

While I haven't personally had an experience where a recently deceased person has visited me, I don't have doubts that it can be a real occurrence. I think this is even more prevalent in children since their minds are much more open. It is these parts of the book with Gabe that broke my heart. How strong that little boy was to not only understand what was going on but to then process and deal with it as well. He's a very unique 4 year old boy.

My biggest problem with the novel was J.C.'s use of the word babe or baby constantly in regards to Maddie. I also am still not quite sure how I feel about one part of the ending. I thought Ms. Colin did a wonderful job wrapping up Nicholas' part in the story because I wasn't sure how that was going to tie in. 

If you like paranormal novels but want one with some depth to the relationships, then The Memory Thief is definitely a book for you. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Colin's novels in the future.

Final Take: 4/5

Thank you to Random House for my copy of this novel.



Michelle December 20, 2012 at 9:00 PM  

Hmmm...on the one hand this does sound interesting, but your issues with it make me concerned that I would struggle with it and ultimately dislike it. I'll probably pass but appreciate your honesty!

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