by Liana Liu
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (March 3, 2015)
Goodreads | Amazon
Lora Mint is determined not to forget.To The Memory Key,
Though her mother's been dead for five years, Lora struggles to remember every detail about her—most important, 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?
Lora's story of longing for her lost mother—and for the truth behind her broken memories—takes readers on a twisty ride. The authentic, emotional narrative sparks fascinating questions about memory and privacy in a world that increasingly relies on electronic recall.
This is going to be a rather awkward letter to you, simply because I just didn't enjoy you. I actually put you to the side after reading halfway through your pages and started a different book. That's not something I do on a regular basis. I'm strictly a one book at a time reader...well, most of the time. But since I have this objection to DNF-ing books, I made myself read every single one of your words, sentences, and chapters, even though I felt as if I was dying from boredom. I feel a little bad for the harshness, but it's the truth, despite how much I wish it wasn't.
You start off with the story of Lora Mint, who lives some unspecified time in the future in some unspecified town. She has some issues trying to recall memories of her mother, who passed away nearly 5 years ago. It's not easy when the future is plagued by a disease called Vergets, which is pretty much a viral form of Alzheimer's. It's even more difficult for Lora, because her memory key, the chip that's embedded in her brain to help preserve memories, is damaged, causing her to suddenly remember things that she had forgotten before. (Sounds confusing, right? Pretty much the rest of the book is too, so no worries.) Specifically memories of her mother and what happened on the night her life was tragically ended. Can Lora trust these new memories?
I'm going to go ahead and say that I did. not. like. the. main. character. at. all. Punctuation intended. Lora was unlikeable, mean, annoying, selfish, and on and on. I barely cared what happened to her, because of her actions 24/7. She didn't have any redeemable qualities whatsoever. She was extremely rude and hateful to her family and friends and boyfriend(s?). I don't understand why anyone wanted to be around her. I didn't even want to be around her, and she doesn't even exist in real life! I was constantly SMH at her actions, her words, her demeanor, her everything. I'm still SMH as I type this. I can't even right now. A lot of the other characters aren't around that much because everyone finally comes to their senses and starts staying away from Lora, so I didn't have time to really form an emotional attachment to them. The romance(s?) were cliche at best, and at worst, a total love triangle cluster. I didn't care about either of the boys, and I sure as heck didn't see how they were even interested in her, but whatevs. It's fictional so it doesn't have to make sense? Wrong. I need a lot of explaining because this does not compute.
Your voice was stunted, The Memory Key. I felt as if I was reading something a robot wrote. It didn't sound natural, more (like I said) robotic. I wish there had been more world-building. There were mentions of a Citizen's Army every 75 pages or so, but I still don't understand what the point in even mentioning them was? I picked you up because I find the concept of a viral Alzheimer's fascinating, but unfortunately not when it comes in your form. Besides the few (or a bunch) issues, I mentioned above, one of the absolute most important ones is that I found you EXTREMELY (emphasis on the extremely) confusing. Lora is jolted back into memories right in the middle of talking to someone, or doing something else, and there's no indication of it happening. Maybe it would've been better if it was a change in formatting, but sometimes I would be in the middle of a flashback and not even know it until a few pages later where it states that she had a flashback. That's a major problem for readers.
People may wonder why I forced myself to continue with you, even though I loathed you, and after writing this letter to you, I'm questioning myself as well. I think it mostly has to do with the fact that I felt like you had the potential to suddenly turn great, and I kept turning pages in hopes that it would happen, but it never did. The need to know what ultimately happened in the end is what drove me to finish you, when I finally figured out you weren't getting any better.
I think this may be one of the harshest review letters I've ever penned, and it weighs heavily on my heart. Sure, some might love you, but in my case, I didn't. (I think that's pretty obvious by now, but whatevs) I leave you with one star, The Memory Key.
Disappointed and still SMH,