SPFBO Review: Last Memoria by Rachel Emma Shaw

48644511._sy475_Onto semifinalists now. The end is in sight!

Sarilla has learnt one thing from stealing memories. Everybody lies.

There’s nothing Sarilla hates more than stealing memories, but the king forces her to take them to 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 Falon.

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 his stolen memories and doesn’t care what she wants or why she’s desperate to escape. She will help him get them back, whether she wants to or not.

Last Memoria is the story of Sarilla, who is a half-memorian girl in service to her uncle, the king. The Memoria are people who are able to remove and replace the memories of people by skin-to-skin contact, and Sarilla, along with her brother Rysen and her sister Lya are kept more or less prisoner by the king and forced to remove the memories of those he orders them to. As they fill up with memories other than their own, their hands and arms begin to amass pulsing black marks and they start having trouble differentiating between their own memories and those of other people. 

When Rysen and Sarilla escape from the king, they end up in the company of Falon and his friends. Falon is a man that Sarilla knows intimately well, as they used to be lovers, but Falon doesn’t remember that, because those memories have been taken from him. Still, Sarilla seems familiar to him and he can’t help but want to help her. So, they head towards the city where Sarilla’s family are waiting, and many shenanigans are had along the way.

We see this story from both Sarilla and Falon’s POV, but instead of alternating chapters, this one is half-and-half. I thought it worked for this particular story, but some people might be thrown a bit. 

This story pulled no punches, and I had a few feels throughout it as things that I definitely didn’t expect to happen absolutely happened. A lot of this book took me by surprise, which was a good thing. 

I liked Falon more than Sarilla, but I did end up liking both of them, even if both of them were fairly unreliable narrators. You don’t really know what is true of either of them since one has excess memories and the other has a bunch missing. It’s hard to tell if you should feel sorry for them or to admonish them. 

It’s a very quick read, and it kept me reading whenever I had the opportunity to sit down with it. My one real complaint is that there were some grammatical errors. Not so many that it made it unreadable, but enough that I started to notice them when they would pop up. This book could benefit so very much from another pass of copy edits. 

So, all told, Last Memoria is an interesting and unique story about a world in which memories can be moved around, and what happens to those with that power and those it is used on. I had 8/10 stars of fun with this one. I definitely think I’ll pick up the next book in the duology and see what happens!


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