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I Belong

Review: The Memory Key by Liana Liu

The Memory KeyTitle: The Memory Key

Author: Liana Liu

Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopian

Series: N/A

Publication Date: March 3, 2015

Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062306642 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062306647 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Zed


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 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.

Quick & Dirty: Yet another dystopian read centered on a corrupt government with hidden agendas.

Opening Sentence: My earliest memory is of my mother.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

When reading The Memory Key, I was reminded of the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver. In Delirium, love is considered a disease so everyone over 18 must be immunised against it. It is essentially a way for those in power to control the general public’s minds. Similarly, in this story, the government / leaders are controlling their people through their memories by inputting memory keys into their bodies. Why don’t these people realise that anything that is artificially installed into the body and is a compulsory alteration is risky business. Especially if the main alteration is to the brain!

I liked the intrigue and mystery surrounding Lora’s mother and her death. Unfortunately, Lora irritated me most of the time because she needed things spelled out for her in order to understand. Her ‘damaged’ memory key was a good excuse for the most part but I felt she overused that excuse.

I stay there. I stay because I can’t move; the guilt and shame have completely cramped my muscles. I feel awful about it, all of it, large and small. For lying to him. For continuing to lie to him.
And for suspecting that he is lying to me.

The Memory Key is targeted for young adults but the writing was a leeetle amateurish. I may have found this because I am used to reading YA that is a tad more challenging, with confusing plots, so the simplicity of this story was tedious.

When Lora doesn’t get her memory key replaced she receives a few telephone calls and although they become more persistent, I expected more drama, or someone to physically track Lora down to force her into replacing her key. But then, confusingly enough, she goes and gets it replaced anyway and I just wondered, ‘what was the point in delaying it then?’ There were so many aspects to this story that just seemed pointless.

The first few chapters were fairly slow, but the middle of the book was fast-paced; thereby building up anticipation for a strong ending. Unfortunately, the ending was a complete disappointment. Without revealing any spoilers, it is safe to say that the conclusion was anticlimactic, leaving the reader wondering how they could have better used their time!

Notable Scene:

Besides, there is the mystery of those two strangers at our house the night before she died. And what if beneath the clouding grief, it’s there? The memory that will at last explain what happened, and how it could have happened, and why her. And why me.

I spent years obsessing over these questions, even though I knew there were no answers. No good ones.

But maybe I was wrong.


FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of The Memory Key. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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