Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan

"No one can take your memories from you... can they?"

Seven is a thief with a difference - he steals downloadable memories from banks and memoriums to sell onto London's black market, trading secrets and hidden pasts for a chance at a future of his own. He makes sure he keeps some special stuff back to 'surf' himself though - it's the only real form of entertainment he can afford. But one night, as Seven is breaking into a private memorium in a wealthy part of London, he is caught in the act by one of its residents; Alba, the teenage daughter of London's most famous criminal prosecutor. Instead of giving him away, Alba promises to keep Seven's secret - as long as he allows her to go memory-surfing herself. In doing so, they discover a hidden memory about Seven's past, revealing a shocking secret about Seven's childhood, the government and a mysterious experiment known as The Memory Keepers...

Now Seven and Alba will have to race against time to unlock the maze of The Memory Keepers - but can they keep themselves out of harm's way before the London Guard - and Alba's father - catches up with them?

Everything about this promised an amazing story: the future London, the enticing value of memories, and the absolutely heart breaking character stories. I flew through this, completely gripped to finding out the truth behind the Memory Keepers and what the deal was with Seven's past and how it tied to the memory trade.
Told in alternative perspectives, it was as much Alba's story as Seven's, which, much like the fact that is wasn't immediately a romance, was refreshing; they both needed a friend more than a complicated relationship on top of everything else! I really liked Alba and I especially appreciated that she wasn't just a spoiled child who wanted to see the world, she was trapped and genuinely hurting in the home she was in. As for Seven, my heart ached for him. He literally grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, with no parents, barely a home and resorting to stealing to make ends meat. They made an unlikely pair but grew to trust each other and came together for each other in the end.

Futuristic London was awesome and a little scary. North and south of the river were completely divided and world's apart in terms of health, social status and money. The economy based on the trade of memories, the most valuable and personal commodity a person can sell. That's what Seven did, but a little more unethically: he stole them right out of rich people's homes. And that's how he met Alba, in the middle of a heist and learned that there was more to it than just stealing. There was also, of course, secret parts of the ruling government and the horrible things they did that need to be uncovered. It was all very fast-paced and terrifying and amazing! I highly recommend it for fans of great UKYA, unlikely couples and just incredibly rich story-telling.

Published 4th September 2014 by Hot Key Books. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

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