Friday, December 20, 2013

My Name is Memory Book Review

Rawr Reader,

Hey, it's been a while. How you doing?
It's a little funny, I was just talking to my best friend about this blog and she asked about it since she hadn't seen anything in a while. Who knew I found a book I wanted to talk about so soon. ^_^

This is My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares, the synopsis is provided by Goodreads:

Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. For all the times that he and Sophia have been connected throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart.

But just when Sophia (now "Lucy" in the present) finally awakens to the secret of their shared past, the mysterious force that has always separated them reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.

I was at Books-A-Million and they had this in the bargain section, as you can see in the picture above.

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
   I don't read many romance driven stories, however I haven't read a romance story that isn't even implemented in the story for 1/4 of it. Seriously, pitiful. Most of this book was flashback and though it had some beautiful moments, world-building, character development, characterization as a whole, was lacking. This book tackled too much without a strong structure. It bounced back and forth and that is very dangerous, at least with me they are. Such as The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, if an author chooses to jump around in time, you best be prepared to amaze me with excellent plot or you will be reviewed harshly. (I didn't do a review on The Night Circus since I read it before I created this blog, but I did like it a little more than this book, but it did lack plot.)
   The writing of this book was beautiful, though not memorable. I got myself caught up in the story in the moments when it wasn't dragging, and it made me wonder if what I look in a book, what I prefer in a book. Is it good writing or a good story? I choose the latter.
    The characters I found likable, however none of them stand out and I'll forget their names soon enough. And they lacked consistency, especially the two protagonists, they need consistency and development, not just development. Lucy is obsessed then completely frightened off by Daniel within the first chapter. And then Daniel is determined then left hopeless by the end of the first chapter. The first chapter actually is the first tumbling block in the story because the first chapter sets up our protagonists, but then Brashares writes the rest of the book contradicting the characterization that she's set up. So either the first chapter should've been rewritten, or the rest of the chapters after the first. Either way, this story just doesn't work.
    And it's a little funny because I wanted to like this book, but when I stepped away from the book and really thought about it, I found myself seeing only bad and not a lot of good. So let me say something I did like about the story.
    The idea had potential, this story really could have been great and their love romance epic, however it was just cut off in parts it shouldn't have and idea wasn't as explored as it could have been. A book I say had the potential, but the attention was focused on the wrong things. Sorry, that's the most good I could say. 

       I give this book 2/5 stars.

 Some other books that I think have interesting interpretations on souls (first two) or reincarnation (last two):
   Every Day by David Levithan
   The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (I haven't read but I've seen the movie)
   Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
   The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Author's Quote:
“Love who you love while you have them. That's all you can do. Let them go when you must. If you know how to love, you'll never run out.”
-Ann Brashares, My Name is Memory

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
City of Thieves by David Benioff

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
    Okay, I had many many problems with this book, of which I'm sure you've heard of above. ^-^
    First is the introduction of Alexander, Marnie's younger brother. He was cute, then a little annoying, then his true colors revealed. Okay, I understand why Brashares wanted to include him-- maybe he turns out to be the guy that Joaquim teams up with. But no, he's not. He doesn't even show up after his night with Lucy, only briefly mentioned that they hooked up several more times after that. 
    And one of the biggest problem I had with this story was that I came into it thinking that it would be a romance story, where the couple would actually, you know, be in story together. Waaaaay too much flashback for my liking and most which didn't actually benefit the story. I counted, 75% of the story, from page 23-277 they make no contact. Of course, monkey-see-monkey-do-Edward-wannabe Daniel just stalks her for some parts or just completely avoids her altogether which I don't understand for several reasons.
     1) In the most recent life where they have recognized, trusted and loved each other for the first time equally since Sophia (in the life of Constance in England), is the first time Lucy/Sophia actually accepted what Daniel tells her, you would think that in the next life they were together that Daniel would be more optimistic about them being together. For crying out loud, this is the first time that she is his age or around it, not married, and she actually likes him, heck she even kisses him after five minutes even though he ignored her for two years without so much as a word, but in the first chapter he tried to commit suicide. SERIOUSLY??? He didn't even try again which he would have done when he was her brother-in-law, or fatally wounded, dying, not her age-- but no, when he has no legit excuse to actually try and pursue her or just explain, he just gives up. This is either the stupidest 1200 year old soul or this is just another case of the the Twilights. 
     2) Lucy. Seriously, give a guy a break. I didn't have a problem with her when reading, but thinking back on everything she did after she ran out on him. I mean oh no, an attractive guy telling you he loves you and always will, better run before he I don't know, turns to be a millionaire and prove his faithfulness to you (oh wait he is and he does!) I just see her as another stupid-headed girl whose life is defined by a man. Which, technically, I should expect since this is the 21st century and a romance nonetheless, God forbid that girls actually want something of their lives. I will admit, she didn't just give up which Bella Swan would've done, she tried to move on and graduated college, attending grad school by the time she and Daniel meet again, but she still obsessed over a boy who didn't so much as spend more than five minutes with her.
   3) The flashbacks. We step into a great hunk of history which I enjoyed at first since I love historical fiction, but I didn't want to read only about their past, I wanted to know their present. I was bothered and bored with reading about past families that didn't affect Daniel since he was so committed to being with Sophia, but then all of a sudden he did find a family he actually cared for, more the mother Molly than anything, but ohp! he killed himself so he could reincarnate with Sophia. Seriously, this man doesn't make sense or remain consistent, let me get to the point with consistency.
     THERE WAS NONE. Daniel kept going from hopeful to depressive, to suicidal to determined, he wanted to give up but then ohp! no he didn't. I know you want to make your characters round, but authors need to give them ground to stand on, not quicksand. Daniel just sank. There was no outstanding character development from any character.
   And the plot. Jeez, if the characters won't give me much, at least give me some form of plot, but there was none. The villain only appeared for about five seconds at the end---so what was driving this story?? Nothing. Which means that this story, though intriguing at some parts, was pointless for most of it. Why should I care about their pasts or the past of Daniel if they don't even have a reason to be apart if the villain isn't even there. Only Daniel was standing in his own way and not even for a real reason, and not even without trying very hard which doesn't match his prior lives who wouldn't stop at anything.
   And we aren't explained what these souls are. (At least Every Day by David Levithan did, or at least ventured to do so.) Ben briefly and cryptically explains some things that Joaquim is a shapeshifter while Daniel is a Memory keeper, but nothing is explained about the souls like them. Ben sounded omniscient which got me thinking he was some god-like person who somehow had no powers, unless his power was knowing all but not actually having the power to control any of it. But what confused me was the fact that Ben could change gender. Joaquim as far as we know, and Daniel had always reincarnated in male forms. So why did Ben/Laura/Amita change?
   Joaquim was the unseen villain. He didn't even really do much. He shot Lucy but even then she ended up not losing her arm... A bunch of characters that were mentioned but that never were fully developed were her sister Dana, her snake, Alexander, Lucy's parents and her relationship with them. But yeah, Joaquim was the worst written villain ever, which is a pity, because he had potential, as did this book. 
    But it fell utterly short of anything impressive.    
    Which leads me up to my last problem which wouldn't exist if all the others hadn't accumulated as they have-- why did Branshares have to give the only Spanish-sounding name in the book to the bad guy. I wouldn't have even noticed before, but alas, I did.
    The ending didn't bother me. The fact that they spent more of it in an ocean than actually talking bothered me. I like that it was open-ended like Every Day, however it didn't accomplish half as much as Every Day did with the concept.

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel