Ahoy there me mateys! I received this sci-fi eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .
the architects of memory (Karen Osborne)
Title: the architects of memory
Author: Karen Osborne
Publication Date: TOMORROW!! (paperback/ebook)
Super awesome title and cover made me pick up this sci-fi. This ended up being a quick, engaging read where I ultimately ended up being both confused and conflicted.
I did not know this was the first book of a series so that could have contributed but really this book made me feel like either nothing was explained or I just blatantly missed things. I did very much like the idea of the corporate indenture based society. I loved the beginning of the book and how the terminally ill main character, Ash, goes into a salvage operation with unexpected consequences. I absolutely loved the idea of the mysterious alien artifact. But sadly this book wasn’t what I wanted.
I don’t normally mind being thrown into the middle of things. In this book the conflict with the alien Vai has been ongoing for a while. The action is basically non-stop. What was missing was any real insight into what the characters were thinking or their relationships with each other. Ash was a fun person to root for but I didn’t really get to see any of the “found family” moments that were hinted at. Ash and her love interest are in a very nebulous relationship where we are told they are in love but the reader doesn’t get to see this either. All the romances were surface level and felt more like plot-devices. Even the interactions of the major players and overall world politics of the society did not seem to have nuance. Unusually, I actually wanted the backstory of both the war and Ash’s life.
Then there is the aliens and the technology. I felt that neither aspect made any sense. I liked the idea of how the alien society supposedly functioned but the practical aspects of how the aliens and their tech worked felt more like magic without any clear rules. In fact in many scenes, I felt that the tech contradicted itself in terms of the problems it caused and the circumstances required to make it work. There is a lot of discussion of how the alien tech distorts or changes memory but I couldn’t tell you how or why. All the memory related problems made no real sense and confused me even more.
And then the ending. I actually thought the book could have been a standalone based on what happened. The ending was depressing which I was cool with. I did not enjoy that I am still not sure exactly what the plot or message of the book was besides corporations are evil and humans suck. I thought it was weird that while I found reading the book to be enjoyable, the problems and inconsistencies ended up making me like the book a lot less after-the-fact. So much so that I don’t feel like I will read any more of the series.
Strange reading times indeed. Arrr!
So lastly . . .
Thank you Macmillian-Tor/Forge!
Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:
Terminally ill salvage pilot Ash Jackson lost everything in the war with the alien Vai, but she’ll be damned if she loses her future. Her plan: to buy, beg, or lie her way out of corporate indenture and find a cure.
When her crew salvages a genocidal weapon from a ravaged starship above a dead colony, Ash uncovers a conspiracy of corporate intrigue and betrayal that threatens to turn her into a living weapon.
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