Memories by Catherine Burkett

Title: Memories

Author: Catherine Burkett

Publisher: Self-published

Publication date: December 10, 2015

Genre: Fantasy

Summary: Vincent can heal people – physically and mentally. But for a price. For every healing he does, he must give up a memory of equal size. And then go on the run again. Armed with a black book and precious few belongings, he leaves, this time forced to take a young, battered woman he healed. He shares with her his strange abilities and his search for his mother, who healed him and then vanished. Amazingly, she knows where his mother was last living, unwittingly leading them into a trap set by those who would exploit his abilities.

Memories employs a first person point of view, which is perfect for this story. After all, it is one man’s story of his life and abilities and how it has shaped, and continues to shape, how he behaves. A large part of the book is internal, where Vincent relates stories from his childhood and conveys the fears and apprehensions he lives with, all due to some mysterious powers inherited from his mother. As a result, much of the conflict is internal. We get the story of a mildly paranoid, for good reason, young man. He is suspicious of everyone and struggles to trust the young woman he saved.

The book’s summary paints Memories as a man vs. man conflict, where Vincent is running from a shadowy organization. However, save for his paranoia, there is no real evidence of this until about the last third of the book. This was a little disappointing since I was expecting the story of a remarkable man who was actively being hunted by a mysterious group with unclear intentions. Ignoring that, though, I found Memories to be a decent story with an intriguing premise. Vincent’s search for his mother and his good intentions were heartwarming, but also led to terrible heartbreak. The end of the book is quite thought-provoking and makes you think of things differently.

The fantasy element was unique and I greatly enjoyed it. I did love that sacrifices had to be made every time Vincent used his powers, but, when the true extent of his powers were revealed, I found the counterbalance lacking. Without the book, there seemed to be no need to make further sacrifices. It also leaves me wondering about his abilities and what he goes on to do with them once the book ends. One thing that did not disappoint me was the origin story of his powers, which was well thought out and explained. Also, I loved the beginning of the book, when we are immediately introduced to his powers. It was very well written and drew me in.He

I liked getting right into the story, but Burkett just kept on going. As a result, there was no real introduction to the narrator. Was this person male or female? How old? What was his or her name? Indeed, we must wait several chapters before getting a name, and the end of the book before we get the real name. Otherwise, the narrator’s story was thought out, but also had many holes. We learn early on he is a young man in his early twenties who ran from home years before. How did he finish his schooling, if he did? How did he get his jobs and make his way in the world? Does he have a driver’s license and how did he get it? The questions I have go on and on. Fortunately, Amber\Emily had a nice introduction and background, probably making her the most fleshed out character. However, I found her confusing. She was understandably shy and terrified and unsure due to lifelong abuse, but she also had a clear voice, sharp tongue, flares of independence, and was capable of standing up for herself. If Amber\Emily was the most fleshed out, Vincent’s mom was probably the most complex. A product of artificial multiple personality disorder due to giving up and eventually regaining all identities, she was understandably hostile and confused, but capable of making them all work for her.

The first third of the book was very nicely written and drew me in. There was suspense and magic in the first chapter and I was charmed by the writing. The flashbacks were nice additions and equally well-written. I was very pleased to find virtually no comma issues. However, the writing began to peter out after that first third. It became rougher with more writing errors and less polished writing.

Bottom line: an interesting story and premise that was almost flawless for the first third. The summary is a bit misleading, but Memories is a decent story not without character, story, and writing flaws. Try it; it’s a relatively quick read.

How many cups of tea will you need?

4 cups will do

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