Stars: 3.5 out of 5
This was an interesting read and it went in a different direction than I expected.
What would you do to get rid of the memories of the most traumatic events that haunt you? What would you do to never have to remember then again? Would that make your life easier? Better? Would that help you start over? Or would you realize that those events are also part of who you are, and by erasing them, you erase an important part of yourself as well?
This was the most interesting aspect of the story for me. I understand that people can be so damaged and haunted by something horrible in their past that they would do anything to get rid of the memory. Even accepting to be part of an experimental treatment offered by a person whose face nobody has ever seen. Even accepting to go to a remote and desolate location where they would basically be at the mercy of that same person. I understand that the desire to forget can overwhelm the instinct of self-preservation. And when you get to the place and things don’t seem quite right, or when the man in charge makes the hairs on your back stand up, you still try to make excuses, because you want so bad for this to work…
This book also raises an interesting question of whether our memories and experiences shape us as a person. That we are the sum of all the experiences we had – both good and bad. If we erase the bad, would we still be the same person?
Also, how can we be certain that someone who has absolute access to your memories didn’t modify something else? How can you be sure that you are still you, and that your desires are really yours, instead of implanted by a machine?
So I loved all those concepts and questions raised by this book. Unfortunately, the characters we followed through the story felt a bit flat to me. Though, I must admit that they improved by the end of the story, but for most of the book, I wasn’t really engaged in their stories or their well-being. I felt slightly more engaged with Senna than the other two, but even then, it was more mild curiosity than concern.
Plus, the villain’s motivations didn’t particularly stand to scrutiny. What was his end-game there? Keep these people prisoners on his nice little ice world forever? Edit their memories so badly that they become no better than androids who obey his every whim? That’s not viable on the long run.
Also, the technology itself was more in the realm of fantasy than science fiction. So that was a bit of a let down. And I also found that the ending was wrapped up a little bit too neatly. There would have been a lot more fallout for the survivors after they basically accused the most influential man in the system of kidnapping and illegal experimentation. I mean, look what happens to those who go against rich and influential figures in our times – most times those lawsuits go nowhere and we never hear from the accuser again… yet the accused are still rich and thriving.
All in all though, it was an entertaining story that I would certainly recommend.
PS: I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.