Friday, August 02, 2013

Review: Memory by Christoph Marzi

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I received this book for free from Hachette Children's Books UK in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Memory by Christoph MarziMemory by Christoph Marzi
Published by Orchard Books on August 1st 2013
Genres: Paranormal, YA
Source: Hachette Children's Books UK
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This is a book about a ghost called Story.

She's lost in the city - alone, afraid and without her memory.

Then she meets Jude, a boy who sees the dead.

And he is the only one who can help her remember...

This blurb, this cover, it gives off such a wonderful creepy vibe that intrigued me immediately. Ghosts! London Cemeteries! A girl with no memories! All things that made this book an instant must-have. Although one part does have its share of thrill, the mythologies introduced felt out of place, the characters are flat and boring, and the story is nothing if not cheesy.

The book begins with Jude finding this girl in a cemetery who is not quite a ghost, but not a live person either. People can’t see her, yet she’s not cold nor does she have any other ghost qualities. She also has no memory of who she is. It was an attention grabbing beginning which I thought for sure a good sign. Then we start to learn how these ghosts can sleep, eat, and other bizarre non-ghostly things I started to have a cocked eyebrow that never really went away. There were other lores introduced as well, like shape shifters and magical sea creatures. I usually would have found this interesting, except I didn’t think it was a good fit in this particular story. This is made worse since they aren’t really ever explored, merely mentioned fleetingly. This, in addition to what turns out to be some paranormal infused mob-like story made the plot feel like it wanted to be bigger than it was. I think it would have made for a stronger, more polished plot had it chosen a main direction. As it lay it was not a very chilling read, there was simply too much distraction and cheesiness. It even felt more like an MG novel at times, except for the few violent parts at least.

The writing was also peculiar in parts. I think, from what I’ve gathered, that this book is originally German and was translated to English. You can definitely tell at parts. I know it’s set in London so some dialect and sayings will be different, but even so, there are some sentences that I’m pretty sure were not correctly translated. It made reading it a little jarring at times.

What I did enjoy were the cemeteries we visit or that are eerily described throughout. It was the one part that delivered in creepiness. The mystery of the men without faces as well as the inclusion of stone angels, too, were haunting. If only it had ended on a terrific note it might have saved this book for me. Alas, that wasn’t the case.

This book could have been a lot of things – it’s an original premise with tons of potential – so it’s unfortunate that its execution fell flat in almost every aspect. But you never know, it’s different enough that it may gather a niche audience.


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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18 Responses to “Review: Memory by Christoph Marzi”

  1. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    Translated books are never my thing. You can always tell while reading the book. I once tried reading an English book that had been translated into French and it was terrible!
    This does sound like it has an interesting premise, but ghosts that can eat though? That’s just really weird.
    It’s a shame that the execution fell flat for you, Giselle! 🙁
    Thanks for the great honest review though! 🙂

  2. Vyki @ On The Shelf

    The cover is quite an attention grabber, so it is unfortunate that you didn’t really enjoy it. The things you mentioned are things that I don’t think I would much like, either. Great honest review!

  3. Clare

    This cover and back flap also caught my attention . I thought it sounded like a good read. I looked into the author and found a title called “Lillith” that I thought looked good also. So far, “Memory” is the only one I’ve found that HAS been translated into English ? I’m not always up to date with some of the computer lingo, what does “MG” stand for? Nice review at any rate.

  4. Candace

    I hadn’t heard of this, but I’m glad I read your review. This is one I would have HAD to have but I’m thinking it probably wouldn’t work for me either. What a disappointment. 🙁

  5. Eileen @ ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***

    I’m sorry you didn’t like this one as much as you expected to, the mash-up of all the paranormal types does seem like it would make it messy, especially since the story definitely doesn’t sound like one where it would be very appropriate, and since each of the types were just mentioned quickly D: Translations are always a little off, too, so I definitely get why the writing could kind of confuse you or something once in a while 🙂

    Fantastic review, Giselle! <33

  6. kimbacaffeinate

    I was excited when I saw the cover and read the blurp, but cheesy, poorly sad. I wish it was a better read for you. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts about it.

  7. Faye

    Uh-oh :(( I got this one from Orchard Books and am now afraid to read it. I don’t mind stuff that were translated from other languages, but goodness, at least translate stuff right! I really hate it when the meaning gets lost somewhere… Hopefully I’d be able to appreciate this one :/

  8. Megan

    The cover is pretty and the blurb sounds cool, so too bad this one didn’t work out for you. Ghosts who eat just doesn’t sound right at all!

  9. Sarah

    The cover is totally up my street! I looks haunting, shame it’s not a great read. Might see if I can get a kindle sample and see if I could perhaps get into it. 🙂