Memory's Wake (Memory's Wake Trilogy #1) by Selina Fenech
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Fairies and Fantasy Pty Ltd
Source: Review Copy for Tour
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Lost in a world full of monstrous fairies, a troubled sixteen year old has to find out who she is and why her memories were stolen before she is found by those who want her dead.
She takes the name "Memory" and knows she has just one goal - to find her way home, wherever that is. But this land is strange. No technology to be seen, and iron is banned, thanks to a pact the humans have with the magical creatures who share their pre-industrial era world. In her t-shirt and torn jeans, Memory knows she's different, even before she performs impossible magic.
Haunted by her past, chased by a dragon, wanted by the king and stalked by the strange, handsome savage that seems to know her, everyone is after Memory, and she suspects it's not just for her eye-catching outfit. Her forgotten past holds dangerous secrets that will challenge everything she believes and risk the lives of everyone she loves.
Memory’s Wake contains over 45 illustrations by the author and artist.
After finding herself unceremoniously dumped in a forest in a strange world, with no memory of who she is or where she's from, Memory (hah) finds herself on a quest to escape those hunting her for reasons she can't understand and to regain her memory. On this quest is Eloryn, a magical girl who appeared in the forest with Memory, and Roen, the boy determined to protect them both on their journey.
Memory herself is a bit on the snarky side, with a wonderful dose of dark humor and a quick wit. She's also prone to some major jealousy issues, which got old really quickly for me. Eloryn is basically light everywhere Memory is dark - she's proper and polite, soft-spoken, shy, and content to do almost everything for other's. I found myself relating to and liking her a lot more than Memory most of the time. Roen I loved - despite his almost crippling self-loathing - for his devotion to both girls, especially Eloryn, and the fact that he would do anything for his family. And then there's Will, whose back story is achingly sweet, but his current feelings are, at least to me, a mystery. He obviously cares for Memory, but as to in what way... who knows?
Memory's Wake is a more classical take on fairy mythology, set in a land straight out of a, for lack of a better term, fairytale. The story itself contains all the wonder of such stories, the kind we all read as children, but with more action, mysteries, and teen angst. It was a fun ride in an absorbing world, full of wonder.
However, for all it's focus on fairies, I was surprised by how small a role they actually played in the story. I don't know if their role is larger in the second book, but I found myself wishing we'd learned more about them. I love the fairy mythology - the magic, intricacy, and beauty surrounding it - and really wanted it to be a more integral part of the plot. As it was, they were never more than supporting characters (barely, at that) and a background story line.
I was also left very confused by where the characters stood with each other. Neither Roen nor Eloryn seemed capable of getting their act together and figuring out their feelings, and I couldn't get a gauge for what Will was feeling at all. And then there's Memory, who appeared to oblivious on all romantic fronts. This conundrum alone is enough for me to want to read the second installment, if only for the hope that they'll all finally figure it out!
The illustrations were gorgeous and I spent a lot of time just studying them as I read. I only wished I had a hard copy to better see them, because they are truly amazing. Their addition makes the story truly reminiscent of a fairy tale picture book from younger years, but with an older story. Selena Fenech is an incredible artist!
Overall, Memory's Wake was an enjoyable YA fantasy that reminded me of childhood story/picture books in the best possible way. If you're a fan a fairies, fantasy, or adventure, give it a try!
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Born in 1981 to Australian and Maltese parents, Selina lives in Australia with her husband, her cute monster baby who’s far too clever, and an unnamed cat. During her life Selina has found ancient Roman treasure, survived cancer, had knights joust at her wedding, been mugged for doughnuts, made a living as a visual artist, and shared her imaginary worlds in paintings and now in her novels.