Mysteries abound as one girl struggles to uncover the truth behind her mother’s death while grappling with a malfunctioning memory device and the monolithic company behind it.
Lora’s world was turned upside down when her mother, a senior scientist at Keep Corp, was killed in a car accident five years ago. As manufacturers of the memory key, the device created to function like a normal human memory but with the added benefit of guarding against the once-widespread degenerative Vergets disease, Keep Corp holds unknowable power. When Lora’s memory key begins to deteriorate, memories long forgotten re-emerge in a painful wave, and one in particular stands in contrast to the familiar narrative of her mother’s death. Suddenly she can’t trust anyone, her headaches become overwhelming, and the secrets of her family’s connection to Keep Corp unravel at a startling rate. Liu’s addition of an Alzheimer’s-like disease to the popular memory-loss trend makes for an absorbing start. But her penchant for repetitive phrasing and short, stilted sentences distracts from the plot. Supporting characters such as Lora’s one-time uncle, an activist, and Lora’s elusive mother read authentically and keep the pages turning, while Lora herself rings hollow; she’s more a moody pawn than a compelling protagonist. However, the unexpected ending satisfyingly subverts easy clichés.
A fascinating spin on the memory-loss trope weighed down by a wooden lead. (Thriller. 13-18)