Monday, September 16, 2013

Becky's View: Memory by Christoph Marzi

Memory by Christoph Marzi
♦publisher: Orchard Books(UK)
♦release date: August 1st, 2013
♦paperback, 329 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
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...
A thrilling urban ghost story set in the twilight cemeteries of London.

Review:  Even just this tiny little blurb was enough to get me excited for this book.  Tell me it's a ghost story set in the cemeteries of London and I'm all in.  I wasn't sure what to expect beyond that, so I wouldn't say I was disappointed---but I didn't love it as much as I'd hoped. Christoph Marzi's Memory has a bit of a mishmash of things going on: a fun cast of characters, a likable main character, a mystery, some chills and thrills, and a last minute direction change that left me feeling like it was too different from the rest of the book to be a satisfying twist.

Jude is a sweetheart.  He recently discovered that he can see ghosts and enjoys spending his days in the cemetery with his newfound ghost friends. Despite being seventeen, Jude read much younger for me.  I couldn't help but picture him as closer to 13 or 14 from his personality throughout the book.  One day he finds a girl on a bench and discovers that she's not quite a ghost and not quite alive.  He brings her to Gaskell, an eccentric and long-dead rock star, and Miss Rathbone, a living not-quite-human who also hangs with the cemetery crowd.  They name her Story and realize that her current state means she is not dead, but in danger of dying if they don't find her body soon.  She has no memory except for a few details, so Jude follows the meager clues to find out who she is and what happened to her.  And so, the adventure begins. 

Their quest is filled with stories within stories; legends, backstories, histories.  At times, this made the story all the more rich.  But there were also times when the pacing and plot felt bogged down with overabundant and sometimes insignificant details.  I was surprised by a lot of the quirkiness and humor.  The story's mood swings from comical to sweet, spine-chilling to joyful, casual to fantastical.  There are so many characters and creatures that it is sometimes hard to follow, but the main crew is colorful and fun to read.  There are more than a few nods to every corner of British culture: Mary Poppins (a chalk artist in the park that calls himself Van Dyke), The Beatles (both musically and the main characters are named Jude and well, I won't tell you Story's real name...spoilers!), and Dr. Who (creepy angel statues that attack, creatures that you can only see out of the corner of your eye)...just to name a few.

All in all, a mostly fun read with a few drawbacks and distractions.  Despite my own few quirks with it, I do recommend giving Memory a try for a lighter Halloween read!
Find Christoph Marzi online:  Website  •  Facebook

Purchase Memory: Amazon  •  BookDepository 


  1. Sorry you didn't love it as much as you hoped! I usually love ghost stories but I'm not a fan of random last minute twists that just seem to come out of nowhere! Might still give this one a go though since you enjoyed it overall. Fab review, thanks!

  2. This sounds really intriguing, though I am disappointed that the male MC readsa as young. I assume there's no romance between the living and the dead? Sounds like it doesn't need it anyway.

    1. Oh there is! It's actually pretty cute---very sweet and flirty, developes nice and slowly. Not all the heaviness and swooniness you usually find in YA. I really liked it actually!

  3. I'm not really into Ghost stories, I do not know exactly what it is that makes Ghost so not attractive for me :) Also, with you feeling Jude even younger I do not think this would be my kind of book.

    But... the cover looks awesome:))

    1. I adore ghost stories! Maybe, though, it's the fact that they can't touch that puts you off? It is an odd pairing, between the living and the dead. I'm not sure why I find it so romantic. lol Yes, he definitely read young, but it actually kept the story kind of playful and sweet most of the time.

  4. Overabundant and hard to follow. I might not like this book, thanks for the review :D


    1. There were LOTS of ghosts in the cemetery and stories within stories, and legends that went along with the different creatures... so yes, it was a lot to keep straight at times!

  5. I really can't remember the last time I read a ghost story... This one looks good though and yes the blurb looks very interesting , not to mention the cover looks great. Adding it to my TBR list. Loved the review.

  6. Hi, can you please help me. I have a reading log due tomorrow :’( and Im doing this book, I just moved houses and I seriously don’t know where everything is.. not even my book. And unfortunately I didn’t finish reading it so :’( please, if u could help me! by telling me the main points of this book that I could write on there and would mean a lot if you’d tell me “story’s” real name, even though I didn’t want to spoil the ending on me. But it’s just that I really have to or else im losing so much marks for English tomorrow!  thanks! Really means a lot