Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Memory by Christoph Marzi **Review**

Memory by Christoph Marzi
Series: None
Pages: 336
Publisher: Orchard Books
Release date: 1st August 2013
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones

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Thanks to the publishers for my review copy of the book
Goodreads synopsis:
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...

Last year, I read Heaven by Christoph Marzi. I'm unsure whether or not it was his debut novel, but it's his first to have been translated from German into English, and despite the original having been written in German, it had all the beautiful language, imagery and quirkiness of Neil Gaiman novel - in fact, I often liken Heaven to a mash up of Neverwhere and Stardust!
Memory is the second of Marzi's novels to be released in English, and it holds all of the same magic that Heaven does - if not, more!

Memory follows the story of Jude, a young boy, living in London, who discovered about six months ago that he can see ghosts. At the beginning of the novel, Jude meets a mysterious girl, sitting on a bench, in the middle of the night, in Highgate cemetery (where he spends a lot of time, hanging out with his ghostly friends). The girl doesn't remember how she came to be in the cemetery - in fact, she can't remember much of anything.
The ghosts, mainly Gaskell (an old rock star), Jude, and Miss Rathbone ('The Vixen') decide to call her Story, because that is what she's searching for. Story is not a ghost - she isn't dead - but she isn't quite alive either. She's somewhere between the two. If Jude and Story don't discover what happened to her (and fast!) her transformation from girl to ghoul will be complete!

I was gripped by this book by the time I'd finished the prologue. I had so many questions; who was this mysterious ghost girl, and what had happened to her? Why could the boy suddenly see ghosts? Who is Gaskell? And most importantly, what kind of adventure would this unorthodox pair end up having together? I had to know the answers to these questions, and the more I read, the more questions I ended up asking.
Even after the prologue, I was still fascinated by the story. The characters were all really interesting; Gaskell, the dead rock star, was the life of the party, and he made me chuckle on more than one occasion, but he also acted as a kind of father figure, first for Jude and then for Story as well. I also loved the fun-loving, maternal, and enigmatic Miss Rathbone, who had been the character that first helped Jude understand what was happening to him, when he discovered his strange new ability. And then, of course, there is Jude and Story.
Even though Story couldn't remember much from her life previous to being found on the bench by Jude, she was still a fun-loving, caring character, and despite what was happening to her, and how frightened she was, she still found room for a sense of humour, which not only made her incredibly loveable, it also made her brave.
And I loved Jude. Even though he had no obligation to help Story, he did. He went above and beyond what could be reasonably be expected of anyone in that situation, and he was extremely gallant in doing so!
I loved both Story and Jude separately, but when they were put together, I loved them both even more. The chemistry between them was obvious, and I loved watching their relationship grow. The trust between them was immediate, which meant that they made an excellent team. I was rooting for them all the way through!
But I didn't just love the 'good guys' - the 'bad guys' were just as awesome and enigmatic! At first, we obviously don't know who the antagonist is - that has to be discovered through the story - but we do know that something really sinister is going on. So as the identity of the person/people behind all the events begins to be revealed, we immediately know how evil they are. I always love a good bad guy, and Memory definitely has that!

What really made this book so special, though, was the unique creativity behind the storyline. I have never read anything quite like this book, and I doubt I will again. Even though the story is set in London, it's also set in its own unique world, where ghosts host parties in their tombs, young boys and foxes party with them, magic is real, and truly frightening and disturbing creatures lurk in the shadows.
I had no idea where the story was going to lead me, and I was more than happy to go along with it, wherever it wanted to go. There were so many twists and turns in the plot, that I never once caught on to what might happen next, and the ending - even though everything was already starting to fall into place - still managed to shock me! It was one hell of a story!

I am yet to be disappointed by Christoph Marzi and his wonderfully magical tales. Their fairy tale-like quality, with a dark twist, brings to mind many of Neil Gaiman's masterpieces, and he writes with the elegance and skill of a true master! I can't wait to see what he'll come up with next!


Jess Hearts Books! said...

I love the sound of both this book and Heaven, I have both waiting for me so I'll have to pick at least one of them up soon! Beautiful review, Dani! :)

Dani Cotton said...

Thanks, Jess :) You should definitely pick them both up soon - I'm in love with them! xx

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