“My heartbeat rushes to my ears as I rip it open. This is no lottery ticket. It’s my mother’s Notice of Auction.”
Etta lives in the city of Craewick, where under the rule of tyrannical leader Madame, memories are stolen through touch and traded on the auction block. Etta lives with the guilt of an accident that left her mother in a coma and her friend dead, but when Madame threatens to put her mother on the auction block, Etta is forced to rejoin the Shadows. The Shadows are a group of Robin Hood esque thieves who steal memories from the rich for the poor, but since Etta gave up the location of their leader she hasn’t been in touch with them. Will Etta save her mother and rejoin the shadows? What other secrets lurk just below the surface?
I like Etta’s character, she is very flawed but she does her best to work through her setbacks. She is one of the “Gifted” and her biggest struggle is her gift. She tells the reader,
“Whenever I touched someone, I’d accidentally steal what most were trying hard to forget.”
This was the most interesting piece of the story. Those who were “Gifted” were not only able to steal happy memories to sell, but they could accidentally steal sad or terrifying memories. This is something that weighs heavy on Etta’s mind. I liked how the gift could be used for gain, but could also be a burden.
The overall tone of this story is very hopeful. Etta never loses hope, and although she can’t see herself as a hero, everyone else sees her as one. This book keeps that tone even in the darkest of plot points, it has a purpose and a message and it sticks to it. My favorite quote from the book is this,
“Remember, child, being brave doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid of anything. Just that the fear doesn’t stop you from fighting for something you believe in.”
That is such a great quote, and I think I will keep it written down with all my other favorite quotes.
The villain created in this story reminds me of The Evil Queen from the show Once Upon a Time, she is power-hungry and nothing will stand in her way. She has an aura that bleeds black and exudes strength. I liked her as a villain although she didn’t feel entirely unique.
I do feel like this books pacing is way too fast. The love story unravels at an unrealistic speed and they bounce from location to location so quickly it’s like we’re in fast forward. This story could have easily been 100 pages longer with more in-depth character development and plot thickening. Unfortunately, some of the characters come off like cookie-cutter characters. They are only there to advance the plot and have no real contributions to the story. We don’t know anything about them and they just stand in the background.
My second complaint is that this story has a turning point where it seems like everything is going to flip on its head and have an extremely good plot twist, but then it just doesn’t. The author set up this magnificent, nothing is as it seems moment, but then cops out to keep the plot on the same straight-forward course. In my opinion, flipping the story on its head right there would have made a better book. Instead, we get a semi-predictable storyline and I’m left wondering what could have been.
This novel is relatively short, only took about three hours to read, and with the content it contains, it only earns a 3/5 stars. This novel could have been much more but in the end settled for the easy road.
Thank you to NetGalley for allowing me access to this book, along with Blink publishing.