Review: The Memory Collectors by Kim Neville
Today is my stop on this blog tour! This Tuesday, March 16th, The Memory Collectors by Kim Neville will be released from my sweet friends at Atria Books. Upon initially reading through the synopsis, this sounded like it would be a heartwarming story about objects that bring up strong memories. I was not expecting the thriller-like element or how dark this story would be at times. This novel was filled to the brim with surprises and twists. Once I started, I could not put this one down!
The Memory Collectors follows the story Ev, who has the incredible ability to feel the emotions that are attached to objects. She finds treasures that hold memories and sells them at the Night Market in Vancouver’s Chinatown to earn a living. Little does she know that there is someone else in town with the same ability. Harriet hoards objects containing memories (good, bad, or otherwise) in her apartment making her neighbors sick from the oversaturation of emotion in that one place. One day, Harriet stumbles upon Ev and can tell that she has the same ability. She sets out to convince Ev to help her to curate a special museum that can help heal people by walking through spaces filled with specific emotions. But Ev has a dark past including a trauma that she has yet to deal with that threatens her present-day life.
This novel was not at all what I expected it to be! I thought it would be sweet and heartwarming, and it was at times. But it had a darkness that I did not anticipate and was so much more interesting than I thought it would be. I really connected to Ev’s PTSD and her tendency to push down her trauma so that she could just push forward. I know that many of us that have PTSD tend to do this. I also loved seeing how Ev and Harriet each viewed their gift differently. One saw their gift as a curse but used it to make a living, while the other viewed it as a beautiful ability to help people. But both characters had difficult pasts.
The character development was so strong in this novel. It was incredible to see Ev and Harriet’s journeys develop over the course of the book. I read this so quickly because once I started, I did not want to put it down. Ev’s past was slowly exposed, layer by layer, and I found myself trying to piece things together to understand what happened. Every time a new detail was revealed, it completely changed my mind about what I thought happened to her. The author used just the right amount of flashbacks and did not overuse the device at all. The Memory Collectors is Kim Neville’s first novel and I hope that it will not be her last because I truly loved immersing myself in her writing.