Review: The Mnevermind Trilogy by Jordan Castillo Price

I pretty much sat down and read the three Mnevermind books back-to-back, I enjoyed them so much I couldn't stop reading when one book was finished. Because I read them all straight off, I'm reviewing them together - I really think anyone interested in these should get all three from the start!

The Blurb: 1
Every day, Daniel Schroeder breaks his father’s heart.

While forgetting your problems won’t solve them, it does seem like it would make life a heck of a lot easier. Daniel thought so once. Now he knows better. He and Big Dan have always been close, which makes it all the more difficult to break the daily news: the last five years were nothing like his father remembers.

They’re both professionals in the memory field—they even run their own memory palace. So shouldn’t they be able to figure out a way to overwrite the persistent false memory that’s wreaking havoc on both of their lives? Daniel thought he was holding it together, but the situation seems to be sliding out of control. Now even his own equipment has turned against him, reminding him he hasn’t had a date in ages by taunting him with flashes of an elusive man in black that only he can see.

Is it some quirk of the circuitry, or is Daniel headed down the same path to fantasy-land as his old man?

The Blurb: 2
No two people are exactly alike, but Elijah Crowe is very, very different. 

Elijah is on the autism spectrum, so the tasks of day-to-day life most people breeze through are a challenge for him. His career suffered because he never got the hang of schmoozing, and now his talents are being wasted teaching classes at the mall. His social circle is limited to his ex, his therapist, and a structured inclusion group at the Rec Center. The one bright spot in his life is the memory science of Mnemography.

Although he loves nothing better than devouring the latest research and tinkering with all the specialized equipment, he never clicked with any other experts in the field until he met Daniel Schroeder. Daniel runs a memory palace—he even writes his own mnems—and that shared interest alone would make him fascinating. But Daniel and Elijah met under unusual circumstances, where the statement, “I like you, and I think you like me,” held some surprising nuances.

Now Elijah suspects he’s gay, but the few prominent people in his life are less than supportive. Some are downright hostile. Elijah might not be neurotypical, but he’s plenty smart. Surely there’s some way to get people to accept him for who he is. If only he could figure out how.

The Blurb: 3
Daniel Schroeder wants nothing more than to repair his father’s broken memories, but it’s been a long time since he’s thought of himself as a memorysmith. Even though convincing Big Dan of their current reality is the most painful task Daniel faces every morning, somehow life manages to prevent him from finding a cure. He needs to keep their family business running. And he needs to moonlight at a competitor’s shop to keep all his employees paid. Or maybe he’s just trying to keep himself from exacerbating the situation.

A year ago, Daniel would have presumed he was clever enough to memorysmith his way out of their predicament, but nowadays he’s not so cavalier. Playing with people’s memories shouldn’t be taken lightly, and things can always get worse. Even with the help of some of the best minds in the business, Daniel still isn’t sure how to navigate his way out of the persistent false memory that’s crippled his life. Is new programming the answer? Better gear? More money? Or is time the only thing that can heal Big Dan’s memories…if they can even be fixed at all.

What Daniel needs most is some breathing room, and Elijah Crowe is eager to provide it. Since he’s smitten with Daniel, Elijah is determined to prove himself—and he’s more than qualified to clear Daniel’s schedule by taking over some duties at Adventuretech. With the support of his new boyfriend, possibilities begin to open up for Daniel, hints of things he hasn’t even realized he’d stopped hoping for: the contentment of a harmonious family, the fulfillment of his creative expression, and a chance for a relationship with a man he loves.

This book completes the Mnevermind Trilogy.

These books sum up pretty much everything I love about reading. They are unique, have great characterisation and a fantastic edge of reality - considering the subject matter is not a real thing (yet!).

The latest craze/fad/leisure activity is Mnemming, that is the ability to enjoy a dream-like world for a few hours where your greatest fantasy can come true. In a mnem the world is your oyster and you can spend a few blissful hours in complete happiness, once your time is up you go back about your everyday business and the memories of the mnem slowly fade over the next few hours, leaving you with nothing but a feeling of bliss. Sure, you might be a bit disorientated for a start - after all the mnem world feels remarkably realistic - but all will soon be back to normal.

Except when it isn't.

In a very few cases there have been reports of a persistent memory happening, that is when the brain retains wht happened in the mnem so much so you believe it actually happened. Not a problem? Well imagine trully believing, and experiencing, a big lottery win and spending as if that were the case...yeah, not so good when the cheques you're writing suddenly start bouncing.

Daniel Schroeder and his father, proud owners of Adventuretech, a memory palace, have been playing about with mnems for years. Then, a year ago, Daniel (a qualified memory smith) authored his own mnem, Life is Awesome, and among others his dad, Big Dan, tried it out. The problem was when Big Dan tried it out, for some reason, it caused a persistent memory and so everyday for the last year Daniel has to remind his father that he was separated from Daniel's mom, and she had moved on to pastures new.

Daniel carries the guilt of authoring the mnem that caused the persistence, dreads having to break the news to his dad each and every day, and is trying to keep his failing business afloat by running two jobs. In book 1 he meets Elijah in one of the mnems, when he (Daniel) was trying to retrieve a client at their allotted finish time. Nobody should be in a mnem apart from the client and those in the client's imagination, and Elijah was not part of the client's fantasy.

From here a wonderful relationship develops between Elijah and Daniel. Both have a love of nmeming in common, but things were never going to be easy for them. The fact that Elijah is on the autistic spectrum is not something that bothers Daniel, but it does mean he has to learn how to deal with this alongside their budding relationship. I loved the fact that book 2 was written from Elijah's perspective. We learn loads more about him and his first foray into a gay relationship. He also has a quite different way of looking at, and dealing with, Daniel's growing problems.

Through all three books we see several things happen. Firstly, the relationship between Daniel and Elijah - watching it grow was wonderful. It was so realistic not all moonlight and roses. The whole storyline about Elijah wanting to bottom but it not happening just felt so real. So true - it made me believe these characters all the more.

The ongoing problem with Big Dan's memory. I love Elijah's suggestions. No he couldn't take away the memory persistence but he did his best to help Daniel, to take some of the burden away from Daniel, to help seek a solution - permanent or otherwise. The same with the business. While Daniel is the kind of character who wants to shoulder all the responsibility for everything over time the cast of characters came into play to help him - Big Dan, Elijah and his work-friend Larry. All the characters in this trilogy were great.

The first book was slightly confusing at times - in a meant-to-be-like-that-way. Think The Matrix, it had that similar quality at times, leaving me never quite sure what was real and what was mnem. But I followed the string to the end of book 3 and it all became clear - and more importantly, I enjoyed every word.

Daniel, Elijah and co have found a place in my heart and this cleverly written series will be read again. I would absolutely encourage everyone else to give it a go. Refreshingly real and unputdownable it's worth a place in any book collection.
For more information check out Goodreads
A copy of these books were given in exchange for an honest review..

No comments:

Post a Comment