Tuesday, December 16, 2008

"The Memorist" by M.J. Rose


I want you to all know that I have given myself an attitude adjustment since The Reincarnationist. (I still stand by my review of the book, but I didn't want it to mar my outlook on The Memorist.) I nearly returned this book to the library after the first hundred pages, but steeled my resolve, and I am glad I did. First, a little synopsis:
The Memorist is really a continuation of The Reincarnationist. A few characters carry over, but the primary protagonists are different. A young woman (Meer) has been plagued by flashbacks of a previous life since she was a child...visions of a beautiful piece of furniture and of a haunting melody. She doesn't believe it is the echo of a past life, but her father does and remains dedicated to solving the mystery for her. He finds the piece of furniture in question in Vienna, a gaming box owned by Beethoven. It yields clues left by the musical genius, that lead to a "memory flute", which is very old and is made of bone. When a specific melody is played on the flute, it can unlock memories of past lives to those who hear it. So off they go, hunting down clues to find said flute, that can free Meer from her troubling regressions. Murder and mayhem ensues. There are other plots at work as well. A high profile international meeting is being held in Vienna that ends with a one-of-a kind symphonic concert, and proves to be a security nightmare. A respected journalist decides to avenge his family that was killed by terrorists by blowing up the concert hall where the symphony will take place. At the same time, an American FBI agent has come to Vienna to pound the last nail in the coffin of a character that was involved in the theft of the memory stones in the last book.
A few things still disturbed me in this book, similar to the last one. This business of following the clues was little more than a Scooby-Doo for adults, and required even less plotting and brainpower than the Da Vinci Code. Also, like the Reincarnationist, about fifty pages into it, you have already figured out who the bad guys are, and it just shouldn't be that easy. The appearance of a memory flute, similar to the memory stones in the last book, just about put me over the edge. In my mind, I was screaming "give me a break!!!". Also, it seems like everybody in the story knew each other in previous lives, which is just way too pat and coincidental. HOWEVER...I really do love Beethoven, and his personality and essence is nicely woven into the story. There is more plot development in this story as well, and is a little more satisfying...something I could sink my teeth into. Rose is not afraid to knock off important characters in the story, and will allow the worst-case scenario to happen, and I like that. I do not like stories where everyone lives happily ever after, because it just doesn't happen that way. Reincarnation is a fascinating topic, and in this story we actually have a DOUBLE regression, so in a flashback, you not only go back one life, but you go back two. Very cool. I also like Rose's technique of very short, edgy chapters that encourage you to read "just one more". Overall, this book worked for me despite a few frustrations. I can recommend it with a clear conscience!

5 comments:

Book Fiend said...

Thank you for the review! I think I will skip The Reincarnationist completely and go straight to this one!

MJRose said...

Someone sent me a note about your blog and what you were writing about my books and I just want to thank you for being objective and reading the second one.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Thank you for stopping by Ms. Rose. I have to say that I am turning a deep crimson right now. Who would have thought it would have even mattered what I thought, being the lowly little blogger that I am, with my tiny sphere of influence. Certainly I am alone on my little island in my opinions on The Reincarnationist. The Memorist brought me back around, and I truly did enjoy it.

Literary Feline said...

Hi, Sandy! I plan to read both of these books, but I am always interested to hear both positive and negative thoughts. I think you did a good job of expressing yourself in both reviews of these two books.

Sandy Nawrot said...

Thanks Wendy! You know, sometimes things just don't click with me, for whatever reason. Many people did likes these books, and I've rarely come across thrillers that weave in reincarnation. I will keep a watch out for reviews to see how you liked them!