I was thrilled to be invited to close out the Blog tour for Darren Simpson's latest masterpiece - The Memory Thieves. Scavengers made me a Simpson super fan, his writing can only be described as mesmerizing. He has a way of crafting a story that just hooks you immediately and weaves you within the threads until you are living it along with the characters. So as you can imagine I was beyond excited to hear that Darren had a new book coming out and also nervous - after loving the instant classic that is Scavengers, would the next be as good?
I needn't have worried! The Memory Thieves is another Simpson classic immersive experience, firmly cementing this author in The Book Whisperer's 'Authors not to miss' list. Those select few authors that you can safely buy every book, knowing that you'll have a future classic in your hands.
So, to the book! Now I don't want to drop any spoilers here, but I can tell you that the story is set on a mysterious island surrounded by sand dunes as far as the eye can see. Nestled within the dunes is Elsewhere Sanctuary, a specialist mental health clinic where teens and children come to help them to process and forget traumatic experiences in their lives.
Everything in Elsewhere is designed to help the user forget their old lives and forge new memories. From the Rubix cube style moving rooms within the building, to the ever changing furniture, meal times and routines, and the insistance that they change their names. Almost every aspect of daily life is altered slightly so that routines can't be formed or memories accidentally triggered. On the surface life is good, and the child clients lead happy lives, free from the trauma of the past 'What you don't remember can't hurt you'. But the arrival of new resident Jonquil starts to raise some questions and Cyan realises that there's something dark and disturbing bubbling to the surface. To work out what that is Cyan and Ruby must overcome their programming and their fears, and allow themselves to feel again. The child characters are beautifully formed and likeable, each has their flaws - which we loved as it ultimately makes them completely readable and relatable.
In writing the story the author was hoping to create a dialogue around mental health and emotions. In his own words: 'At the heart of The Memory Thieves is a message of hope: that everyone feels emotions they find difficult, and that we all experience events that make us sad, angry or scared. This book is a reminder that we are all capable of dealing with negative experiences and, with the support and help of friends and family, need not be afraid of sharing those experiences, and finding our way back to happiness'. The book is an invitation to explore our emotions around life events, and how they shape our world view. In fact there is a handy list of questions at the end of the book to get the reader thinking about their own experiences.
This book will grab you by the collar, and look you straight in the eyes as it pulls you slowly closer and closer, to admire the depth and intracacies within, until you are frozen in place book in hand; turning page after page willing the fractured heroes to find the strength to save themselves....and you - because by then you are right there beside them, a part of the adventure.
Dont miss reading The Memory Thieves by Darren Simpson, Publisher Usborne Publishing, OUT NOW! A thrilling adventure for readers 11+