Thursday, December 4, 2008

Book Review: Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

Erin Misrahe is no normal teen, though she is finally allowed to attend one class at a public high school. She’s been in and out of mental hospitals all her life due to a violent alter ego named Shevaun who comes out when Erin is stressed. When an old friend reappears in her life, he tells her that Shevaun is actually a vampire with powerful allies who want to sever Erin and Shevaun’s connection once and for all.

I read this novel with a great deal of fascination. Thanks to Shevaun’s memories somehow being a part of her, Erin learned several languages without even trying, is brilliant at fencing the first time she picks up a sword, and has other innate talents and knowledge that a normal 16 year old would not have. How this is all possible is one of the central questions of the narrative and one that apparently caused a lot of confusion for many readers (if you go by the reviews on amazon). The premise IS complicated, no doubt, and I know it’s hard to find the right balance between explaining too much (and risk losing your audience to boredom) and explaining too little (and risk losing your audience to confusion). For me, the amount of explanation was just right, but I guess some readers want/need more.

The story deals a lot with dreams, and because it is so dreamlike, many of the characters come off more as abstractions than flesh and blood mortals. Shevaun, a vampire created in the 15th century, is the most developed of the characters and the most interesting. Atwater-Rhodes is known for her shapeshifter novels, and this novel appears to exist within the same universe (see a Q&A with the author here), so fans of her other books will most certainly like this one too.

Persistence of Memory will be released in hardcover on December 9th.

On a side note, one of my favorite poems, Dream within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe, appears in the front of this book. I started to read it aloud to Daniel and he recited it from memory!! Wow!

Here it is:

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
This much let me avow---
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand
How few! Yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep --- while I weep!
Oh God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
Oh God! Can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?


Anna said...

Wow. This one sounds really interesting. Dreams AND vampires.

Diary of an Eccentric

Steph said...

I've been meaning to read one of her books. I'll totally ignore the negative reviews cos I trust thy opinion. Thanks for the rec, Ms Lenoi!


Darlene said...

This book sounds so good-dreams and vampires. I agree-must be good. Daniel recited that from memory-ok, that's pretty amazing.

Lenore Appelhans said...

Anna - And the vampire ideas actually seemed kind of fresh to me!

Steph - That means a lot coming from you. I know we differed in opinion on Oh.My.Gods...but otherwise we seem to have pretty similar taste.

Dar - I know, can you believe it? He is an amazing guy :)

Liviania said...

I look forward to this one - I really love Atwater-Rhodes.

So far all her novels have been set in the same universe, but the shapeshifter novels are way in the past compared to the vampire ones.

Joanne ♦ The Book Zombie said...

I've enjoyed reading Atwater-Rhodes other books so I will check this one out when it comes out.
Awesome poem, one of my favorites also - I've always been amazed that Poe was supposed to have written this as a teenager.

Ladytink_534 said...

Love that poem. It sounds like an interesting story but I'm not sure if there would be enough explanation for me or not.

Nurin said...

Sounds great! I love Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. I'll definetely have to pick this one up!

Ms. Yingling said...

Atwater-Rhodes is a little uneven. Some of her stuff I love, and others... eh. I'll have to read this one and see which way it goes!

Lenore Appelhans said...

Atwater-Rhodes claims this is her best yet, so I hope you'll all like it!

Kaylyn said...

I really liked this book, it was sooo cool. I was also going through my 'I must Read More Vampire books' stage, lol.

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