When Marshall King and Elyse Alton suddenly wake up tangled in each other's arms with zero memory of how they got there or even who they are, it's the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future.
Terrified by their amnesia, Marshall and Elyse make a pact to work together to find the answers that could restore their missing memories. As they piece together clues about their lives, they discover that they're in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls. Everyone seems happy there, but as Marshall and Elyse quickly learn, darkness lurks beneath the town's perfect facade. Not only is the town haunted by sinister ghosts, but none of its living inhabitants retain bad memories of anything--not the death of Marshall's mom, not the hidden violence in Elyse's family, not even the day-to-day anguish of being a high schooler.
Lonely in this world of happy zombies, Marshall and Elyse fall into an intense relationship founded on their mutual quest for truth. But the secrets they're trying to uncover could be the death of this budding love affair--and of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls. (from Goodreads)
This book just came out of nowhere, and it's so good. Lisa got it for free at a sci-fi conference we both went to (cause we're geeks), and we both read it, and let me reiterate: holy cow.
Best free book ever. But I would have happily paid for it.
I'll admit that when I was reading it, I wasn't thinking many review-y type thoughts, because I was too engrossed in the mystery. Books which begin with a memory wipe can be a little cliche (Oh...the character doesn't remember anything...where have I heard that before? Only everywhere.), but Kitandis weaves such a gripping mystery around the memory loss that the trope seems fresh and new. I especially loved the disconnect between the characters' real selves and the selves they presented to the world, because it felt so true.
I've been asked to give my professional opinion on the memory loss. The truth is, I don't have one. When books try and pass off their neurological phenomena with a quasi-scientific explanation, I'm much more likely to huff and puff and pick holes and complain. Nothing suspends my disbelief quite as effectively as bad science. But it's pretty obvious within the first five pages that we're dealing with magic here. Magic's okay. Magic doesn't exist within my scientific world. I can suspend my disbelief for magic. Ironically though, the fact that the characters lose their names along with their histories actually makes this magical story more scientifically plausible than all the 'I-only-remember-my-name' stories.
I'll reiterate Blair's "Holy Cow" statement. Yes, I was totally thrilled to score this awesome read at a sci-fi conference. Not because it was free and hardcover (and that doesn't affect my review, by the way). But I found this world and the plight of Marshall and Elyse so engrossing I couldn't put this book down. Seriously. I need to make a new category for this sort of book, like the "sleep-lost-reading-this" rating or "useless-the-next-day-at-work" rating or the "I-even-took-reading-breaks-at-work" rating. Because when all those things happen, the book is clearly five stars for me.
Is that subjective? I guess so.