Thursday, August 13, 2015

Shattered Memories by Susan Harris Review

Hey readers, Ethan here with another review for you guys. This week I finally finished a read I've been working on for some time (downside to reading multiple reads at once, it takes forever to finish one). This was by-far one of the most unique novels I've read in recent memory so I cannot wait to share these thoughts with you all. This time on the chopping block? Shattered Memories by Susan Harris. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:

A terrible tragedy forced Alana McCarthy to forget a year of her life. Now she is to be executed for a crime she does not remember committing—the murder of her entire family. Lost and alone, Alana is terrified of unlocking secrets buried so deep inside her mind that she's willing to forget the one person who could set her free.
Daniel Costello hasn't forgotten about Alana, and he will do anything and everything to protect the girl he loves. But first, Alana needs to unlock her memories and find out the truth about what happened the night her family was killed.

The day of her execution is set. Together, will Alana and Daniel be able to uncover the truth behind her family's deaths before it's too late?


Susan Harris

Susan Harris is a writer from Cork in Ireland. An avid reader, she quickly grew to love books in the supernatural/fantasy genre. When she is not writing or reading, she loves music, oriental cultures, tattoos, anything Disney and psychology. If she wasn't a writer she would love to be a FBI profiler or a PA for Dave Grohl or Jared Leto.

My Thoughts:

With as many books as I read these days, it isn't often that I finish one and my immediate thought be "I have to re-read this novel'. The way most books are written, I read it once and I've got it, no need for a rehash. Then I met Susan Harris. You know those films you see where the ending is completely twisted and it changes the entire film, only to leave you re-watching the entire movie so that you can revisit the plot from a new angle? That was Shattered Memories, and man, I'm telling ya, it was phenomenal.

The plot of Shattered Memories is really hard to describe without giving away major plot spoilers, but I can liken it to reading inside a crystal prism. Each transparent face may seem clear, but a change in perspective will alter the reality. You can't escape until the very last page. It's incredible. I'm very familiar with stories that involve memory loss (it's a very common literary trope right now), but none have been executed in the fashion that Harris has with Shattered Memories. While sometimes I found the flashbacks a little boring, in the end, each individual episode plays into the final product, leaving me to only wonder what Harris' creation process entailed when crafting this unique story. The plot did not leave me disappointed in any capacity, in fact, I would have been thrilled with another 100 pages!

One of the great parts about this novel was it's small cast. Harris created a huge world, but didn't rely on dozens of characters to tell her story, it was very intimate and each character was carefully crafted to create the biggest punch in the storyline. Our MCs Alana and Daniel were created with the greatest care. Their characters are perfectly flawed and full of everything that I look for in leading roles. The side characters of Conners, Jaysen, Afisa, and others helped to ground the story to make it as realistic as possible. While I guessed the identity of the villain from the moment we met them, I still really enjoyed the heart-stopping conclusion that left me agog. I did not see the ending coming!

I've read many, many dystopian novels (they're a favorite of mine), yet I don't think I've seen any as thought provoking and groundbreaking as the setting created by Harris. Unlike others, this history isn't bogged down with technological advances, it's based in history, politics, and real world events: the true way a dystopian society with develop. The entire, intricate, history that Harris has laid out, creates the perfect setting for a novel so full of suspense and paranoia. 

Shattered Memories was unique in so many aspects, but the one that stood out the most to me was the various themes portrayed throughout the novel. It's such a deep read. Nothing is as it seems and if you're taking everything at surface level, you're definitely reading it wrong. In a futuristic society (not completely out of the question), what kind of lives will the average citizens live? Harris crosses genres in a very 1984-meets-The Hunger Games kind of way to bring us a dystopian society that scares the daylights out of me. Throw onto that themes of love, family, death, abandonment, and survival, you've got a story to rival any others on your bookshelf. 

As you can clearly see, I loved each and every page of this thriller. It was equal parts thought-provoking and suspenseful and so reflective on the future of our society as a whole. A chilling tale of redemption in a world with little hope. Susan Harris really pulled out all the stops and left me breathless. I am so excited to be granting Shattered Memories a hands-down 5-star review. Without question this is one of the best novels of its' genre that I have read. Massive kudos to Harris and her flawless storytelling ability. I haven't read anything else by this author, but I can tell you she's on my watch list now! Be sure to add this one to your TBR today!


Alright guys, that's all I have for you on the topic of Shattered Memories by Susan Harris. Doesn't it sound amazing? Be sure to go add this one to your TBR, you will not be disappointed! Until next time, Happy Reading!


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