#63 The Memory Woods by Sam Lloyd

Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. It’s the only home he’s ever known.

Elissa has only just arrived. And she’ll do everything she can to escape.

When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave.

Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood.

As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood . . .

Pages | 384

Published: Bantam Press (20 Feb. 2020)

Read: 25th August

Target Audience – Adult – Psychological Thriller

If I remember correctly, this was an impulse buy from amazon. It had actually been on a list of mine for a while, but I splurged out on it when I should have been saving money! This is a debut thriller novel by Sam Lloyd, and I can’t wait to read it.

This was easy to read. The characters had such strong personalities and the story flowed at a steady pace.

Elissa and Elijah.

At the beginning of the story, I never imagined these two characters would end up how they did in the last pages of the book. I usually steer clear of thrillers that involve children, but this book was written in such darkness and mystery that I couldn’t tear myself away from it if I tried.

Elissa – or Gretel as we later know her by – was such a strong female with the heart of a survivor buried within her. Elissa views the world logically and has such a strong memory to be able to sort and shift her memories accordingly. As a chess player, her unique take on the world worked to her advantage and gave her opportunities to succeed where others failed. She was intelligent and gifted, using her skills to break away from her situation and work outer elements to her advantage.

Elissa was a tremendously strong character who never gave up and always persevered to survive. Reading her chapters was a passionate experience and my heart ached for her experiences as well as routed for her escape.

Now Elijah was complicated. I knew that from the first page, but I didn’t realise just how complicated he would become over the course of the book. Elijah lead a sheltered life and didn’t have much knowledge on the modern world. He simply believed that his ‘memory woods’ had given him a new friend to play with.

Elijah was complex in the same way that Elissa was intelligent. Together they became Hansel and Gretel and created a narrative between themselves that sought to distract them from what was really going on.

However, it is in part 2 of the book that everything really came to light. My senses were shocked, and my opinions changed but…to know what happens there, well, you’ll have to read the book!

This was easy to visualise. While reading this book I was actually listening to Classical music on Amazon Alexa and it really boosted the intensity of this read. It is sort of odd to explain but my visual capacity of characters and scenes was very bright and the overlap of classical music to my reading made some parts of the book more intense and emotional than they would have been if I was simply reading in silence.

I am beyond proud of this book because it completely manages to dupe the reader into believing a narrative and then changes the game. I always like books that make me think and this one is definitely a corker. I really did feel like every turn of the page brought me one step close to an ending I wasn’t sure I wanted to read.

Y’all know I’ve had a slump of reading and a stressful life to contend with. This book was it for me, it managed to pull me back into the comfy world of reading and gave me such a rich environment to imagine and a set of characters to dissect.

This was a fabulous read for me because it was so immersive, and it played with darkness and mystery in a way that captivated me and yet never revealed what was actually going on. It’s the kind of book you have to read to understand. It was a magical thriller in its deceptiveness and I thoroughly connected with the characters and the story being told. This might end up being one of my top reads of the year!

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