3 out of 4 stars
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In her final year of high school, Alexandra is dealt a tragedy that most teens would struggle to overcome. She loses her parents and six-year-old sister in a car accident which she miraculously survives. Immediately after the accident, Alex opens her eyes to see a man in a three-piece suit speaking to her family and telling them that their hours have arrived. In all of the confusion and shock, Alex has no idea that the consequence of seeing this man will change her life forever.
Azrael is the Angel of Death. He is the one that comes to collect a person’s soul upon their demise. The fact that Alex can now see this terrifying man is a burden that she cannot carry; especially alongside the enormous loss of her family. He is also perturbed, to say the least, about his sudden visibility to a human, and he taunts her relentlessly. Missed Memories is a story of life and, of course, death and the lengths people are willing to go to save the ones they love.
Alex’s grief for her family was tangible. Alan Baker, the author, describes her loss with such intensity that it was hard not to empathise. Although, conversely, this also made it difficult to understand the ease with which Alex moved on. By saying this, I mean she went to school, argued with friends, did normal things with her boyfriend. She overcame the death of her family rather well and rather quickly. Sure, she had a frightening deity following her that was invisible to the rest of the world, so given – she was preoccupied. But I found that the sorrow she felt about losing her family was almost crippling, and she moved on from it with relative ease, which was relatively implausible.
The characters in the book were all well developed and relatable. Although, they may have all fallen too well into moulds. The best friend, the boyfriend, the aunt and uncle, and the scary villain were all quintessential models of what those characters ought to be. The best friend was loyal and loving, the boyfriend, too. The aunt and uncle were concerned and devoted. Mostly, the black-eyed baddy kept telling Alex that he would ‘have her soul’. They could have done with some variety. This, however, did not take away from how much I liked the characters. It also made the story easy to read.
This book is steeped in so much mystery and intrigue that it made it hard to put down. I kept trying to guess at what was going to happen, and then being totally bamboozled by the events that unfolded. Baker definitely knows how to throw unprecedented twists into the mix. I love that I was kept on my toes throughout.
Having weighed the pros and cons of Missed Memories, I have come to a rating of three out of four stars. I thought the book rambled a bit and could have done with less of the in-between dialogue. It stunts the flow of the story when we have to read every conversation in full and hear about every step taken. It needs to be tightened up slightly in order for me to see it as a four-star book.
The editing was perfect, and I would recommend this to young adults who enjoy reading about the paranormal. Also, to people who like unguessable twists. There were one or two genuinely chilling parts to the book that raised the hair on the back of my neck, so beware to those who fright easily. Overall, this was an easy and enjoyable read.
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