Memento: Book Review

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 2019
Synopsis: December, 2574. Forty-three days before the BeiTech attack on Kerenza IV.
This is the story of my first friendship.
This is the tale of my first murder?
Some monsters are born.
But I?
I was made.

Rating: Pretty sure that Kaufman and Kristoff have made some gnarly sacrifices to the writing gods to be able to pack such an intense emotional punch into such a tiny little book. Either way, I loved Memento.
5 stars

Clocking in at 82, not full sized, pages, Memento hits every single note that readers have come to expect from an Illuminae Files story: snark, romance, subtle hints at the horrors to come, AIDAN being murderous yet lovable, devastation, and unique formatting. This prequel novella hit harder than I expected it to and at this point, I’m kinda mad it isn’t a full length novel.

We are introduced to Olivia Klein, the main character, who has just recently come aboard the battlecarrier Alexander-78V as part of the main neurogramming team tasked to work with at Artificial Intelligence Defense Analytics Network aka our loveable AIDAN. From there, Kaufman and Kristoff miraculously build a multifaceted character, in pages devoid of typical prose, and eventually, as is their typical routine, destroy the character’s life. Considering this novella is set just before the events of Illuminae, it’s not hard to deduce from the beginning that Olivia Klein is not destined for a happy ending.

I have always been fascinated with Kaufman and Kristoff’s ability to convey so much through the alternative formatting of the Illuminae Files books. The closest thing to “typical” prose would be in AIDAN’s passages, which gives us the character insights and descriptions of what is going on in the world. But most other scenes in the book are carried out through transcripts and emails. You’d think that this style would take away from the emotional impact and investment, especially in such a short story. You would be wrong.

Memento is a fantastic entry in the Illuminae Files universe and one I will always be grateful to have received. I know it is a fool’s dream to hope for more from this series, but I will always eagerly grab at whatever Kaufman and Kristoff have to offer.

4 thoughts on “Memento: Book Review

  1. I need to get my hands on this! I am so keen for more AIDAN! but ouch, that poor protagonist….this is why I don’t really like prequels because you know how the story is going to end, but AIDAN…I need!


  2. Omg I love Memento. I was impressed with how quickly I fell in love and felt invested in the characters of this much-too-short-story but it wasn’t really surprising since it’s Kaufman and Kristoff. It definitely brought back all the conflicted feelings I had about AIDAN 😂


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