Book Review: Karen Memory

So, I downloaded Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear as a book to read on the plane to LA.  As with much that I wanted to accomplish on both flights, I simply didn’t.  Side note: jet lag has been a real bitch to me the past two weeks and I’m really only just recovered.  Getting older sucks.

Anyway, I actually did start the book on the plane and I only just finished reading last night – this is a very long time for me to complete a book.  Once finished, I was curious and started reading up on other people’s reactions.  In reading other reviews it’s fairly clear that there is something wrong with my reading comprehension.  On paper or electronic screen the book is everything I could want: a super-diverse ensemble cast (including a Madame who has a worse mouth than I do), a quirky narrator (who just so happens to be a lesbian), a unique story style, a real BAD baddie, a fun twist at the end, etc.

However, I just COULD NOT get into the story.  I’m not sure if I was being mega-cynical or what, but I didn’t latch onto the tale, thought the action was slow and while Karen’t voice was quaint, the narrative style got a bit irritating after awhile.  I wanted more steampunk elements and less women being prostitutes off screen.  I loved the interaction of the characters, but hated how much the protagonist (and her friends) got beat up.  I don’t know, on a scale of 1 to 10, I think I would only give the book at 5.

HOWEVER, I am more or less infatuated with the cover artworkCynthia Sheppard, I hope I can afford you when it comes time for The Queen cover.  Your work is absolutely stunning.  I love your style and I can honestly say this piece sold me on the book.

karen_memory_final_web_preview_by_sheppardarts-d87gf99
Artwork? Super fab. The book? Not so much.

What about you?  How did you feel about the book?  Where did I go wrong?

What are your thoughts?

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