Book Love: Architects of Memory
I was so excited to receive an advance reading copy of Architects of Memory this summer, one of my most-anticipated reads of the year! I zoomed through this book in two sittings. It has an action-packed pace, high stakes, alternating points of view, and the kind of perpetual intrigue that keeps you turning pages.
Millions died after the first contact. An alien weapon holds the key to redemption—or annihilation.
I love complicated first contact stories, so this book had already shot into my TBR as soon as it was announced. And while humanity's initial clash with the alien Vai is more of a backdrop than part of the immediate plot for most of the book, the haunting contact story made me tear up when it came into focus. Alongside all the brilliant space battles, the cool worldbuilding, the fascinatingly creepy technology, and the fierce anti-capitalist themes that underpin the book, this is also a deeply emotional story about trust, loss, understanding, and the bonds of found family.
Architects of Memory presents a chilling, all-too-realistic future for humanity, one where powerful corporations control the ladders of society. Indentured 'uncitizens' must labour for years to earn citizenship tags from their Company, while the strings are pulled from above by shadowy executives. The formerly-warring Companies now exist in a tenuous peace under a fragile treaty, brokered when they had to join forces to fight off the alien Vai. But after the Vai's mysterious retreat, the market for salvaged alien technology paves the way to a new arms race for humanity, and the conflict between the Companies may once again be about to turn deadly.
Ashlan Jackson works as an indentured salvager for the Aurora Company, which is one of the big players in the market. Ash has already laboured for many years in dangerous conditions for a chance at citizenship, and she's fighting a fatal illness after being exposed to toxic celestium particles while working in a mine for her previous Company. After Ash's beloved husband died back at the mine, Ash has fallen in love with Captain Kate Keller, another former indenture who has already earned her citizenship and now commands an Aurora ship. Ash's only hope for happiness is to somehow survive long enough to claim her own citizenship and enjoy the time she has left, preferably at Kate's side. But every medical bill incurs further debt to the corporation, and pushes Ash's freedom further away.
The last thing Kate or Ash would've wanted was to accidentally stumble into a corporate conspiracy, to call down the kind of scrutiny that could threaten their secrets and the lives of their ship's crew. But when a unique alien superweapon is discovered in the wreckage at the Companies' last battlefield against the Vai, Ash and Kate must each fight to uncover the pieces of a dark secret that reaches further than they could possibly imagine. With betrayal around every corner, there's no telling who they can trust, or how far the Companies are willing to go to seize ultimate power.