A story set in the future about an ‘authenticities’ dealer, Forest of Memory is set in a culture where everyone is connected by an omnipresent internet. The main character has a personal AI who is always listening and also recording and broadcasting the life of the protagonist. Mary Robinette Kowal then thrusts the main character into a situation where none of her technology works.
The premise of the tale interested me. In few words, Kowal has built a culture that is both rooted in today and wholly futuristic. It is believable and engaging, asking and answering: what if the internet connects us all, all the time? Its dream-like atmosphere and descriptions lend to the uniqueness of the tale, and made it a gripping setting. Further, I found the characters easy to get into. They were understandable when they needed to be, and mysterious when they could be. Those elements added up to a deeply engaging narrative.
On the other hand, I am completely convinced that this story is not for me. Not in a negative sense, but rather in the sense that I do not think I understood the subtext of the story. Forest of Memory was intriguing from the start, and I enjoyed many aspects of the story but I was bewildered with the conclusion. To me, it came at an odd time and with a particular message: a message that I had missed.
Overall I can’t give Forest of Memory any less than 3 out of 5 stars. It’s really a beautiful story with some interesting elements and plot. However, I was left more confused than satisfied which made this story less than the 4 or 5 stars it could be for someone else. I recommend it, even if its subtleties weren’t for me.