Published by Saga Press on November 8, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romantic, Young Adult
Sexual Content: Oblique references to rape
Reviewed by: Kate
In this gorgeous fantasy in the spirit of Guy Gavriel Kay and Robin McKinley, a prince and a princess must work together to save their kingdom from outside invaders…and dangers within.
Long ago the Kieba, last goddess in the world, raised up her mountain in the drylands of Carastind. Ever since then she has dwelled and protected the world from unending plagues and danger…
Gulien Madalin, heir to the throne of Carastind, finds himself more interested in ancient history than the tedious business of government and watching his father rule. But Gulien suspects that his father has offended the Kieba so seriously that she has withdrawn her protection from the kingdom. Worse, he fears that Carastind’s enemies suspect this as well.
Then he learns that he is right. And invasion is imminent.
Meanwhile Gulien’s sister Oressa has focused on what’s important: avoiding the attention of her royal father while keeping track of all the secrets at court. But when she overhears news about the threatened invasion, she’s shocked to discover what her father plans to give away in order to buy peace.
But Carastind’s enemies will not agree to peace at any price. They intend to not only conquer the kingdom, but also cast down the Kieba and steal her power. Now, Gulien and Oressa must decide where their most important loyalties lie, and what price they are willing to pay to protect the Kieba, their home, and the world.
I was so excited to read THE MOUNTAIN OF KEPT MEMORY that I barely got past the comparison to Robin McKinley in the description. And while I loved it, I didn't quite love it, if you know what I mean. I had a few complaints, but overall, this is a beautiful standalone fantasy with intrigue, action and a little bit of sweet romance.
My biggest complaint is that THE MOUNTAIN OF KEPT MEMORY started out very slowly. According to my Kindle, I was 25% in before I felt like the action picked up and things began to happen. So you need to be a little patient with this one. After that however, it was seemingly non-stop action. There were alliances forged, betrayals, battles, and most importantly, multiple trips into the Kieba's mountain, the Mountain of Kept Memory. The other problem with the slow beginning was that it was a little confusing. Sometimes explanations for actions that had happened earlier took a while to come.
What I loved, absolutely loved about THE MOUNTAIN OF KEPT MEMORY was the romance that Oressa was involved in. Though it was slow to advance, you could see the moments where the characters started and kept falling for each other, and it felt so adorable I just wanted to squee! I enjoyed how characters weren't always as they seemed, but how even if their actions seemed incongruous with previous decisions, it always seemed to make some sort of sense. The brother and sister relationship between Guilen and Oressa was wonderful, and I guess I can't gush enough about how much I loved Oressa. She was strong and intelligent, but not at the cost of others around her. I'm all for a strong female protagonist, but not when it means the men around her seem stupid. And this was not the case in THE MOUNTAIN OF KEPT MEMORY.
All in all, despite its flaws, THE MOUNTAIN OF KEPT MEMORY was still a thoroughly recommendable book. If you like strong female heroines, political intrigue combined with meddling god-like figures, action and multi-dimensional characters, definitely check this one out!Series Titles: