Tuesday, 11 February 2014

The Memory of Death by Trent Jamieson

The Memory of Death by Trent Jamieson is a sequel to the Death Works trilogy (beginning with Death Most Definite, published by Orbit) and — to my surprise when I opened it — it's also a novella. Furthermore, the premise is kind of a spoiler, in the sense that I think the story is more enjoyable if you don't know what to expect going in. Happily, the blurb does not give it away as I feared it might. And a final note, before I get on with the bulk of the review, this novella really should be read after the original trilogy. Although some backstory is given, I don't think it will make as much sense as a whole without the background provided in the trilogy. And, of course, it contains spoilers for the resolution of said trilogy. So does the blurb, to an extent. You've been warned.
Steven de Selby gave up his love, his life, and his lucrative position as Head of Mortmax, the corporation in charge of Death. Then he found himself banished to the briny depths of hell. But hell has never held him before ...

Now Steven's back from hell, after escaping from the cruel Death of the Water, but he's not sure how or why, or even if. No-one at Mortmax trusts him, and he's running out of time to prove he is who he says he is.

Steven is about to discover that hell really is other people, and the worst of them may well be himself.
I don't know much about the upcoming sequel — other than the title, The Carnival of Death — but The Memory of Death reads a bit like it might be a bridging novella between the trilogy and the next story. It has it's own story, of course, but it's mostly the story of How Steve Gets Out Of The Mess Of Book Three's Conclusion. It's the set-up for something more, which I look forward to reading and which I suspect won't make as much sense without the bridge that is The Memory of Death.

This novella opens with Steven waking up on a beach and thinking "what the hell?" and continues to build on that initial confusion throughout. By the end we do find out what the hell was going on and, to an extent, why. That plus some action and icky (/creepy) events along the way make up the entire novella (obviously I'm leaving out spoilers here; the spoiler bits are pretty good). As I said, although it's self contained, it definitely feels like its setting the stage for the next story.

I recommend The Memory of Death to fans of the Death Works series, but I'm not sure I'd necessarily recommend it to new readers. On the other hand, the latter part of that may change once The Carnival of Death is out, depending on how that goes. I enjoyed revisiting Steven, Lissa and Tim in the Death Works universe. It has certainly whetted my appetite for whatever comes next.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: February 2014, Momentum
Series: Yes! Death Works book 4 of 5? (at least, book 5 is definitely coming, there might be more after that)
Format read: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Challenges: Aussie Horror Reading Challenge

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