Title: The Book of M
Author: Peng Shepherd
Genre/Themes: Dystopia, Speculative Fiction, Science Fiction, Mystery, Memory, Love, Survival, Cult
Blurb from Goodreads
A vivid, touching and original debut, following the effects of an extraordinary catastrophe on very ordinary people.
In the middle of a market in India, a man’s shadow disappears. As rolling twenty-four-hour news coverage tries to explain the event, more cases are discovered. The phenomenon spreads like a plague as people learn the true cost of their lost part: their memories.
Two years later, Ory and his wife Max have escaped ‘the Forgetting’ by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods in Virgina. They have settled into their new reality, until Max, too, loses her shadow.
Knowing the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to the person most precious to her, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up what little time they have left before she loses her memory completely, and desperately follows her trail.
On their separate journeys, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a mysterious new force growing in the south that may hold the cure. But neither could have guessed at what you gain when you lose your shadow: the power of magic.
A breathtakingly imaginative, timeless story that explores fundamental questions about memory and love—the price of forgetting, the power of connection, and what it means to be human when your world is turned upside down.
This book was a revelation!!!!!!!!!!!
From the start I did not know what was happening, how the story would develop or where it would end… BUT I WAS 100% HOOKED!!
From page one I was thoroughly ensnared and did not want to put this down for a second.
The premise for the book I think is genius; one day in the near future a man’s shadow suddenly disappears in the middle of a market in India. It’s initially treated as a holy event but after a few days it’s realised that the man has begun to forget everything about himself and the link between a person’s shadow and the storage of their memories is made.
The phenomenon isn’t just an isolated incident and soon this forgetting plague spreads worldwide causing complete destruction of life as we know it.
Flash forward a few years and shadowed survivors Ory and Max are trying to eek out a living for themselves in an abandoned resort in the American wilderness until Max loses her shadow and runs away.
The book follows their separate paths and their stories interlink with other characters to create a tale of love, hope and survival of all that is human but also interweaves this humanity with an unknowing darkness and magic. And a cult. A reeeeeeally messed up cult that were so freaky and bonkers and…
Just a brilliant piece of storytelling really.
Honestly, the first half of this book creeped me out. It did such a brilliant job of describing how it must feel to be losing your memories and how once you give in to that loss you can use this forgetting power to unlock a sort of magic that the power of mind can have… I really can’t explain this well at all because spoilers but just….
GAHHHHH. IT WAS FABULOUS AND I WAS INTRIGUED AND TERRIFIED AND ENTHRALLED AND TERRIFIED AGAIN!!!
I loved the characters in this book. They were fantastic. I really rooted for them all to succeed in their journeys and to hopefully figure out for once and for all what was happening. They were so brilliantly human. And I loved how these groups of strangers came together to really show what the human spirit is all about.
BUT THIS FORGETTING THING!!!!
It was utterly terrifying. I simply won’t divulge anything more about it because going into this book and discovering all for yourself is an utter joy and I really don’t want to rob anyone of that experience. But top notch writing for sure.
One of the things I love about speculative fiction writing is that it could almost happen. Obviously some rather unusual stuff has to occur but the characters, the world they are inhabiting initially… It’s our world. The world building in this is initially our version of events (it obviously evolves as more chaos and destruction occurs but still.. Starting point is us.) And that to me adds this wonderfully terrifying and grounding dynamic to the storyline. This could almost be true. We could all wake up tomorrow to the news that someone had lost their shadow and this could become our truth. And a book that makes you think like that even for the briefest of moments… A quality book!
Okay, as the story developed into the second half and I begin to understand more about what was going on some of that feeling of terrified wonderment wore off but I was ultimately treated to a very satisfying story filled with myth and legend made real. And an ending that… Less I say the better but nods head approvingly. Loved it.