cover image The Mountain of Kept Memory

The Mountain of Kept Memory

Rachel Neumeier. Saga, $25.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-4814-4894-9

Neumeier makes extensive use of hoary, predictable elements of epic quest fantasy: a kingdom (Carastind) threatened by ruthless invaders (Tamaristans), a spunky young princess (Oressa) rebelling against her father’s plan to marry her to an enemy prince (Gajdosik), powerful remnants of bygone technology, and sacrificial coming-of-age rituals for both the princess and her older brother. Neumeier manages to leaven the familiar plot with a sincere attempt to produce distinctive speech patterns for her various characters, who carry the narrative forth with determination despite an occasionally jarring contemporary tone. The romantic subplot also convincingly illustrates a distinctly 21st-century feminist worldview. Neumeier fleshes out her world with fulsome details of geography and climate, but her lengthy philosophical passages seem vague and convoluted. Since she also gives Tamaristan prince Gajdosik three ambitious and expansionist brothers to overcome, this excursion into a mountain of crystallized memories will likely be the opening volume of a series. (Nov.)