This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: YA Sci-Fi Romance
Published by Listening Library
Released on October 20, 2020
Length: 1 hr and 32 mins
If you’re conflicted, but missing a certain murderous AI, then you’ll be as ecstatic as I was to discover that limited release prequel, Memento, is now available to the general public and gives the story of AIDAN and the events leading up to the Kerenza IV attack aboard AIDAN’s ship told by a full cast.
Memento is a prequel that can be read/listened to at the start or anywhere along the way of the series as far as timeline is concerned. That said, if you’ve not started the series yet, I’m going to recommend getting this one after the rest (so read/listen in published order). There is an aspect of this one that reveals some series spoilers as relates to the AI character that makes the rest of the series more exciting without this reveal beforehand.
Memento opens with Emily Kline, a new specialist aboard ship who will be working with the ship’s crack AI system, AIDAN. Emily is a bright and serious woman who is eager for this primo assignment. Her situation and feelings are learned through messages sent back to her dad as, like the rest of the series, this prequel is told in a unique epistolary style. She is taken with her new boss, Ethan Wolf, and has a fun rapport with her roommate, Stephanie. But AIDAN takes her by surprise.
While she is working with the AI, it is studying her human behavior and working out her thoughts and feelings from watching her physical responses to stimulus and AIDAN’s queries. AIDAN finds it odd at first when humans treat it like it is a person, but then slowly processes this along with other disconcerting conclusions that make Emily and Ethan worried.
Meanwhile, the ship receives a distress call and go into battle…
Memento introduces a new pair of characters in Emily and Ethan who are responsible for working with AIDAN directly. I liked them both, but the foreshadowing of what was to come out of their interactions with AIDAN and the battle were all there and I had the familiarity with the following trilogy to know where this was going. Like the others, I was ready for the emotional jabs and desperate action moments that are present in all the books. I thought I was emotionally prepared and yet I ended up in tears at one point. That said, I’m one of those odd ones that was and still is fascinated by AIDAN. It was interesting ‘meeting’ it before the battle and watching it learn and form its own thinking that became apparent later in the series.
Listening to a full cast narrate the story was fabulous. I love the way the actors give an international- galactic feel to the characters and Lincoln Hoppe was sensational as AIDAN. I read the original trilogy and now I want my re-read to be in audio version.
In summary, Memento packed a solid punch and offered the emotion, the twists, the sci-fi setting, and the complex characterization that make it a solid edition to the Illuminae Files and well worth snagging.
My thanks to Listening Library for providing the book to listen to in exchange for an honest review.
About the book
From New York Times best-selling authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff comes an Illuminae prequel novella that gives listeners a hair-raising glimpse into the calamity that befell the invincible AI system known as AIDAN – and the daring young programmer who would risk her life to keep it from crashing.
AIDAN is the AI you’ll love to hate.
The advanced AI system was supposed to protect a fleet of survivors who’d escaped the deadly attack on Kerenza IV. AIDAN was supposed to be infallible. But in the chaotic weeks and months that followed, it became clear that something was terribly, terribly wrong with AIDAN….
“Olivia Klein”, read by India Dupré
“Ethan Wolf”, read by James Fouhey
“AIDAN”, read by Lincoln Hoppe
“Stephanie LeFevre”, read by Emma Bering
“Ezra Mason”, read by Johnathan McClain
Narrator, read by Ryan Gesell
Featuring additional performances by Danny Campbell, Frankie Corzo, Chris Cuilla, Deepti Gupta, John Lee, Sarah Mollo-Christensen, Donabella Mortel, Austin Rising, Erin Spencer, and Nancy Wu.
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