Review: The Memorist

The Memorist, by M.J. Rose

The Down and Dirty

Meer Logan is a woman haunted by memories. Unfortunately, the memories aren’t her own.

Or are they?

…it was hard to accept that she was unable to remember what she couldn’t
forget. The damned conundrum that had shaped her life.

The Memorist, by M.J. Rose

The Memorist is author M.J. Rose’s follow-up novel to The Reincarnationist and she has again taken themes of reincarnation, this time weaving 19th century Vienna and the musical world of Ludwig van Beethoven with modern-day terrorist plots. A fast paced historical thriller, The Memorist takes the best elements of The Reincarnationist and improves upon them.

Although there is one carry-over character present, The Memorist is most assuredly a stand-alone novel.

The Lit Crit

One of the pleasures of reading an M.J. Rose novel is her approach to historical fiction. While much of The Memorist takes place in present day Vienna, her forays into the 19th century are impeccably researched. She incorporates fascinating details into her story, many of which the reader might dismiss as part of the creative license a historical fiction writer so often invokes. It isn’t until reaching the author’s note at the end of the novel that the full extent of Rose’s research becomes apparent.

If the plot synopsis above sounds vaguely familiar, it's because the plot of The Memorist is almost identical to that of her earlier novel, The Reincarnationist. New characters, new memories of past lives, and new artifacts for the protagonist to chase, but the plot movment is the same.

However, the improvements over The Reincarnationist, a novel that A Reader’s Respite reviewed here, are quickly apparent. Characters are more fleshed-out and their motivations better explored, giving the reader closer relationship with the characters.

Rose’s penchant for over-populating her novels with characters is still present, but the improved characterizations make it much easier to keep track of just who is who.

But the very best quality of The Memorist is Rose’s ability to meld time and place, even over the span of centuries, while still maintaining a tight, fast-paced thiller that keeps you guessing to the end.

Our Recommendation

Recommended, of course, for anyone with interest in reincarnation, but also for those who have a love of classical music (Beethoven plays a pretty big role in this novel!) or for those who just want to see a good example of blending modern day with the past.

Sound Interesting?

For the few out there who haven't read these novels....if The Memorist and it's predecessor, The Reincarnationist, sound interesting, leave a comment and A Reader's Respite will draw a random winner on Friday, February 13th (creepy, eh?) who will receive a hardback edition of The Memorist and a paperback edition of The Reincarnationist. Don't forget to check back here on the 13th to see if you've won!

Title: The Memorist
Author: M.J. Rose
ISBN-13: 978-0778325840
453 pages
Publisher: MIRA Books
Date: November 1, 2008

Other Opinions in Blogland:

You've GOTTA Read This!
Diary of an Eccentric
S. Krishna's Books
books i done read
The Compulsive Reader
Barbara Martin
Dolce Bellezza

Fizzy Thoughts
Devourer of Books
A Striped Armchair

Savvy Verse & Wit
Chain Reading
She Is Too Fond of Books
The Frequency of Silence
The Novel World
Imagic Reflections

Presenting Lenore


  1. Yep, you got it. This one WAS better. I love Beethoven, so that was a little perk. There were a few things that just about sent me over the edge, but then again I had some attitude-carryover from The Reincarnationist. Memory flute? Then they start calling it a bone flute? Ahhhh!

  2. I read both of your reviews and thoroughly enjoyed them. I must admit that after reading the one for the Reincarnationist, I had decided that this book was probably not going to be to my liking (time travel is a difficult concept for me to begin with). However, I am glad to hear that the Memorist is a novel that can stand on its own, as the time period and location sounds much more suited to me.

    I would love to be entered in your drawing :)

  3. Oh my gosh, I knew Saturday was Valentine's Day, but it never dawned on my that Friday was the 13th! Please enter me. milou2ster(at)

  4. I'd love to be entered in your drawing. I love many aspects of these books; even if they aren't perfectly constructed.

  5. Since I must be one of the few folks in the blogshere not to have read either one, please throw my hat in the ring!

  6. I have mixed emotions about reincarnation - fascinated by the concept, not sure if I believe in it. Would love to read these books. Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. So this one is better... awesome. I'm looking forward to reading them soon now. Thanks for the reviews.

  8. Great review! I have a copy of The Reincarnationist but haven't read it yet. Someday...

  9. Have you read any of her earlier books? I read the Halo Effect a few months ago and wasn't that impressed. It was an OK thriller, but nothing to rave about. I was wondering if the historical fiction aspects would make it worth reading these two?

  10. I would love to be entered. I have a tendency to read books in order, so I'll have to start with the Reincarnationist, even if this one is better.

  11. Sandy -- I suffer from the attitude-carryover myself, LOL. I've got a review coming up of a Philippa Gregory book and you'll really see that attiutude on that one!

    Molly - since moving between time periods is just involving memories, I don't think you'd have a problem with it....memories are much more believable.

    Farmlanebooks - you know, I haven't read anything else by her. But I'd be more inclined to just to find out if her other thriller plots are similar to these. These are good books -- not outstanding, mind you, but good.

    Carol - I'm the same way...must. read. books. in. order. :)

  12. Hmm...never read anything about Beethoven, so that certainly peaks my interest. Great review!!

  13. I've been seeing these everywhere, and want to read them badly! Please enter me in the drawing.

    nnjmom at yahoo dot com

  14. I have tagged you for an award! See my latest post...

  15. I really enjoy how you write your reviews. Really helps me to decide whether or not to check out a book...and I like that you reviewed them back to back and connected the reviews. Neat.

    I'm not one for historical fictin usually but these seem to have a twist that might be interesting so I'd love to be entered in your giveaway. Maybe the 13th will be my lucky day!

  16. Crap. There IS a Friday the 13th this month and I didn't even notice. If I say that I'm totally not superstitious and then tell you that I try not to work on Friday the 13ths, you won't believe me, will you? Of course I am working this friday...

    It doesn't seem right somehow to have a friday the 13th the day before Valentine's Day.

    Great review, Michele! These have been on my wish list for awhile now, so please enter me!


  17. I've seen these two floating around but hadn't read the synopsis. I wonder about the second being an almost carbon copy of the first though... but it sounds like you really enjoyed them.

  18. I also enjoyed The Memorist much more. She improved greatly!

    Here's my review from December:

  19. No need to enter me, of course. I thought this one was better than the first. I agree with your assessment of the characters, and I thought the setting came to life in this one. Again, thanks for linking to my review, and I've added your link to mine.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  20. Carey...I'll be flying on the 13th, too. :) Just remember, on the 13th or on Halloween, the plane never needs a mechaniic, it needs an exorcist!

    Anna - thanks for the link!

    Lenore - thanks for letting me know, I've added a link to your review to the post. (Sometimes my google blog search just misses one!).

    Luanne - you know, I'm surprised the carbon-copy plot didn't tick me off...normally something like that would send me through the roof. Maybe the reincarnation thing distracted me. :)

  21. Where am I going to find an exorcist at this late date?

    Hoping good V-day vibes will leak over into the 13th, Cupid's got wings, he can just double as guardian angel this year.

    Safe travels! :)


  22. Thanks so much for participating in the tour! Your review was terrific!

  23. Moanday. Tongueday. Wetday. Thirstday. Freakday. Sexday. Suckday. Hey, i am looking for an online sexual partner ;) Click on my boobs if you are interested (. )( .)


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