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The Mountain of Kept Memory

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  331 ratings  ·  74 reviews
In this gorgeous fantasy in the spirit of Guy Gavriel Kay and Robin McKinley, a prince and a princess must work together to save their kingdom from outside invaders…and dangers within.

Long ago the Kieba, last goddess in the world, raised up her mountain in the drylands of Carastind. Ever since then she has dwelled and protected the world from unending plagues and danger…

Kindle Edition, 448 pages
Published November 8th 2016 by Saga Press
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Rachel Neumeier Adult, technically. I wrote it as YA originally and then revised it to fit the publisher's adult line. It would probably still appeal to many readers …moreAdult, technically. I wrote it as YA originally and then revised it to fit the publisher's adult line. It would probably still appeal to many readers who enjoy YA.(less)

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Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  331 ratings  ·  74 reviews

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Jul 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I requested this from Netgalley, because of one bit from the description: "this gorgeous fantasy in the spirit of Guy Gavriel Kay and Robin McKinley". If you're going to say that, and live up to it, then it's going to be amazing. (Also, Guy Gavriel Kay and Robin McKinley have very little in common apart from being ... amazing, so I'm dying to see what constitutes a cross between them.)

If you are going to say that and not live up to it ... I will eviscerate the book in question. Slowly. In print
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
This should have been right up my alley. I love fantasy. I love political drama. I love intriguing difficulties and intrigues. But somehow it all fell flat.

I think I figured out the biggest part of my problem, the first two-thirds of the book feels like a prologue. There are a ton of obstacles and conflict that's set up, and then it's all just casually brushed aside or solved. There's no suspense or drama to it, just set up the problem, quickly resolve it. Repeat.

And to be honest, after waiting
Matthew Galloway
This is exactly the sort of fantasy novel I'd been yearning for. Hopeful, fascinating, tense -- but not bloody -- and with a great cast of characters who are the kind of people you'd want to know. They're very human with their flaws and weaknesses and fears, but they keep pushing through because it's right and that actually matters.

One thing I found especially enjoyable is that the book itself feels almost like a mountain of memories. It gives all these impressions and elements that seem to be f
All Things Urban Fantasy
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-by-kate
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy.

I was so excited to read THE MOUNTAIN OF KEPT MEMORY that I barely got past the comparison to Robin McKinley in the description. And while I loved it, I didn't quite love it, if you know what I mean. I had a few complaints, but overall, this is a beautiful standalone fantasy with intrigue, action and a little bit of sweet romance.

My biggest complaint is that THE MOUNTAIN OF KEPT MEMORY started out very slowly. According to my Kindle, I was 25% in befor
The Book Adventures
Oct 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya, fantasy
Original review on The Book Adventures

In a medieval-esque world, one almost scientific technology is the key to saving the future. Princess Oressa learns about her own fate, which is intertwined with the future of her kingdom and the world, as she eavesdrops on her father's council during a discussion about a pending invasion by the kingdom across the sea. She learns that she is to be offered in marriage to one of the detestable princes in order to resolve the conflict peacefully. Her small cou
Jamie (Books and Ladders)
Jul 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Disclaimer I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

DNF @ 23%

This SCREAMS everything that I would love from the description but oh man is that first bit hard to get through. Not only did the story slowly trudge along after an initial burst but the writing was just not good. Paragraphs would be dedicated to saying the same thing over and over in slightly different ways. It was like when you know you need more words for your essay but have nothing else to say. I think maybe
Oct 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Mountain of Kept Memory is a stand alone fantasy novel that reminded me of City of Stairs. The gods died long ago, but the Kieba has retained some of their power, which she’s used to protect the people of Carastind… until the king manages to anger her. With the kingdom on the edge of invasion, the prince and princess of Carastind are desperately trying to salvage their kingdom’s independence from the forces arrayed against them.

While The Mountain of Kept Memory is firmly in the fantasy genre
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Carastind is a country weakened by plague, with aggressive neighbors. But the Kieba, the power that has always protected the country, has had some kind of an argument with the king. Only Oressa and Guilan, the princess and prince, know that if their enemies struck now, Carastind would likely fall. To prevent this, the brother and sister gamble desperately: approaching the Kieba at her strange mountain. But the Kieba has plans of her own . . .

It's hard to write a good summary of this. In one sens
G Lensing
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rachel Neumeier has done it again! This is a fine fantasy novel with relatable heroes, dastardly villains, and a few characters who defy categorization. The brother and sister at the heart of the book are a great pair, right up there with Leto and Ghanima Atreides.
Insanely, mind-blowingly original. I have no idea how Neumeier thinks up these ideas, but I approve immensely!
Bryn (Plus Others)
Aug 23, 2019 marked it as not-finishing
A fascinating world but the book just did not hold my interest -- in part because the characters (Oressa in particular) sound like they're about 12 years old, and in part because on page 190 there was still not much happening -- just the same loops over and over. It's been obvious since about page 5 that (view spoiler), and when a book signals that strongly I expect more pay-off earlier on. I saw Neume ...more
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from the author. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I am going to list the five reasons why I think you should read this book!
1- The relationship between the two siblings
2- They're grappling with a really hard question about how to be a good ruler
3- The world building is fascinating
4- During the book we have to challenge our expectations about our 'enemy'
5- The plot is so twisty

Characters: 4, World: 4, Plot: 5, Writing: 4
full revi
Katie Montgomery
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I feel like I slept on Neumeier and now I'm getting caught up. ...more
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-releases
This was a pleasant surprise for me! It's a new release that I haven't seen getting much attention at all here at the end of 2016/beginning of 2017.

The narrative switches between two protagonists, Gulien and Oressa, prince and princess of Carastind. The plot is instigated by an invasion of the capital city of Carastind by a foreign prince, but that is just the start. It's a wild ride of shifting situations and allegiances (well, wild by my standards; I like my fantasy pretty tame) that kept me o
Nov 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Between 2.5 and 3 stars. There's some fun character building here, but it's buried beneath some cliche. ...more
Nov 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was alright but I was really hoping for something better. Also Oressa annoyed me a lot.
3.5 stars. This took me WAY longer to finish than I thought it would, which I blame completely on having to finish an ton of library books before they became overdue, and not because I hated this book.
I enjoyed this, I guess, although it's by no means my favorite Rachel Neumeier novel. My biggest problems were that it's rather slow-paced due to so much travel and sometimes confusing when it comes to the Kieba and the artifacts. I also wish we'd gotten to see more of the world outside of Carasti
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5. I could never tell what was going to happen next in this book. In some ways the novelty of that was wonderful. In others I think it might be because the book didn’t have a plot so much as a series of adventures.

There was so much the protagonists didn’t know because their secretive father just plain refused to tell them, and it really hindered their agency in the plot. They were mostly relegated to reacting bravely and with principle. This slowed down my interest in the book, though I maint
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book seemed to have a lot of potential, but honestly failed to deliver for me. The "twist" was very predictable, so why conceal it? Granted there were some good moments, but I think what it came down to for me were two things: the two main characters (a brother and sister) were so unrelatable and unlikeable, and the entire first 2/3 of the book felt like a prologue. It was all buildup, but then a meh kind of climax. So, kudos for keeping consistent characterization, Neumeier, but they just ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Once again this author impressed me with her multidimensional characters, her unique and imaginative world-building and her vivid writing, e.g. "The speed with which he was making his way across the courtyard was worrisome. Especially since [the Lord] was not ordinarily a man who hurried. He moved rather like a ship under sail in fact - not a sleek warship but a round-bellied galley. Not that Gulien would have dared express the idea quite in those terms."

I liked that the fantasy setting was vagu
I quite enjoyed this. The main characters are nuances and engaging, the setting isn't totally standard swords & arrows fantasy (they have indoor plumbing & gunpowder), and the conceit is interesting. It's a tidy, small world, which I like but may be disappointing if you prefer sprawling epics. My only two complaints are: 1) Sometimes Oressa's dialogue seemed wrong. Out of place, wrong tone, wrong sentiment... I'm not sure exactly. Maybe it was just my perception, maybe it could have used another ...more
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Honestly, I saw this book at the dollar tree and picked it up based mostly on the cover. I've been wanting to get back into reading for a while now and the intricate gold designs with the castle in the background made me nostalgic for all the fantasy I used to read growing up. Plus I've found quite a few good books there, and when I only have to spend $1 they're always worth it.

I enjoyed this book and found it well worth the read. I finished it in about a week too so its easy to get through. It
I bought this in paperback form at my local bookstore yesterday. Kept reading it until I finished it.

An interesting novel. What I liked included:
- Sophisticated and interesting magic that took a while to understand.
- Appropriate and believable courtly and political plots.
- Real evil.
- Enigmatic entities and systems.
- True loyalty between brother and sister.
- Honor and treachery, both unexpected.
- Everyone is mistaken and confused to a greater or lesser degree.
- Past as prologue.
- Even now I'm no
Sep 21, 2020 added it
3 and a half stars. really like this fantasy writer: all her books have interesting worlds and interesting characters, her whole concept of magic is markedly different in each one, and she writes excellent prose. this one's more or less a typical fairy tale, only turned inside out, a fun conceit. the narrative gets away from her a bit close to the end, in describing the brother prince's difficulties, and the antagonists tend to be faceless, making me wonder if the whole thing could have used ano ...more
Julie Vina
Jan 24, 2020 rated it it was ok
I don't know. It was kinda meh. The mythology was interesting and different and there were certain touches I liked about the characters, like at one point Oressa resists the urge to stamp her foot because she doesn't want to seem childish, and later her father does it while in a rage. It was kinda funny. And I liked that the siblings know each other so well.

That being said, all the characters were annoyingly reasonable and the author had to make sure we knew that they had considered every conti
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tfn, ya
Very oddly identical to Winter of Ice and Iron in set-up: the brother-sister pair + father from the basically decent kingdom under threat but with a mysterious protecting power meets the tall dark and imperious lord of the basically evil kingdom who is trying to save his people from the horrible abuses and power-hungry evilness of his ruler back home.

In some ways this variation was more successful than WoIaI: Oressa is a much more interesting, active character than Kehera, and Gulien more fleshe
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it
idk man, there's something in the pages of this book that makes it TOTALLY ADDICTING.

Unfortunately, the characters are pretty stale and they barely develop at all over the course of the 400+ pages of this novel. The writing is also a bit thin. But the fantasy setting is fresh and fascinating, and the plot really moves.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was a bit slow in the beginning however the pace really took off in the middle. I liked the female character who showed an independent mind. Her brother seemed to be a wimp. Overall a good tale.
Maureen Shannon
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I will remember this book!

I like reading about strong women and sibling love. And I enjoyed very much the steady development of the Prince who grew to appreciate her. Every book I have read by this author has become a favorite of mine
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
If you're looking for a fast paced, action fantasy novel, this isn't it. If you're looking for a familiar yet still interesting world in which to wrap yourself in like a blanket, though, read this. ...more
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Rachel Neumeier started writing fiction to relax when she was a graduate student and needed a hobby unrelated to her research. Prior to selling her first fantasy novel, she had published only a few articles in venues such as The American Journal of Botany. However, finding that her interests did not lie in research, Rachel left academia and began to let her hobbies take over her life instead.

She n

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