Title: Persistence of Memory
Author: J.M. Snyder
Publisher: JMS Books LLC
Characters: Joah, Tobin
POV: 1st Person
Sub-Genre: Alt. U/Speculative Fiction
Five years ago Joah was culled — kidnapped by the government to be trained as a soldier. In the process, they erased his memory, destroying his past, his dreams, everything but his name. Armed with that alone, Joah escapes from the facility in search of someone to help him recall the man he used to be.
That person is Tobin, Joah’s husband, who never gave up hope of finding him again. He refuses to believe that the strength of his love alone won’t be enough to bring back Joah’s memories of their shared lives, and he’s determined to bring back the man beneath the soldier, the man he knows has to love him.
But an alarm in the chip blocking Joah’s memories was triggered at his escape, and if it isn’t removed soon, it will shriek his life away. Removing it won’t bring back his past, and may destroy the present that Tobin has tried so hard to build between them. How can the love they once shared possibly survive?
Persistence of Memory was the second M/M Romance I had ever read. Not really something that should be memorable hundreds and hundreds of books later, but it is, nonetheless, simply because it sparked my love for J.M. Snyder’s writing style; not to mention the fact that the story itself is utterly and unquestionably that remarkable.
This is a story that takes place within an alternate reality, a militant state where the government not only drafts its soldiers to fight in the border wars but culls them, rips them from their lives, their families, and using subversive mind alteration, makes them forget they ever existed outside of becoming machines trained to kill. These soldiers are no longer men, they are numbers, a commodity designed to live, eat, breathe, and fight for the cause. They have no memories of themselves, of the past; their only reality is war. In this life, when their number comes up, they don’t die in the glory of service to their country. They simply cease to exist.
Joah sacrificed his life and his memories for the sake of his husband, Tobin, to save Tobin the pain of being made to forget the life he and Joah had shared. But sometimes the remembering is nothing more than a slow and agonizing death for the one who has been left behind. Death is nothing more than the absence of life, and for Tobin, life as he’d known it ended when Joah was taken away.
For five years, Joah knew nothing but fighting, killing, and his classification: 23-854. And his name. The one and only thing he retained that he shouldn’t have, the one and only thing that gave him hope he might one day escape and find someone who knew who he’d been before he’d disappeared.
What made this book so unforgettable for me was the message it presented. This is a deeply romantic story about a man whose life is stripped away not once but twice, though each time he undergoes the process, he manages to retain the one thing that will keep him connected to the world—a name—first his own, then the one that becomes everything to him. This is the story of a love so pervasive that it’s not imprinted on the mind but on the soul. The mind may not remember but the heart definitely does.
This is the story of a battle, not for a government or country but for a home, for the opportunity to be free to live and to love and to be with the one who means everything to you, who completes you and makes you whole again, who makes you want to remember what you’ve forgotten, who makes you want to forget what you’ve remembered.
This is a love story, pure and simple, and it is at once heartbreaking and beautiful.
Reviewed By: Lisa