• obsessedwallflower

4 Years Trapped in my Mind Palace | Book Review

Thank you Book Sirens for sending me the eBook of 4 Years Trapped in my Mind Palace by Johan Twiss in exchange for my honest review.

As soon as I read the summary of this book, I immediately wanted to read it. 4 Years Trapped in my Mind Palace is the story of a 14-year-old boy named Aaron, who got a rare case of meningitis and has been paralysed for two years, completely awake inside his mind but not being able to communicate with anyone. After being placed in a care facility, he becomes roommates with Solomon, an elderly man that suffers from dementia, and is the only one who can talk to Aaron.

We then start seeing an unlikely and heartwarming friendship forming between them both, not only in the present, as Solomon's the only person Aaron's been able to communicate with, but also in a fantastical place that blends Aarons's mind palace with Solomon's dementia dreams.

This coming-of-age story is a mash-up between fantasy and historical fiction that's incredibly well researched and absolutely endearing. We follow the characters as they explore Solomon's life, from his charming childhood in the 1920s to his hard-hitting past during World War II. There were a lot more historical moments/references thrown in there and, although they were the main additive to the story, I did think there were perhaps a few too many.

This was the main problem I had with this book and why I started to lose interest about halfway through, which was when I switched to the audiobook. I'd actually recommend that more if you like listening to your books as it's narrated by the author and I feel like he brings something extra to the story than if you're just reading it.

The strongest point of this book was definitely the characters. Not only Solomon and Aaron but Sarah (Solomon's granddaughter) and a lot of the other side characters as well. They all felt like real people and were really easy to connect with, even if they're going through things I thankfully have never had any experience with, and I adored their relationships and the bonds that were made between them. The writing was also seamless and it took me no time to get into the story, it seemed very well researched (the author's note even talks about what's fiction and what was actually real) and, even though this deals with pretty heavy subjects, it was incredibly funny.

What I felt with this book was that it didn't touch me like the plot made me think it would and the historical references seemed a bit forced at times. I did love watching their relationship develop and following Aaron's health improving, but I wasn't gripped enough to care. I went into it thinking it was going to be a very moving and emotional story, but unfortunately, it didn't do that for me.

I gave this book a 3.5/5 ⭐️. I think it had a wonderful concept, beautiful writing, and remarkable characters. I just wish it had tugged on my heartstrings a bit more. Highly recommend this though (especially the audiobook) as it was a concept I'd never encountered before and I believe it was carried out extremely well.




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