Operation Backlog Completion 2024
Jul 312017

Last week, I read Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, which took over my thoughts so completely I realized the next book I read would suffer in comparison. So, I decided to read something where I already knew the story: the novelization of Chain of Memories.

Like the first Kingdom Hearts novelization, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is largely just a retelling of the game’s events.

(I believe it follows the original, not Re: Chain of Memories, because of certain scenes that are different between the two.)

It’s a nice way to re-live the story, and without the frustrating card battles, I was able to focus on the story itself. Chain of Memories doesn’t get enough credit for its story. It introduces Organization XIII, sets into motion important events for later games, and puts Sora in a pretty dire situation.

Click for Chain of Memories and Dream Drop Distance spoilers
If Naminé had actually been loyal to Marluxia, the plan to warp Sora’s memories and make him a puppet might have worked. Chain of Memories shows Sora’s breakdown very well. Little by little he changes, until he only cares about Naminé.

It works a lot better than Sora sinking into sleep/darkness in Dream Drop Distance, since there’s no clear progression there. This sort of gradual shift would would have made DDD’s storytelling stronger.

The novelization also includes Reverse/Rebirth, Riku’s story. I was curious about how it would work as a novel, since the game lacks content for Riku’s story. There are new Organization XIII scenes, but the worlds are largely empty.

Well, the novelization handles it by showing events not only from Riku’s point of view, but also from the Replica’s point of view! That’s the most interesting part of the novel, with its only flaw being that it reuses some of the scenes from Sora’s story, which is repetitive even though it’s coming from a new viewpoint.

Yes, Repliku fans, this one’s for you.

In short, the Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories novel is a light, enjoyable retelling of the game’s events, perfect if you want to experience it without the battle system or want new insight into the Riku Replica.

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