Silent Hill Lost Memories by Kim White is a self-published book about the first three games in the Silent Hill series. It makes some big promises about what the author will write about. Unfortunately, this is a case of overpromising and under-delivering.
This book is ridiculously overpriced. Even for a hardcover book, there is no reason for this book to cost as much as it does. If there was more information in the book, or if it had some insight, I would have a different opinion. However, I think this book is not worth the price.
This book also needs an editor. Sentences are strangely worded at times, and there are numerous instances where more information is needed to explain why something is important. The author also needs to do a better job of connecting the book with the games.
Why Only the First Three Games
I’m missing something here. The book covers only the first three games, and I’m unsure why. It was either published recently or in 2012. Maybe the author doesn’t consider the rest of the series important, but that should be explained to the reader.
Knowing that there are other games in the series and more material that expands the history of Silent Hill makes this book odd. A timeline of events is given, which is nice, but it is incomplete. I’m also unsure how this timeline was created because there are no sources.
You can argue that the games are the source, but it would be nice if that were in the book. Also, the amount of extra material (comics, movies, games after the third, and books) makes this timeline pointless. There is also no talk about the cult that was created.
We get some historical events, and the author attempts to explain why they’re relevant. However, it isn’t connected with the games’ events and doesn’t make much sense. This could be a case of the author not knowing about the additional material, but I can’t be sure.
Many self-published books have this problem. They state things as facts but don’t cite where those facts are coming from. Many of these books are written by fans of franchises, and you can see the passion in the books they write, but the end product doesn’t match what they are trying to do.
What is in the Book
Silent Hill Lost Memories is light on facts. There isn’t much information beyond what could be learned from a Wikipedia article. That might be where much of this came from, but there are no sources, so we don’t know.
There is a lot of surface-level information here. I’m not saying this is bad, but it isn’t what was promised at the beginning of the book. I was expecting more than what is presented here.
The first three games are covered here. We get brief looks at the games’ main characters, monsters, and locations. Everything needs to be covered more in-depth. Quotes from the “creator” are presented, but the quotes aren’t attributed to anyone and aren’t shown where the author found them.
The endings are talked about. These sections are labeled as analysis, but that isn’t what they are. These are surface-level descriptions of the endings. It would’ve been nice if there was a deeper look at the meanings behind these endings, but that isn’t here.
The author tries an interesting way of retelling the story of each game. She uses pictures of the cut scenes and then adds a sentence or two to explain the pictures. It doesn’t work that well. It was good that I knew the story going in because these sections would’ve been useless to me.
A part of me thinks this book was written in another language. Things are strangely worded, and it comes across like I’m talking to someone trying to sound smarter than they are. The writing is confusing at times, and occasionally it can be incomprehensible. For example, this is how the author explains the plot of Silent Hill 3, “The truth about Alessa (Heather), who is repeatedly reincarnated, is likely to be revealed if one reaffirms the dialogue spoken by and objectives of each characters that appear in the game..” I’m not sure what this is supposed to mean.
The Fugue section is the longest part of the book. It is a confusing mess. However, it is an attempt to look at one of the games in a unique way.
After the confusion that is the Silent Hill 3 section, we get an explanation of tarot cards. This seems like the closest the author comes to analyzing the games. I thought this was the book’s point, but I’m clearly wrong on this.
This is a reoccurring problem with these self-published books. You have someone who isn’t a historian or doesn’t know how to write history, trying to write a book about a subject that they care about. What you end up with is a bunch of words and quotes that came from somewhere, and the reader has no idea where they came from.
While reading this book, the “creator” will comment on something, like a character, but we don’t know where this came from. How do we know that a character’s name is an allusion to a B Movie actress or that the translator changed a character’s name when it was localized? I guess we have to put this book down and look it up ourselves, which raises the question of why we picked the book up in the first place.
When writing a book like this, it is always a good idea to start with a question. It helps to explain to the reader what you’re trying to say throughout the book. However, you need to answer the question or explain why you can’t answer it.
In this book, we’re told that the author is going to answer some of the questions about Silent Hill. Those questions are listed in the Prologue. I do not know why it is called Prologue and not Introduction, especially since this is more of an academic work and not a story.
As I was reading this, I kept wondering what the point was. The subject felt lost as the author remembered something cool that she wanted to include in the book. It was like the book tries to cover too much and needs to explain more.
It would’ve been better if the author had focused on one or two games or just the town of Silent Hill. If we just explored the first and third games, then I think this could’ve been good. However, by trying to explain the first three games, we’re left with more questions.
I also have several questions about the content of the book. There isn’t much here when it comes to analysis. We don’t get much beyond a brief description of the game’s events. I’m left wondering what the author thinks about the meaning of the games or her opinion on what things represent.
I don’t know what the point of this book was. It feels like a collection of Wikipedia articles, is frustrating to read, and needs an editor. I like the idea of a book that takes a closer look at the Silent Hill games, but this isn’t that book.
I’m not sure what is going on with this book. There are no sources, quotes without attribution, and a bizarre formatting makes the book very hard to read. I can’t recommend this book at all.
Thankfully, there are other books about Silent Hill. I recommend Silent Hill 2 by Mik Drucker over this one. It is a shame because I think more books should analyze survival horror games. This just isn’t a good one.