I am so excited to share today’s review with you. It’s always a privilege to be part of the launch of a book that you know will deeply satisfy its readers, both male and female, in the case of Open Minds.
The only other protagonist that has truly dragged me into her world from page one this year, is Katniss, and I can assure you, you are going to care just as much about Kira’s outcome as Katniss’ survival in the Hunger Games. This comes from someone who is not normally into YA paranormal science fiction, but who is now begging for a date for the sequel. Quinn takes you on a rollercoaster into a most insidious world of mindreading and mind control. It seems so plausible you start to catch yourself in conversations wondering « does she know what I really think? »
Sixteen-year-old Kira is a zero, an adolescent, who has not gone through the change as her peers have, and who can’t read thoughts or be read by others, unlike the regular (mind) readers. Zeros are society’s dregs, limited to using normal speech, dull jobs and no possibility of true romantic relationships. The latter seems Kira’s biggest challenge as the book begins, but, though romance remains hinted at throughout, more serious problems soon dominate her life. Kira discovers her frightening, unusual, mind controlling abilities when she accidentally controls her best friend, Raf’s, mind and almost kills him. Isolated, and fearful of this new power, she doesn’t know whether to be elated or wary of discovering that there are others with this ability, who have plans for her.
She is unwillingly dragged into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to jack into the minds’ of loved ones is just the beginning of a series of difficult choices she has to make for her safety and for others much more vulnerable than she. Like Katniss, Kira unwillingly develops a progressively central role in a community where many lives are threatened. Kira’s compassion and integrity overrule her fears, pushing her into a place of maturity and action she would have naturally evaded.
The twists and threats are delightfully unpredictable and it will be well past midnight before you are willing to put this book down. I read this ARC in three sittings, coerced « Mmm, did I really have a choice? » into the world, and, of course, minds of the characters. Quinn has created an intensely real, compelling and dangerous world with its own vocabulary and sensorial experiences. These new words are so skillfully introduced that you assume you have always known what a « reader » or « jacker » is. I loved the concept of being able to smell or taste another’s mind – made me want to try it out! The ending is very satisfying and sets the reader up with, well, the frustration of having to wait for the next book.
When you can control the thoughts of others, and even their memories, how far should you go? Such are the questions that Kira and the other mindjackers must face, and obviously this gives an ethical twist to a well paced, page turning plot! This is the first in a trilogy, and all I can say is, bring on 2 and 3.
Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn will be released on November 1st. Do check back here and on Susan’s blog, on Tuesday for some celebrations.