Sunday, August 11, 2013

Book Review: Open Minds (Mindjack Trilogy, #1) by Susan Kaye Quinn

Open Minds An exciting, action-packed, YA, SF Thriller

Open Minds (Mindjack Trilogy, #1) by Susan Kaye Quinn

Reading Level: Young Adult
Release Date: October 3, 2011
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Pages: 328
Source: Digital Copy from Author
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

Human beings have evolved into a telepathic race, and Kira stands out as abnormal because she cannot transmit or hear thoughts. Her best friend, kind and handsome Raf, wants very much to be more than a friend, but Kira cares too much for him to allow him to drag himself down by connecting himself to a social outcast like her. Then one day he attempts to kiss her, and her overwhelming desire to avoid his kiss, in order to prevent heartbreak for both of them, translates into the intense, mental command, "Stop!" Kira is horrified when Raf doesn't simply pull back from his attempted kiss, he topples over, knocked out cold. Soon after, Kira learns from Simon, a boy even more handsome than Raf who is one of the most popular people in school, that she, like Simon, has a very rare, mental talent that the larger population knows nothing about. She is a "mindjacker," someone who can control the thoughts and behavior of "readers," ordinary mindreading people. Simon makes Kira an offer that is difficult to refuse--training in the use of her frighteningly powerful ability.

I read this book in the Kindle version. The book is well designed, well-edited, and visually a pleasure to read. The book itself is extremely well written. Though there is a romantic subplot, the primary plot is a science-fiction thriller, thus teen boys should enjoy this book as much as teen girls, and adults will find this a fascinating read, too. The story never lags, and yet there is strong attention to developing the personality, backstory and emotional needs of the very sympathetic heroine.

I have a pet theory as to the core, most significant element of a good action plot: the protagonist is what I call a Positive Warrior. He/she is ethical and can be counted on to defend the weak and back up anyone who is a fellow Warrior who needs support. Any protagonist like this is instantly sympathetic and compelling. Kira is very much this type of heroine, and as such she fits into the best of this tradition in action stories. Fans of adult, paranormal action/thriller stories with this type of protagonist, such as Patricia Briggs's Mercy Thompson books, the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, and The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, may well find this series a worthwhile read.

I was contacted by the author directly for a review as a top reviewer on Amazon. I don't accept many such requests because my time is fairly limited. But this story's premise intrigued me so much, I agreed to read it. I'm glad I did. I asked the author what her plans are for this book, since this seems ripe to be a series. She told me the following books and short-stories are part of the series in this recommended reading order:

Mind Games (Mindjack Origins), a short prequel to Open Minds in Raf's POV
Open Minds (Book One of the Mindjack Trilogy)
Closed Hearts (Book Two of the Mindjack Trilogy)
The Handler (Mindjack Origins), a short story from the POV of the character Julian from Closed Hearts
The Scribe (Mindjack Origins), a short story from the POV of the character Sasha from Closed Hearts
Free Souls (Book Three of the Mindjack Trilogy), a projected December, 2012 release

I am looking forward to reading all the books and stories in this wonderful series.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 5

Subcharacters: 5

Fantasy World-Building: 5

Writing: 5

Action-Adventure Plot: 5

Romantic Subplot: 4

Overall: 5

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