OPEN MINDS (Mindjack Trilogy, #1)
Author: Susan Kaye Quinn
Published on: November 1, 2011
Genre: Science fiction
Published by: Self-published
When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.
Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.
It’s a thrill when I find books that exceed my expectations. I didn’t think I would be blown away after finishing this book. Open Minds was more fabulous than one could garner by the synopsis. Sure, it’s about a girl living in a society where everyone can read minds. Sounds simple, right? Well, there is far more stuff going on than that. This book had more layers than it seems at first.
Open Minds is kind of a blend of sci-fi and dystopian. It takes place sometime in the first decade of the 22nd century (though you don’t find out about that until near the end of the story). The setting is Chicago, then known as Chicago New Metro. The protagonist/narrator is Kira Moore, a seventeen-year-old high school student. She appears to be just a normal, average girl. However, by her society’s standards, Kira is an outcast. She is a zero, one of very few people who can’t yet read minds or be read. Zeroes are discriminated by the rest of society. This doesn’t sound like much, but it has a lot of drawbacks. Classes those days are taught in near-complete silence. Naturally, Kira has been struggling to avoid flunking.
Most zeroes do not have friends, because student conversations are also mostly silent. Wouldn’t that be a sort of blessing for teachers today? Silent students. Anyway, Kira does have a best friend, Rafael Lobos. He is a mindreader, which is a testament to their friendship. Kira, though, wants more from him than friendship. She’s unable to start a romantic relationship with him because she wants to change into a reader too. Raf doesn’t shun Kira because she is still powerless. They’re both confident that she will change soon. And it happens sooner than they expected.
Strangely, the change is not what Kira was awaiting. She isn’t aware of it until Simon Zagan, a seemingly strange boy from Math class, tells her what she is. Simon is a mindjacker, too. He makes Kira promise that she won’t reveal their secret. Kira agrees, mostly because she thinks no one will believe her. Simon takes Kira under his wing, teaching her how to use and control her new, unexpected power. She finds it both thrilling and frightening. Against Simon’s advice, Kira refuses to use her new gift on Raf and her family to make them think she’s changed. Mindjackers are able to pass as mindreaders if they concentrate, as the latter has been doing for long.
Unbeknownst to Kira, Simon has a secret agenda. He has intentions for Kira other than seducing her. This creates a chain of events that ends up making Kira find herself in a dangerous situation. In order to save Raf’s life, Kira is forced to test the limits of her powers. By then, she has found that she has a trait unique among her kind: an impenetrable mind. Mindjackers can control others like them and mindreaders, but Kira is the exception. This has dangerous parties interested in using her.
Simon’s manipulations make Kira cross paths with the FBI and one person in particular, Agent Kestrel. He intends to recruit Kira as an FBI agent after witnessing what she can do. When Kestrel mentions mindjacker concentration camps, Kira refuses the offer. After trying to escape, she is knocked out. What happens next is something Kira never dreamed could happen to her. She is forced to ally herself with not-so-old enemies if she wants to stop Agent Kestrel…and save other innocent kids.
Open Minds starts a bit slow, but once Kira stumbles upon her strange powers, things pick up. The story takes a direction I wasn’t expecting. Frankly, it kept me on the edge of my seat. Whenever I had to stop reading to take care of everyday stuff, I itched to continue. The author did a great job building up this world. And the characters are well fleshed-out, too. Since this book takes place in the future, the author had to think up a lot of new stuff. The techology is highly advanced: computers, cars, and other electronics are equipped with what is known as mindware. This is software that mindreaders can control with their thoughts. And cars in that future are powered by hydrogen, instead of gas or even electricity. Also, you’ll find that the author came up with slang language that kids of the time use. Most of it isn’t hard to deduce, though a lexicon would have been handy. One word in particular gave me trouble. I spent half the book trying to divine what in the world Kira meant by mesh.
Fans of sci-fi and dystopian novels will really enjoy Open Minds. It was definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year. Kira Moore is a great heroine, another example of a strong female character who isn’t afraid to grab the bull by the horns. Be sure you have plenty of time set aside, because you’ll want to finish this book in one sitting.
A stunning page turner!
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