Category Archives: Dystopian

Tuesday Review Day: Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

Susan Kaye Quinn’s Open Minds is another one that was on my 2014 Goals list that I’ve finally been able to cross off. I actually bought it quite some time ago because it was free for Kindle, but it, along with all of the other books I grab just because they’re free, sat in my Kindle library gathering theoretical dust. I’m not sure why it took me so long to get around to reading it, but I’m thrilled I did because it was a really great book.

Open Minds

Series: Mindjack
Author: Susan Kaye Quinn
Publication Date: November 1, 2011
Pages: 326
Rating: 4 stars

In 16 year-old Kira’s world, not being able to read minds makes you a freak. She has been waiting for her mind-reading powers to kick in so she can finally be a functioning part of society, but being 16 with no powers pretty much means they aren’t going to appear – she’s destined to be a “zero” forever. However, she soon discovers that while she doesn’t have the power to read minds, she does have the power to control, or “jack” them. With her fellow jacker Simon, she enters into a new world full of things she could have only dreamed of had she gotten the same powers as everyone else. But while at first her jacking abilities seem awesome, it quickly becomes apparent that there are those out there who would like to use the jackers for purposes much more sinister than just trying to fit in. Finding a fellow jacker to show her the ropes seems like a great idea at first, but that friendship ultimately lands her in places she thought could only exist in science fiction, places she must fight her way out of in order to keep her life and the lives of her loved ones in tact.

What I Liked:

1. That the mind-reading aspect was done well.  It was creepy, no doubt about that, but Ms. Quinn did a great job of making it seem like a perfectly normal aspect of every day life.

2.  Romance isn’t a big thing in this one, although it was still a functional part of the plot. Kira’s relationship with Simon was certainly flawed, but it gave her the opportunity to discover more about herself than she would have otherwise.

3. The reason she was different was very basic, no supernatural force necessary. Genetics were the driving force behind her differences, not some magic potion or monster bite.

What I Didn’t Like:

1. The physical descriptions of characters was somewhat lacking. We knew about hair color for a few, and some characters had some defining traits, like Raf’s Latino hotness, but for the most part there wasn’t really much to go on, nothing to really fuel the imagination and draw up pictures of the characters.

2. Minor thing: it was way too easy to get away with the whole Kestril confrontation. He knew exactly how powerful Kira was and how much control she could exert, so you’d think he’d be more on his guard.

3. The words the author created for the story – “demens,” “mesh,” “scrit,” etc. – were an ok touch but also kind of annoying. She described everything else about the world, so the language could have been explained, too.

I recommend this book to anyone who is into a more sci-fi young adult theme than paranormal. It doesn’t focus on a person who has super powers because they’ve been cursed/bitten/whathaveyou.  Kira, like everyone else in her world, was born with her powers. They just happen to be a bit different than the norm. It made for a really entertaining and quick read, so if you’re looking for something you can get through in a few days, this is a great option. It’s still free for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, and on Google Play, so if you’re curious it’s a great time to grab it.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Cheap reads, Dystopian, Fiction, First in series, Mind control, Romance, Sci-Fi, Series, YA

Tuesday Review Day: Crossed by Ally Condie

When I reviewed Ally Condie’s Matched a while back, I mentioned that it had taken me a few tries to get through it. Once I got past the first few chapters I really enjoyed it and was excited to read the sequel, Crossed.

In Matched, Society citizen Cassia and aberration Ky fall in love and hope to defy the laws of their world be together. That plan is foiled when the Society officials send Ky to fight in the outer provinces, leaving Cassia heartbroken but determined to find him. With the help of  her official Match, Xander, she is able to sneak away from the Society to search for him. Crossed picks up not too long after Cassia sets out on her search for Ky in the outer provinces of her world, which seemed to be a promising and hopefully exciting storyline. Unfortunately,  it sadly fell completely flat.

crossed

 

Author: Ally Condie
Series: Matched
Publication Date: March 12, 2013
Pages: 367
Rating: 2.5 stars

(Minor spoilers)

What I Liked:

1. Although my major complaint is that not much of any significance happened, the things that did were pretty interesting. Discovering the truth about the blue tablets, Xander’s secret, and the extent to which the Society will go to collect data made for really great plot points.

2. Cassia seems to be going through a very gradual change from Citizen to rebel. In a lot of books, one event sparks an almost immediate change in the protagonist, but that’s not the case with Cassia. She still has a lot of growing and evolving to do, which isn’t something that is spread out evenly over several books.

What I Didn’t Like:

1. The walking. OMG, the WALKING. I felt like I was reading about Sam and Frodo on their quest for Mordor.

2. Cassia destroys everything that could be important. She keeps illegal artifacts hidden, but papers giving her background information for the thing she’s looking for get destroyed. Her grandfather’s poems, destroyed. Things that could easily be stuffed in the bottom of her sock, destroyed.

3. Nothing of significance, aside from escaping the aberration camps, happened until they all met up with each other halfway through the book. Then Ky and Indie discovered their similarities, they met Hunter, found the Society’s stash, and finally found the Rising.

4. And as for the writing itself. The author chose to use alternating perspectives for the chapters, so they were split between Ky and Cassia, but there was no real difference in their voices.

5. There’s no major obstacle, aside from their trek through the Carving. They encounter interesting things during their travels, but not much really happens.

Unfortunately, upon finishing Crossed I realized that the false starts I experienced with Matched might actually be indicative of the rest of the series. When I finished Matched I was excited and anxious to continue the series, but Crossed just left me feeling as though I’d wasted time reading an entire book when the story could’ve been told in a few chapters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Book Reviews, Dystopian, Fiction, Paranormal, Romance, Sci-Fi, Series, YA