Tuesday, May 27, 2014

[Indie Review] Open Minds - Susan Kaye Quinn

Title: Open Minds (Mindjack Trilogy #1)
Author: Susan Kaye Quinn
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Published: 2011
Rating: ★★★

DescriptionSixteen-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. -- Goodreads

My thoughts: I received a free kindle version of Open Minds about a year ago. Since I'm considering self-publishing, I figured I should finally give it a try. Unfortunately, I tend to be a little more harsh when it comes to reading indie novels. I feel the content should be just as good as a traditionally published book and I will nitpick every little thing. As a result, I didn't enjoy the story as much as I probably should have.

Overall, I thought the novel was well-written. No grammar mistakes (that I could find, anyway), the writing flowed well and was quick to read. Descriptions were great and I was fully in the character's head. I have absolutely no problem with the writing style, save for a few of the terms she made up. Like "mesh." Unless I missed the significance of the word, it's like she just used it to replace "cool." Otherwise, I enjoyed the the story's premise. The idea of living in a society where everyone can read everyone's minds creeps me out. I have some pretty disturbing thoughts that should never be shared with anyone. Ever.

Lately, I'm finding it more difficult to make a connection with main characters. Kira really annoyed me at first and I think it's partly because I'm becoming tired of insecure female first-person voices. The first few chapters felt like a pity party. Kira can't link her thoughts with other people, so no one except her friend Raf will acknowledge her presence, the pervy boys at school take advantage of her, and she feels like she has no future. Of course, by the end of the story, she gains confidence and all that, but I never really connected with her, and I didn't find her particularly unique. Perhaps I didn't like her because she didn't embrace her mindjacking powers and use them on unsuspecting people like I would have. Truly, I think I'm a villain at heart.

Reading the reviews on Goodreads, it seemed people had issues with the sciencey aspects of the story. They thought it was poorly explained or that it just didn't make sense or add up. Personally, I didn't really care about that. Their abilities basically come from overexposure to chemicals. Or something. I mean, it really doesn't matter to me how they came by their powers, so long as they have them. When authors get all technical, my brain usually starts to shut off. The issues I have with the story lie elsewhere. 

Like with the fact that Quinn kills off *spoiler* Simon, one of Kira's love interests. Okay, so many people found him creepy. And he was. But I liked it. He's the mysterious, bad boy. Of course I like him. So he lies to Kira? So he tries to get her to join a dangerous criminal gang full of mindjackers? So he almost kills her best friend?  Do I care? No. My main reason for reading the story was because of him, and I find this true with a lot of female protagonist novels (with the exception of, say, The Hunger Games and a few others). I don't read it because of the female character; I read it because of the love interest. Sad. But true.

After Simon died, which I'm still in denial over, my interest in the story kind of deflated. The plot turned into Kira trying to expose the Feds for the experiments they were performing on her and other mindjackers. She also sets out to save a young girl she meets in prison. I don't think we spent enough time with the girl to really care about her. If it had been, you know, Simon who Kira was rescuing, I would've been a lot more invested in the novel. But no. He gets himself killed protecting her. Stupid.

He's not dead. He's not! ( TДT)

If you've read any of my reviews or my rant on book covers, you'll know I absolutely hate models on the cover of novels. Especially female models. It's just so overdone and usually looks terrible. I can't remember why Open Minds grabbed my attention, but for sure it wasn't the cover. I know it's difficult and expensive for self-published authors to get professional-looking covers, but still. Stop using models. Please. I beg you.

I have enough interest in the story and its premise to read the next book in the series, but I wouldn't put this on my list of favorites. 

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