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Open Minds: (Mindjack Series Book 1) Paperback – October 3, 2011
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"Wow oh Wow! I just inhaled this book. Quinn is an amazing author with an even more amazing imagination. In some ways Kira reminds me a lot of Katniss from the Hunger Games series." - TwiMom101 Book Blog
"Open Minds boils with action, adventure, and surprises. I was fully invested in this inventive world and the protagonist. A story that had me imagining what if, long after I finished it." -- Terry Lynn Johnson, author of Dogsled Dreams
"I'm not entirely sure Susan Kaye Quinn didn't jack into my mind herself to make me fall in love with this book! This book is full of awesome." - Jade Hanke's Review
"Wow - just when I was getting a little bored of YA a book like this comes along and just wows me back! ... I was holding my breath right up until the last page." - Mel's Random Reviews
From the Author
- Defiance (Prequel to The Legacy Human)
- The Legacy Human (Book 1)
- The Duality Bridge (Book 2)
- The Illusory Prophet (Book 3)
- The Stories of Singularity #1-4 (Novella Box Set)
- Awakening (Stories of Singularity #5)
young adult science fiction
- Open Minds (Book 1)
- Closed Hearts (Book 2)
- Free Souls (Book 3)
- Locked Tight (Book 4)
- Cracked Open (Book 5)
- Broken Wide (Book 6)...coming soon
THE ROYALS OF DHARIA
sweet royal romance
- Third Daughter (Book 1)
- Second Daughter (Book 2)
- First Daughter (Book 3)
- Season One
- Season Two
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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The world of the early circa 2100s was technologically advanced, though not in unrealistically fantastic ways. The characterization of the many types and levels of telepathic and telekinetic skills showed the author's excellent preparation for the ebook.
Romance was tasteful, though the motivation for the attraction to Simon was ambivalent and confusing. Still, the uncertainty added drama, especially because of the underlying humane principles of the goods v. the bads.
The personas of Raf and his mother and the superficial trappings of their cultural heritage, however token, was appreciated. One other instance, describing a guard's dark-skinned hands, was also memorable though it was only a passing detail. No other interracial or ethnic presence was prominent or memorable, as if the Jacking talent had been a racially based genetic mutation, despite equal opportunities (apparently) for Reading and Linking.
In all, the novel was a highly satisfying read, despite my continued annoyance about the practice of ending with unresolved issues that encourage readers to buy the next book in the series, and then Book 3, and a mention of Book 4 in the making. From my own bias, as much as I enjoyed having read this book, I shall not be reading the rest of the books in the series. Regardless, do note my 5-star rating of Book 1.
From the back of the book: 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 underworld of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.
At the start of the book you are presented with a future world. The use of beneficial chemicals (pesticides, water treatment purifiers, animal antibiotics, etc.) have caused a genetic evolution in humans. This evolutionary jump resulted in an entire population of people who communicate mind to mind, Readers. There is no lying mind to mind, very few secrets (hard to keep when you hear/broadcast every thought), and precious little privacy. Even with this evolutionary jump, there are occasional throwbacks who don’t go through the change at puberty. Society views them as Zeros, fit only for menial jobs in society. When you can’t be read, you can’t be trusted. You become zero.
The main character, Kira, is a girl who is past the common change age and has resigned herself to being a zero. The book starts on Kira’s first day of school after summer break. As a known zero, going through classes is a struggle. After all, why should the teachers talk out loud when they can “hear” exactly how much you are comprehending and absorbing from the mental lessons? Frustrated and struggling Kira turns to her only friend, Raf. He is also a normal reader, a Puerto Rican hottie, a high school soccer god, and the boy Kira has a crush on. He doesn’t mind Kira’s disability and seems to like her, but it’s tough when Kira knows that she could never date him or be seen as more than a friend.
Being a zero sucks, but it was about to get a lot worse for Kira. One particularly frustrating afternoon while studying with Raf, he tries to kiss Kira. In her nervousness, she accidentally knocks out him out and nearly kills him, all with her mind. She is suddenly very aware that what she did was not normal. It wasn’t something any reader could do. Scared and alone, not knowing how to control her abilities, Kira starts lying to everyone. Pretending to be a zero. Until another student, Simon, reveals that he knows she’s a jacker. If being a zero was miserable, being a jacker is worse. It’s downright dangerous. Especially for the normal readers in her life.
Simon, who is not a reader but passes for one every day at school, agrees to teach Kira how to control her abilities. It’s not long before you see that Simon might not be the gallant hero in this story. Kira is generally a good person, but with Simon pushing and her unease about abusing her abilities, it seems as if she’s making all the wrong choices. Open Minds brought home a simple truth. Teenagers do not always make good choices. They just don’t have the life experiences to see things from multiple angles. This could sometimes make Kira seem less intelligent. It didn’t bother me. I figured, Kira is barely legal to learn to drive a car, I can’t expect her to suddenly know rocket science! Nor do I expect her to always make the right choice (though she tries...). The real action of the book starts when she’s introduced to a ragtag clan of criminal jackers. Kira knows she’s in trouble. Can she get out of the situation? Can she protect her family and friends? Can she survive?
All of this is set against a futuristic society full of techno/magical advances. Some of the things I liked most about this book weren’t grand. They were little (tiny) details woven through the story. For example, when Kira is in a shady part of town, she thinks about the building codes, how the buildings must be built a certain distance apart to help “quiet the mind” and protect readers in their sleep. Electronics are used by linking your mind with mindware installed in the devices. The same goes for machines, cars (autopilot!), and a host of other things. All of these details are woven in with a deft hand.
There are so many things about this book that appeals to me as a reader: the technological advances, the simple mind magic (a word I’m using lightly), the consistent forward movement of the plot. I also was intrigued by the historical subplot. It wasn’t subtle. Susan Kay Quinn builds in a strong correlation between the looming threat of being sent to a nebulous jacker prison and the real-life historical internment camps. The subplot ultimately force Kira into a moral dilemma and the biggest choice of her life.
If you’re looking for a futuristic cyberpunk/sci-fi book with a fast pace, a strong female lead, and an intriguing storyline, I recommend Open Minds: Mindjacker Saga Book One. It’s good. Really good. I’m going to start book two now.
Don't be put off by the "Young Adult/Teen" target audience. There is much to love and enjoy for us seasoned adults as well. She writes an engaging and action packed story filled with believable and relate-able characters. I really do like the fact that she can concentrate on the story and characters without being compelled to include unnecessary language and salacious scenes just to make it "adult".
Like any teen, Kira is plagued with self doubt at times and is headstrong at others. It's almost like Susan was once a teen girl herself ;) This is a coming of age story with a mental twist. Not being extraordinary is what condemns her to the social wastelands. When everyone is special, no one is special and the "ordinary" become the freaks. There's a little bit of Bella and Katniss in Kira as she struggles with guilt as her new abilities endanger her loved ones and as she is reluctantly drawn into a world and a role she does not seek.
The setting is the Chicago metro area about 100 years in the future, but the technology is not so advanced we get distracted by it. Instead she gives us technology tantalizingly within our reach in a not so distant future. There is new slang and terminology to go along with the society, but not out of touch and easy to absorb.
I met Susan at a dinner/book signing with Hugh Howey, author of the Wool series (which you should also read) and decided to give her book a try. After getting hooked on the first book, I moved on to the two remaining books in quick succession. I'm so glad I did and I look forward to reading more of her work.