In a mostly silent world, where talking isn’t even necessary because everyone over the age of puberty can read minds, Kira is a great big zero. She’s already 16, and she hasn’t changed yet, which doesn’t give her high hopes for her future. Zeros don’t have a secure place in society. They’re viewed with suspicion- how will others know when they are lying or not? When you have a closed mind, you inadvertently miss out on all the important communication nuances. Being a big, fat zero is a serious disability, and Kira can imagine nothing worse. When Kira unexpectedly injures someone close to her with her zero mind, it starts to dawn on her that she is different…but not in the way she thought. Maybe there are worse things than just being a zero.
Written by Susan Kaye Quinn, this unique and original storyline had me on the edge of my seat, and I was generally unwilling to put the book down. The idea of a future where mind reading was the norm was interesting enough, but when the twist of mind-jacking was thrown in, it became positively enthralling. The author weaves details into the story bit by bit to let readers get to know the rules and norms of society at their own pace. New vocabulary is learned through the context of the setting, and I found myself enjoying the exploration of this world just as much as I enjoyed reading about Kira’s journey. I even found myself thinking words like “mesh” and “demens” in my real life. The writing style allowed for a quick and easy read, and was very enjoyable. The pages flew by until the disappointing ending; disappointing because I didn’t actually want the story to end.
Kira is an intriguing character. Not without her flaws, she has a strength that surprises the reader even as it surprises Kira herself. Her character is nicely nuanced and this drew me into her life. Raf was a solid counterpart whose consistency offered a nice backdrop to Kira’s emotional journey. I also really enjoyed Simon’s character. He continued to surprise me as I learned more about who he was and what he stood for. There was a depth to all of the characters that was well-suited to a young adult novel; no one was ever really good, and no one was ever really bad. Everyone was somewhere on that “shades of gray” spectrum, which rounds them out to be realistic people rather than caricatures.
The pacing of the story was generally good and kept me engaged. Although I was really interested in the storyline and found it difficult to put down, there were a few places that felt a bit draggy, and a few events and conversations felt superfluous. I thought Kira’s character was pretty great, but some of her actions and words seemed a little confusing to me as they didn’t seem to fit the girl I felt I had gotten to know. The ending of the story was fine, but Kira’s choices made me wonder how she could expect it to turn out ok. I think such a great story deserved a stronger ending, an ending that would really have left me salivating for the next book. These are minor, nitpicky details, and they weren’t major detractors at all. The total package was solid, entertaining, and left me wanting more, much more.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The first book in the planned “Mindjack Trilogy,” there is more to come in the second book in series, “Closed Hearts.” If you are a fan of dystopian thrillers like “Hunger Games,” “Divergent,” and “Unwind,” this book really needs to be on your short list of books to be read. I promise you won’t be disappointed!
4.5 /5 stars
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