I’ve chatted about Lori Brighton before here on QAZ — and even reviewed her paranormal romance The Ghost Hunter — so it’s already clear to all that I enjoy Lori’s writing style and think of her as an exemplary indie author. But I must admit, this particular title of Lori’s has really pushed her to the next level.
Maybe it’s because I prefer fantasy to romance, or maybe Lori has a knack for YA, but while I liked The Ghost Hunter, I really enjoyed The Mind Readers and would be keen to read more about main character Cameron Winters’ world. Intrigued? Read my review:
As always, many thanks to the author for the review copy.
First of all, look at that cover! Yes, I’m as guilty as the next person of judging a book by its cover, even when said book is an ebook. Particularly for indie publications, many authors don’t seem to think of investing into their design — a serious mistake (please, no more 3D videogame people!). The Mind Readers immediately creates a good impression with that cover alone: it’s eye-catching, looks professional, and I’d like to know who made it. Give me a good cover and I’m more likely to be forgiving about other mistakes… not that I found much to complain about in this novel.
The Mind Readers follows the adventures of Cameron Winters, a small-town teenager in Maine who struggles to fit in with her peers at school. It doesn’t help that Cameron has a secret she must protect at all costs: she can read minds. Then Lewis Douglas arrives and shows Cameron exactly who she could be if she embraces her hidden talents. Tempted by the possibility of freedom, Cameron follows Lewis to meet others of her kind… only to find herself caught in a deadly power play.
Part murder mystery, part paranormal adventure, The Mind Readers blends romance and intrigue into an escapist novella that will leave you hungry for more. The action kicks off when a student’s body washes up to shore and Cameron hears the thoughts of the killer in the crowd. With her talents, she’s the only one who can identify the murderer, but she’s been trained from a young age to hide her gifts and do absolutely nothing to expose them — even if it means putting other people in danger.
The story thus raises an interesting moral dilemma: is protecting yourself (at the expense of others) right? Cameron’s domineering grandmother seems to think so, even though the guilt eats away at Cameron’s heart. It is only when Lewis arrives, and shows Cameron how she could live her life differently, that Cameron begins to take a more proactive approach and uses — rather than hiding from — her talents.
I have to admit, Cameron was a little annoying at the start: whiny, a bit of a pushover, and using her mind reading talents in order to be friends with the ‘cool’ kids, who love how she always says the right thing at the right time. But the discovery of other mind readers gives Cameron the confidence boost she needs, and she becomes stronger and more self-aware. By the end, the seedlings for a kickass heroine have been established.
The supporting cast is a little mixed. Lewis intrigued me, particularly because he’s a lot more than a sweet love interest, and has unexpected depths. The dangerous Maddox caught my imagination too, as did Aaron, who runs a school for mind readers which made me think of a darker, twisted version of X-Men. What had me hooked was that I couldn’t tell who was telling the truth, nor who I should be rooting for.
Unfortunately, many of the other characters missed the mark with me, particularly Cameron’s high school classmates who all seemed a little too shallow. I also found it a little unbelievable that many of the male characters were incredibly good-looking; while I expect that in a romance, I found it odd in a YA.
My only other nitpick is the ending. Cameron grows so much during this novel: her experiences have shaped her into a stronger person ready for the future danger she will face. I won’t say much to avoid giving spoilers, except that it was a little bit of a disappointment to find Cam back to almost exactly where she started, even if she’s a changed person. However, I must admit the frustrating killer cliffhanger sweetened my disappointment and left me looking forward to reading the next in the series.
In sum, if you enjoyed Susan Bischoff’s Hush Money, I’d recommend checking out The Mind Readers. It’s a fast-paced entertaining YA ideal for fans of the paranormal.