A Game of Broken Minds

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4 Stars

This was definitely awesome. More than awesome really. Perfect pacing, the action was great. There were even a few laughs that came when least expected. It was hard not to love this story. The concept of it was interesting and it was easy to get invested in the characters and the plotline. However, there were a few things that gave me pause.

Firstly as much fun as Cory was, most people who punch their bosses can find work still, even if they end up as a high school custodian. Unless his anger issues are so immense no one wanted to hire him, to explain that would’ve required more backstory, otherwise, I went into it thinking ‘so he just hit his boss’? I couldn’t get invested in his character beyond his role in the story. Unlike Jenny, and the voice Molly, whose motives were more clearly defined, especially Molly. By far the best fleshed-out character in the whole story beyond the villains. Their agenda was clear and easy to follow as well.

Also, the big bit early on is that Molly has no clue how long the drug will last, but due to her brain network is very well aware that people are out to steal Hanson’s research, and has a pretty on-point understanding of why. So, knowing he is the only one with the formula, and the pills, she directs Cory to steal the pills and leave and then, later on, tells him how Hanson is going to be apprehended because the bad guys want the formula. This is so Wizard of OZ. This entire novel could’ve been prevented if Molly had acted on what she knew to begin with. Bare in mind before I even knew about the villain plotline all of this was my first thoughts, knowing the villain game after this only enhanced my opinion that this made zero sense. Pills can wear off and have side effects and this ‘voice is directing Cory away with zero clues on how to reproduce them which is the exact opposite of Molly’s need to keep the connection alive at all costs.

Then there was the other thing that wasn’t dealt with. There is already a non-drug surviving brain link in existence. How? We all know the drugs wain so how is this one mega brain doing it when none of the other humans/brains can? It’s just really suspect that so many brains have been dying to be free when one already is. That brings me to the next point. The way Molly talks, apparently the brains were functional entities a few centuries back, so what happened that made them all voiceless, and, again, how did one of them remain active for so long.

When the whole cusp of the story is about the brains staying relevant and present, their need to find a permanent solution, seeing as one does exist, wasn’t addressed at all. Surely since they know it can be done they aren’t expecting people to be popping pills forever. If the effects became permanent over time this would be a non-issue but as far as I can tell this isn’t the case. If for some reason the drug stops working all the voices, save the one, will go away again. Maybe I’m overthinking it but as far as survival instincts go the pills versus hunting down the one functioning brain and forcing the knowledge of how he’s doing it out of him seems a no brainer, pun intended. The end goal seemed that the pills were the end all to be all instead of a permanent thing.

Not knowing or addressing these things sorta left me feeling like, so the whole earth is now just going to be on drugs, forever?

Other than this though I loved the edge of your seat pacing it had. How the solutions came but weren’t easy to execute, things went wrong, characters improvised. The ending was nice as we got a glimpse at the different personalities the brains come with. I can imagine alliances being made and infighting and the like. Just oodles of fun.

As far as action-packed SciFi capers go, this one definitely fits the bill. I sense a sequel in its future. Okay, part one isn’t exactly written in the title, but I’m using that second-brain power to will it into existence. If only to see how the other brains carry on. It be nice to see if the villain manages to get back on his feet and the others, in true comedic action-packed, kill or be killed fashion, stand up to him while also trying to fulfil their own agendas simultaneously. It’s safe to say I loved this story. Like could not put the book down, but the beginning plot issue was a big one that kept me thinking it made zero sense with Molly’s end goal and a lot of subsequent actions could’ve been avoided and the network itself could’ve been built up much, much faster.

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