Feb 16, 2012

Starters ARC Winner

Congratulations to Jamie Krakover! Jamie just contacted me saying she already won a copy of the book.

Amy is our new winner!

Jamie Amy has already been contacted.

Thank you to everyone who entered. I hope you get a chance to read Starters soon. If you do, please let me know what you think!

I finished the book just the other day and will have my review up soon.

Thank you also to Lissa Price for suggesting I do this giveaway in the first place. I really liked hearing what interested each of you about the book!

Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn

I have to admit that I have a soft spot for indie/sulf published books. I admire the people who take control of their writing life and make the best of it. I also think that people often get a false sense of their ability when they don't go through the proper channels to publications. I love hearing about the stories that prove me wrong. Now that I have an ereader, self published are a little more in the forefront. They tend to have a much better price point than a lot of the other books that interest me.

One of the first thing that struck me about Open Minds was how much I liked the cover.  I have never been ashamed of judging a book by its cover. And this cover of Open Minds words for me.  Usually I am not a huge fan of photos on the cover of books. They can kick me out of the story a little bit by demanding me to conform the character to the picture on the front. Lately I have seen a lot of photo covers that worked for me, most of them utilize a really strong focus on the eye/s of the character/model on the front of the book.

I like the vague idea I got of the book when I looked at the cover and thought about the title. I was definitely looking at Open Minds from a dystopian point of view when I was looking at the cover of the book.  It made me think of how in a dystopian society it is dangerous to have secrets and it is necessary to show a willingness to be open to the control the government is providing/inflicting. Of course what I thought the book was about was not in fact the story that Susan Kaye Quinn wrote.

Open Minds is based on a mutation in the future when everyone is able to read and share thoughts,  Thinking about people being able to read my mind all the time terrifies me. I pride myself in being a fairly honest person, but I think about all those outlying thoughts that are less a representation of me and more a moment of fancy (or at least that is what I tell myself.) And how those outlying thoughts and all the rest of them would be right out there in the open for everyone to know.

Despite my original misjudgment of the book (solely based on what I thought the book was about regarding the cover) Open Minds does have a lot of dystopian themes, though I am not sure that I would go as far as to say that the overarching society is particularly dystopic. Kira lives in a world where everyone around her can read each other's thoughts, yet she cannot. Like other aspects of growing up the transition between becoming a mind reader happens at different ages for different people. Kira lives in fear of never developing the ability that every one else around her has. She would be a zero for life and not be able to go to college and it would limit the type of jobs she can get. She hopes that every day will be the day that the change will happen and she will be like everyone else. Until one day she makes a new friend who changes her point of view about everything in her world and her life.

Considering the price and the fact that this was independently published Open Minds was a surprisingly enjoyable read.  I think it is easy to over do praise of these types of books because they are totally separate from any sort of expectations.  But it is easy to think of more traditionally published books that had a lot more problems than Open Minds did.  My biggest issue with the book was that of pacing. I though it dragged on at times and other times seemed to be switching a little more unexpectedly than I wanted. The concepts were compelling and Kira was an interesting character. I enjoyed reading the book a lot, though even though it wasn't slow paced it was a slow read for me. The pacing was just off for me and didn't pull me back to the book when I stopped reading it.

I know that value definitely is connected with my enjoyment of a book. I definitely felt like I got my money's worth and more with Open Minds. Most fans of young adult speculative fiction will enjoy this story as will those fans of dystopian and superpower you adult fiction. Susan Kaye Quinn did a good job of tackling a conceptually complex type of story to narrate. She did a good job writing about the inner workings of thoughts and the ways that thinking is are different from speaking.

If you have read Open Minds I would love to hear your thoughts on its dystopian elements and what you liked best about the book. This book is a good example of how having a vague idea of the type of book I am looking for lead me to a surprise enjoyment of a book.
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