I went into this book knowing only that it involved mutants and it was K. M. Ruiz’s debut. I don’t know if I’m unlike most readers, but I didn’t give a thought to the quotes on the cover. While I can appreciate the endorsements, I don’t want to be influenced by another’s reading experience. I want to go into any book I read with a clean slate and let the author make or break my reading experience with their characters, world, and words. And I think that’s where a lot of readers get hung up, on the X-Men meets Blade Runner comparison. You see it time and time again in the reviews. Folks complain because Mind Storm wasn’t anything like X-Men. Don’t get hung up on the quotes, folks. Give this author a chance to spin her tale. You won’t be disappointed.
And now a word from the publisher:
The first in an exciting new sci-fi series that’s being described as Blade Runner meets X-Men
Two hundred and fifty years after the world was nearly wiped out by nuclear war, what’s left of society fights over the scraps of the Earth as the rich and powerful plan to ascend in secret to another planet. But the deadly new breed of humanity that the rulers have enslaved to protect their interests are about to change everything.
K.M. Ruiz’s Mind Storm is the rip-roaring tale of Threnody Corwin, a “psion” with the ability to channel electricity like lightning through anything she touches. As a solider-slave for the human government, Threnody is recruited by an unknown enemy: the scion of Earth’s most powerful (and supposedly human) family, the Serca Syndicate. But Lucas Serca is far from human and he intends to make Threnody and her fellow psions meet their destiny, no matter how many people he has to kill to do it.
Mind Storm is the first of two books chronicling the fight for survival by the psions and other “gene-trash” humans, before they’re killed by the racist world government, or left to die on a crumbling Earth.
War is hell. So is what comes after…
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was something different, a bit of freshness that the Sci-Fi genre needs from time to time. For that alone I applaud K. M. Ruiz. But we’d be doing her book a disservice if we only classify it as Sci-Fi. Mind Storm is something of a genre mash up, at least in my opinion it is. Take a Sci-Fi setting, fill it with the action and intrigue you’d find in a Thriller, and add to that the multiple POV system often utilized in the Fantasy genre, and you’ve got the recipe for what makes Mind Storm a memorable read.
What stands out to me most is the world in which these psions live. Set a couple hundred years in the future, they either serve the government or are branded a renegade and hunted down. Even though the psions have mutated and developed powers over various elements like fire or electricity, telekinesis or telepathy (to name a few), they don’t have much to live for. They are often taken by the government at a very early age and programmed to serve obediently, or die. Most of their lives are spent knowing a few mistakes can lead to a push of a button and their subsequent deaths. I found this to be very believable in a world where the remnants of the human race are clinging to life years after nuclear war has ravaged the planet. The psions are like the government’s dogs. They go and do what they’re told to do and are thrown away when they’re not needed anymore. Got some dirty work? Send in the psions!
Much of this book is told through multiple POVs, which a story of this magnitude needs. It gives readers a more complete picture, and vision, of a society that is just barely hanging on. Plus we get to see each side of the equation. There really aren’t any clear cut good, or bad, guys here. Various shades of grey rule the day with these characters left to choose what they believe is the best course of action. I quite liked that. When the chips are down and everything is going to hell, each character had to look deep within themselves and find their motivation. Sometimes their motivations gelled with other characters. Sometimes they didn’t.
K. M. Ruiz has the makings of a master storyteller. Hers is a voice I want to hear more from in this, or any genre. And if she ever needs a critique partner, or someone to bounce ideas off of, I’m more than available. Just throwing that out there. 😉
I did have a few minor gripes. There were times when action sequences felt stymied by unnecessary narrative, where the author was trying to explain things instead of letting the action unfold. It took me away from what should have been meaningful action, and plot points. A few of the characters read the same way too, meaning if their names weren’t different you wouldn’t know you were reading about two different characters. Nothing major. I would have like to see a little more death too. I suppose I’ll have to wait and see if I get my wish in the sequel. Fingers crossed!
All-in-all, I applaud K. M. Ruiz’s debut. She managed to inject new life in a genre that often needs it. I would describe Mind Storm as a stylish, sophisticated, and gritty read, one you don’t want to miss. How’s that for an endorsement? I’m giving K. M. Ruiz’s, Mind Storm, four out of five stars. I will definitely buy the second book and be on the lookout for whatever she has planned next. It isn’t often you find a debut as polished and intelligent as this. Readers of all walks will find something to love with this book. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy. Then you can rave about K. M. Ruiz too!
You can learn more about K. M. Ruiz by following this link to her official website: http://www.kmruiz.com/
Follow K. M. Ruiz on twitter here: https://twitter.com/KM_Ruiz