Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Review: Elimination (The Mind Breaker #1) by Marina Epley

Elimination (The Mind Breaker #1)

30839740For fans of The Hunger Games, Maze Runner and X-Men. Immerse yourself in a gritty YA dystopian adventure with telepathy, hypnosis and mind reading.

Eighteen-year-old Rex is trying to survive in a dangerous world where the government hunts down, imprisons and even kills those with psychic abilities. He’s a mind breaker, considered not only a deviation from the norm but the biggest threat to society.

Once he reveals his abilities for hypnosis, the deadly hunt begins…

Rex has to flee across the devastated countryside while an entire army of resistant soldiers searches for him. Worse yet, by going on the run, he’s endangering his one and only friend Kitty.

Rex soon realizes that together they make a vulnerable target. And the only way to save Kitty is to allow himself to be captured, thus diverting attention while his friend escapes. But nothing goes as planned, and his actions only serve to push Kitty into an even worse situation than a life sentence in prison. With his world falling apart, Rex must figure out how to fix his accumulating mistakes and regain their freedom before it’s too late.

What Rex doesn’t yet understand, is that he may soon play a major role in preventing all-out war between ordinary humans and mind breakers, a war which could lead to total extinction of the entire human race.

My Take:
Rex is an eighteen-year-old with a terrible secret. He is part of a subset of a post-apocalyptic population that have special mental abilities - hypnosis, telekinesis, mind-reading, and more. He's a mind-breaker, and that amounts to life in prison or worse, just because of who he is.

Lies permeate the media that society watches, tagging mind-breakers as nothing but deadly threats bent on raping, murdering or using their powers to take other advantage of the population at large. Their top-rated show involves watching mind-breakers being hunted down and exterminated by Elimination, a jack-booted black-ops group of specially trained commandos who gather mind-breakers and gather them into research facilities and death camps.

Rex tries to eke out an existence as a 'normal', but the lie he is living crashes around him as the bank he works at is robbed, and he has to use his powers of hypnosis in order to escape. Now, on the run for his life, he has to separate from his sister, Kitty, in order to save her, even if it means capture and death.

As society continues to pursue the annihilation of this enhanced race of beings, aided by the lying media and the merciless Elimination, there's going to be a reckoning - one that just might spell the end of everyone.


Drug Content:
PG-13 - Several characters do a significant amount of drinking or drugs to ease guilt or pain. Drugs are administered to control or subjugate.

R+ - This is extremely bloody. Genocide is a good term. This dark, dystopian novel has torture, bullying, slaughter of innocents, torching of schools and hospitals. Threats and murders of loved ones for leverage or revenge. Street fighting and skull crushing abound. Noses and arms, legs and ribs are broken throughout for the joy of inflicting pain or dominance, for some of the psychotic villains.

PG - The D-word is used a bit, but nothing else.

Adult Content:
PG - There's not much, but there are some suggestions of rape and such. One of the bad guys intimates considering having his way with a girl who is not yet an adult.   

Christian content:
None. There's not much talk about an afterlife, and there's not any concept of hope beyond surviving the next 30 minutes or just escaping from one bad situation into another. There are some points in the book where characters consider the concept of good and evil, or bad and worse, or who is deserving of death more than someone else. Family and loved ones appear to be the main motivating force, and on the antagonist side, apparently there is no level too low to stoop, no line too bad to cross, in a sadistic pursuit of the destruction of a new race. There are a few characters who learn about forgiveness and reconciliation, and there are some that ardently argue for peace and coexistence. 

Final analysis:
Wow. Where to begin. There are some editing issues, and this book is far darker than my usual fare. As described above, there is a lot of sadism in between the covers of this novel, but the book is a fast-paced thriller that had me glued to it from the shocking and depressing start to the action-packed end. The world-building was stark and realistic. The main character spent far too much time soul searching and pondering his path, waffling in decisions until he focused on a destiny. The antagonists, and there were quite a few, were very dark and very bad. They seemed somewhat one-dimensional, unredeemable, and completely unlikeable.

I would have liked to have known more about the backstory of Wheeler and some of the evil villains like him, to get a better understanding of their motivation for hatred and sadism. A good 'bad' guy has reason and stakes or history that motivates him to be like he is.

The novel was realistic, if disturbing, gripping, a real page-turner. It sets up for a nice dystopian world war, and the world building was solid, but the character building and there were a few pacing issues that kept me from awarding the story the five stars that the plot deserved. Four Stars!

About the Author:
Marina EpleyI’m a former journalist turned full-time author who began writing at an early age. Growing up on science fiction, horror and action movies more than cartoons, where the stuff of my dreams (or nightmares) quickly evolved into the short stories I shared with classmates. Well, nothing much has really changed since, except nowadays I write for your enjoyment and reading pleasure.

I published my first YA dystopian trilogy The Mind Breaker in 2016, and I’m currently working on a new series. I mostly write science fiction with plenty of action and adventure, but appreciate any good stories with lots of unexpected twists and turns.

Visit my website https://www.epleymarina.com/

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