Monday, October 18, 2010

Beware the Wrath of a Patient Adversary

I received this book for a fair and honest review from the author, Kate Kaynak. For more information about Kate and her books, check out her Website, Facebook, and Blog.

Being the second book in a series, this review does contain spoilers for the first book, Minder. I'd suggest you read the book, or at the very least my previous review before reading this.

Ganzfield Novels
Book 2

By Kate Kaynak
Amazon ~ Powell's

For Maddie, life probably couldn't be any stranger.

As a minder (mind-reader), she hears the thoughts and feels the emotions of everyone around her. Her boyfriend, (well, more accurately, her soulmate) Trevor, can lift things in the air and stop bullets without even moving a muscle. Her other friends can start, stop, and control fires, locate people or objects just by thinking about them, heal others in seconds, and force people to do anything they ask.

But that's Ganzfield for you. If something isn't strange, it just wouldn't be normal.

It's been a couple months since Maddie and her friends broke into Eden Imaging, simultaneously rescuing Trevor and discovering a powerful enemy. Since then, they've formed a team dedicated to protecting each other and the other students at Ganzfield. Though training has been going well, team dynamics are still off where charms are concerned. And it doesn't help matters that the newest charm recruit, Zack, seems to have extra abilities, abilities that put even Maddie on edge.

But when Ganzfield suffers a massive attack, Maddie and the others will have to put their concerns aside and work together in order to track down some answers. Unfortunately, there's a good chance those answers could lead them straight to Isaiah Lerner, a minder with the ability to kill with a thought, and who would do anything to see them all dead.

It will take everything Maddie has to keep her friends alive. But is that enough?

First off, no offense to Kate or her people, but the back cover copy needs some work. I understand not wanting to give anything away, but you need more description than just five sentences:

"Second Sight."

The break-in at Eden Imaging
put everyone at Ganzfield in the
crosshairs of a killer.

Do they have what it takes to stop Isaiah?

Who will survive—and who won't?

Find out what happens next
in the sequel to Minder.

I'm sorry, but if I'm looking into the series and Adversary is first on the shelf (because bookstores often go alphabetically instead of chronologically [easier/faster]) that description doesn't have enough hook to get me to look at Minder. It assumes you know too much about this world, mentioning nothing of the paranormal aspect (besides 'second sight'), and instead of inviting you into the world, it bluntly tells you to "Find out what happens".

Luckily, fans of Minder will already be jumping at the bit to do just that. And they won't be disappointed.

This book has a lot of action interspersed. And because Maddie can read minds, even if she isn't at a battle, she relives it through memories. If Minder was centered on overcoming and preventing rape, this book is definitely more about the trauma of battle and death. Kaynak's descriptions aren't overly gory or explicit, but they still hold a lot of emotion and I would again caution younger readers.

The romance between Maddie and Trevor is as strong as ever, and getting stronger. I may be a bit too happy about this, but I was glad that there was trouble in paradise. They have so much love for each other, but they still have to overcome their own hurdles: Trevor still worries that he's too dangerous and not worthy of Maddie; Maddie still struggles to find a balance between using her powers for the good of all and using them selfishly. I really liked that the troubles they face, while extreme and unique, show normal couples that no relationship is without trials, that working through them strengthens the love rather than dissolving it.

I also love how everything isn't all about sex. Yes, there are a lot of allusions to it, and Maddie and Trevor consider it a few times, but overall the romance is sensual. It's more about loving who someone is, rather than how they look or what they can do. And yet their relationship is nothing short of steamy. I've found it a nice change of pace for a YA series.

There are a couple places where I got lost with names. One scene in particular, shortly following the first battle, had a lot of names thrown out there but no further identifications. I didn't know if we'd known these people before (if so, they weren't particularly memorable), or if the names were simply there for differentiation (instead of 'a shorter woman' or 'a deep-voiced man'). Luckily, the scenes were fairly short and unimportant.

Also, I really, REALLY wish Isaiah could be fleshed out a little more. I know he's the bad guy, and that he wants to kill everyone at Ganzfield, and that he can fry brains of anyone who gets close enough so it makes him hard to talk to... But I want to know why! I want to know his motivations. If he's crazy, I want to know what made him snap.

And it's probably just residue from reading The Mortal Instruments series, but I keep thinking that perhaps Isaiah is Maddie's father... After all, they have the same abilities, Maddie's father left ("died") while she was very young, and Maddie's mom has never been in the same proximity... But more evidence has yet to be seen, so enough of my (possibly crazy) rambling.

I did like the fleshing out of Maddie's teammates. Drew's got to be my favorite jock-type dude, and Hannah provides a good moral compass without being overly preachy. Rachel is still a little whiny, and bipolar at times, but she's slowly growing on me.

Zack...I still don't quite know what to think about him, but I don't want to give away anything either. I think he and Maddie are kinda the "Anakin Skywalker" and "Peter Parker" of the group. A lot of power, specifically power over other people, and potential but not 100% sure how to best use that power. I'm very interested to see how they both handle themselves in the future.

Overall, Adversary had everything I expected and more. If you enjoyed Minder, you should definitely check out its sequel. And if you haven't tried Minder yet...what are you waiting for?

Approximate Reading Time: 6 Hours

The third Ganzfield novel, Legacy, is scheduled for release in January. I went ahead and read the preview chapter at the end of Adversary, and I can hardly wait!

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