Minder (Kate Kaynak)

Minder (A Ganzfield Novel) Minder by Kate Kaynak

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From Goodreads: "Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn is special, but she needs to figure out how to use her new abilities before somebody else gets hurt. Ganzfield is a secret training facility full of people like her, but it's not exactly a nurturing place. Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control. A stray thought can burn a building to the ground. And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads. But it's still better than New Jersey - especially once she meets the man of her dreams..."

It. Some books have it, some don't. And I'm not talking about "amazingness" or "ridiculous-awesome," although the two do tend to overlap with it. It doesn't always make a book awesome - rather, it is simply what makes you keep reading, what pulls you forward, what keeps a book niggling in your mind until you simply have to reread it...or pick up the sequel.

Minder has it, although even now I'm having trouble pinpointing why. Could it be the integration of real-life organizations into a fantastical story? The way the author speaks with authority about scientific phenomena? The fact that there is a school for "special" people, and that I totally want to go? In Ganzfield, the reader gets the perfect mix of awesome (school for supernaturals) and frightening (some of them can control your mind). I was completely hooked by the premise, and Minder definitely delivered.

That being said, there were a few things that bothered me about Minder. The first is that things just seemed too simple for Maddie. I'll try not to wander into spoiler-land here, but everything seems to come to her too easily, and without cost. I wanted her to struggle more at Ganzfield, instead of hitting the ground running. Her romance (with a perfectly charming young man, who I look forward to seeing in future books) also felt a little quick - I wanted more back and forth. Is there such a thing as clicking too easily? Here, I think so - but maybe it was just because the romance seemed to be another of those things that came "too easily" for Maddie.

My only other complaint was that the book moved too slowly for my taste. For at least half the book, the reader hangs out with Maddie at Ganzfield as she learns more about her powers and makes friends. I was captivated by this, as I loved learning more about the system, and the world that Minder created - but at the same time, I kept wondering: "When is something bad going to happen?" There was only the barest hint of a threat throughout much of the book, and the final showdown comes out of the blue. I would have loved to see the eventual antagonists introduced (or at least alluded to) much, much earlier.

Still, Minder has it. The captivating premise, the problems Maddie starts having with her powers, the introduction of a sinister villain - all of these pulled me effortlessly through the book. While Maddie seems to do things too easily in Minder the introduction of a problem with her power bodes well for personal struggle in the next book, and since we've now met some really bad guys, I expect to see a lot of grappling in Adversary (the sequel). Minder has flaws, it's true. But it still left me waiting anxiously for the next book!

*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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