Review: Mindwalker by AJ Steiger

Recommendations, Review
Image from Goodreads
Title: Mindwalker
Series: Mindwalker #1
Author: AJ Steiger
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Publication Date: June 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads
“I’ve never killed anyone. I’ve never been attacked by a mob and beaten within an inch of my life. I’ve never watched a child die in front of me. But I’ve lived through the memory of all those things.”
At seventeen, Lain Fisher is the youngest therapist at the Institute for Ethics in Neurotechnology to master the complex art of Mindwalking—using a direct neural link to erase her patients’ traumatic memories. And no wonder, given that her late father was the technology’s pioneer.
When a troubled classmate named Steven Bent asks her for help, Lain’s superiors warn her to stay away. Steven’s emotional scars are too deep, they say; the risk too great. Yet the more time Lain spends with him, the more she begins to question everything about the Institute and her own place in society. As she defies the warnings and explores Steven’s memories, it becomes clear that something is very, very wrong…something the Institute doesn’t want the world to discover. Are they really an organization of healing, or one of manipulation and control? And is there more to Lain’s father’s suicide than meets the eye?
Mindwalker is a somewhat typical modern dystopian novel set in the USA. The government has changed out of all recognition in response to widespread terrorism and violence in the past. The new Institute For Ethics in Neurotechnology runs a desperate and controversial programme that has rapidly become embedded in society, ranking all citizens from type one to four, depending on their mental state. On page one, Lain Fisher is a type one with absolute faith in the government, training to alter people’s traumatic memories at the IFEN.
My favourite character is the reliable and (in Lain’s own words) “solid” Ian. I like him because he seems to have a perfect success story, completely falls apart and then comes back into the story near the end as an absolute hero. The best part is the middle of the book, when the action suddenly and dramatically picks up.
The main flaw to this incredibly immersive tale is how long it takes to reach that point. The long and slightly depressing opening merely covers an isolated, nerdy 16-year-old girl struggling to cope as she begins to lose the few things she has ever been certain of in her life. To be honest, this slightly dreary start nearly turned me off. I am glad I read on though, because the action is fantastic and so absorbing once it starts.
Some interesting questions are left open at the end of the book, and for that reason I would love to read the sequel, though I hope the action begins more swiftly there. I would recommend this book to my friends who are interested in dystopian fiction, but because of the slow start I can only give it 3 out of 5 stars.

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