Shattered Minds: A Pacifica Novel by Laura Lam
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I like Laura Lam's books - those that I've read, anyway, because I'm still waiting for my library to get Masquerade. It's been too long. They didn't take nearly as long to get ahold of Shattered Minds, though, for which I'm grateful. It's just...strange, because this is the first time I've read a Laura Lam book and not been totally enamored with it. I mean, don't get me wrong, Lam weaves a deadly dangerous futuristic story like just about nobody else, a super-strong hybrid of Inception and Continuum (maybe not so much Orphan Black, though, not like False Hearts.) But reading this book, I felt it was a lot harder for me to connect to the characters, particularly our heroine, Carina. Though I suppose that was intentional, an exercise in protagonist unlikability worthy of Victoria Schwab. Another point against the book for me was its use of third-person POVs - I've always found it difficult to connect with those, especially when the author has a history of writing seriously engaging and engrossing first-person POVs in their past work as Lam does (and as do examples like Rick Riordan, Maggie Stiefvater, and more.) But there was one character I felt most connected to - Dax, whose backstory, to me, was the most fleshed out. I actually think, perhaps with a little more out-of-lane research (he being trans and Native American), he should've been the protagonist, or at least had more POV chapters so he could feel less like a deuteragonist and more like an equal part of the ensemble alongside Carina. And overall, the book is extremely fast-paced, even more so than False Hearts, which kinda demanded a bit of slow savoring. I had no problem finishing it in a single day.
Since this whole Pacifica universe is an anthology, it's a shame we'll probably never see some of these characters again. (Though I'm still holding out hope that Dax, for one, and also Taema and Tila, make return appearances somewhere down the line.) In the meantime, I'm counting on there being another Pacifica story somewhere down the line, hopefully set in the Pacific Northwest this time - especially Vancouver, which would really enhance the Continuum-esque vibe.
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