BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Two groups of psions fight in a post-apocalyptic world, unaware of the greater plots being enacted by three men of power.
PROS: Lots of psionic action; complex post-apocalyptic world; political intrigue.
CONS: Little character development; repetitive.
BOTTOM LINE: It’s like X-Men, only more brutal.
Roughly 250 years after the nuclear war that destroyed the world, humanity is still picking up the pieces. DNA-clean humans run the World Court, governments and businesses, while unregistered humans struggle to survive. Out of the radiation fallout rose a new race, those with psionic abilities. Those the government controls with implanted kill switches are called the Strykers Syndicate. They fight against unregistered psions and a well organized group called the Warhounds.
Nathan Serca is head of the Serca Syndicate and, unknown to the World Court, only one of two triad psions. The other triad is his eldest (now renegade) son, Lucas. For two years his other children have been unsuccessful in tracking and killing Lucas. Nathan’s patience is running out as important plans come to fruition. Meanwhile Lucas is amassing a team of psions to help him with his own plans.
The action in Mind Storm is plentiful and varied, showing off the various powers. While only relegated to a handful of abilities (telepaths, telekinetics, teleporters, empaths, pyrokinetics, psychometrists, precognitives and elctrokinetics), the characters use them in creative ways. The limit on their powers (the more they use them, the sooner they die) was a nice touch that kept them from being overused. Action scenes are offset by political intrigue between several groups of players, all of whom think they know everything that’s going on, none of whom actually do.
The world is realistically complex and detailed: from the towers and bunkers where rich humans live to the slums of the poor and uninhabitable deadzones. The characters are a mix of colours and nationalities, denoting the chaos and integration after the Border Wars.
Given the number of characters, it’s impressive that there was never any confusion as to who the reader is following at any given time. Having said that, there’s little opportunity to get to know characters, so the reader is constantly told things about each character with no opportunity to see the truth of these statements in their actions. Moreover, the book takes place over a short period of time, making character development a moot point.
As with James Knapp’s Revivors trilogy, you have to pay close attention to what’s going on. Ruiz repeats several important points which, given your frame of mind, are either helpful or irritating over time. Similarly, if you liked the action and spunk of Those Who Walk in Darkness by John Ridley, you’ll love Mind Storm.
This is the first book of the series and is ultimately merely set-up for what comes next. But what a set-up! Like X-Men, only more brutal.