I’ve been anticipating Mindwalker since I heard about it at the end of last year. I think I actually requested an ARC of this book back then too. That’s how excited I’ve been. So when I got the email about this book, you can guess how loud I screamed. I’m glad I’ve been able to read this book early as it was so enjoyable. A big thanks to Kate Keehan and the team at Hodder and Stoughton for sending me a copy.
Sil is only 18 years old but the computer in her brain burning out means she could soon be dead. For the last 10 years, she’s been saving soldiers for the Syntex corporation, and she’s proud of her record. Until one day, she fails, and she’s accused of being a traitor. She has to flee her home and her friends, but she’s determined to prove her innocence. To do so, she infiltrates the Analog Army in the hope of destroying the group from within. But as she investigates, she discovers a truth which means that the Syntex corporation might not be the good thing she thought it was.
In many ways, this book was pretty stereotypical YA sci-fi, but you know what? I actually really enjoyed that. You don’t see much sci-fi like this anymore, so it felt like a throwback to my late teens. Having something that felt like I’d read aspects of it before highlighted how strong the characters were and how interesting the world-building was.
Sometimes in sci-fi, the worlds can feel a little unbelievable. Especially when you get to essentially what’s a cyborg. But this felt like a world that could be in our future. You don’t get much detail on the wider world, but that worked for this. Focusing on one setting meant we could focus on politics. You have a business essentially in control of the government. You have people super reliant on technology and have been affected by things they didn’t realise. On top of that, you have the environmental damage that’s killed so many people. It felt like Dylan had put a lot of thought into this, and it meant that I was able to get properly immersed.
I loved Sil as a protagonist. She’s someone who seems set in her ways, yet you still see her learn and grow throughout the book. She thinks she knows how the world works, but she soon sees there’s more good and bad out there than she’d ever realised. She just had to get out into the world to see it.
You also had queer side characters in this. There was a sentence that made me wonder if Sil was bi or pan as well, but we had no on-page confirmation for that. I’d like to think she is though. Still, I always enjoy seeing a world where queerness is just accepted.
When it comes to the romance, it did feel a little insta-romancey to start with. But the reality is that Sil doesn’t quite see it as love. It feels more like she feels like she could fall in love with Ryder, and I respect that. Obviously, Sil spends the book on the verge of death, so it makes sense that she might be a little bit more eager to have that sort of connection. But it doesn’t end feeling like this was a relationship out of nowhere. It kind of added to the nostalgic feel of this book. I enjoyed Sil and Ryder’s relationship and I hope they get time to really get to know each other after the end of this book.
This book was standalone, and it had a good ending for one. It felt like the story wrapped up neatly, something that’s often rare in YA standalone. I usually find myself craving more, and I don’t this time. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say no to more books following these characters or in this world. But I don’t feel like it’s necessary.
Mindwalker was twisty and entertaining but also nostalgic for noughties sci-fi. It’s such a fun read, and you all need to check this one out soon.
Author: Kate Dylan
Age Range: Young Adult
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Release Date: 1/9/2022
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