Forbidden romances. Dystopian worlds. Unimaginable creatures. Dark nightmares. Beautiful dreams. All within the Realms of an Open Mind.
Woah... I'm totally.. uh... I guess mind blown would be the accurate description...
Maggie has a pretty normal life. Except for that whole 12 hour time period in Vegas that she can't remember. They say "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas," but this is ridiculous. The last thing she can remember previous to waking up in a strange hotel room with weird scars was having a drink with her brother. And he wakes up right next to her with sudden scars of his own. Her brother, Jonah, moves on easily enough, but there's something about that creepy experience that Maggie just can't let go. It's as if she left a piece of herself behind, and it's jumbled somewhere in the memory of that 12 hour period that she just can't do anything to recollect.
I love the way this book begins. Maggie sees this familiar stranger, she has drink with her brother and BAM... everything's a mess. You gotta take it on faith that you'll figure out what's going on at first, because lemme tell ya, I was a little lost... but that's the whole point. You learn with Maggie, and since she has no clue, neither do you. It's awesome figuring out how the puzzle fits together through her eyes. You can guess all you want, but I'm pretty sure it'll still blow your mind. This may seem like a slow introduction to the core of this novel, but I promise, it's pretty fast paced. Before you know it, you're diving right in.
Maggie is a great heroine. She's strong, curious, determined, stubborn, and she takes nothing at face value. Marcus, Mr. Lover Boy, is sweet and patient, and while I suspect that there might be something going on between him and Maggie, he doesn't push it, allowing her to come to her own resolutions about the loss of her memories. He becomes her rock, her friend, her comfort, and who knows what will happen in the future ;). If only there were more Marcuses in the world.
Karl was my favorite. He's like this big teddy bear you just want to curl up with and squeeze. Not in a creepy, invasive way, of course ~ he's just so friggin' CUTE. He's the comic relief in this novel filled with life and death situations, scientific explanations, and the awkward and painful emotions everyone seems to be feeling at any given time. It's a tough world they live in, what with people trying to control their minds, but Karl is all grace and smiles.
Doc had me trusting him at first, but there's so much he doesn't say. Every time they have a "team meeting" he tries to hide something, and after a while one tends to get a bit suspicious. There's a lot going on that Doc knows and isn't telling, even still after reading the first novel, and I'm curious to discover how big of a role he really has to play in the twists and turns of this story.
David captured my curiosity more than any other character. He ripped himself away from the "collective," a place where people are more like drones than individuals.
A person was never alone with his or her own thoughts in a collective.
He has a difficult time forming thoughts and opinions and even words on his own, so it's interesting to see him become his own person.
Strange, to come to a conclusion on one's own without anyone else's input.
I will mention Jonah too... As I think there's a lot more to his story. You almost forget about him in the novel, but he's brought back to life a few times and it leaves you wondering. I hope, hope, hope we learn more about his experiences.
As for the rest of them.... I dunno, I wish there was more. I wouldn't say they are forgettable, I just think we need more time to get to know them.
I loved the idea of individualism vs. collectivism. To me, it parallels to the world we live in today. Individualism being those who aren't afraid to be themselves, to stand up for who they are and what they believe. Collectivism being the "crowd" ~ mindless drones who follow the trend, giving no thought to how they really feel about it.
It's interesting seeing these two groups side by side and how different they are. We can see both sides to the argument, which is... I came to the conclusion that there is both a different kind of beauty and danger for each.
David, who lived both as an individualist and a collectivist, struggles with his decision to rip himself away from the "collective." For him, collectivism is:
Just easier. There are always others...to share pain and...life with. No loneliness, no uncertainty, no vulnerability. ... People ought to be equal.
Maggie, and individualist, believes,
People ought to be treated equally and given equal opportunities, but no two people are exactly alike. They exude their own kind of beauty - strong in some areas, weak in others, and just as beautiful for their weaknesses as for their strengths.
It's a pretty real concept that we could relate to in our own lives. I mean which do you choose? Painless and certain or being able to feel what's yours, both good and bad.
But Hill doesn't stop there. O yeah, there's a lot more. I mentioned scientific explanations, and this book is stuffed full, but it's not so technical as to be way over your head. It all feels far fetched at the same time that it seems logical, and that's just the work of an author who did a lot of research... I was never confused or perplexed by the scientific and theoretical concepts brought to life in this novel. I won't give anything away, but there is some pretty cool "mind" abilities that would be awesome to have.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this novel, especially to those who love Sci-Fi or books that revolve around what it means to be human. It's incredible and there are just so many ways that this story could unfold.