February 14, 2011

Review: State of Mind by Sven Michael Davison

State of Mind
Author: Sven Michael Davison
Publisher: Bedouin Press
ISBN: 9780966614923
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Pre-Order Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

*Book provided by the publisher for a honest review.

For more information please visit Sven Davison's website.

Your thoughts are not your own...

In the not too distant future, freedom is a just a word that you willingly trade for a dozen donuts, based on the dubious promise that you can eat what you want and never gain weight. You can also take drugs will no ill effects or call a friend while surfing the web without a phone or computer. All this and more will be yours following the simple installation of a P-Chip in your brain.

After botching the arrest of the governor's son in Los Angeles, Commander Jake Travissi is banned from law enforcement. the workaholic homicide cop spirals into depression... until he is given a rare second chance. The price? Volunteer for chip implantation and join Homeland Security's experimental Enhanced Unit.

The grisly assassination of a prominent Nobel Laureate brings the newly formed Unit on the scene to investigate. But as the body count rises, Jake begins to realize that his actions, and even his thoughts, are not his own. Fighting to regain control of his own State of Mind, Jake finds himself embroiled in a global conspiracy to enslave the human race.
"What's the worst identity theft possible?" That's the question that Sven M. Davison presents in his new cyberpunk thriller State of Mind. This edgy futuristic techno-thriller will lead you through a bleak new world where nothing is as it seems and you can no longer trust even your own mind. Brutally realistic, chillingly plausible, this novel is manages to be both thought evoking and highly entertaining A must read!

While the subject matter may be dense for those of us technologically impaired, it managed to capture the true question that we should all be asking ourselves: How much freedom are we willing to give up in the name of convenience? Truly, with technology becoming ever more dominant in our lives, this novel shows a chillingly plausible outcome of a time when humans are willing to merge themselves with technology simply for the luxury and convenience it can provide. The disconnect from effort, morals and even ethics was staggering as the world seems to collapse in on itself with the mass public acting as nothing more then mere cattle. And as always there is a shadow government looming in the wings to take control of the country and even the world as it seems the desire for total control and power is something that will never fall out of favor.

The world Davison created, while plausible was also quite vast. The minute attention to detail was highly enjoyable and helped to keep those of us who are ignorant of all things technology up to speed. There are lots of complex threads and plot line surging through the book to keep readers on their toes as nothing is ever as simple as it appears. In fact, you come to find that you can't even trust the characters' own thoughts or memories. This added a dizzying aspect that made this novel more engrossing on a psychological level, something I was more able to sink my teeth into. There was also a wonderful cinematographic feeling to the novel as it was approached much like a film. You could literally see the different scenes playing out against a canvas in your mind, which is always something that I love. Somehow, it always makes the book seem more volatile and dynamic.

The broad cast of characters were wonderfully created and brought to life. Jake, the main character of the novel, is extremely interesting with a very deeply ingrained code of ethics. While not the typical hero, there is a still a more deeply ingrained sense of right and wrong within him then any of the others. In fact, I found him utterly engrossing as we follow his rise back into the ranks of the LAPD only to be turned into a poorly controlled puppet and finally disgraced by those who sought to use him. The inner struggle shows the strength of his will as he fights for control of not only his body, but his mind. Likewise, Koren and Parks, the two other members of the P-Chipped 'Enhanced Unit', are just as wonderfully captured. However, unlike Jake, these two men are marionettes to their God Head controllers unable to decipher fact from fiction and unaware even that they are being manipulated. While good men at heart, these two lack the more ingrained convictions and set a nice contrast to Jake's struggle.

The broad scope of this novel was also quite intriguing. The conspiracies run deep as facts are slowly leaked into the plot. Conflicting moments are flashed by the readers and while at first this seemed a little odd, if not confusing, these moments come to show just how strong the manipulative hold on the P-Chipped officers, or Pin Heads, really is. The memory distortion adds to the suspense as every moment and experience can be called into question. This adds mystery to the true motives and agendas of those key personnel we meet, and still we manage to be surprised by the sheer amount of sleeper agents that pop up throughout. There is also a great since of action about the story as the facade of the P-Chip begins to crumble under Jake's will and morality.

Really, my only problem with this novel was the shifting point of views. It's not that I didn't enjoy seeing into the various characters because honestly that's what made this novel so enjoyable for me, but how it was done. Shifts are a bit random, especially at the beginning making and this makes it hard to get acquainted with the characters. In fact, I felt a little overwhelmed at the beginning with all of the set up and with the added confusion of so many characters and then trying to sort out the jumble of thoughts...well, it slowed me down a bit. However, perseverance paid off because the characters slowly came into focus and the shifts became much smoother as the plot progressed.

Overall, this was a wonderful read that I really enjoyed. Eerie in it's theme, this complex novel is filled with action and suspense and I highly recommend it to any fan techno-thrillers or science fiction. I would definitely love to see a follow up to this novel and look forward to reading more by this wonderful author!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars


PattisPages said...

I wanted to like this book but thought it was just OK--too much technological explanation and a little disjointed for my tastes.

Wenj said...

@ Patti - I can definitely understand that. It definitely has a lot of shifts and takes some serious getting use to. However, I've alwasy been a fan of this sort of thing within a more cinematic setting and thought this had a lot of that sort of appeal.

But, what won me over was the overall plot and the 'bigger picture' that novel presented.