Mind of the Phoenix is a book which thrills, grips and mesmerises. The second book cannot come soon enough.
Title: Mind of the Phoenix
Author: Jamie McLachlan
Publisher: Penner Publishing
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Fantasy
Source: NetGalley Ebook for Review
Mind of the Phoenix is the first book in The Memory Collector series and I am impressed.
In this book, Moira is an empath and a Del Mar – a slave in the pleasure house. She starts the novel in prison, awaiting execution following the murder of her previous master, when a serial killer strikes. Soon she is enlisted by the Elite to help solve the case, using her gifts to get into the minds of the witnesses and suspects.
I found myself completely caught up in the story, with the world and characters feeling real and fascinating. As the first book in the series, it resolves nicely – tidying up a number of ends but leaving it open for the series to progress.
The plot of Mind of the Phoenix was built up from the very beginning. While the over-arching plot of the series is the Phoenix, a serial killer who persuades others to do the deed for them, McLachlan also incorporates a number of sub-plots which beef up the story and help develop the characters a lot more as you get to see how the characters react to certain situations.
More than being a fantastic story, the book also explores power in both the fantastical power of the empaths and the dominating powers of the people that own them and those that force their pleasure from the concubines. This in itself makes the mystery of the book even more thrilling.
Moira makes for a brilliant lead. She has a strong personality and refusing to let herself be dominated by either her owners, those that had paid for her services or her own dark side. Yet, despite her stubbornness, sultry behaviour and teasing antics, she is also very vulnerable and this makes her rise off of the page.
Keenan, the detective, is also an interesting character. As the main male lead, he has mysteries of his own, ones which are still not completely revealed by the end of the book. A serious man, his personality makes an entertaining foil for Moira’s playful, flirtatious defences and their relationship is built up slowly and believable throughout the book.
The other characters helped build up the world that the book is set in and, while some did seem to be evil in character for the sake of it, the darkness that emanated from them was disturbing. I did wish that we could have got to spend more time with some of character who, while important, did not get as much time as I felt they deserved. Rick, in particular, was one of these. As one of the only morally-centred characters, I felt that he should have more of a presence in a book where morals were the last thing on many characters’ minds.
The setting of this book is built up nicely throughout the book. While similar to this world, it contains very stark differences. This allows you to not feel too overwhelmed up first entering it, but allows you to be fully immersed in the story once things pick up. I would have liked to have a bit more description of the various places, but the society construct was very-well explained and I felt like I understood the structure well-enough to fully appreciate the situations Moira found herself in.
One of my favourite parts of the book was not the physical setting per-se, but the landscapes that Moira encounters in the minds of those she reads. Each is different depending on the character and so they reveal a lot about the person while also providing a visual description of how Moira’s powers work. Each of these landscapes were beautifully described and I really enjoyed reading about them.
Mind of the Phoenix is a book which I found utterly captivating. It is an elegantly carved piece of work that is not afraid to stray into the darker side of the human character, indeed it revels in it. The characters are believable and disturbing, yet I found myself engrossed in Moira and Keenan’s investigation. The use of telepathy is very well done and I loved reading about this power in action.
Overall, a brilliant book and, not to mention, the cover is gorgeous.