I asked Adam Graham to buy me One Mind’s Eye by Kathy Tyers for my last birthday for a couple reasons. One was, at the time, it was priced higher than I was comfortable spending on an ebook for an ordinary occasion. The second was the title reminded me of an old title of one of my books and the plot line included the use of artificial reality, as she calls it. So for once I was curious about her tech gadgets rather than simply suckered by a cute, abused orphan.
Okay, so there is also an orphaned teenage girl dealing with a controlling mom who treats her like an extension of herself, misbehaving by merit of having the audacity to have her own thoughts, opinions, and ideas of what she wants to do with her life. Such as not spend it under lock and key, safely away from any musical tones that might possibly trigger her to have a flashback to the artificial reality where music both controlled her and she could control her environment right back with music. Oh, her mom is an empath who can read others thoughts but not project her own, so there is literally no privacy with her mom, not even in Lynn’s own mind, poor thing. Lynn is adopted, and I appreciate that the author managed to avoid implying that had anything to do with the abuse by making her mom’s behavior a pervasive pattern that eventually gets her in professional trouble.
For good measure, Tyers throws in star gates connecting an interplanetary Concord. The planet with most of the food doesn’t appreciate suggestions it share its food production and food productivity secrets. So much so it decides to start a revolution, in a fashion that proves, contrary to a popular American belief, revolutions aren’t always good.
If that wasn’t enough, a race of sentient alien parasites needs new host bodies, pronto, and is desperate enough to take ones that already are in use by another sentient being. Classic line of needing to prove to a more advanced civilization that we’re people, not animals, and shouldn’t be misused.
Since I didn’t find it too surprising, without specifics that would be spoilers, it does turn out the artificial reality experiences are crucial to resolving the main external conflicts. Though at first one might not see what that has to do with anything aside from being Lynn’s own personal drama. If you don’t like characters with rich internal/interpersonal conflict and just want a shoot ’em up story, you won’t like this one. If you’re like me, though, you’ll eat that side of the story up and even wish it’d gotten a bit more play and the classic war and alien invasion plotline a bit less.
I find it ironic that a story entitled “One Mind’s Eye” has multiple viewpoints and thus multiple story lines. She brought them together in the end fairly well, but a story with her title especially could’ve benefited from cutting a few viewpoints out. Also, for my tastes, Tyers used a bit too much summary of the “recapping events not showed in scenes” sort with weak or no internal motivation for the perspective character to give us that info.
Also, I love it when God shows up and makes a difference, especially when it moves the plot forward, God acts like the God I know, it makes sense within the narrative, and doesn’t relieve the characters of all the hard work of resolving the issues. If you for some reason prefer absent, silent, and uninvolved deities, though, this story world is ruled by a God that is too Biblical for your tastes. That’s nothing for Tyers to be ashamed of, either.