‘Mind Blind’ Book Review

Abigail Barrett, Entertainment Writer

Scottish writer Lari Don’s first full-length novel, Mind Blind, begins with a teenage boy named Ciaran crouched in the cramped cupboard of a suburban London dwelling in the dead of night. Spoiler alert, it’s not his house but instead the house of a 16-year-old girl he just helped kidnap and murder the previous day.

Kidnapper by day and burglar by night, Ciaran is a mind reader from a Scottish, almost mafia-esque family. This whole family is striving to protect the mind-reading secret, but more violently than the protagonist might like.

The murdered girl’s sister ends up pulling the protagonist out of the cupboard, causing him physical pain from her stream of thoughts coursing into his mind from just her touch.

Ciaran is the only one of the mind readers that’s hypersensitive to other people’s thoughts. He often keels over in pain at a single touch which just so happens to be a significant weakness when fighting his family, especially if he’s also trying to keep track of another person.

After her initial shock and urge to holler for the police outside, the sister and the protagonist have a conversation filled with every possible cliché imaginable from the standard ‘I’m doing this alone’ to the ‘I am coming with you’ that is found in every basic piece of literature.

The groan-worthy exchange ends with them partnering up to recover an object hidden by the girl’s sister that contains all the information one would need to uncover the mind-reading secret.

In all honesty, the novel has a rocky start. There are tons of weird, unnecessary details like a flamenco class that the murdered girl was on her way to when she was grabbed. Comments like this make the story seem a little trite just to make characters and settings appear interesting . There’s also odd, overly descriptive similes and metaphors that add more corniness to a story that, essentially, is truly captivating.

After the first couple chapters, and by that I mean about 10, the story completely enthralled me. The trivial bits started to disappear and the story blossomed, characters became more developed, the weird metaphors disappeared and the writing style improved tremendously. The novel changed from a not-so-good story with a good concept into an all-around good story, and the lead character in particular grew extremely close to my heart.

There is nothing in this world I love more than a character who is innately bad that decides with every decision chooses to be good. The mind-reading Ciaran is a character that fits the bill perfectly.

The Ciaran’s struggle is so relatable even though he has problems incredibly unlike those of real people, like being born and raised a killer. When he and other characters like him intentionally try to make the right decisions just because they want to be good, I come to love them so much more. Yes, he makes mistakes, but characters who are absolutely flawless don’t connect as well to audiences or make them feel as sympathetic.

I will admit that I was hesitant to continue reading Mind Blind in the beginning, it just felt like a story that I had read thousands of times before. However, I am thoroughly glad I did continue with it. Don wrote a story that readers can associate and connect to, yet still maintains a fantasy element to it. The ending left me screaming and begging for more which, oddly enough, is my favorite part of reading anything of value.

If you hold stories containing otherworldly traits in characters close to your heart and love a good adventure mystery, then read through the rough beginning and immerse yourself into this alternate world of London and the adventures within it.