Disclaimer: I received a free eARC of this book in return for an honest review!
Be prepared for some mild spoilers!!
Shattered Minds is set in the same world as False Hearts, but brings a new timeline & a whole new bunch of characters. The book is full of excitement, heartbreak & world-building like no other. I probably preferred False Hearts, but Shattered Minds is just as incredible.
Shattered Minds follows a woman called Carina, an ex-neuroscientist who turned to drugs after quitting her job – the reasons for which are revealed as you progress through the story. The book starts with Carina receiving a cryptic message from an ex-colleague, Dr. Mark Teague, just as Mark loses his life; a message which sends Carina on a life changing adventure that has the potential to save, ruin or end her life.
I really enjoyed how mysterious the information Mark sent Carina was; the images of the bee, the rose, the thorn, the drop of blood & the heterochromia eyes really confused me at first but they do end up making sense. I thought it was great that we slowly learnt more about Carina & the flashbacks were really well paced & placed throughout the book.
As with False Hearts, Shattered Minds is full of complicated world building that has multiple levels to it. As readers we get to experience the Zealscape in a very different way than in the first book & we see a darker side to Sudice Incorporated. We also meet new characters, the main ones being called Carina, Roz, Raf, Charie & Dax, all of whom are well developed & of course, vastly intelligent.
From the very first few chapters I felt trapped in this book – I needed to know more about Mark & the person who killed him, more about the mysterious girl Carina kept seeing in her Zealscape & more about the awful things Sudice had been up to. Everything that happened in this book felt incredibly real, despite 99% of the content being impossible in the real world, & just as with False Hearts I was desperate to be a part of the characters’ adventures. Laura has put so much thought & creativity into this world & I am dumbfounded by her originality & imagination!
Carina & Roz were by far the most interesting characters from my perspective – I was desperate to learn more about both of their pasts & I’d love it if Laura wrote a short story about Roz. The numbness of Carina’s personality was portrayed brilliantly & Laura never let that slip; I felt so sorry for her, but also got angry at her at times. By the end of the book I loved Carina & I became incredibly attached to her… I really started to care about her. Dax, Carina’s love interest stole my heart though – he accepted Carina for who she was & had absolutely no interest in changing her or “fixing” her. He fell for her because of who she was, despite the things she hated herself for. So many books have love interests who want to fix the main character & I’m so, so grateful that Laura didn’t absolutely destroy this book by going down that path.
Laura didn’t just cover mental health problems though, she also included a homosexual relationship and a transgender character! None of it felt forced either, that’s just who the characters were; in this future of our planet these people are 100% accepted, which is amazing, I just really hope we don’t have to have flying cars before people can drop their judgemental & harmful attitudes!
As much as I enjoyed this book, there were disturbing scenes & it’s definitely not for the faint hearted. This kind of writing is something we’ve never really seen from Laura in her other books, but the writing was still highly professional, & it was obvious that Laura had put a lot of work into researching the topics to make sure she got them right. I did have some nightmares because of some of the scenes though, so thank you for that Laura!
So many books seem to rush their endings now but the final scenes of Shattered Minds was well paced – although the final chapter ended on a very frustrating cliff hanger & I really want to know what happened when Carina woke up! I have a feeling we won’t get a direct sequel for this book, but I hope there will be another book to the series; I really want to know what happens to Sudice & I hope Laura will find a way to update us on Carina’s life too.
As in my GoodReads review I want to thank Macmillan for letting me review this book before its release; being given an ARC of one of my favourite author’s books is a total dream come true for me.
You can find the author Laura Lam on Twitter too!