Title: The Mind's Eye
Series: SYNSK #1
Author: K.C. Finn
Genre: YA Historical Paranormal
Published: April 1st, 2014 by Clean Teen Publishing
Goodreads Rating: 4.94 Stars
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
My Content Rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing; Some wartime violence shown)
There are so many reasons that I loved this book! While historical fiction isn't always my thing, I've always been interested in World War II - not necessarily the battles, but the human stories that played out in that time (in fact, I'm reviewing another WWII book on Friday - I think that these are the only two WWII books I've read since Anne Frank when I was in middle school and I've managed to read them one right after the other). Well, anyway, this book mixed some paranormal in with the historical fiction aspect, which made it perfect!
- A few small moments. I honestly had a hard time coming up with negatives for this book. But there were a few small moments when I found myself wondering why Kit didn't just use her powers in a certain way to help someone who needed her. At one particular point, I found myself thinking, "Well, why didn't Kit just..." (something she had already done once, which I don't want to spoil). In the moment, though, I could see that things might just be too hectic or go too fast for her to think of that, but she didn't seem to even wonder about it afterward - and the thing that I'm thinking of may not have even worked, but I would have liked to have seen her try, since we had seen earlier in the book that she could help out in this way. (Okay, done being cryptic now - it's so hard not to spoil things!)
What I loved:
- The setting. Like I said, I loved that this book was set during WWII. There were a few somewhat intense war scenes that had me at the edge of my seat, but there weren't too many battle scenes (which was good for me - they just aren't my favorite). The war was really more of a backdrop to the true story - Kit's journey toward overcoming the debilitating illness that ruled her life. Which brings me to my next point...
- Kit's illness. Kit had severe juvenile arthritis which was very painful and made it impossible for her to lead the "normal" life she craved. She was confined to a wheelchair because her joints were just not strong enough to hold her weight and she would wake up every morning in pain. Not only was this illness physically difficult, but it made Kit feel like a burden - like she didn't really have a place in the world. She longed to have normal teenage experiences, but that goal seemed impossible to her. When Kit got to Wales, she was sent to a new doctor who pushed her to walk. At first, Kit was bitter and resentful toward him (it didn't help that he didn't have the best bedside manner), but she gradually started to see that she might be able to do more than she had ever given herself credit for. And she also came to realize that she had worth separate from and despite her physical limitations. Her journey is inspirational (and made even more so when you read the author's notes at the end of the book that talk about her own struggle with a painful illness).
- Kit's powers. LOVED the paranormal element to this book. Kit is able to project her consciousness into another person's body - not controlling them, but experiencing the world through their eyes. She sees what they see and feels what they feel. She can also speak to that person in their head - which is how she meets Henri. These powers come in very handy and help Kit find meaning and purpose to her life that she'd never thought she'd have.
- The romance. I absolutely loved Kit and Henri together. Their bond starts out as friendship and turns into something more slowly, which I definitely appreciated. There are some incredibly sweet moments between these two - I honestly just couldn't get enough of them together. Of course, because of the war, there was a lot of tension too - I was never sure if there would be a happy ending for the couple because there was a constant element of danger and the stakes were very high. I was desperate for an HEA for this couple, though!
- The secondary characters. Not only did this book have amazing main characters, but there were a plethora of fantastic secondary characters with their own rich storylines (all of which blended seamlessly with Kit's story). There were no cardboard cut-outs in this book. Every character had a story - a history - and they each had their own unique personality. There's Mam, the warm and loving woman who took Kit and her younger brother Leighton in. Then there's Mam's lively three-year-old daughter Nessa and her ornery adult daughter Blod. Add in Bickerstaff, the local doctor, the rest of Mam's family and Kit's mom and you have a fantastic cast of characters - seriously, each one of these characters plays a pivotal part in the story and is fleshed out in a way that you seldom see with secondary characters. I loved it!
So, long story short - Read this book. I can't recommend it enough! 5/5 stars.
***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***
Oh, and don't miss book #2 - Leighton's Summer. It released yesterday! I'm going to get it right now!
As a sufferer with the medical condition M.E./C.F.S., Kim works part time as a private tutor and a teacher of creative writing, devoting the remainder of her time to writing novels and studying for an MA in Education and Linguistics.
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