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Mindfracked (Cassidy #1) by M.R. Forbes Book Review

Write on: Mon, 09 Aug 2021 by  in Charles' Reviews Read 569

4.5/5

MINDFRACKED by M.R Forbes is a cyberpunk spy thriller that involves a body-switching science fiction consciousness named Cassidy. Cassidy is a Shade, a secret agent of a department called Unity that sends them out on highly covert missions that will end after they finish their 50th case. It is a group with a policy of absolutely no loose ends and that includes killing anyone who is even slightly aware of the group's existence. Cassidy thinks he has it all figured out but soon discovers that he doesn't know nearly as much as he thinks.

Mindfracked has a lot in common in Altered Carbon and that is already a very good endorsement for me. I am a huge fan of Richard K. Morgan's cyberpunk series and have always felt the body-jumping element of his "stacks" was a concept that needed to be explored further. While possessing its own identity, I enjoyed that this series managed to cover some of the issues that Altered Caron didn't deal with.

The book opens with a really solid scene where Cassidy, possessing a little girl, proceeds to wipe out a gang that was using children to assemble gun. It is an impressive action scene and perfect for a movie. It also shows the many facets of Cassidy's personality. He's ruthless, compassionate (to a point), and brutally efficient with a sarcastic sense of humor. My favorite moment being where he decides whether to execute someone based on the amount of information they can give but does so in a delightfully sarcastic way.

The future is a dark and dystopian one with the Earth's environment having been destroyed, no social safety net, and a police that primarily exists as a support network for an authoritarian death squad. Cassidy believes in the system but does so in a pragmatic belief that's it's better than the alternatives and that it managed to rescue his family from poverty. Mind you, he hasn't seen his family in a very long time and it's questionable just how much is true

This is a very dark and gritty book with the protagonist faced against an utterly ruthless set of enemies while he's not that much better. There's a focus on conspiracy, lies, and the ability to screw with your mind via technology. No one is safe and several characters normally "safe" in this kind of story are killed horribly. Cassidy's ability to bodyswap is something that only happens a couple of times but shows him adjusting to the differences in body, gender, and the lives he slips into.

Mindfracked is a book with a lot of edge and that is its primary recommendation. This is a hard R book and I feel that if you want that in your fiction then you will find this excellent hard-hitting scifi. This includes Cassidy almost being assaulted when he was still a child before his training kicked in. I did have a small problem with the end of the book where after a delightfully dark and morally bleak situation, the book tried to convince me one group was genuinely good. I didn't buy that in the slightest.

Still, I think this is a really good dark and gritty cyberpunk story. I also listened to it being narrated by Jeffrey Kafer and think the audiobook version is the best way to experience it. He manages to really bring the bleak and uncompromising nature of the protagonist to life. I have since picked up the other two novels in the series and am going to read them one after the other.

Available here

Last modified on Monday, 09 August 2021 16:47
C.T. Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on "The United Federation of Charles".

He's written Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Supervillainy Saga.

Website: https://ctphipps.wordpress.com/