Review: Cracked Open by Susan Kaye Quinn

Posted August 15, 2017 by Lola in Coyer, Review, Sci-Fi / 20 Comments


Cracked OpenCracked Open (Mindjack #5)
by Susan Kaye Quinn

Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Science Fiction

Zeph always knew he was a weapon. He didn’t count on being a spy.

But he made a dangerous bargain with the Director of the Jacker Technologies Division of DARPA—he’d let Wright test his mutant mindjack ability if she’d release his parents. Simple. Occasionally painful. And the screams of his victims fill his nightmares. But it will be worth it as long as she can’t crack open his head and find out his sister, with her super-surge jack-ability, is still alive. And if his parents are finally set free.

Once that happens, he’s gone. Even if it means giving up everything he’s just now getting back. A home. Friends. A girl who believes in peace and love even when the world is falling apart.

But as the shock of assassinations and bombings and hate killings continue to pull at the threads that hold society together, Wright hands him a mission he can’t possibly complete. If he does, it will tear everything apart. If he doesn’t, he’ll lose everyone he loves.

Sometimes being a powerful weapon is the most dangerous thing of all.

The bestselling Mindjack Series continues, diving deep into a world of mindreaders and mindjackers where being different means staying hidden… or struggling to stay alive.

My Review:
I received a free copy from the author and voluntarily reviewed this book

Every time I pick up a Susan Kaye Quinn novel I am once again impressed with how well she writes these books. The pace moves along well, I easily get pulled into the story and I just want to keep reading. She makes me care about these characters and the side characters are great too. Cracked Open was a great read.

There’s a lot going on in this book, but not so much that it gets overwhelming, it all ties together nicely. And also at times it has a bit of that feel that the story is building up towards this big event at the end. And it totally paid off, I just wanted to know what would happen and if their plan would work out or not or what would go wrong. There is this great scene towards the end were lots of things are happening and it was quite suspenseful to see how things would go. I also feel like what happens at the end really sets the stage for the next book.

I really liked seeing Zeph’s character development in this book and how he changed since the start of the previous book. Where at first he was almost someone on the outside looking in, at the end of the book he is deep in the middle of it all. Where his focus shifts from protecting his family, now he starts to care about this cause and he genuinely wants to help. He still has a difficult position as he is basically worked for two different bad guys, while actually being one of the good guys and trying to advance their agenda while playing along with the bad guys as well.

This book not only advances Zeph’s story, but also the overarching plot of mindjackers and mindreaders and how the world deals with it all. We find out a bit more about Zeph’s powers, but at the same time I wanted to know more as it felt like there was more we didn’t know and I had hoped there would be some more working for Kira involved.

There is a bit of a political storyline in this book as well, which worked for the most part. But at the end I felt like there were a bit too many similarities to some real life political situations and it got me out of the story a bit as I like my fiction books to stay fictional and the similarities to the real world situation were a bit jarring. I also would’ve liked to see a bit more of the normal mindreader citizens and how they were all taking this or if they were divided about this, but the focus mostly stays on this group of jackers and their group of friends and what the bad guys and important politicians are doing.

Most of the bad guys in this book seem almost pure evil, they really don’t seem to have any redeeming qualities. But I think that’s the point here. There is some bad and disturbing stuff going on and at times it almost feels a bit much. There are definitely some scenes that really show the cruelty going on here and how far the bad guys would go to achieve their goals. But luckily there are also some positive notes and uplifting scenes.

Besides Zeph’s character development there are also some interesting developments going on with the side characters. There were some interesting twists and also some changes I hadn’t expected yet. One of the side characters pleasantly surprised me and I was happy with the change the character went through. There also is a little bit of romance. I have to admit I wasn’t quite sure about the love interest in the previous book, but so far I like them together.

To summarize: another great book in this series! Cracked Open kept my attention and it was just as well written as I’ve come to expect from Susan Kaye Quinn’s book. There is a lot going on, but most of it ties together eventually. And I liked how at the end it all seems to come together and it was a suspenseful scene where things happen and the stage is set for the next book. It did feel at times the political situation in the book was a bit too similar to some real world politics, which got me a bit out of the story. The bad guys are really evil and this book really illuminates how far they would go. I really liked the character development going on in this book and not only with the main character Zeph, but also some side characters. I am curious to see how the last book will wrap this series up!

4 Stars


You can also read my review on Goodreads and Amazon.

What was the last sci-fi book you read?

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20 responses to “Review: Cracked Open by Susan Kaye Quinn

    • I think the first book in the series is free at the moment if you want to pick it up :). It really is a great series. And while I love romance as a main plot line in some books like this it works better as a side plot line.

  1. Wow, Zeph’s situation is tough. Neat that all the others are still a strong part of a story that has some good twists and turns. It sounds exciting and I love that the tension builds at a good pace and its worth it near the end to see what happens.

    My last sci-fi was Terran by Cara Bristol.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Review: Heartless by Gail CarrigerMy Profile

    • Yes he really is in a tough situation in this book. The building of tension toward the scene at the end was well done and made me curious to see what would happen.

      I remember reading your review for Terran, it sounds like a great series!

    • The first book in this series was the first ebook I ever bought :). It really is a great series and I am still enjoying it. I hope you’ll enjoy Open Minds when you get around to reading it!

  2. It’s great when books can build up like that and then have a really good pay off in the end 🙂 And Zeph sounds like an interesting character! I also like when side characters have growth and seem realistic too. Some writers are just really good at that!

    • The build-up toward the big event at the end was really well done here. Zeph is a great character to read about and I was glad the side characters felt realistic and had growth too :).

    • It’s great when you find authors like that that keep delivering great reads :). Susan Kaye Quinn is definitely one of those authors for me.

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