Book Review: Waivering Minds: A Brainwaiver Novel
By Jim Van Nest
January 28, 2016
There is a huge and instant attraction between the two main characters and the inner thoughts of our main characters provide quite a bit of humor. Suffice it to say that this isn't a romantic story at all. It's much more sci-fi chick flicky romance than anything else. When talking Marine Special Forces and kidnapped kids, you can expect some violence, but none of it is gratuitous or graphic. It's mostly training and fighting as the team prepares for the unknown.
As I mentioned, the book is very funny, as the character of Celine has some great conversations in her own head. She tries to balance being a very strong woman who doesn't appreciate being lied to or taken advantage of, but wants to remain a "good Christian." And in that regard, the book does have an undertone of religion and belief in God running through it, but it doesn't pound you over the head with it. In fact, it's the opposite. It treats religion more the way the bulk of Christians treat it, I think. A lot of people only call on God when they need Him and when things are good, He's easily pushed to the background while life happens.
One of the things I enjoyed about the book is the growth narrative of the characters as they come to terms with inner demons and their own faith. They start off miles apart and both find their way to start growing together on many fronts. All of this aside - the growth, the religion and everything else, Waivering Minds is, at its core, a cool little science fiction novel. At the end of the day, you have an incredible piece of technology in the wrong hands and you have some good people trying to stop them.
Once the scene is set, James keeps the novel moving briskly and doesn't really let up until the Epilogue. Switching from character to character to get their sides of the same situations really works here and helps with the motivations of the characters as well as the humor in the book. Enoch's way of seeing a situation never matches Celine's and that creates some of the more hilarious moments.
All in all, Waivering Minds is a fantastic idea and is a well written early career novel (I can't say first novel as she has others, but I think it's one of her biggest). While this book has a definite ending - she's not leaving you on some crazy cliffhanger - this story is far from over and I'm really looking forward to re-entering James' Brainwaiver world with Book 2. I had the chance to sit down with her and discuss this book as well as get her plans for the series and I have to tell you, it sounds like it's going to be a wild and funny ride. If you'd like to join me on the ride, you can go right to Amazon and pick up your copy of Waivering Minds: A Brainwaiver Novel!