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Sound Mind by Tricia Sullivan
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A complete mess - couldn't be bothered to finish it. ( )
  SChant | Mar 2, 2014 |
Sound Mind is a sequel to Double Vision, and I very highly recommend that Double Vision be read first. There are many references to the first book in Sound Mind and without having read the first, one senses significantly more would be well-understood. This reviewer did not read Double Vision first, and half-way through it became clear that much must have been described in a different book.

Like Tricia Sullivan's earlier book Maul, Sound Mind is awash in brilliance, and this time it is much easier to understand the meaning. Still not easy, mind you! But one does not feel upon finishing that a re-read is necessary. Sound Mind is so full of insight and unique abstractions of our world that I simply marvel at the inventiveness of his author. The precept of the book is that "order" is a concept that can be taken to extremes and applied to every aspect of life, and in fact is applied to our lives from outside ourselves unknowingly in hundreds of ways every day. The result is a loss of freedom and individuality, lives that become monotonous, and deprivation of the energy that can be derived from life. The plot involves order becoming personified in the form of "IT," and IT tries to change the world to match IT's worldview. The book is about several characters who experience the results, and especially about Cassidy and Cookie who, after long struggles apart, eventually join forces to combat IT and preserve reality as we know it. The concept seems totally unique, and the story constantly strives to express the ways in which order in our lives shapes our existence.

Sound Mind's characters are well-drawn and fascinating. The wordcraft is sharp. Descriptions of abstractions impinging into our world are quite astonishing in originality. There are many reasons to read this book, and I highly recommend it.

The book has, in the reviewer's estimation, one significant flaw, in that the first half of the book is not well integrated into the second half. Half-way through there is an abrupt shift of characters and even worlds, and one doesn't get back to the first character until much later. The confusion about what's going on does lessen enjoyment of the book, though perhaps slightly less if Double Vision was read first.

Despite the plot break in the middle of the book, the quality of the character writing and the originality of expression and concept overwhelm any detractions. Sound Mind is definitely one of the most original books I've ever read, and for the joyful experience of encountering numerous mind-widening and deeply insightful ideas, I easily give it a five star rating. ( )
1 vote bibliojim | Jan 9, 2008 |
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When Cassidy Walker stumbles into the middle of the highway, bloodied and bruised, Bard college in flames behind her, and manages to flag down a ride, she thinks the worst is over. Arriving in the town of Red Hook, she tries to call her parents, but the lines are down. The town, it seems, is cut off from the rest of the world.… (more)

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