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Mindwalker by Kate Dylan – ARC Review!

Eighteen-year-old Sil Sarrah is determined to die a legend. In the ten years she’s been rescuing imperilled field agents for the Syntex Corporation—by commandeering their minds from afar and leading them to safety—Sil hasn’t lost a single life. And she’s not about to start now.

She’s got twelve months left on the clock before the supercomputer grafted to her brain kills her, and she’s hell-bent on using that time to cement her legacy. Sil’s going to be the only Mindwalker to ever pitch a perfect game—even despite the debilitating glitches she’s experiencing. But when a critical mission goes south, Sil is forced to flee the very company she once called home.

Desperate to prove she’s no traitor, Sil infiltrates the Analog Army, an activist faction working to bring Syntex down. Her plan is to win back her employer’s trust by destroying the group from within. Instead, she and the Army’s reckless leader, Ryder, uncover a horrifying truth that threatens to undo all the good Sil’s ever done.

With her tech rapidly degrading and her new ally keeping dangerous secrets of his own, Sil must find a way to stop Syntex in order to save her friends, her reputation—and maybe even herself.

Eighteen year old Sil Sarrah is dying. Thanks to the tech put in her head by Syntex, she has days, months, years at best left until she melts down in spectacular fashion, so Sil is planning to go out as a legend. She spends her days infiltrating the minds of trapped Agents, directing them to safety by taking over their bodies, and with an 100% success rate, Sil is the best of the best. But when her latest mission goes horribly wrong, Sil finds herself on the run from Syntex and the family she has made there, and ends up mixing with a group of hackers who are determined to bring Syntex down. Sil doesn’t buy into their conspiracy theories, but she is more than willing to use them for her own needs, until something happens, something Sil was told was impossible, something that could bring Syntex to its knees. Sil has all the cards, but no way to play them and she will have to rely on her friends, both old and new if she is to bring the true horror of Syntex to light before it’s too late, for the world, for her friends and for herself.

Sil was such a brilliant POV to read this story from, and has made her way into my favourite characters of all time. She joined Syntex to forge a better life for her family, signing her own death warrant in the process, something that has never weighed down on her until now. She enjoys her job, most of the time, enjoys being the best, the elite, but she also wishes that she could enjoy her life before she loses her head… literally. She’s so incredibly strong, but she also just wants to live, something she has never let herself wish for, and it’s tragic seeing the propaganda she has been fed her whole life slowly come crashing down around her. She’s super competitive and full of attitude and I just wanted her to be my bestie and trade snarky comments with each other.

Though the story is told solely from Sil’s POV we get treated to a close knit crew of side characters that Dylan effortlessly brings to life. From Sil’s friends at Syntex, to the people she meets in the Analog Army, the resistance, she has a knack for making friends as easily as enemies and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her building new relationships in her life.

The story is your typical, global tech company want’s to take over the world, but Dylan puts a macabre, sinister and sometimes humorous twist on it enough to make the story stand on it’s own two feet. Sil is a Junker, someone able to ‘Mindwalk,’ basically enter the head of any human as long as they are given permission. As much as these situations are dire, and plenty action packed, Dylan puts a witty twist on it thanks to Sil’s snarky personality. She’s the best, and determined to stay that way so doesn’t take too kindly to the hosts minds questioning her ideas. I really enjoyed the scenes where Mindwalking was put to use & thanks to Dylan’s writing style those, as well as the general action scenes, absolutely jump off the page and ensure the story stays energetic, high octane and fun.

Through Sil, and Syntex, Dylan talks about a lot of big themes including consent and body autonomy. Sil was hired by Syntex at eight years old, an age they deemed was old enough to consent to signing your own death warrant. And through the story we see her start to realise just how fucked up that, as well as Syntex as a whole is. What she does brilliantly is show just how easy it is to fall under the spell of a company like that. How they know to go to the poor families, the children in such dire circumstances that they would jump at the chance of a better life, even if it only lasted for a few years. As fun and exciting as the story was, it had a dark and emotional undercurrent throughout, something that means you can’t help but empathise with our characters and want them to succeed.

Fans of enemies to lovers romance… check this book out. The romance arc was both hilarious and steamy in parts. They are both hiding things from each other, thanks to a lack of trust, but I loved seeing them open up bit by bit, start to show their real selves to each other. Their story is heart breaking, not just when you learn about their pasts, but also thanks to the knowledge that Sil has a ticking time bomb in her head, but I lived for the scenes where we get to see them interact.

If you like your sci-fi fast paced and energetic, filled with mega cool tech, but with a dark and emotional underbelly, you need to check out this book. It was a story I didn’t want to end, but one I simply couldn’t put down and I am eager to see what Dylan has in store for us next.

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