Tuesday, November 10, 2015

More Thoughts

After finishing Dima Zales' The Thought Readers a few weeks ago, I plowed right on in to his follow-up book, The Thought Pushers. It continues the adventures of Darren, a young man with powerful psychic abilities. This book shifts focus to a different power at Darren's command, and to the group of people who share it. It also puts him in the cross hairs of Russian mobsters, and of a powerful enemy who wants him dead.

The Thought Pushers feels like it's gone through something of a "distillation" process compared to book one. Both the good and bad elements of the first book are more refined and pure. The plot is intriguing, with a sufficient number of twists and turns. It does a decent job of upending the black and white morals laid out in previous volume, painting things in a more satisfying, grey manner. It also introduces a handful of new characters, one in particular having an interesting role to play in the story (which, thankfully, is not to create a trope-tastic love triangle).

But the sense of the protagonist being a form of the author's wish fulfillment is more pronounced too. He's not as suave under pressure as, say, a James Bond kind of character. But he's powerful, clever, sexy... too good to ring true. He's something of a Superman type of character, to a degree that a sort of "kryptonite" has to be introduced in the final act of the book to check his powers and keep tension in the climax. And it's not as satisfying a finale as book one either, saddled with a bizarre sort of epilogue that over-explains things that would have been fine to leave to the reader's imagination.

I give The Thought Pushers a B-. At this point, though I didn't dislike the book as such, I'm not planning to rush on into book three.

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