Title: The Minders
Author: John Marrs
Publisher: Del Rey
Date of publication: JULY 23rd 2020
Genre: The genre of book you NEED.
Number of pages: 400
Format reviewed: e-ARC
Five strangers guard our secrets.
Only four can be trusted…
In the 21st century, information is king. But computers can be hacked and files can be broken into – so a unique government initiative has been born. Five ordinary people have been selected to become Minders – the latest weapon in thwarting cyberterrorism. Transformed by a revolutionary medical procedure, the country’s most classified information has been taken offline and turned into genetic code implanted inside their heads.
Together, the five know every secret – the truth behind every government lie, conspiracy theory and cover up. In return, they’re given the chance to leave their problems behind and a blank slate to start their lives anew.
But not everyone should be trusted, especially when they each have secrets of their own they’ll do anything to protect…
** TOTALLY NOT CONFIDENTIAL**
Not-so-secret: book lovers eyes only. Classified ‘review’, this document is the property of Her Majesty Meggy Roussel’s, aka Your Loveliness, minutes of reading journal / blog notes. Re: John Marrs’ THE MINDERS novel.
*Please note this is an account of Meggy Roussel’s reading experience. Portion of texts – exclamations, swear words – have been redacted to allow this document to be shared online without shocking the public.
Location: Chocolate’n’Waffles headquarters, aka, my couch.
Member presents: Meggy Roussel, Yûki and Iris Roussel, cake, decaf tea.
Non-present members: The voices in my head.
MEGGY ROUSSEL: Holy heck, how do I review this book?
VOICE 1: Type words on a document. Copy-paste onto your blog editor. Press Publish.
MEGGY ROUSSEL: Thank you very much, but there is so much more at stake than what you think. First, we ought to think of our feelings! Then I need to get rid of the book hangover John Marrs sent my way. Finally, I need to be coherent enough to share a readable account of the situation. The fate of the world is in our hands!
VOICE 3: We don’t have hands. And don’t you think you’re exaggerating a bit?
MEGGY ROUSSEL: Am I exaggerating? AM I EXAGERRATING? Were you there when I was reading The Minders? Haven’t you felt the powers of the words?????
VOICE 2: You must remain vague about…
MEGGY ROUSSEL: I know! No spoilers! I’ve watched Doctor Who, I know what happens…
VOICE 1: Then let’s start before we 2030 rings…
MEGGY ROUSSEL: Why do you have to rain on my parade? Okay, first of all, the basics. Our future. Wow. My expectations are always off the roof when an author such as John Marrs takes us to a different decade.
Voice 2: Your expectations are ALWAYS high with John Marrs.
MEGGY ROUSSEL: That’s Secret Defense, you don’t want him to feel pressured! What was I saying? Yes, the future. How do you connect readers from 2020 with a story set in years yet to come? You sprinkle your narrative with references to the present! Every element I recognized as my reality made the characters’ own timeline tangible, real. And scary. We are in the middle of Brexit…
VOICE 1: Oh no, not Brexit stuff again.
MEGGY ROUSSEL: Well, for once, they are useful! Using the debacle we’re seeing happening right now is the best way to enable the reader to link the present to the future. After all, the author’s job is to make his plot plausible and realistic.
VOICE 3: According to your reaction when you began reading, it’s a success…
MEGGY ROUSSEL: Are you referring to the shivers I got when I realized the situation the UK government was in at the beginning of The Minders? The goosebumps that broke out when I was hoping for the best in such a dark setting? The lip-biting when things turned sour? I admit it rang so true I felt awful. With every passing year, technology gets more advanced, it takes over our lives, while putting us more at risk. Only this week, Twitter was hacked! Our personal information are in danger. Doesn’t it give you nightmares? So imagine when the targeted data are massive sensitive government information?
VOICE 2: Big Bang. We didn’t get it in 2000, so…
MEGGY ROUSSEL: Don’t give anyone ideas. Okay, back to the book! To protect the UK from an imminent attack, big genius heads come up with a solution. I am simplifying here, but there is nothing simple, nor light with the decisions taken here. While I was devoring the chapters, it occurred to me that it all resonated as possible. I accepted the big threat, the need for a solution. How? Why?
ALL VOICES: Because John Marrs can turn any scenario into a reality you believe in…
MEGGY ROUSSEL: See, you agree! Now, to select five different people through a simple game, and offer them the chance to start anew, if they agree to carry the Queen and Kingdom secrets for a maximum of five years, that takes balls. There is no other way to say it.
Voice 1: So, use of a dangerous and taut plan that can explode at any time.
MEGGY ROUSSEL: The RIGHT use of a dangerous, taut, and crazy plan to save the UK. It almost sounded obvious, and yet, asked if I’d take part, I probably wouldn’t have. But the Five ones each get the right incentive to agree to become the carrier of heavy loads of information. Mind-blowing!
VOICE 1: In every sense of the way…
MEGGY ROUSSEL: NO SPOILERS! But you’re right. Holy Moly! From “all you have to do is leave all you know behind and protect your secrets” to “hello, there’s a red target on your back, you’re on your own, and good luck living with what you know as well as the consequences of how you came into possession of it all.” If getting a new life, a training, and being given a mission is hard, imagine what it’s like when things don’t go according to plan…
VOICE 3: Nothing ever goes according to plan.
VOICE 1: Definitely not this review.
MEGGY ROUSSEL: Shush! Transferring data from computers to humans through DNA. Is this what is waiting for us? The Minders definitely has The One vibes. It’s not far-fetched, it’s so close you can almost touch it. And the five British citizens who got that DNA implanted can actually feel it. See it.
VOICE 2: I wouldn’t want to know about what the government is hiding. I mean, Lady Di…
VOICE 1: SPOILERS!
MEGGY ROUSSEL: I love the foundation of all those secrets and the repercussions they have on the characters. To be able to absorb the monstrosities and horrors we don’t know, they leave more than their previous life behind. They leave themselves behind.
VOICE 2: John Marrs explores this at…
MEGGY ROUSSEL: Oi, that’s my review! But yes, he does, and so perfectly you wonder if it’s true. I’m on the conspiracy side.
VOICE 1: You’re paranoid.
MEGGY ROUSSEL: Thanks to books like The Minders! Because, again, THEY MAKE IT REAL. You can’t tell me you’ve never asked yourself about what goes on behind-the-scenes. How does a country build itself? On good things, bad things, and hidden things. I felt empowered with The Minders as I was privy to the juicy parts, but they didn’t make it easier to swallow. The sacrifices, the blood, are they really necessary?
VOICE 3: You know you’ve read a fabulous book when you question everything.
MEGGY ROUSSEL: Well, The Minders is ASTOUNDINGLY FABULOUS, then, because I was fearing for the country, running through the chapters as the protagonists were running for their life…
VOICE 1: Without the sweat.
MEGGY ROUSSEL: Stop interrupting. Where was I? Oh yeah, the running… But also, the idea of what makes a person… Injecting data as DNA changes you. Your internal balance changes, it evolves. What happens when it deprives you of what made you you? What happens when we strip you off physical pain? What happens to your emotions? Do they get smothered? Were they smothered by your previous life? Oh, the ferocity of this perfectly-written plot is enough to make The Minders a unique and fierce novel.
VOICE 2: But what about the characters?
MEGGY ROUSSEL: No plot is useful without the right cast. Here, I hated some characters…
VOICE 1: Surely, calling ***** a ba…
MEGGY ROUSSEL: Censor yourself. As I said, I loathed some people, never made up my mind about others, and rooted for one. Anyone is bound to feel as ensnared as the group is, and it creates bonds between the reader and the players in the game. Such a dangerous bond!
VOICE 3: We never saw the denouement coming!
MEGGY ROUSSEL: I am not over it. The hunt was merciless. It was breath-taking, delivered with punchy and pacey chapters. John Marrs knows how to throw punches!
VOICE 1: That explains your face today…
MEGGY ROUSSEL: Please refrain from any judgement. I am still recovering from the masterpiece I am talking about today. Mystery and chases, life versus death, lies and truths.
VOICE 2: We are losing her again…
MEGGY ROUSSEL: No! I’m here! But think of what you would do to protect yourself, or the secrets you’ve been trusted with? How fascinating it is and how captivating the author keeps it throughout? Okay, let me wrap up. We all agree that The Minders is an absolute belter of a book. John Marrs is a genius writer who reeled me in again with an addictive, more-real than real, edge-of-your-seat and twisty tale of what might await us sooner than we think.
VOICE 3: Agree!
VOICE 1: It was good.
MEGGY ROUSSEL: Now it’s up to others to care for The Minders… May the Marrs force be with them!
Pub day is July 23rd but make sure you get your copy, pre-order!
I would like to thank Isabelle at Del Rey (Cornerstone) for inviting me to be part of this blog tour.
You can check out my review of The One here