I often think the world would be a far better place if I could just make people do what I want them to do. Just put the right idea in their head to make things go a little smoother. Of course that kind of power might make one a bit corrupt. In the new novel Benders we find out just how corrupt they can become.
A bender is a person who can bend the thoughts in someone else’s mind. In mild use it’s a gentle suggestion, in its strongest form it’s an irresistible order to do what you’ve been told. Even if it means your death. Monty has the gift of bending but is smart enough to not overuse it. Unfortunately it’s also become a secret he feels he needs to keep, until he meets the woman of his dreams, Mieko. He shares the knowledge of his gift with her and ends up a target because of it. The other side of the coin is Tristan. A con man who has done nothing but get by on his power. He lives a good life but his luck appears to have run out. There are men after him, professionals, and he has absolutely no idea why. Could the government be involved?
Benders is a rollicking good time. While the plot has been done a million times before, psy-powered humans on the run from people in power, this is still a fresh take on it. The characters are all very likable, some downright lovable and you are fully invested in their welfare from the start. The action is sparse but well done and the plot follows a nice logical line which is often a problem in thrillers these days. It definitely kept me turning the pages fast enough that I polished it off in two days.
It has flaws, a bit too much exposition and back story for peripheral characters is one. On the flip side of that is how much my concern for those peripheral characters added tension later. It also has a bit of a “Hollywood ending”, while not quite tied up like a bow, it definitely felt off in tone from the rest of the book. Still it was satisfying enough that I didn’t feel cheated. It is open-ended so it has potential for a sequel or even a series. None of the flaws detracted from my enjoyment of the story however. The characters and plot were engaging enough to smooth them over.
I’m giving Benders 3 and 1/2 out of 5 stars. It’s a rambling, enthralling ride that hooks you from the start. Definitely an enjoyable journey. Go check it out.
Benders is available as an e-book on Amazon.