Reviewed by: Riley
Minder Rising is the second book in Carol Van Natta’s Central Galactic Concordance series. It takes place in a futuristic galaxy where special mental talents are a part of life for many of the citizens. Lieren Song is one such person. Tested as a young boy and recruited into the Citizen Protection Service (CPS), a recent accident has forced him into a temporary leave while recovering from his injuries.
While on leave, Lieren spends some of his time in a bar and befriends the staff, most particularly the lovely bartender Imara Sesay, as well as her son Derrit. Derrit’s own minder talents are growing and Lieren volunteers to help Derrit to control his abilities. To Lieren, he is not only teaching, he is spending time in the bar with Imara.
In the meantime, several suspicious deaths of Lieren’s CPS team members are making him nervous. And since he is still alive, he is likely a suspect – or maybe a target.
To solve the mystery, Lieren becomes a geek detective. That is, he uses technology to collect and analyze data. This is not my favorite fictional problem-solving method. Even though I readily admit it is legitimate, it is not all that interesting to read about. On the plus side, Lieren’s findings set up some of the later more exciting action.
The characters of Minder Rising are very much the highlight of the book. Because of his accident and the physical predicament it left him in, Lieren’s strength is not immediately evident at the beginning. In fact, he seems to be mentally adrift at first, his only anchor – his daily visits to the bar where he enjoys his friendship with Imara and her son. But as events unroll, Lieren is forced to toughen up. It was gratifying to see Lieren growing stronger both physically and mentally when circumstances dictated the need.
The relationship between Lieren and Imara is a slow burner. Both recognize that Lieren’s stay is only temporary and, for that reason, they spend a lot of time trying to avoid getting close. Ultimately Derrit is the magnet that draws the two together. I must admit, I was a bit disappointed that the connection between Lieren and Imara was largely based on Derrit. I kept looking for something more for them. On the other hand, I am usually a sucker for a cute kid in a story.
In this series, the Central Galactic Concordance (CGC) is a culturally diverse body. Though the cultures are earth-based, they include many nationalities, religions and lifestyles. Just take a look at the cover for Minder Rising. You see three different skin colors on it. When reading, I rarely pay attention to appearance, but the author uses other devices to introduce elements of diverse cultures, one of which is language. In Spires, the governing seat of CGC, Mandarin is a common language. Thankfully, translations are provided! I like seeing these cultural features in the story.
As I mentioned, Minder Rising is book two in the Central Galactic Concordance series. The first was Overload Flux, which I have read and really enjoyed. Each book can be read as a standalone. Both end with an epilogue in which the point of view is that of a powerful female character that was not a major character in the book. In each epilogue, the Ayorinn legacy is mentioned. Ayorinn was (or is?) a famous oracle in the CGC. So, having enjoyed Overload Flux and Minder Rising, I am definitely looking forward to book three in this series!
Genre: Sci Fi Romance
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Length: 234 pages
Blush Quotient: Ivory for love scenes. Pink for strong language.
Smart Girls Rating: 5 Stars
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