Review: “Brain Storm,” Cat Gilbert

Rating: 3 out of 5

In Cat Gilbert’s Brain Storm (The Taylor Morrison Psychic Thrillers Book 1), Taylor is just starting to realize she’s a telekinetic. Most of the signs she could see as her imagination running wild, but when she really wants a man’s coffee and it comes flying right at her, she can’t pretend any more. Unfortunately, that man seems to realize something strange is afoot, and he starts following Taylor. Along with Taylor’s friends and acquaintances (lawyer Trinity, Trinity’s Mama D, and detective Jonas), she falls into the middle of some sort of conflict between two groups that want her. She knows that one of the two is definitely bad, but she really isn’t sure about the other either.

Taylor and her acquaintances are on the run, and twisty allegiances occasionally put them in the bad guys’ crosshairs. There are some definite parallels to Firestarter, particularly in that there are people who want to use her as a weapon. The buildup of Taylor’s abilities makes for great pacing. The book skirts the fact that no one’s ever been able to prove that psychic abilities exist by claiming: “take away the choice, and you lose the ability.” (Thus also showing why the purported good guy group doesn’t in any way force psychics to work for them.) Which… aren’t there ways to test for psychic abilities that the psychic might choose to participate in? And how on earth would the very act of participating in a test take away abilities? This is extremely flimsy justification for the fact that no one knows psychics exist. I think it would have been easier to just say that some people know they’re real and others just refuse to believe and leave it at that.

I’m not entirely fond of Trinity as a character. Her archetype is “woman who was abused as a child and as a result hates all men,” and I just don’t enjoy hates all men/hates all women characters. It makes it hard for me to identify with Trinity. Also, Mama D is pretty much the stereotype of the tough-love, needs to feed everyone, beloved mother. Some of the other characters are more complex and interesting, such as the detective. I also feel like Taylor herself was never fully-realized on the page, other than her overriding character trait, which is to try to protect her friends by cutting them out of the loop. Over and over.

All in all good but not great, and I’m wobbling on whether I’ll read the second book in the series.

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