Review: 'Mindtouch' ('The Dreamhealers' Volume 1) by M.C.A. Hogarth (by Greyflank)
M.C.A. Hogarth is a writer who belongs to the Furry Writers' Guild, something I've been involved with these last few months since crawling out from under my bed after hiding there for a few years. I went looking for a few good books about furries with LBQT+ relationships for a future BookCrossing bookbox, because I like to share furriness with my friends.
I wanted to buy a few books from Amazon for the free shipping; something I hardly ever do. I figured I should get to know my fellow writers better, and while this didn't seem like the kind of book I was looking for for, I liked the idea of two different types of ESPers co-mingling, both aliens on an alien world (not to mention, college kids ... education is sexy, am I right?).
I have to admit to being daunted by the size of the book. Four hundred plus pages. I wanted a writing sample, not a bible. I have over a hundred unread books in my queue! Did I really want to push most of those back in order to relate better to a name in a chat room? And it was book one of two. Who writes duologies, anyway?
See also: Fred's review of Mindtouch.
But my plan is to write furry exclusively at least for a year and M.C.A. Hogarth is certainly well liked and respected, and one day, I picked up this book, having doubts about letting a whole batch of new books cut to the front of the line of my books To Be Read (Mount Toberead is large and requires a map). I picked a page at random ... I read the jump rope scene with the great untangling ... and I went back to Amazon and ordered book two, Mindline.
And to the giggles of a friend named Munch, I was into the story by forty pages and I immediately announced on Twitter that I was looking forward to seeing a male on male romance take place.
OK, that doesn't exactly happen, but it is a romance with three very alien/cultural vectors going on (college being one of them) and it was a very satisfying read.
Here are some of the highlights:
- Domesticity is used to great effect. It's used with humor, it's used to emote, and it's used to show the growing connection, even when unease is present, between our two leads.
- Deportment and conformation ... for psychics, there's sure a lot of talk about body language and uncertainties about what people mean when they say stuff. I really found that refreshing.
- The girls in the hospital. This author made me cry in at least three places. Once for being happy, once for being sad, and once because Jahir had dreams, not nightmares, but dreams of dying so slowly in inches in a montage of banality that Jahir could not defend himself against.
Hogarth took banality and made my heart twist with it. For three days after that, I stopped writing. The bar was simply raised too high.
I can't count the times I wanted to slap Jahir. I can't count the number of times I wanted to shake Vasiht'h to his senses.
The romance here was real, without sexual longing.
I've known of asexual people but I've always seen them as a thing apart, like how atheists are considered a religion and yet they are not, or black being the absence of color yet still a color. I'm sure I'm explaining that imperfectly, but that is exactly what I mean... my understanding of asexual is imperfect.
This helped, I think.
I really am quite impressed.
I loved the culture and the universe and these characters. They are fighting for the lives and their happiness and there is not a single true villain in the piece.
Still, I hope to see these two be intimate in the next book. Whatever form that intimacy should take; I want to be there for it.