Book Review: Brightside by Mark Tullius

three-half-stars

I have received this book in audio format from the author in exchange for an honest review.

People like Joe Nolan, telepaths, but broadly called thought thieves, are confined to Brighside, a small town placed on a mountain. They are able to read people’s minds within close proximity. Thought thieves are considered public enemies, terrorists, and having them isolated from the rest of the world was the solution the government came up with to guarantee everybody’s peace of mind. Joe always had difficulties to cope with this ‘ability’, trying to please others but also judging them for their past. It is not easy for him in Brighside either, since the other people are aware of his judgmental thoughts, isolating him even more.

The concept of this book is very interesting, seeing not only how life would be for a people able to read thoughts, but also in case where there are other people around with such ability. And how this affects the fact that one needs to keep something secret from everybody around. The book alternates between chapters in the present and chapters in the past, where we witness Joe’s childhood and how being a telepath affected it. The story is quite dark, and I did not completely understand why Joe was seeming to do worse than other inhabitants of Brightside. He is the main character, but some others are also important, nevertheless they were plain and almost interchangeable. I could not connect to any of them and did not care if they died or stayed alive. I find this strange though that, although Joe was able to read their thoughts, and transmit them to us, those characters stayed plain and far from the reader.

Tee Quillin did well at transmitting the character’s emotions and making enough difference in voices. There were a couple of sentences repeated which seems an editing mistake I see on other audiobooks. Something that disturbed me a bit was the lack of upward compression on the final mastering. I had trouble to hear when Quillin was ‘whispering’ in noisy environments. I had to turn the volume up but then the regular tone was too loud. I usually do not find this issue with other audiobooks, and it is a pity when it happens. Narrators should keep in mind that people usually listen to audiobooks while they do other activities, such us walking on the street, cooking, or cleaning; and delivering a final master adequate for this is a must.

It was a very interesting listen, with an original idea, but some more character development would have made this a greater book.

Available at Amazon/Audible

three-half-stars
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