Review: Dark Minds – Michelle Diener

Review: Dark Minds – Michelle DienerDark Minds
by Michelle Diener
Series: Class 5 #3
Also in this series: Dark Horse, Dark Deeds
Publisher: Eclipse
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
Pages: 348
Source: Kindle Unlimited

The mind is the most powerful weapon of all . . .

Imogen Peters knows she's a pawn. She's been abducted from Earth, held prisoner, and abducted again. So when she gets a chance at freedom, she takes it with both hands, not realizing that doing so will turn her from pawn to kingmaker.

Captain Camlar Kalor expected to meet an Earth woman on his current mission, he just thought he'd be meeting her on Larga Ways, under the protection of his Battle Center colleague. Instead, he and Imogen are thrown together as prisoners in the hold of a Class 5 battleship. When he works out she's not the woman who sparked his mission, but another abductee, Cam realizes his investigation just got a lot more complicated, and the nations of the United Council just took a step closer to war.

Imogen's out of her depth in this crazy mind game playing out all around her, and she begins to understand her actions will have a massive impact on all the players. But she's good at mind games. She's been playing them since she was abducted. Guess they should have left her minding her own business back on Earth…

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4 stars icon aliens m/f romance icon scifi icon

I very much enjoyed the last two books in the series, so when I needed a break from some heavier material, I picked this one up. Sure, it’s not particularly complicated in the plot or characterization department, but it’s fun and engrossing! This is the third in the series and I wouldn’t recommend reading it as a standalone as a lot of the world building relies on you already knowing the events of the past two books.

Cam was expecting a routine mission to interview the newly found Earth woman. Instead, his crew gets abducted and shoved into a prison cell with a completely different human. After being abducted (twice) and watching her first pair of abductors get brutally murdered, Imogen’s not exactly happy to be back on the ship that originally captured her. Especially as it seems it’s been taken over by an unknown entity, though pockets of the original Tecran crew remain. But that entity needs Imogen’s help – or maybe just needs to kill her.

“Well, time to find her zen. Either she curled up in a corner and whimpered or she dealt. Go out with a bang, she had promised herself. She wouldn’t go back on it.“

We learned about Imogen’s existence in the last book (and that she taught a parrot to sing), but had no idea what happened to her. After being abducted, Imogen was kept in a cage in a sort of temporary holding zoo, where she started learning her captors’ language in order to hopefully get better treatment. Much like the previous heroines, she’s a survivor who tries to make the best of a bad situation… though she’s pretty angry about it as well. To be honest, at this point, the plot is starting to get a bit formulaic: a plucky human heroine, a handsome Grih who needs to save/protect her, evil Tecran, cool high tech gear, and a potentially murderous Class 5. Once Imogen realizes that Paxe is basically imprisoned, she makes it her mission to free him. After all, she knows what it’s like to be imprisoned. But after Rose and Fiona’s escapades, new security measures mean that saving Paxe is going to take a lot more resourcefulness.

“Cam had thought, when he’d first met Imogen Peters, that he’d be rescuing her. Not the other way around.“

This is a bit more on the scifi thriller rather than romance side, as Imogen and Cam spend most of their time hiding from the Tecran who are trying to regain control of the ship. Imogen’s only exposure to Grih culture is through him, and since he’s incredibly suspicious of everything going on, well, you can imagine how that goes. Paxe and Oris, the two remaining Class 5 AIs, were interesting characters as well, and one of my favorite parts again was watching Imogen trying to explain morals to basically, uh, murderous children. I also liked that Imogen got to meet up with Rose and Fiona on Larga Ways. Rose and Sazo will always be my favorites, but I have a special place in my heart for Eazi as well. There’s definitely some joint “music-maker” shenanigans that made me smile.

“I am usually calm. I am known for being calm. But you.” She lifted her head again, glad to see the shockgun was no longer anywhere in sight. “You are interfering with my zen.”

Overall, despite the similarities to the other books, I still thoroughly enjoyed this one and ended up reading way past my bedtime. There’s just something about the formula of these books that really scratches an itch, and I’m very much looking forward to picking up the next one!

Content notes: View Spoiler »

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