Dark Mind Rising, Julia Keller

Hello Humans! Today I’m reviewing Dark Mind Rising, the sequel to The Dark Intercept – which I reviewed around this time last year. I was intrigued by the idea of a world where emotions could be so strictly monitored and regulated, as well as the relationship between old Earth and new Earth, but the book does tie off fairly neatly. I was interested, therefore, to see how the sequel would go, what plot choices would be made, how would the characters work in a ‘new world’. Here are my thoughts:

Dark Mind Rising Julia Keller

Probable spoilers for The Dark Intercept but spoiler free for Dark Mind Rising.

Goodreads Summary: 

When the state is no longer watching, what will you give to feel safe?

New Earth, 2296. Two years after the destruction of a universal surveillance system called the Intercept, New Earth struggles to keep crime under control. The citizens are free, but not protected.

Violet Crowley, the eighteen-year-old daughter of New Earth’s founder, has opened Crowley & Associates, a private detective agency, to handle the overflow from the overburdened police force.

Violet’s first case—a death written off as a suicide—becomes an obsession. Soon a series of similar deaths leads Violet to believe the Intercept is not only still running—it’s in the hands of a killer.

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HUGE content warning for suicide. HUGE. Don’t read this book if you aren’t comfortable reading fairly graphic descriptions of said act. I’m usually a fairly robust reader and this made me super uncomfortable. I appreciate this is the point, it’s supposed to be unsettling, but reader discretion is advised.

This is possibly just me, but I personally feel that the alcoholic (or heavy drinking), lonely, damaged PI character is a little bit overdone? Obviously, the classic example of this kind of character is usually male, so there is some differentiation there, and I do think it is important to address the trauma that a character went through in the first book and the lasting effects of that trauma. Just because you saved the world doesn’t magically make you happy. All the same, I felt like this idea didn’t quite work? I think I wasn’t quite clear on why she became a PI when it so obviously wasn’t really working out for her. Perhaps that is me misremembering or forgetting something key from the first book (entirely plausible) but I wasn’t totally clear on Violet’s motivations.

I thought that the way the book built up the threat levels was very well done. What starts as a series of, albeit horrifying, situations builds to the potential to be truly devastating, whether that happens or not you’ll have to find out by reading it. It’s like the horror movie problem, if you can’t see the monster if you don’t fully understand it, then it’s so much more terrifying. By making part of the mystery finding out why these bad things are happening and what the person behind them wants, the threat level is raised to a much higher level.  I’m probably overanalysing it, but it works.

One thing I did enjoy was, once again, the separation between new and old earth. This isn’t as important in this book as it is in the first one, but there are some interesting ideas in there about preservation and permanence which I think were good ideas to bring up, especially in a time where everything feels very disposable.

This is a difficult read in quite a few moments, as I say reader discretion is advised, but it is a good way of building on some of the ideas of the first book. I would say that you probably need to have read The Dark Intercept to get the full force of this book as it feels very much like a sequel.

My rating: 3/5 stars

I received a free digital advanced review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

What say you? What are some of your favourite sequels? Let me know in the comments below!


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