Book Review: Five Minds

“Communes are the rarest of all. Fewer than one in ten of you will choose that, and it takes five of you to make one commune. But for some it is definitely the right choice. It means that you will see a time that none of the rest of us will see.”

“Five Minds”, by Guy Morpuss

I’m delighted to join the Blog Tour of “Five Minds” by Guy Morpuss. Many thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours, the publishers Viper, and of course the author for organising the tour and gifting me a copy of the book.

In the world of “Five Minds”, by Guy Morpuss, society has solved the problem of over-population. At the age of 17, everyone is offered a choice for how they will live the rest of their lives (and for how long). Will you choose to be a worker, an android or a hedonist? Workers keep their own body and live out the natural course of their lives, working to earn their time in the world. For androids, their wasteful human body is recycled and their mind housed in an android replacement that consumes minimal resources; making their 80 years on Earth sustainable. Hedonists have a short lifespan of 42 years, but they live it without the worry of having to support themselves. Or will you be among those who make the rarest choice – to join a commune, in which five minds share one body? You may only get 4 hours to live as you wish each day, but in total you will live for 142 years in your shared body.

This is the choice that Kate, Mike, Ben, Sierra and Alex have made – and they have lived together in one body for almost 25 years; inevitably experiencing ups and downs, but for the most part getting along successfully. But for one member of the commune, something has changed… As the time approaches for the group to move to a new body for another 25-year stint, it becomes clear that something is very wrong. One of them is a killer – but how can a group of five minds sharing one body find out who among them is the cuckoo in the nest?

Wow! The first thing to say about this book is that I loved the concept the author created. I’m a big fan of dystopian fiction, and love to learn more about the rules that govern the characters in the circumstances they find themselves in. I thought this was a very interesting scenario to consider – what on earth would I do given this choice? Helpfully the author has a personality test on his website (see the link below if you want to try it!), for you to find out what would best suit you; sadly, I got worker! I never did like change…

Another feature I liked about the book was, alongside the main plot of trying to work out who among the five wasn’t to be trusted, the characters also get to engage in ‘side quests’ along the way. Having entered a ‘death park’ – a place where individuals can challenge others to contests to win extensions to their designated lifespans – they take part in several escape-room-like scenarios where they have to exercise their skills in logic to overcome the problems they’re confronted with.

Although the final conclusion is slightly complicated (somewhat inevitably given all the mind-swapping shenanigans!), I found it a very satisfying read, with all the questions I had along the way tied up nicely. If you think you would enjoy something akin to the works of Philip K Dick, by way of “Ready Player One” and “The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle”, then this is definitely the book for you!

Pages: 316
Published: 2nd September 2021
Rating: 🐈🐈🐈🐈/5

About the author

Guy Morpuss is a London-based barrister and QC, whose cases have featured drug-taking cyclists, dead Formula 1 champions and aspiring cemetery owners. He lives in Surrey with his wife and two children.

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