Review: The Face in the Mirror: a transhuman identity crisis (Reflections #1) ~ T.R. Brown

The Face in the mirrorWhat does it mean to be human?

Imagine you’re in a tragic accident.
You expect to die!
Instead you awaken in a body that is not yours.
Not even your own species!
Not even your own gender.

In a desperate attempt to save your life your brain has been transplanted into the only body available, the body of a genetically engineered slave.

Everyone is quick to assure you that you are still “legally human,” but you know that when any stranger sees you they see property or perhaps a Frankenstenian abomination.

It is a transformation that forces Todd Hershel to reevaluate his sense of self, his gender identity, her sexual orientation and how humanity relates to its biological creations.

If your brain is in a new body whose soul do you have?

3 Thumbs-UpThere is an old saying “never judge a book by its cover”, and that is especially true in the case of this book.  If I had picked this up in a store, the cover alone would have made me put this back on the shelf, without even reading the synopsis and, by doing that I would have missed out on interesting read.  However, for those who are made uncomfortable by gender identity issues I would recommend giving this book as miss as they are a strong theme here.

This is the second book I’ve read in about a week that has really made me re-evaluate the world we live in, and what exactly it means to be “human”, and what happens when elements of our own “personality” clash with those of the donor of any organs we may have.  This book brings with it a whole slew of questions, many of which it manages to answer through its main protagonist.  This character is being pulled six ways from Sunday, not only by the confusion they feel within themselves and their dreams, but from also from the futuristic society that they live in.  Through the emotional trials and tribulations this character encounters, the reader is also made to address issues that are the forefront in many circles today, and without giving away any spoilers, it is hard to indicate what these are.  It was easy for me to feel sympathy for the main as they went through their growing pains from denial to acceptance, and the way in which the Author portrays this transition makes the journey feel real and not far-fetched as one might think.

Despite this being a very constructed and detailed plot line that makes this kind of future plausible, it felt at times as if the Author own technical knowledge took over the plot at the times when more action or drama would have been suitable.  There has obviously been a lot of research in the fields covered in this novel; such as ethics, and psychology, but again this seemed to dominate in places where it just didn’t seem appropriate and this, I feel, will make the book a rather ponderous read for some people.  What made me give the rating I did to this book was the lack of background on some of the players mentioned within its pages, I’m not sure if this is going to covered in more detail in future books in the series, but the omission of it in the first book left me feeling that the book was definitely lacking something that would have taken it up a notch.

If you are a reader looking for something a little different, that will make you think outside the box, and actually take notice of the world we live in, and on, then this is a read of you.  Despite my 3 thumbs rating I will be reading others in the series to see how it develops.