Available formats: epub
Daughter of two Cuban political exiles, M.C.A. Hogarth was born a foreigner in the American melting pot and has had a fascination for the gaps in cultures and the bridges that span them ever since. She has been many things—-web database architect, product manager, technical writer and massage therapist—-but is currently a full-time parent, artist, writer and anthropologist to aliens, both human and otherwise.
Her fiction has variously been recommended for a Nebula, a finalist for the Spectrum, placed on the secondary Tiptree reading list and chosen for two best-of anthologies; her art has appeared in RPGs, magazines and on book covers.
on Feb. 17, 2014 :
If you haven't read Mindtouch: shoo! Go do that now! ^_^
Mindline was a lovely continuation of Mindtouch and a beautiful opportunity to watch Jahir and Vasiht'h's relationship blossom further. That said, it is not quite as perfect as Mindtouch. Whereas Mindtouch is really a romance story (albeit an asexual one) -the developing relationship is the plot- Mindline is a sci fi with romantic subplot for the first two-thirds then abruptly shifts back into being a romance story for the final third. This does mean for a lot less lovely, sweet Jahir-and-Vasiht'h scenes and rather less-than-perfect pacing.
That said, the characters and their relationship -plus the beautiful, elegant prose and acute observations which have even more opportunity for use in this book than the previous- carry Mindline past these problems. It may not be quite as perfect as its prequel, but it is still exceptional and utterly lovely.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Feb. 16, 2014 :
I really enjoyed Mindtouch and was thrilled when I saw that Mindline had been released. In Mindtouch, Jahir was given a choice between remaining near Vasiht'h and developing their budding mindline, or leaving his new friends and the mindline behind and accepting a residency at Mercy Hospital on Selnor. He chose to go to Selnor. Mindline picks up where Mindtouch left off. Vasiht'h has decided it was a mistake to send Jahir off on his own and has arranged to finish up as much of his education as possible through distance learning on Selnor. While he is traveling to Jahir as quickly as his limited funds allow, Jahir, unaware that his friend is coming after him, is rapidly running himself ragged. Not only is the residency program extremely difficult, Selnor's higher gravity is making every day feel like a grueling marathon. Things only get worse when a large number of mysteriously comatose patients start showing up at Mercy.
I love Jahir and Vasiht'h. A lot. But it occurred to me, while I was reading this book, that they might be a bit too wonderful and nice for some readers. I think Vasiht'h's only failing in Mindline was that, when his temper finally exploded, which it only rarely did, it was hard for him to rein it in. Jahir had two main failings: he was so pretty that all humans fell a little in love with him (the stuff with Levine seemed unnecessary and repetitive after the minor incident with Berquist in the previous book), and he cared so much about others' well-being that he tended to neglect his own. I really wish the portion of the book in which Jahir was killing himself hadn't dragged on for so long – it made for painful reading.
Everyone around Jahir and Vasiht'h liked them or learned to like them. That didn't bug me, because I liked them too – sometimes I found myself reading with an involuntary smile on my face. What got to me was other characters' comments about their education/professional development. Jahir literally almost killed himself trying to save patients, even after it became clear that they could not be saved. I'd have thought he'd be censured for not recognizing his own physical limitations and for running the risk of turning himself into another patient in need of care or, worse, a corpse. Instead, he was later praised for his dedication.
When Jahir and Vasiht'h scheduled therapy sessions on their own after their faculty oversight canceled all their official appointments, I expected they'd be censured for doing something that could have potentially been dangerous or unethical (they were only student therapists, after all). And yet the same thing happened to them that happened to Jahir on Selnor: they were praised, told that there was no more they could be taught, and sent on their way. I would love to get a medical professional's perspective on this book, because this all seemed pretty dodgy to me.
Jahir and Vasiht'h were wonderful, nice people, a solid (asexual) couple, and students who were praised by every single teacher and patient they encountered. So, yes, they were more than a bit perfect. I can recognize that. But I loved them anyway, when I didn't want to throttle them for trying to kill themselves for the benefit of others. Mindline had fewer lovely, intimate moments than Mindtouch, but there were still some good ones. I enjoyed the hair cutting scene, and their negotiations over the details of owning their first apartment together. Their mindline added a new dimension to their relationship, allowing them to share memories and tastes.
The other characters in the book were, unfortunately, not quite as vivid as Jahir and Vasiht'h. I kept getting several of them mixed up. Paga, a Naysha (aquatic Pelted) and one of Jahir's physical therapists, was the most memorable of the bunch.
The structure of this book was odd. The first two thirds were a medical mystery of sorts, while the last third was quieter and, like Mindtouch, more focused on Jahir and Vasiht'h finishing up their schooling and trying to figure out what they were going to do with their lives. I had assumed that the epidemic of comatose patients would take up the entire book. Moving from the first two thirds into the last third was jarring, like stumbling from one story into another. I think, if that transition had been smoothed out, I'd have enjoyed the book even more than I did.
Overall, I liked this book. Jahir and Vasiht'h are, so far, my absolute favorite of Hogarth's creations, and, as usual, I enjoyed how alien culture was worked into the story. It's too bad this is a duology – I'd love a third book focused on the early days of setting up their own practice.
At the beginning of the book, there's a brief glossary. At the end of the book, there's a recipe for Almond Saucer cookies.
(Originally posted: http://familiardiversions.blogspot.com/2013/12/mindline-e-book-by-mca-hogarth.html)
(reviewed long after purchase)