For a while I’ve been in the mood for a science fiction adventure so when I found Brainwalker on Twitter and saw the blurb I was there. The best part of science fiction is that it’ll take you on adventures you could never go on. At least in my lifetime, I’ll never be able to explore someone else’s brain.
In this novel, a unique blend of science-fantasy, fourteen-year old Bernard journeys inside his father’s brain, where he discovers a galaxy, infinite and alive.
Bernard is a boy with very little impulse control with an interest in science. He lives with his Dad after his Mother died in a science experiment accident. His Dad is very left brained, cold, organised, scientific. Whereas his Mother was very right brained, creative, risk-taking, experimental. Bernard sits in the middle.
After travelling through a wormhole, he explores his Dad’s brain to find both sides of his brain, Intuit (Right Brain) and Reezon (Left Brain) are in a war. The brain’s life source, or Energeia, is running low and it’s up to Bernard to save his Dad.
It definitely delivers on the blurb, it’s exactly what I got and more. I really liked Bernard’s character growth. In exploring and helping his Dad use both sides of his brain helped Bernard to do so as well.
I loved the adventure. I loved the characters, they felt real. It was very readable and I had this finished within a couple of days.
I like that Mundell and Lacast created a whole world within our brains, with a culture and history. The human brain is as vast and complex as the galaxy we live in, so it’s amazing to think that there could be a whole world in our brains. I felt like I wanted to read more about Intuit and Reezon and their lives.
In one bit when they’re in trouble, Bernard needs to get his own Energeia flowing to both sides of his brain and tilts his head. I really liked that image and I feel like I would be tilting my head to get my own creative juices or Energeia flowing.
Bernard is a very believable character. He’s relatable for me as well since I also have very little impulse control and a sense that I need to use both sides of my brain. I haven’t mooned my class like he has, but I do have trouble with those impulse buys at shop tills.
The illustrations, especially those for Intuit and Reezon, gave me a solid foundation for my imagination.
While I really loved Bernard’s adventure, I felt like it was missing something.
In The Martian, Watney’s survival on Mars was paralleled with the people on Earth trying to save him.
I felt like Brainwalker would have been better if Bernard’s adventure in his Dad’s Brainiverse would be alternated with doctors trying to save him. So we could see how Bernard’s actions are affecting his Dad’s brain. It would have made it all a bit more real. At times we got a little lost in the Brainiverse and forgot it was a real brain they were in.
When I think of it as a YA novel, I thought how teenage me would feel about this book. Teenage me definitely would have picked this up. I can just imagine me in the library, like I often was and still am, looking for my next adventure. Everything, the title, the cover, the blurb piqued my interest and I know I would have enjoyed it just as much.