Cover Image: Five Minds

Five Minds

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Member Reviews

The world is a different place.
We can now choose how we live, through the use of artificial intelligence. Kate, Alex, Ben, Mike and Sierra all choose to live as a commune in one body.

Battle Royale meets The Matrix 

Total Mind Blown!!!

The concept and narrative are brilliant and unique, with each chapter keeping you on your toes and constantly guessing.

I had guessed the villain, but due to Morpuss' writing of misleading, I actually second-guessed myself and guessed it was someone else.

I slightly expected a different ending because of the constant twists and bluffs but that was my fault; after all, it has to end somewhere.

I have recommended this book to soo many people and this is definitely hitting one of my favourites for 2021!!
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Wow…that was a breakneck rollercoaster ride!!

Five Minds by Guy Morpuss is his debut novel and what a debut it is!!  The book takes a fresh view on a not so far dystopian future where we have depleted the planets resources and those coming of age at 17 year olds have a difficult decision to make in relation to their future lifestyle and subsequent life-span. Our MC’s make the choice to become a Commune where five minds are transposed into one body and you live for 142 years, but each person only gets to live for 4 hours each day.

Mix into this a murder mystery within this commune and you have a very entertaining read.  Guy’s writing style is very captivating and he develops each character exceptionally.  He also adds in the concept of ‘Death Parks’ where you have the ability to extend and unfortunately shorten your lifespan depending on the outcome of the challenges presented in death games (think ‘The Running Man’).  This is where the story between the 5 characters unfolds, as does the murder mystery.  

The story runs at a million miles an hour where you just don’t want it to stop.  Each revelation changes your direction of thought until the explosive ending.  This book packs in all the action you want and need from a sci-fi thriller.   This is one of my favourite reads so far this year as it ticks every box:
✓ Innovative dystopian concept
✓ Science Fiction 
✓ Edge of your seat thriller
✓ A murder mystery which has you guessing right until the very last pages

Read this as soon as you can, you will not regret it!  I cannot wait until this author publishes his next book…I can see him scaling my favourite authors list very quickly.
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Where to start with Five Minds? How to explain Five Minds? This is an absolute belter of a crime story. It’s high concept, cleverly constructed and has all the tension and thrills I want from my murder stories.

But it’s a bit “different” with Five Minds sharing a body, all taking an alloted time to live while the other Minds are dormant and waiting for their allocated time to roll around again. So readers have five main characters to get to know and we learn they can only communicate with each other by leaving messages for the other people inhabiting their body. Guy Morpuss explains it so much more effectively in the book and being able to see what Kate, Mike, Sienna, Alex and Ben are telling each other allows the reader to understand the dynamics of each character.

Although big decisions need to be made by unanimous vote (thus taking 24 hours) sometimes snap decisions are needed and the Mind which makes that choice has to hope the others agree. This takes conflicted main character to a whole new level!

In Five Minds our commune of Minds are in danger, a synthetic lifeform has challenged Kate to a game. The prize is more time (time is lifetime and everyone can trade some of their hours to prolong their lifespan). Kate has no time to consult the others so agrees to the android’s challenge and from here our Five are in danger. Someone, for reasons they don’t know, is trying to kill each of the Minds within the body.

Within the world where Five Minds is set are game zones. The desperate souls who are reaching the end of their lives can play in the games to try to win more time. Fail and it’s an early death. Our Five must play these games and Guy Morpuss has devised some absorbing challenges for them. The games are physical challenges, there are moral and reasoning dilemma scenarios to navigate or problem solving challenges to overcome. Failure isn’t an option but what happens if a third party is trying to rig the odds against you?

Five Minds is quite unlike anything else. A murder tale in a fantasy reality and obviously this may not appeal to everybody. But if you pass on this excellent book then it will be your loss – how refreshing to have something so wonderfully different to enjoy. Embrace the unusual and go with it.
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It’s less and less common these days – especially when you read a lot – to find books that are nothing like anything else you’ve read, so a hearty well done to Viper Books for finding Five Minds, which is brilliantly unique.

There are elements of lots of things in this book – dystopian fiction, crime fiction and even a brief foray into romance at one point – but these elements blend really well to make a dark and compelling thriller.

The concept of having each part of the story furthered by each member of the commune works really well, especially as we can assume that one of them is unreliable, but we don’t know who – there are clues of course but sifting the reality from the whopping red herrings is incredibly challenging!

Part of the book that really struck me what that there is little information about how the world is living outside of the death park that the characters find themselves in – there is a flashback section which takes place outside the park but, in the main, we have to imagine for ourselves. This works quite well, as the events of the book are then much more immediate and not bogged down in pages and pages of description bringing you up-to-date on what the places we might know are like for these characters now.

You do, however, get a great sense of the death park and the people within it, and the games that the characters are forced to play to earn time credit are brilliantly thought out – I would assume that Guy Morpuss is a fan of the cryptic crossword…

This book is imaginative and vivid – I was gripped by it and recommended it to my friend when I had only read the blurb. It’s quite remarkable for a debut novel and I’ll definitely be looking out for more from Guy Morpuss in future.
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I’m not a big reader of speculative fiction but I was so intrigued by the concept of Five Minds that I couldn’t resist giving it a go – and I’m so glad I did because it is truly a thrilling and fascinating ride. The story takes place in the not so distant (if the world continues the way it is) future where lifespans have a fixed expiration date and at the age of 17 humans must make one of four choices about how they live. Of these choices the rarest is a commune which essentially involves five minds sharing one body, each allotted four hours a day. We follow one such commune with whom things have gotten complicated after one of the commune members disappears under suspicious circumstances.

I loved Five Minds – it is like nothing else I’ve read and the whole premise and execution of the plot is masterfully done. The structure worked particularly well, each commune member only has four hours each to live and cannot communicate directly with one another – so they interact via messages. These messages paint a fascinating picture of how these five human beings ended up sharing a body and how they feel about each other. The idea of someone else being in control of what feels like your body and only being able to rely on what they tell you about their actions whilst they are in charge is frightening but immensely intriguing. I don’t want to say much about the intricacies of the plot because it is best experienced for yourself but the way events unfold is a gripping and immersive journey. Five Minds is original, dark, fast paced, clever and satisfyingly twisty. A brilliant debut!
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One of the most brilliant and original mix of speculative fiction and thriller i've read in a long time.
Gay Morpuss is an excellent writer and delivers a story that keeps you on the edge and entertain at the same time.
The world building is detailed and you can think that could be our future. The characters are well developed, the five minds that inhabit the same body are distinct and well developed.  You get to know them during the books, their stories and their present.
It's a thought provoking and fascinating read, strongly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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Set it’s the not to distant future, this dystopian thriller showcases a world where all disease has been cured. Sounds fantastic right? But this scientific breakthrough caused an unsustainable increase in population. To resolve this, every 17 year old has to make a choice - to become a worker, a hedonist, an Android or a commune. 
Alex, Kate, Mike, Ben and Sierra chose to become a commune - five minds in one body, with each person in control of the body for four hours at a time. Due swap their body for a brand new model, they enter a death park, playing simulated games to win time - the currency of the day.  Except one member makes a deal with a mysteries stranger and suddenly one mind has disappeared …

I really enjoyed the dystopian world the author built. It’s a fascinating setting, rich in detail and I couldn’t get enough of it. It had lots of elements similar to other books I have loved - it felt like a mash up of Ready Player One, The Hunger Games and The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle but with a ton of its own originality and appeal as well. 
The first half or two thirds of the book was a five star read for sure. The latter part of the book was less appealing to me. I got a bit impatient for them to unravel the mystery of the missing mind in their commune. I did guess the culprit but I felt like their motivation was a bit weak and the ending was lacking the finesse and cleverness I had experienced at the beginning of the book. I’d give the second half three stars and four stars overall for the book.

It’s an interesting and original premise for the book and I would definitely read more from this author if he could continue the fantastic world building of the first half of Five Minds. It’s an entertaining read for fans of dystopian, sci-fi or murder mystery genres. 

Thank you to the author, Viper Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to review an advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest opinion.
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I was hooked by this book's novel premise and while I wouldn't say this book lived up to my expectations, it wasn't bad either. 

What I liked
- I liked that each person really felt different to read. It can be really challenging to make just 2 povs feel different, let alone 5
- the world building. I don't understand how the science could have worked but I really did like this dystopian setting and the rules 

What I didn't like so much
- this book is all set in one place, pretty much and I'd have liked to see what the world was like outside this one, unique area
-I'd have liked to see more of some characters. of the 5 minds, there are basically 2 main characters, one side character and 2 mostly afterthoughts, which I thought was a shame
-i guessed the ending pretty much. For a bit I thought I got it wrong, but in the end I was right and I do wish it had been completely unexpected 

Thanks to Netgalley for the arc in exchange for an honest review
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Five Minds is a really clever story which will keep you thinking as well as thoroughly entertained. The set up for the book is well thought out and taps into some relevant issues facing society today and produces an incredible but rather terrifying solution. It took me a few chapters to get my head around how the process worked and I enjoyed the puzzle. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi style books but the dystopian aspect appealed to me and I am also a fan of other books from the same publisher so felt fairly confident I would enjoy this one and I wasn’t wrong.

The five minds within the commune are a real mix of personalities and not necessarily people who would choose to spend time together in normal circumstances! The spats, disagreements and upset between various members make the idea of living in this way seem quite claustrophobic and I’m not sure that I would have gone down this road were this the currently reality. Settling for less time but spending it in luxury might swing it for me! The death parks are creepy but work very well to allow this new world to proceed!

Five Minds is a different kind of escapism read. It requires concentration but it is really worthwhile giving it the time and getting your head around the commune. The story has been really well thought out and is carefully written to keep you engrossed and fully immersed. It is a mystery like no other and throws up a lot of talking points. Definitely one for a book group who fancy a challenge!
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Talk about mind-blowing! I’m not usually a fan of speculative fiction but of course I love a good murder mystery. Could Guy Morpuss reel me in to his dystopian futuristic book? I bought the audio book having realised that I wasn’t going to be able to read it in time to leave a publication review and from the beginning I was captivated.

That proved to be a good decision as Joe Jameson’s narration is excellent and drew me into Guy Morpuss’ game playing futuristic world where the prize is time on your life – or in this case lives, and the penalty for losing is death.

We are in a future, not too far away, where having woken up to the destruction that we have wrought on the planet, we have come up with a novel idea to address the conservation of future resources. Flying is out for all but billionaires, but the most radical implementation has come in the way that we live our lives.

The solution is a novel take on population control. Every child lives their life as normal until the age of 17 and thereafter they are required to choose what option they want going forward.

Which option you choose dictates how long you will live – with shorter lives having added incentives. Five Minds is the story of five people who have been selected to share one body as a commune – parcelling out the hours between themselves so each gets 4 hours a day and there is 4 hours downtime.  After 25 years the worn out body can be exchanged for another.

The commune personalities are chosen to work together. No individual has a say in who is part of their commune. It is possible to add time to a life, but the way to do this is risky. There are Death Parks where participants compete against each other to win added time, but the penalties for losing are severe, so it really is a last resort unless you are a born gambler. These competitions are really tricky puzzles involving VR simulations and I really got caught up in the quests and adventures that our challengers became embroiled in.

Kate, Alex, Sierra, Ben and Mike share a body. They have very different personalities and enjoy different activities. They have chosen their parcel of time to best reflect their interests. Each has a distinctive voice and a unique personality; it is simply that they share a body – which makes it interesting when it comes to relationship forming!

What makes this work is the level of detail that draws you into this high concept world. It is wholly believable and so skilfully done that it is not hard to accept the concept from the outset. Morpuss creates a world full of flawed and believable characters where it seems not at all unusual that five of them should be sharing a body. They communicate by leaving messages for each other and need to act in concert on big decisions.

When one of the commune disappears, the others try to find out what has happened to that person, only to be hampered by the fact that they have no ‘collective memory’. Not all of the 5 commune members like each other, either and there is tension between them which is exacerbated by some rogue behaviour on the part of one member.

When it becomes clear that someone is targeting the commune, they have to try and work out who that might be and why, and this forms the crux of this novel which left my head spinning and my mind blown.

Verdict: Five Minds is innovative, daring and not a little mind-blowing, but mostly it is a brilliantly plotted and highly original crime thriller. It has pace and verve and never lets the action drag for a micro-second. All the way through I was guessing and second guessing and still my mind was well and truly bamboozled. I inhaled this one. Brilliant, intense and inspirational writing from a debut author to watch!
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Five Minds is an ingenious blend of sci-fi, speculative fiction and murder mystery, set in a disturbing future where global resource shortages have forced the population into accepting a drastic form of rationing, where the key currency is time. I came across it through recommendations in a couple of book groups, and was intrigued by the premise, but found the extended game sequences detracted from my general enjoyment of the main plot.

Alex, Kate, Mike, Ben and Sierra are a commune - five personalities, forced to take turns sharing one body in four hour shifts every day since the age of seventeen. They can only communicate through internal messages, and only one can be “awake” at a time. All of them except Alex have agreed to enter a Death Park, where contestants participate in simulated role-player games to compete for additional time alive. Communes - known as “schizos”, have an advantage over other contestants - if they lose their current life, they have four more bodies to inhabit for their extended lifespan, but when one of them disappears after losing a game, they come to realise that someone is changing the rules, and they are now playing for keeps.

I’m not much of a sci-fi fan, but my husband is, so I have seen a lot of the more popular movies & TV shoes in the genre, and  this combined elements of Altered Carbon (I gave up after one episode - too dark, too confusing), In Time, Blade Runner and Ready Player One. The world-building was well done if not entirely logical, and the characters convincing if mostly unsympathetic. Each one describes their own experience as they cycle through their day, in past tense until they enter a game, when they shift to present tense narration - I get why, it doesn’t mean I have to like it. I’ve never been into any kind of role-player game, so found these sections a bit boring, apart from Sierra the Sociopath’s submarine simulation - probably because to me psychology is far more interesting than puzzles. I didn’t guess what was going on until the final reveal and enjoyed being wrong-footed by the clever ending.

I’m at a stage just now where I’m craving novelty in my reading choices - and this certainly delivered on that front, it was especially impressive for a debut author - I’ll be on the lookout for whatever he comes up with next.
Thanks to NetGalley and Viper books for the ARC. I am posting this honest review voluntarily.
Five Minds is available now.
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Absolutely brilliant filled with twists and I did guess both of the twists but I wasn't even bothered I loved the book so much. Would love a follow up to this book to see what could happen after the events of this one. No spoilers from me. I loved it was from every characters point of view each chapter it just kept me wanting to read more. I didn't want to put the book down.
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Five Minds is a high concept thriller, set in the near future where human lives are limited for environmental reasons.  To reduce impact on the planet, some people choose to share a single body between five minds, called a commune.  In this novel, one such commune is thrown into turmoil when one of the five disappears in a way that shouldn’t happen - has there been a murder? If so, are the innocent minds sharing a body with a murderer?

This was a great story with well differentiated characters and brilliant world-building.  A recommended and original novel, but I wish there had been a happier ending.

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing a review copy in exchange for honest feedback.
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This is a truly original read: a dystopian sci-fi thriller. In the future the world is over populated and it has become law that you must decide as a teenager how you want to live your life. Mike, Alex, Kate, Sierra and Ben decide to live as a commune, meaning all five share one body on a time allotted basis. One of them may be a killer. 

Tautly plotted and cleverly written this is a novel which requires some concentration. The characterisation is excellent and you really get inside the minds of the five protagonists. They have completely different personalities and come alive as individuals 

This is a complex and compelling book which is totally rewarding. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Viper Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Five Minds is an intriguing new speculative fiction by Guy Morpuss. It starts with five different characters who share the one body but who each live only four hours a day. Schizo, as they are known, are like a commune that wakes up in a different place, with no memory of the previous life. They can exchange messages but Alex, Kate, Mike, Sierra and Ben must agree in order to make decisions. Needing upgrades for their next host body, they travel to Death Park and gamble for time by solving scenarios. One of the characters then disappears, setting off a series of events and the hunt is on for a murderer. A most original and enjoyable read of a thriller that makes for a significant debut with a four-star rating.  Many thanks to Serpent's Tail and the author for an uncorrected proof copy for review purposes – a marvellously different story.
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Five Minds is a brilliant and wholly original speculative crime thriller and Morpuss’ debut murder mystery set in the near future where, to solve the planet’s population problem and lack of earthly resources, human bodies play host to multiple minds. But it then begs the question: what if you might be sharing a body with a murderer? One body. Five minds. And one of them is a murderer. Alex wakes up. Alex brushes his teeth. Alex has breakfast. Three hours are left until Sierra takes over the body. He hopes she doesn’t damage it. And where has Mike gone? The Earth’s population explosion has finally been controlled. At the age of seventeen, every child must choose how to live the rest of their life – as a Worker (where you remain the same as you are - Human), an Android or Andi (upload your mind into an artificial body), a Hedonist (live a life of luxury but die aged 42) or to live in a Commune (live to 142 but share your body).

The choice is not only between the way in which you live but your lifespan, too. Alex, Kate, Sierra, Ben and Mike are a commune: five minds sharing one body, living for four hours each per day; they have been together for the past 25 years. Time has become a commodity to be traded and spent. In the death parks, disturbing simulated virtual reality games are played in which time can be gambled like money and won to increase lifespans, but it can also work inversely and you can have your life cut short should you lose. Every quarter of a century a commune can also play to attempt to win time to upgrade and find their next host body. During a game, one of them disappears. Have they been killed? And if so, by someone outside their body or by another member of the Commune? They are all in danger, and as they search for the answer old animosities resurface and they must find out from whom – and why – they are all under threat.

This compulsive, immersive and refreshing read is a superb classic murder mystery set in a richly imagined speculative near future world. It takes a traditional premise and doubles down – how do you catch a murderer when you might be sharing a body with them? There is plenty of action, drama, intrigue, excitement and twists throughout, and the author makes great use of misdirection to throw you off the scent; it's cleverly woven and poignant, too. This is a tale that twists reality and plays with the consequences and features multiple minds, changing allegiances and revenge. But Five Minds is not just a high concept thrill ride, it also makes you think and raises some interesting dilemmas: would you be willing to die at 42 if you never worked and lived a life of leisurely luxury? Would you trade living to 142 for being forced to share your body with four other people? Pacy, thought-provoking, character-driven noir told from the perspectives of each occupant of the body, this is a fascinating, exhilarating and entertaining read. Highly recommended.
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In a dystopian future, innovative ways have been found to cope with Earth's still growing population. Natural lives are limited to 80 years, but if you want to live for longer there are options - one of which is to become part of a 'commune' sharing one body between five minds, each of which 'lives' for only an allotted period of each day. Alex, Ben, Kate, Mike and Sierra have already spent 25 years in what was Mike's body - not always amicably but near enough - and it's become time to think about their next body, and earning the credits to obtain an upgrade. That's where the Death Parks come in; here games of chance or skill can help you accumulate more time or lose it all. They expect, playing to each others strengths, to do well, but when Kate accepts a dubious challenge things start to go very wrong, and one of the commune disappears. It's soon clear that someone is trying to kill them off - but how and why? And most important 'who'?

Set in a dystopian future Five Minds is a thriller with a difference. It's a fast-paced addictive read with five personalities in one body, trying to work out who is intent on killing them, set against the backdrop of the Death Park where, in games ranging from the purely physical to more intellectual games of out-psyching one's opponent, time and lives are gambled away - and that's without the threat of gangsters and the illegal games they operate. Unputdownable is often used about thrillers, but this one definitely is!

 The world-building is well thought-through, and explained enough to give it credibility without over-shadowing the story with explanations, the plotting is ingenious, the characterisation great. I loved it. 
There are echoes of various sci-fi films like Andrew Niccol's In Time (with Justin Timberlake) - where time is won or lost - or James Mangold's psychological thriller Identity, starring John Cusack, but ultimately Five Minds is new and original, and like nothing I've read before. This is an astounding debut, and I look forward to whatever Guy Morpuss comes up with next.
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Five Minds is a complex read about 5 people, 5 minds that share one body. In a world, where overpopulation has peaked, the solution the government has found, is that by age 17, everyone must choose how to continue (or not) their lives.

Our leading characters, Mike, Sierra, Kate, Alex and Ben all share Mike's body. They have four hours each, during the day and they communicate by private message inside their minds. This is an awesome and complex concept.

The subject is interesting, and it was a nice read. It felt like I was reading a video game. Very visual representation of what is happening and all the decisions taken, especially in the gaming parts. I felt exactly like one of the minds sharing the body. It was a hard to put the book down, because I was definitely intrigued about what was going on and where this story was headed.

So I was reasonably happy during most of my read, until the end. I was disappointed. Why? Well, because of the rhythm. It is not bad. It is constant; which is good in the beginning. After the first part, the tension got higher. And it stayed that way for most of the book. Now, with the subject and the atmosphere of the story, I was expecting some bang in the end. Like a big revelation. A tension so high, I would grip my book. And I didn't feel it. It felt flat, Not rushed. Just somehow unfinished ... I finished it with a feeling of "all of this for that."

Now, I can"t say if it is me who expected much more and didn't get what I wanted or if more people felt like that. But I was actually expecting something more. 

I'd sell it into my bookstore, because it really is a nice read and I am sure a lot of people would be satisfied and love it.
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Loved this. Totally mind-boggling (in a good way) and brain exploding! A very clever concept that's well executed and isn't like any other book I've read. Highly recommended by me, and I look forward to reading whatever Guy comes up with next. .
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Five Minds has loads of different aspects that make it totally readable across different genres. It's a dystopian, sci-fi, mystery thriller with lots to grab your imagination. 

Written from the different perspectives of the members of a commune (5 minds living together in one body, each having control of the body for 4 hours a day) the action is pacy & the characters compelling. It does take a little getting used to as the story is quick & occasionally I had to take a breath & remember who was in control of the body at that moment. I love the premise of the different options you are offered at 17, if you're intrigued head over to Guy's Five Minds website to take the test for yourself & see what would suit you. There's Commune, Hedonist, Worker or Android. I got Commune which I thought was a great choice, now I'm not so sure.

Within the story there are games that the commune play in the Death Park (somewhere you can go to accrue more time) & I loved these elements as it brought another dimension to the story & provided a little addition to the action. 

Overall a fab debut that would suit lots of different tastes & I think it would make a fantastic movie, although how they distinguish the different characters within one body I'll leave up to someone else.
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