Publisher: Cornerstone Digital
Author: Gwenda Bond
Released: February 5th 2019
Warnings: Kidnappings, electroshock
Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds by Gwena Bond is the first official novel in the world of Stranger Things. I’m sure it won’t be the last, either. The novel is set before the events of the Netflix series – instead following Terry (Eleven/Jane’s mother) through her journey.
Being a prequel, we already know where everything is going to lead. That doesn’t mean that we haven’t had questions about how events actually got to this point. The opposite, in fact. This novel gives us a chance to see exactly what Terry knew, and what was going on before the bad scientist got his hands on Eleven.
Warnings: If you’ve seen the Stranger Things Netflix series (and you really should, before reading this book), then you already have a good idea of what’s going to happen in this book. There are scientists experimenting on people, and some of those experiments are less than humane. One of the worst described is electroshock. And then there’s the obvious concern about how they get their hands on their child subjects…
While I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds, I will confess that I had high hopes for the novel. I loved the Netflix series, and have been anxiously digging up any news I can while waiting for the third season to drop. So the timing of this book was absolutely perfect.
I can tell you with complete honestly that my expectations were not unrealistically high. Going for the prequel first was a smart move. It let them delve into the world, explain more details to us, and all without spoiling any future events for the Netflix series.
As far as prequel novelizations go, this one ranks high up on the list. It was exceptionally well written, and answered most of the questions I had about the before events. It even gave me some new questions to ask, which is brilliant.
The tension in Suspicious Minds was palatable at more than one point. So much so that I couldn’t put this book down. Even knowing the outcome didn’t help to ease my anxiety at times – actually, I think it made it worse.
There was a lot of notable information dropped during this novel. I think that any dedicated Stranger Things fan should consider checking this novel out, if for no other reason than to add to their knowledge of the series.
A lot of revelations were elements I hadn’t even expected – who knew what before the series officially started, that sort of thing. Some of it gave me a better idea of the timeline – especially when it concerns Eight and Eleven. I learned a thing or two about them that surprised me most of all.
There were a couple of points where I had to stop and ask myself if I had seen that character during the series – with the slight jump in time it’s hard to be sure. But a secret lab in Hawkins can only be so big, right? And thus there’s no room for coincidences…at least in theory.
I’ll confess that there was more than one moment where I happily reminded myself that Dr. Brenner was all sorts of dead. I say that because this novel did too good of a job delving into his character. Some of the chapters were in his perspective, and it truly made me realize just how cold he really is (well, was).
I had no doubt that they’ll make more novels in this series, if they get the chance. For one thing, this novel was even advertised as being ‘number one’ and one doesn’t usually bother with that sort of thing for anything less than a duology. I think the only thing that could hold the series back would be lack of sales or interest. So here’s hoping for more!