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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
In the Mind of Revenge (The Shamed) (Volume 1) by Liv Hadden is easy to read and difficult to review. The easiness rests in the captivating psychology behind the persona of the protagonist, and in the riveting chain of events into which the protagonist, simply named Shame, finds himself or herself. If that last statement confuses you, it's because the reader never really knows if Shame is male or female, but as Shame often muses, why is gender that important?
It's reflecting on issues like gender that makes In the Mind of Revenge more than just a rather exciting read. Liv Hadden leaves us in the dark as to whether this character, who awakens from a coma after a horrific attack by a bunch of bullies, is a girl or a boy. That bullying, and how it affects a young person, is yet another of the social issues raised by Liv Hadden in this book. With a new body, now constructed of metal parts, Shame sets out bent on revenge, and in the first few chapters kills off two of his/her attackers in a most brutal manner. As reason takes over, Shame is now on the run, concealing a badly scarred face beneath a hoodie and hiding in alleys, while trying to locate a childhood friend and first love, Cassie. As Shame searches Baltimore for Cassie, he/she meets up with a host of unusual people, and manages to get beaten up and survive time and again. If a cat has nine lives, Shame has 29, and given that In the Mind of Revenge is Volume 1 of a series, who knows how many more strange people Shame will meet and how many more beatings he/she will take. Oh by the way, this all takes place in the future.
Readers might not be comfortable with the language and sexual references are often borderline. However, such language and references make the protagonist real: this is the way Shame would talk and think. So, for me, that is acceptable, especially as it becomes obvious by the end of the book that Shame has his/her reasons for being the way he/she is, and is really just another human being looking for the good in people and the love we all want.