Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mind Games by Kiersten White

Title: Mind Games

Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Pages: 256 pages (hardcover)
How I Got the Book: ARC via Amazon Vine
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Promotional Materials and More: book trailer | author website

Mind Games (Mind Games, #1)Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways… or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost


Kiersten White wrote the first draft of Mind Games in nine days and at times, it shows. In real time, the events of this 256-page novel happen in two days with half the events taking place in flashbacks and it's a fast book to read. Still, it surprised me by being much better than expected. A little undeveloped and in need of more time in the editing oven, but it's an otherwise pleasant surprise from a novel I expected the worst from.

Some readers can't stand it when a book is divided half into flashbacks and half into what is going on in the present, but I quite like it. What I dislike is that White ends all the present-time chapters with cliffhangers that make me want to skip the flashbacks altogether! White did a fine enough job giving Annie and Fia their own voices and avoiding one of the biggest pitfalls for a dual POV novel; I never needed to check the beginning of the chapter to figure out who was speaking.

The consistency of its elements is where things start going downhill. Sometimes, the way Fia speaks in run-ons and repetition thoroughly gets across that what she has been through has reduced her to the emotional maturity of a ten-year-old girl. That's how she reads most of the time. (Also, small niggle, but it bothers me that she hates the number three and yet does almost everything in threes.) Other times, it's just annoying. Sometimes, the love the sisters have for one another is palpable and their complex relationship feels real. Other times? Nope. Fia's got a reason for her sections being badly written, but Annie sure doesn't.

Just about every element of the novel, from the romance-ish thing Fia has going on with James to other characters' personalities and motivations (especially James), suffers from this issue--which is exactly what I feared might happen when I heard how long it took to write the first draft.The book was both written--and read thanks to its pacing--so quickly that deeper development isn't there.

There are still too many questions the novels leaves unanswered, though the sequel will surely answer them. What does Keane want? He's collecting young girls (because only girls have them for whatever reason) with psychic powers to give out as gifts to politicians, yeah. Still, what is his ultimate goal? Hopefully, the sequel I'll probably stick around for will offer much deeper development than Mind Games.

2.5 stars!

What am I reading next?: Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson