Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: February 19, 2013
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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.
I liked Kiersten's Paranormalcy series, but by the last book of the trilogy I have to admit I was bored. I wasn't even necessarily planning to pick this one up. But the cover was gorgeous, and the plot sounded awesome, and I just couldn't resist. So I picked it up and didn't regret it for a second. Mind Games was a much more mature novel and definitely a fabulous beginning to a hot new series. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it.
Though this story is about two sisters, I somehow felt like it was mostly Fia's. She's an incredibly broken and haunted character. She's trapped in a past she can't escape. And while she wants to change, she can't force her instincts away. She was made to be perfect, but that is what makes her most flawed. She tries her bets to pull herself together, but she can't seem to help but fall apart. Her mind is scattered, but she's fascinating.
So, you guys! A character named Annabelle! And it's even spelled the proper way! She goes by Annie, but that happens to be my favorite nickname anyway. I love her. She's so protective of Fia. She'll do anything for her. And I mean anything. Annie is super, super selfless and willing to sacrifice anything of her sister. She's not broken the way Fia is, and she still has something of her spirit. But she's also hiding things. Dangerous things.
THE LOVE INTERESTS
I absolutely adore James. He's a little bit messed up himself. He wants different things than the company he works for, but he isn't entirely willing to disappoint. He's sexy and dark and dangerous, and ridiculously alluring. He also very clearly cares deeply for Fia. At the same time, he isn't perfect. He does do things that place Fia in the line of danger, and yet I get the distinct sense that he would truly do anything for her.
I liked Adam, and he seems sweet, but we don't learn too much about him in this book. There's clearly more to him than it seems in the beginning, and he has more facets than meet the eye. I have a feeling he's going to be a very interesting character but I don't feel I know him well enough to say much more at this point.
Mind Games is definitely a thriller. There's always some sort of mystery, an you can never be sure who's on which side. There's no distinct line between "good guys" and "bad guys." Both sides seem to be doing questionable things, but which one is doing the worst things? Who should Fia side with?It's a mystery that unravels as the story progresses.
My main problem with this book was that the pacing was really, really confusing. It's hard to tell Fia and Annie apart sometimes and when I forgot who was narrating everything got really confusing. Also, it switches rapidly between past flashbacks and current events and occasionally was kind of boring if I'm honest. The flashbacks felt so drawn out and long and most of the time when I was reading them I felt done about halfway through the scene.
Despite this, I still loved it. Stories about sisters always fascinate me. The loyalty and love that connects Fia and Annie is astonishing, but they're also both hiding secrets from each other. And that complicates everything. They want to protect each other but instead set into motion a chain of events that cannot be undone.
Mind Games is unique. Fun. It's a big paranormal, a bit sci-fi. Nothing is as it seems. I love that Fia is meant to have perfect instincts, but that perfection is exactly what causes her to make mistakes. Annie can see the future sometimes, but it's never what she wants to see.
I enjoyed the plot of this book in general, too. Paranormalcy fell flat for me, but this novel has real dimension. There's real, buyable complications and the conflict felt genuine. I was very impressed by it and while it wasn't perfect, it was still an absolute joy to read.
I really enjoyed the romance in this book. It did veer a little bit towards instalove, but it was forgivable. There's a history to the romance between Fia and James that wasn't fleshed out quite enough, although there are several flashbacks that helped me understand. I love the chemistry between them, and how neither of them really knows fully how to care for the other. But I get the sense that James loves Fia and that Fia could definitely love James. As far as Annie goes, I get the feeling that she'll like Adam. Maybe love him. The romance in this book is heavy but that's because the book itself is rather heavy.
The writing in this book is very unique, but I love it. It's very, very stream-of-consciousness style, which is very uncommon, especially in YA. I feel like even though this is very unusual, Kiersten's prose has greatly improved. The uniqueness is part of what makes it so fun and also lends it such deep mystery. Fia and Annie have similar narration voices, though, and I wanted them to be a bout more distinct.
The ending was gutsy and involved a major cliffhanger. It was also completely expected. I could never have expected it to end like this, but it was absolutely perfect. I really feel like Fia and Annie made the right choices, and though they weren't necessarily ideal, they have to do what's best for each other, because that's what they do. It was a little bit heartbreaking but also really beautiful, and I feel that it was well-thought-out.
I enjoyed Mind Games much more than I did Paranormalcy, and I'm certainly dying for the next book! The need to know what happens next is almost physical. Actually, screw almost. It is. It's a gorgeous, unique book. Would I recommend it? Well, it's not for everyone. But I truly think most people would enjoy. Sci-fi lovers in particular, this is probably your thing. Also for those of you who love messed-up boys the way I do.
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