Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Mind Games (Book Review)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 9:38 AM with 20 comments

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Mind Games

Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Number of Pages: 272

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.


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MY THOUGHTS:

As the release date for this second book in this series, Perfect Lies, looms nearer, I decided that it was time to give Mind Games a second look so it was fresh in my mind. I read the ARC of Mind Games about a year ago and even though I remembered the story better than most books, details were a bit fuzzy. I snagged the finished copy from my library and planned to read this alongside another library book and one of the ARCs I'm behind on, but Mind Games completely sucked me in again and I eschewed everything else in order to speed through this gem for the second time. 

Like a lot of books, this one is pretty polarizing. Looking at my friends' ratings on GR, it is fair to say that most people either love or hate this book. In fact, my original review on GR from a year ago starts off with how I was so glad that I had read an ARC of this book because I probably never would have picked it up based solely on some of my friends' ratings. It just goes to show that we won't always have the same taste in books and that I shouldn't be discouraged when something I'm looking forward to gets dismal ratings.

Mind Games is the story of two sisters, Fia and Annie. After their parents die in a brutal car accident, the two girls are shipped off to live with an aunt who seems burdened by her new responsibility.  Both Annie and the aunt are thrilled when a man from a prestigious private school shows up and offers Annie a place at the school. Only Fia is distraught by this prospect. Not because she is afraid to be separated from her sister, but because she can feel that the man and the school are wrong. When she voices her concerns the man takes interest in her as well and offers her a place alongside her sister. She agrees if only to keep her sister safe. 

We find out almost immediately that the school is incredibly sinister and that Fia was right to be wary. It is a school for girls with special gifts. The school sought out Annie because she is a "seer". Annie, even though she is blind, "saw" her parents accident before it happened. While the school originally wanted Annie, they quickly discover that Fia is the true gem of the family. Fia's gift is that of perfect instincts. On multiple choice tests she knows the right answer every time, even if she didn't study; she can pick the right stock to invest in; and she is awesome at hand-to-hand combat. 

As the years pass, the school and the evil people who are behind it, begin to send Fia on more and more dangerous assignments. Long gone are the classes where she picks the right stock, she is now the school's assassin. She hates what they make her do, but they hold Annie prisoner and threaten Fia with Annie's death if she doesn't do what she is told. All she can think of is escaping their grasp, but she will never leave Annie behind.

While I liked Annie ok, Fia is the star of this show. Broken, angry, fiercely loyal, and totally bad-ass, I found myself drawn to her character way more than Annie's (who admittedly, as a prisoner, doesn't get to do a whole lot). Once I adjusted to the narration, the novel just flew by as it raced to the (cliffhanger) conclusion that left me panting for more. This reread really helped get my excitement for the second book up more. I cannot wait to find out what happens next.

There is a hint of a triangle with Fia, but neither relationship is the focus, and it really isn't a true triangle. The first is Adam, the boy she is sent to kill in the opening scene of the book, but who she ultimately saves instead. In Adam, Fia sees the life she could have if she wasn't trapped in this corrupt world. The second is James, the son of Mr. Keane who is the sinister man behind it all. Fia knows that James is dangerous, but she cannot help but be drawn to. He knows all of the brutal things Fia has done and is capable and he doesn't care.

The biggest complaint I've heard about this book is the crazy time line and the writing style, and I have to admit that it does take awhile to get used to (although I had no problems with it during this reread). The story bounces back and forth between Annie and Fia AND it bounces back in forth between the past and the present as well. It can be confusing at first, but I think most people will adjust fairly quickly. As far as the writing style, there is a lot of repetition that may bug some (and did annoy me sometimes), but I found the story so interesting that it really wasn't a problem. 

Overall, I loved Mind Games and cannot wait for the sequel. The writing is fast-paced, the characters are dark, and the school is mysterious and shady. If you haven't read this yet, I'd definitely recommend. The sequel, Perfect Lies, comes out on February 18, 2014.


20 comments:

  1. I have been wondering about this series but I think yours is the first positive review I've read. I don't think the time line would bother me so I'm feeling curious enough now to check it out. The words mysterious and shady draw me in!

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    1. Most of my friends didn't care for this one, but I really enjoyed it. I hope you like it if you do give it a try. There is definitely some shady business going down. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I feel that all of White's books are polarizing. I think a lot of people really enjoy her style while others do not. Seems everyone is on one side or the other. I'm glad that with your reread you enjoyed it and not much longer to wait until Perfect Lies!

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    1. Oh, I enjoyed it the first time, too. I haven't read anything else by the author although I do have the Egyptian god one--Chaos of Stars or something like that--on my Kindle. I can't wait to dive into Perfect Lies. I'm excited to find out what happens next. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Soo happy you liked it!! I read Mind Games a year ago and while I totally agree that the pace is awesome and the plot and the entire atmosphere - I still couldn't really get into the series. I don't know why. I think I just felt...uncomfortable? In the story? If that makes any sense at all. In retrospect I appreciate the fact that Kiersten White has an amazing way with voices, but I can't seem to get into her stories :( Have fun with the sequel, though! Depending on the reviews, I might...maybe...give it a try!

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    1. I can see how this wouldn't be everyone's cup of tea. I definitely think I'm the one in the minority on this one. I haven't read anything else by her so I can't speak to how I feel about her other series. I've been meaning to pick up Paranormalcy, but, you know, there's a thousand books I've been "meaning to pick up." Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. I remember really enjoying this one, but it has been awhile. Your review refreshed my memory a bit, but I may still have to reread. I do remember loving Fia and actually liking the back and forth (both with Annie and Fia and with the past and present). Great review! ~Pam

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    1. I like the back and forth, too. I almost always love dual/multiple narration. It's the repetition that bothered me, if anything, and even that not enough to hinder my enjoyment of the book. Fia rocks. Thanks, Pam!

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  5. I've gone back and forth about trying this series, because I did love her Paranormalcy books. It sounds like a good plot and writing---though a lot of repetition does sometimes get under my skin. LOL I think I'm still torn but your recommendation does sway me more toward giving it a try!
    I am glad you're enjoying this series! Great review!

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    1. I need to read her other series still, but I have heard good things. I hope you do enjoy it if you decide to pick it up. I think it might only be a two book series...although don't quote me on that. Thanks, Becky!

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  6. I liked this one quite a bit as well! Fia was my favorite as well. I'm really looking forward to Perfect Lies next month!

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    1. Oh, good. I'm not the only one. I know! I can't wait to read the sequel and Fia totally rocks. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. So glad I made the decision to purchase this one a while back! I couldn't really gather what it was actually about for the synopsis, but now that I've read your review.. I'm so excited to pick it up!

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    1. Yay! I hope you love it. The synopsis is a little vague, but the shady dealings are a little vague in the book, so it makes sense. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. I really want to read this one! It's on my TBR but, you know, these things get pushed down. I didn't remember that it was about sisters, though! That's awesome! I love some good sister/sibling stuff in books. :)

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    1. I hear you. If I actually looked at my TBR list, for real, I think I'd have a breakdown. I love stories that follow sisters, too, and this story is really fast-paced and a pretty quick read. Hope you enjoy it if you ever find the time. Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. I have been wondering about this series and have been thinking about checking it out. I like the fact that it's fast paced, and the two sisters in Mind Games both sound interesting to me. And the timeline sounds actually sounds good too. Great review Natalie :)

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    1. You should! It really is a super quick read and the sisters are both interesting in their own ways. I hope you love it if you decide to give it a try! Thanks, Kim!

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  10. I have read really mixed reviews on this book. The timeline thing shouldn't bother me - one of my favorite books (Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood) does the bouncing between times and characters - but I've heard the writing style isn't that great. I guess I'll have to read this for myself!

    - Kritika @ Snowflakes & Spider Silk

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    1. The writing style does seem to be particularly polarizing. I enjoyed it, myself, but can understand why some people wouldn't. I love Margaret Atwood, but I haven't read that one yet. I hope you enjoy this if you do pick it up. Thanks for stopping by!

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