Monday, March 9, 2015

Mind Games by Kiersten White

Publication Date:  December 3, 2013
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Series:  Mind Games #1
Pages:  237
Genre:  Paranormal
Synopsis:  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.

Review:  I'm not sure what I think of this book.  On one hand, it's fun and exciting, and on the other, I just don't even know what to think.  It is certainly pleasant to read, but I am having trouble gathering my thoughts on this one.  It seems to be a book that everyone either loves or hates, but I believe I may be stuck somewhere in the middle.

First off, I enjoyed the writing style.  It reminds me a little of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, except slightly more juvenile in tone. This book is told from both Sofia (Fia) and Annabelle's (Annie) point of views.  The sisters speak in stream of consciousness (thank you high school English for teaching me that one).  I really liked this, as it gives a more in-depth perspective of the workings of the girls' minds.  It especially shows how truly damaged Fia actually is. That impulsive and conflicted type of writing fits perfectly with Fia's identity.  The downside to this is that there is a little too much telling and not showing, especially during the action scenes. 

The plot, too, can use some work.  The world is in desperate need of some development.  There are too many questions left unanswered at the end of this book.  The supposed "espionage" aspect is all but forgotten.  While it is obvious that Fia and Annie are being used for their unique abilities, it is never explained exactly what the purpose of it is.  Also,  Fia steals the show.  She is immediately established as the star and pretty much dominates the story and overshadows Annie. While this isn't much of a valid complaint on my part, as I prefer Fia to her sister, I still wish there were more chapters told by Annie.  Along with that, the flash backs, while effective and all around satisfying, can interrupt the plot at the most unfortunate times.

As I previously mentioned, I prefer Fia to Annie.  Fia is complicated and fragile, going as far to be described as unstable. She is cunning and selfless and I'm a sucker for an unreliable narrator.  However, this can get tedious when Fia often makes decisions she knows she shouldn't make but goes through with them anyway.  Her ability is by far the most interesting prospect this book offers up.  She has perfect instincts--any decision she makes can never be wrong if she simply follows her initial reaction.  However, this can also lead to her being extremely impulsive which can be ultimately tiring.

Annie is the radical opposite of her sister.  She's the reserved one, locked away from the world, the one who would never hurt a fly. While she is sweet and compassionate, she is also quite mundane. Her power, too, is not something I find terribly compelling or original.  Mostly, I wish there was more seen of the supporting characters, who are much more fascinating than Annie.  These characters are too often taken for granted throughout the course of the novel, and I'm left hoping for some elaboration in the sequel. 

In the end, Mind Games is a quick and action-packed read with distinctive characters and a whole lot of suspense.  I'll be happy to find out what happens next in the duology by Kiersten White.

3.5 Keys

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