Mind Games, Book 1
Author: Kiersten White
Publication Date: February 19, 2013
Source: For review from YA Books Central
Description 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.
First Sentence: "My dress is black and itchy and I hate it."
Ugh, you guys. I was so excited for this pretty much until I started reading it. I mean, that cover! Also, I enjoyed the first two Paranormalcy books, though in Endlessly Lend and Evie went way over my sap-tolerance. Here's the thing: the best part of Paranormalcy is the humor; it may not be good literature or amazing writing, but Evie is funny. Neither Fia nor Annie has a sense of humor, and, without it, the book relies heavily on White's writing and plotting, which turns out not to be a great thing.
Sometimes when a book disappoints me, I leave feeling angry. I am pissed off for days that the marketing tricked me into reading something so awful. In this case, I really do not have any bad feelings towards Mind Games at all. This may be, in fact, the most meh I have ever felt upon finishing a book. I can almost feel the novel draining out of my head as I type this, so I should probably type with alacrity. Basically, this book bored me, from beginning to end (with brief breaks to annoy me). Despite its brevity, it took three days for me to finish because any distraction would be more interesting.
|Blame Bekka of Pretty Deadly Reviews for the random GIFs - she triple dog dared me.|
Honestly, I'm torn on the writing. Personally, I really do not like it, because repetition and simplistic sentences bother me. However, I do give Kiersten White full credit for writing two disparate, easily-distinguished two person narratives. What really irritates me about the writing, primarily Fia's narrative, is the repetition. This done stylistically, though, so, if this does not bother you, then I suspect you will enjoy the writing. Here are a couple of samples from the ARC, so you can see what I mean, though note that they could be changed before publication:
"He's still helping the puppy, untangling the leash from a tree its owner tied it to outside the bar. And he's not only setting it free, he's talking to it. I can't hear the words but I can see in the puppy's tail that, however he's talking, he's talking just right, all tender sweet cheerful comfort as his long fingers deftly untwist and unwind and undo my entire day, my entire life."
"Oh no. Oh no, oh no. I didn't do it. I didn't kill Adam. He's sitting next to me, driving (I let him drive? Why did I let him drive?) and very much alive."The plotting and world building confound me at many points, which is not something I say often. Two main things I really do not get: the school and the seers. First off, we've got these people with powers (like seers and readers), and some evil dude is collecting them into this school so he can use them for his nefarious purposes. We learn nothing about how this school started or where the powers came from. Perhaps more frustrating, Fia has a unique power, perfect instincts, but we never learn if there are other rare powers or if she's just that special.
Throughout the novel, much is made of the seers and how Fia is the only one who can possibly do anything they cannot see in advance. She has this capability because she acts on her perfect instincts. Since she acts impulsively, they cannot ever see her future, since it is not set. That sort of makes sense, except that she makes longer-range plans all the time. Maybe one instinctual decision in the middle prevents the seers from picking up on her endgame? I mean, in the, admittedly surprising, conclusion, she had a plan and they would have seen it; that was not instinct. This whole thing reminds me a lot of Minority Report. All of this might not bother people who do not feel the need to focus so much on nitty gritty details. For me, nothing made any sense, though I may be trying to apply logic where it's not meant to be.
The portrayal of Annie upsets me the most. For all that the book should be equally about her (the UK version is even titled Sister Assassins), she has no role in the novel but to be the albatross around Fia's neck. Every single horrible thing in Fia's life happens because she has to watch out for Annie. Both of them feel this. Annie never does anything; even when she makes up her mind to make a change, her role in that change is entirely passive. Her visions of the future, too, should give her some power, but she always messes up, never leverages them properly. Characters should not exist solely to be a burden. The portrayal of Annie's character depresses me.
Favorite Quote: "'Ah, but that's the glory of not being Eden. She can feel bad all she wants and we never have to feel it!'"