Mind Games by Kiersten White; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Mind Games

Author: Kiersten White

Published: February 2013

Number of Pages: 241

Rating: 4/5

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. [From Goodreads]

Quote:

Their smiles are lies.

Most smiles are.

Official Review:

As you all should know if you’ve been reading Wordbird for a while, I’m a huge Kiersten White fan. Not simply because her first series was a delightful breath of fresh air but because she’s an awesome person. Just awesome. There’s no adjective that describes her better. It should come as no surprise, then, that though I was flustered by school, I made sure I read her newest book, Mind Games. It’s so unlike her first series that I was a bit wary – you see, I love the Paranormalcy books so much – but I’ve definitely come around.

Mind Games is unusual, to say the least. For the first time, I read from the perspective of someone who is blind (Annie). This is not a common disability for a narrator to have, considering narration usually relies heavily on descriptions of what can be seen. I think the fact that Kiersten managed to paint a picture without actually using color is pretty magnificent, and she did a fine job of it.

However, Fia, the real protagonist, does have her sight. The flip-flopping narration between Fia’s point of view and Annie’s was one of my favorite aspects of the book. The POVs would shift just at the right moment to drive you crazy and motivate you to keep reading. I definitely preferred Fia’s POV, primarily because I found her snarkiness amusing. Initially, said snarkiness may seem irritating, but I found that 1) it is funny and 2) as a reader, I sympathized with her as I learned about what troubled her, and suddenly her rough edges made a lot of sense.

Fia’s character was immensely popular with the girls in my book club (we read this recently), and they all agreed that, though they enjoyed Paranormalcy, too, Mind Games is their favorite book of Kiersten’s. Part of this preference may be attributed to the fact that Mind Games is definitely the “edgier” of the two. In a sense, Kiersten’s books are maturing alongside her readers, which I think is fantastic. Mind Games deals with older characters, grittier action, and has a generally darker feel. It’s for this reason that, though I can’t seem to stop doing it, a comparison between Paranormalcy and Mind Games isn’t quite fair (one protagonist gets excited about lockers, the other about dance clubs) – they are very different books and each great in their own ways.

One low-point was the fact that the book is feels like it’s building up to the rest of the series. This is typical of a first installment, but I do wish that this book could operate as a decent stand-alone as well as a fixture in a series. All the same, Kiersten doesn’t let all the background information bore you. Instead, she weaves it into the present. For instance, one chapter may be set in the present, but the next is set four years before. For this reason, it’s essential that you pay strict attention to the chapter titles. A friend of mine failed to do this until about halfway through the book, just as the confusion was about to make her give up – which would have been both silly and disappointing, as the jumping between one year and another is perhaps one of the book’s best features.

In the end, I have mixed feelings about Mind Games. I, unlike most of the book club girls, can’t swear that I love it more than Paranormalcy, which totally stole my heart, but, as I said, the books are each excellent in their own right. Mind Games is fascinating, introducing readers to a world that is technically our own but feels totally alien. I love that aspect of it and am absolutely bursting with questions. The moment I finished, I looked up the release date of book two because I can’t wait. Kiersten White has, yet again, created a fantastically unique cast of characters in an extra cool version of our own world and blessed us with yet another great series.

Kiersten, you rock.

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