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Thursday, 28 March 2013

ARC REVIEW: Mind Games by Kiersten White


Mind Games by Kiersten White

Series:Mind Games, #1
Publication Date:February 19th 2013
Publisher:HarperTeen
Hardcover, 237 pages
Useful Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Book Depository

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 had read quite some time ago Kiersten White's debut title Paranormalcy and even though I haven't still got around the rest of the books in this series, I remember I liked this author a lot, mostly because of her fresh and humorous writing style. So, when I got the chance to review Mind Games, I jumped right at it certain that I was in for another interesting story, quite well written. So, imagine my disappointment when Mind Games is in fact nothing like I was expecting it to be. And if that was my very first attempt of reading this author's stories, I can go as far as saying that it would probably be my last. Yeah, Mind Games, was bad.

Let me take things from the start. As soon as I started reading Mind Games, I had the feeling that I would have a hard time with it. What with the fact that it was written from both sisters' POV and the constant back and forth in the time of the narration, Mind Games was destined to be either mind blowingly good or unnecessarily intricate. And from the result, I can only claim that it is the latter... To say that I had a hard time with Mind Games, would be an understatement. All those parentheses that marked mostly Fia's internal dialogues and the repetitions just to emphasise a point, not only made me feel like I was stupid and I needed the repetition to understand something but they also made me nervous as hell. Imagine reading the whole time about Fia's nervous habit and how she tapped, tapped, tapped her fingers the whole time, or how bad, bad, bad was a situation and you'll get what I mean. I have my own nervous habit of tap, tap, tapping my own leg, I don't need to read about someone else's tick, thank you very much...

Now, about the plot. From the premise, you get a glimpse of a rather interesting plot and world building. I mean we're talking about an organisation that gathers special girls and uses them for their nefarious purposes. It can't get more interesting than that right? But the execution was rather sloppy I'm afraid. It was like reading a draft. There were huge gaps everywhere in the narration and here I have to note that since I was reading the arc, maybe, some changes were made until the final product. I can't be sure. But as it was, Mind Games seemed like it was written in haste. We have a very interesting idea of a world building that was never fully explored. As nothing was explored or presented in this book in its full potential. Not the story, not the characters, nothing. Like I said, sloppy.

The characters were flat. Even though we get to read the story from both Annie and Fia's POV, still we only know them on the surface. White barely explores the potential such intricate characters have. Because both Annie and Fia have a very interesting background and lead a very interesting and unusual life. Fia is trapped murdering people to keep her sister safe while Annie in addition to not being able to see is also trapped literally, living a life in a golden prison. So when you present to the reader such interesting characters, then yes, the reader expects to see those characters fully explored and not just superficially. The dynamic in the relationship of those sisters while one might expect it to be mind blowing is just flat. As a result, I just couldn't like them. I didn't care for them and I couldn't even understand them at times, because they seemed to act with no motive. And I won't mention any secondary characters. When the main ones aren't sufficiently developed, then the secondary ones usually suffer a far worse fate.

And while Mind Games was a very quick read, still I found myself hoping for it to end sooner. After a point reading it was pointless. There was no way I would be able to connect with the main characters, there wasn't a romantic subplot to catch my interest and the plot, even if fast paced, still seemed pointless to me. Something like a chase were you're running and you don't even know what you're running from.

The action scenes, were too short and left me unsatisfied while the whole ending failed to impress me. I had understood exactly how everything would play out, so even that, fell flat for me. Not that it wasn't a nice twist, but when you can see right through your characters actions and anticipate that twist, it kind of loses its purpose and the same goes for the element of surprise...

All in all, I was very disappointed with Mind Games and to be honest, I don't think I will be reading the next book, even though I truly believe that Kiersten White can do so much better. Maybe exactly because I know how good stories this author can deliver I won't continue reading this new series of hers. I'll just stick with her Paranormalcy one until she writes something new.

 * This title was provided for review via Edelweiss.

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