Mind Games: review

Mind Games: reviewMind Games by Kiersten White
Series: Mind Games #1
Published by Harper Collins on December 3, 2012
Genres: paranormal
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher, Purchased
Amazon • Indiebound • Barnes & Noble • Goodreads

four-stars

Perfect for fans of Sara Shepard’s The Lying Game series, Kiersten White’s Mind Games, a novel about two sisters trapped in a web of deceit, was called “lightning fast and fabulously fun” by bestselling author Laini Taylor.

Fia and Annie are as close as two sisters can be. They look out for each other. Protect each other. And most importantly, they keep each other’s secrets, even the most dangerous ones: Annie is blind, but can see visions of the future; Fia was born with flawless intuition—her first impulse is always exactly right. When the sisters are offered a place at an elite boarding school, Fia realizes that something is wrong . . . but she doesn’t grasp just how wrong. The Keane Institute is no ordinary school, and Fia is soon used for everything from picking stocks to planting bombs. If she tries to refuse, they threaten her with Annie’s life. Now Fia’s falling in love with a boy who has dark secrets of his own. And with his help, she’s ready to fight back. They stole her past. They control her present. But she won’t let them take her future.

I wasn’t really sure what I was in for when I started Mind Games. I’d only read the first in Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy series, and while it was cute with great world-building, it wasn’t enough to get me invested in finishing the rest of the series. Evie just felt so young. (You know. Like how young sixteen year olds are, compared to a wizened spinster of 30…)

But, you guys? Fia is no Evie. Not even close.

The moment he bends over to help the sorrow-eyed spaniel puppy, I know I won’t be able to kill him.

This, of course, ruins my entire day.

Sophia (Fia) is a trained assassin. A spy. A thief. She is whatever Keane needs her to be; an indentured villain with perfect instincts she doesn’t always understand, but always follows. And she will never, ever be able to escape.

Because if she tries, they’ll hurt Annie, her sister who is blind to everything but the future. Her sister who is the reason they’re trapped in the Keane Foundation anyway, whose abilities were the reason they were invited to the school after their parents’ death. The reason they stayed even when Fia’s instincts told her to run fast and far away from it.

So, she has to kill this boy. Adam. She has to do it or they’ll hurt her sister. But she can’t.  She can’t kill the boy who is sweet to a puppy, who looks at her like she’s a real girl without blood on her hands. Like she’s clean and sweet, and maybe he wants to touch her.

He wouldn’t want to touch her if he knew.

She can’t kill him. So she follows her perfect instincts to hide him instead. And…well, that’s about all I can tell you without spoilers.

But I can tell you it’s twisted and dark. It’s sexy and violent–much more so than I would have previously expected from White. And it’s sad. What impressed me the most about Mind Games was Fia’s pain. Her absolute self-loathing and reluctance, even when she is vicious and ruthless. She hates herself, and part of her hates Annie too, but she’ll do anything–anything–to protect her sister.

I think some might be turned off by the structure and style of this book, though I happened to really enjoy it. It’s told from both Annie and Fia’s point of views, shifting back and forth from past to present. Fia’s narrative style is a bit stream-of-consciousness-ish, which can be hard to follow, but I found it a perfect representation of how unhinged she is.

And for me, Fia’s borderline insanity is what makes the story live up to its title–well, that and the ending. Which was less a mind game and more a mind *expletive*.

Mind Games was a fascinating and frenetic read, and I can’t wait to see what White has in store for its sequel.

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