Author: Kiersten White
Series: Mind Games #1
Publication Date: February 19, 2013
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 237 (ARC)
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 was really excited for this book. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and the synopsis easily grabs your attention, but I believe that the overall story falls flat. I borrowed this book from a friend who absolutely adored it. A mere thirty six pages into the book I texted her and asked if it's really worth continuing because I saw no light at the end of the tunnel. She said it is, so I persevered. Did I end up loving the book? No. But did the rest of the book make up for the beginning's horrid writing style and lack of information? Yes. In my mind, the one star beginning dragged out to be an overall 2.5 star book, so there was clearly some form of improvement.
What had me ready to DNF this book so quickly was the writing style. Fia is pretty much unhinged. She's an insane seventeen year old that is deadly due to her perfect instincts. And she's weird. She sings pop songs and likes to go dancing and is the most impulsive person I've ever met. While her characterization is fascinating and brings some elements of a psychological thriller into the story, her thought processes were annoying and bothersome. There are too many parenthesis, too many incomplete thoughts and sentences with no proper sentence structure. It was too much. And it was thrown at us right in the beginning of the book.
Here is an excerpt to show you wait I mean, taken from page nine of the ARC that this review is based off of.
"I have no idea. My plans changed about five minutes ago." I look over my shoulder to see the men, three (tap tap tap--I hate the number three), thick shoulders, one gun between them based on the way the guy in the middle is walking (that was a mistake, they should all have guns--guess they'll find out), matching our pace and getting closer.
Yeah, that was thrown at us from page one. And what frustrates me is that Fia's thoughts become more bearable as the book continues because there are less parenthesis and a tiny bit more logic thrown into the mix--though not much, but it's there! So I think this book would have been a better read if we eased into such an unhinged state of mind instead of being thrown into it. Instead of my attention being easily grabbed, I was more or less just annoyed because of having to read Fia's jumbled thoughts. It just didn't work for me.
Also, as the excerpt above demonstrates, Fia often thinks in threes. This is evidence by the "tap tap tap." That happens a lot throughout the story and it too grated on my nerves. Later on we find out why and about half way in it's easy to infer why, but such a thing was another annoying aspect of the writing because we were not told its purpose. Again, I felt misinformed. There was too much guessing and unknown surrounding the beginning, all of the explanations and back-plots were later in the book and I did not like it.
But everything, luckily, was made bearable due to the dual POV with Fia's sister, Annie. Annie is blind, which I thought was really interesting. However, she can "see" sometimes when visions come to her about the future. The Keane School constantly threatens Fia that they'll kill Annie if she doesn't comply with their evil wishes because Annie is all Fia has left from her original family. Despite Annie's inability to see, I liked her thought process. They were clear, and after reading a lot of Fia's chapters, Annie's mind was as welcome to me as water is to a drowning man. She kept me going when I didn't want to and gave me the necessary information to piece together Fia's actions. Because of Fia's impulsiveness, the book could not have been told without Annie's perspective. However, I wish White took this opportunity to beautifully describe details. There wasn't much detail in the book and experiencing textures through a blind girl would have been fascinating. It's upsetting that she didn't take advantage of this opportunity and instead only over exemplified the sense of smell a few times.
Annie is really the only character that is likable. Everyone else, including Fia, was always scheming and unrealistic. Everyone was literally characterized as evil. Even Annie's best friend, Eden, was evil because she hated Fia and was constantly jealous of James's interest in Fia. And James is just a sucky person that takes advantage of young girls, don't even get me started on him.
Despite all of this, I have to admit the book was an insanely quick read. I got through it in less than two hours, but I'm also an incredibly fast reader. Something has to be said for the level of creativity in order for me to get through this one so fast with all of my problems and pet peeves surrounding the characterization and thought processes. This truly is a creative book, but the lack of detail and insane writing style held everything back for me.
I don't think this has to be a series. I think book one ended fine and it didn't leave me dying for the next book. I am in no hurry to get it, but I may continue the series with the hope that Fia's thought processes would be normal, or closer to normal. If they are anything like the beginning of book one, I can't handle it again.