Author: Kiersten White
Publication Date: February 19, 2013
Series: Mind Games #1
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Two sisters, bound by impossible choices, are determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.
James's frozen face melts into a smile. "Do you want to know the trick to getting in trouble under the watchful eye of a psychic?"
I think of the nailed-shut windows. I think of Clarice. I think of the two, the two, the two who are now zero. Tap tap. "Yes, I absolutely do."
"Don't plan it. Don't even think about it. The second you get an inkling of what you could do, do it then. Never plan anything ahead of time. Always go on pure instinct."
I smile. "I think I can do that."
The point-of-view alternates between sisters Fia and Annie. Fia has perfect instincts. How awesome is that?! She always makes the right choice. Her teacher has to stop giving her multiple choice tests because she never chooses wrong. (I find this hilarious!) So the people with the power in this story are using Fia to help them with things: choosing stocks, picking winners, doing random dirty work, etc. Fia does get periodically angsty with the whole I-am-a-monster thought process, but her tendencies toward self-loathing are forgivable since she's had to do some terrible things. Still, it is right on the borderline for me between an expected affectedness and an obnoxious self-pity. It doesn't quite tip the scales into that annoying zone, but it had me growing slightly less amorous toward Fia's character the more she had those thoughts. She's still my favorite, though. Annie is blind (actually blind, not figuratively blind) and a bit naive. And she has psychic visions. Blind seer is awesome! Annie's chapters are largely focused on her growing realization of what exactly is going on with Fia. James is deliberately misleading and is something of an enigma, but I find his character to be really interesting because it's difficult to know on which side of the line he stands at times.
The villain is properly sinister and mysterious, and the thriller/suspense elements range from tense to fun to exciting. But there isn't a whole lot that actually happens, outside of the numerous flashbacks and back story. Probably most of Mind Games' chapters take place in the past. I think the nonlinear narrative could put some people off. I don't mind nonlinear narratives, and in this particular story the past stuff is interesting, is completely necessary for exposition, and also allows for a slow trickle of information that gradually enlightens the reader. The chapters are also divided in a way that sets some of them in the past and some in the present, so it's not randomly jumping around - there is a structure to it. But I still prefer the present events and wish that part of the story had progressed further. I would have preferred there to be more balance of the past and the present within the narration, because this first book is skewed in favor of showing the reader past events over present ones. I really wanted more of the present and it frustrated me just a little bit to not feel like the current events were progressing as much as I wanted them to. And, though I enjoy the past and need it to understand the present, the plot becomes a little too concentrated on catching up rather than propelling forward.
But I do like the story and the characters and I think that there is great potential for the future. I'm giving Mind Games a high 3.5 star rating. I want to give it a 4, but I'm not quite that satisfied by the amount of progress in the story. I love the stuff involving Fia's use of her instincts, and the ending is pretty awesome. I'll definitely read the second because I think it will contain more spying, action, and impulse, and because Fia is crazy in a good way and maybe a little bit in a bad way. I want to know what happens next, and since this book catches readers up to the sisters' present, the following books should be able to move directly forward from here on out.