Mind Games (Mind Games #1)FeaturedHot
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.
Mind Games is so thrilling. Kiersten White explores a new territory with the idea of perfect instincts. The idea was so enticing and fresh. I loved Kiersten White's approach to it. Fia was such a nuanced character who I really enjoyed reading about.
While I am pretty sure Kiersten White can do no wrong, one thing she excels above all else at is characterization. After finishing the Paranormalcy trilogy, I was mourning leaving Evie and Lend behind. I am so happy that they are replaced with Fia and Adam as main characters, who are just as admirable and awesome. I instantly fell in love with them and I really enjoyed Annie as a character too. Adam is so goodhearted and Fia just cracked me up.
I do wish Mind Games had been a tad longer. Since the book switches off chapters with the past and the present, I would have liked a little more from each. Especially since the story also switched off between sisters. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely loved the set up with the alternating chapters, I just am greedy and wanted more story now.
The plot was captivating. Kiersten White starts out with a bang and she doesn't let up at all. Mind Games moves at an insane speed. With the ending of the book, I am pining away for book 2.
Basically, Kiersten White has done it again. I fell in love with Mind Games and everything about it. Kiersten White is such a talented writer that I merely cannot wait to read another book from soon.
I don't like Eden. There, I said it.
What I loved: I'm a huge fan of dual POV and this one gives us Fia's story as well as her sister Annie who has a rare gift of her own. The story flips back and forth between the present and the past which not only provides important background information but can be a little confusing at times if you aren't paying close attention. It seems there are two organizations who seek to acquire girls with the skills that Fia possesses and while the devious intentions of one seems blatantly obvious, you're never quite sure about the other. I'm guessing we'll find out more in the next installment of this series.
Fia was a tough sell for me and not because she isn't well written, because all of these characters are. Fia's just such an angrypants and I had a hard time "liking" her in the beginning. I want to hug her but I'd be afraid she might stab me or something. She's strong and selfless, especially where Annie is concerned but she's broken in ways we don't fully understand yet. We get glimpses and in those we see that James is partly responsible for the damage Fia's both received and inflicted and it would be really easy to hate him. But then we get to know James a little and if you're anything like me (a sucker for a would-be bad guy) it's kinda hard not to face plant into "serious like" with him.
There's also Adam to consider and even though we don't get to know him too well in this book, I'm betting he's not quite as "innocent" as he'd like Fia to believe. However, Fia's encounter with Adam shows her a different side of herself and a different way of life, one that could offer safety for both she and Annie but what is she really risking?
I loved the sisterly bond that Fia and Annie share, so much so, I'm thinking about going out and getting me a sister for myself. Seriously though, It was really nice to read about sisters who genuinely love each other and who are willing to do whatever necessary to keep each other safe.
This is one of those books that keeps you engaged and guessing right up to the very end, at which point you become sure of three things, 1) the ending is made of pure awesome, 2) you can't wait for book two and 3) Kiersten White is the one trying to kill you via book heart attack.
What left me wanting: Um, when does the next book come out? I need to read that like yesterday.
Final verdict: Fast-paced, heart stopping action that will leave you torn between swooning over the bad the guy and rooting for the good one, you know, assuming you can figure out who's who.
Told in dual PoV, splitting between both Annie and Sofia (Fia), Mind Games managed to give us glimpses into the motivations and intentions of both girls, while rocketing us down a twisty path of lies, deception and hope. Remaining naive to the Academy’s true purpose for much of her residence therein, Annie was floored to learn that her sister’s training was of a much more dangerous – and practical – manner. As she slowly began to understand that she was being used as leverage in order to keep Fia under control, she struggled with the guilt of knowing that it was her choice that had gotten Fia into this mess to begin with.
"I turn and walk out, knowing exactly how many steps will take me away from that monster. Once again wishing I were Fia, Fia who could have killed him with her bare hands.
Fia who is impossible broken because she can do just that."
While I enjoyed watching Annie grow to understand just how broken Fia had become, all because of her decision to attend the Academy despite Fia’s protests, I never truly got a sense of who she was as her own person; I was constantly thinking of her as Fia’s sister. Her chapters were a nice reprieve however, acting as an escape from the dangerously dark and maddening chapters that belonged to Fia.
Having been beaten and broken, trained to fight her instincts to do what was right so she could learn how to manipulate them in order to do what was commanded of her, Fia held no illusions concerning the intentions of those running the Academy.
"In this room I have picked which gun was unloaded out of ten options. And then they pulled the trigger on me. I have picked stocks that went on to skyrocket. I have picked which pencil I would shove into Ms. Robertson’s ear until she kicked me out for thinking about it."
Mind Game’s stream of consciousness narrative was used to show just how fragmented and damaged Fia was, after years of mental and physical abuse at the hands of her guardians. I found myself drowning in her chapters, lost in her broken mind as she tried her best to block out the voices, the feelings that said something was wrong, and enter a space where she was neither happy nor unhappy; a space where she merely existed. In this way, Fia truly stole the show for me, as I was fascinated with seeing how far she could fall before she was too broken to get back up. I also admired her determination to protect Annie, even though it meant she would never be free of her tormentors.
"Still, I will protect Annie. She is the only person in the world who loves me. She is the only person in the world who would never use me. She is my anchor, the chain around my ankle, the thing that means it doesn’t matter what James does or who he is – I will still be his because I will always be Annie’s."
Even when presented with an out, with a life where she could be free, where she could work at forgetting the horrors she had been forced to do under the command of those who held her sister’s life in the balance, she knew it would only be a matter of time before her past caught up with her.
"I could have kisses like that for the rest of my life. Kisses that don’t know who I am. Kisses that make me feel more and less than what I am. But my finger tap tap taps on my leg and reminds me that I am not who Adam thinks I am, and it makes me want to cry. It’s not that I don’t deserve his kiss. It’s that the person I am can never really share a life, a soul, with the person he is."
My heart broke for Fia with every chapter, as she descended deeper and deeper into the kind of madness that comes with having to constantly look over your shoulder, having to constantly be one step ahead of those who would see you fall.
While there could have been a lot done to better develop Mind Games’ plot, to better flesh out the world Fia and Annie lived in and the people behind their captivity, I didn’t mind because I was so invested in Fia’s story. To me, as much as Mind Games was a psychological thriller, it was so much more a character-driven novel. I was desperate to fix Fia, for her to find a way to free both herself and Annie from Keanes’ clutches, and for her to get a chance at the kind of life she deserved.
I liked the story and world what with the abilities and all, but I'm still a little fuzzy on all the “rules” of the world. Everyone kind of acts like the abilities are normal, but it also seems as if they don't really know a lot about them, so that has me a little confused. I know the goal of a first book is to set things up, but I feel like nothing at all was resolved an I'm still just confused about everything.
I liked that both Anna and Fia were distinct characters. Fia is an angry, messed up girl who only wants to save her sister. She's not exactly the most likable person since she's so angry all the time, but I can't help but feel for her since she's just so broken inside. And poor, poor Annie just wants to take care of her sister, but is stuck being the one taken care of. I like that she isn't bitter about being blind, it's just a thing that is.
James is...well, I'm not sure what James is. I hated him for a majority of the book because that's the vibe I was getting from Fia, but then things started to get complicated with flashbacks. So, at the moment I'm really not sure if he's a good guy or a bad guy and whether I even like him or not.
The Nutshell: All in all, Mind Games is a solid read, but it didn't suck me in the way I was hoping. Still, if you're looking for a book with a touch of paranormal, strong female leads, and plenty of mystery, then Mind Games is a good choice.
Their bond is so complex and I loved getting the dual narrative to see where both were coming from in their decisions and how much they really would sacrifice for the other. I think its well written and the epitome of what sibling relationships should be like. Sure everything is not always peachy but that would also make it unrealistic.
The people that Fia is working under and at first took Annie under their wing is well thought out and is not one dimensional. They all have different motives, and it took me a bit to grasp on at what they are after, and especially how James played into everything and I am sure that even the things that I think I know will be shaken in the next book.
Adam is a great addition as well. I thought he was just an introduction at first, but then I saw all of the threads that he was weaving into the plot and I cannot wait to find out how else he will play into it.
The only thing I have to complain about is the timing of the flashbacks. I understand why they are important and what they add to the story, but at times, especially at first, I felt like it was pulling me out of the action and it took me a bit to get back into it.
Overall though, I loved it and Kiersten has created an intriguing world that I can't wait to find out more about.
Bottom line: Well done paranormal that left me wanting more of the plot, mystery, action, and especially more of Fia.