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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review: Mind Games by Kiersten White

Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: February 19, 2013
Pages: 254
Source: For Review from HarperCollins
Rating: 2.5 Stars

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 short: Mind Games by Kiersten White was too underdeveloped to reach its full potential.
If the majority of the book blogging community tells me a book and author are good and well worth the read, I listen. Such is how Paranormalcy by Kiersten White came to be on my TBR. While I haven't actually had the time yet to read Paranormalcy, it was made evident to me that Kiersten White has a talent for writing fun and engaging stories. So when the opportunity arose to read Mind Games, I was very eager. And who wouldn't be? Kiersten White had shown again that she can come up with entertaining concepts with her assassinating-sisters-with-superpowers storyline. But while I found the premise of Mind Games to be very exciting, my first experience with Kiersten White's writing wasn't ideal.

Told through alternating and indistinguishable first person points of view between sisters Fia and Annie, as well as alternating past and present time periods, I found Mind Games to be pretty confusing at times. The sisters have the same random and scattered kind of voice that was difficult to differentiate. The flashbacks take up a considerable portion of the book and seemed to be largely unnecessary and lacked any real cohesion to the plot at hand. I am a bit conflicted about Kiersten White's writing. It was incredibly disjointed and while I thought that worked quite well as a reflection of Fia's deteriorating mental stability, it wasn't the nicest to read. More often than not, it was just annoying.

I was excited to read a book where the main relationship would be based on the sisterly bond between Fia and Annie. The problem was, while we were told time and time again that the sisters have such a strong bond and would do absolutely anything to protect each other, I saw little actual evidence of that in Mind Games. On the romantic side of relationships in Mind Games, there is a love triangle and it was as lacklustre and unnecessary as most love triangles are. I wasn't really a fan of the characters themselves either. Like I mentioned earlier, their narratives were pretty indistinguishable from each other and I never formed any sort of connection with either of them. If there had been more differentiation and more development in their characterization however, I think I could have come to like them as I can see potential there.

And that's the thing: I could see a lot of untapped potential in Mind Games. The plot would have been pretty awesome had it been more fleshed out and not relied on all those unnecessary flashbacks. The characters' abilities were actually really interesting, but I don't believe they were used to their full potential. At 250 pages - a good chunk of which were the aforementioned pointless flashback scenes - I believe Mind Games was too short and sorely underdeveloped. I read in an interview with Kiersten White that she wrote the first draft of Mind Games in nine days and - very sorry to say this - but it kind of showed. I'm still committed to trying out Paranormalcy at some point though and I hope I respond more positively to Kiersten White's writing then!

Other Reviews:
Ex Libris
Maji Bookshelf

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  1. I am confused about reading Mind Games as well. It doesn't seem like my kinda book but I've read some really good reviews of it. I'll just wait and watch I guess. Thanks for your review! :)

    Janhvi @ The Readdicts

  2. Gah...one of my major pet peeves in any book are alternating view points that are indistinguishable. UGH. I end up having to backtrack to remember who is talking.

    I was really looking forward to this one and I did really enjoy Paranormalcy, so I'll still be giving it a try. But thanks for sharing your honest thoughts!

  3. I agree with everything you said. What really bothered me was Annie! She was so damn selfish! She knew exactly what Fia was being put through and made to do but she was so adamant that she had to stay at this stupid school that like 4 people and 6 teachers went to *eyeroll* Great review!

  4. The general consensus on this one does seem to be that it was disappointing, which is a shame because I thoroughly enjoyed Paranormalcy and had high hopes for this book! I'm bummed the romance is lackluster and there's a love triangle, I'm so tired of them Aylee. So tired. Thanks for your thoughts on this one!!!

  5. Aw, sorry you didn't enjoy like you wanted to. I liked it but agree about the flashbacks being confusing.

    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  6. I've read a bunch of reviews with the same issues are yours, so I think I'll try Paranormalcy rather than Mind Games.

  7. oh man, you had the same issues as my sister (thanks for featuring us on this review!). I am not the biggest fan of flashbacks (if I can avoid them, I totally would). To know that there is also a lackluster love triangle and that excluding the flashbacks, there is barely any real substance.. I am so hesitant on keeping this on my TBR or just removing it. But I will keep it, just because of how much I love the cover.

    great review Aylee!
    - Juhina @ Maji Bookshelf

  8. I've been trying to read this one and just can't get into it ... I would hate to read it JUST to get the ending. I'm finding the characters very flat and unmemorable. :(

    Great, honest review, Aylee!

  9. Thanks for the honest review, Aylee, I think I'm putting this one on the WAit for the Paperback list.
    I'm sorry to hear your first experience with KW was like this, I really enjoyed her voice in Paranormalcy - but maybe it was because there was only one voice -Evie's - driving the whole show.

  10. I agree that the relationhip between the sisters was a bit lacking. All those big words about their connection, when both of them were really just selfish. But I really enjoyed the writing style and it allowed me to overlook such things, as it so often does. I honestly thought this one wouldn't be for me, but I ended up giving it 4 stars.
    I'm sorry you didn't have fun with this one. Great review!

  11. Everybody seems to struggle with the same thing: the jumping between POV's and time. While I love flashbacks, I want them to make sense. I don't like it when I'm too confused. I think I will wait with Mind Games for a while. I'm going to finish her Paranormalcy series first :)


  12. I completely agree with your review, Aylee. The writing became a little irritating for me too after a while and I felt the same way about the flashbacks. I wasn't the biggest fan of White's previous novels so I guess I can finally be certain that she isn't the author for me. Great review!

  13. I'm sorry to hear this, but yours is not the first review I've read where lack of development was mentioned. It seems like this was rushed to publish when it really would have benefited from more time in development. That's really disappointing. Hopefully the next book will be less of a rush job.

  14. I have a copy of Paranormalcy to read too. I bought it awhile ago so hopefully I'll enjoy it whenever I do get to it.

    At any rate, I'm sorry this one didn't work for you. It sounds like a book I'd get annoyed with too.


  15. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this one! I had a better time with it, but I completely agree with you about the flashbacks. They really broke up the action for me. Hopefully you'll enjoy Paranormalcy more. Great review, thanks for your thoughtful honesty!

  16. I adored Paranormalcy and Supernaturally - haven't read book 3 yet - but I've been avoiding this one as I've seen a few negative reviews. I can only take flashbacks if they've been incorporated well and that doesn't seem to be the case with this one. Also, White's tone of voice which was well suited for her Paranormalcy series appears to be at odds with the premise of this one. Thanks for the review, Aylee; I think I'll pass on this.

  17. The writing / POV's sound so confusing! That's a shame that they weren't differentiated very well. The flashbacks sound frustrating, too.

    Thanks for your honesty :)

  18. Bummer you were disappointed in this one. Great point about the author rushing this one (nine days to right the first draft - awesome, but then she should have spent the rest of the time fleshing it out it seems.). I still might try this one, but after reading your review, I'm quite reluctant. I think this is a good one for my Library List. :-)

  19. Sigh, it sucks when a book has such untapped potential that goes to waste doesn't it?! I'm sorry that this one was such a letdown overall for you but to be honest, most of the reviews I read on this one haven't been great. Which is a bummer cause I remember so many people being excited about this one! I haven't read it myself...initially I just wasn't really attracted to it but reading reviews now makes me think I'll follow my instinct ;) Loved your review though, balanced, fair & honest!

  20. I have not very good things about this novel. Particularly from those who really liked the Paranormalcy novels. Its to bad this one didn't do well. It is an interesting premise. Hopefully her next novel will do better.

  21. I liked this one more than you did but I agree about the untapped potential for the story. I think she took a few chances - some paid off - others didn't.

    I would still try Paranormalcy because it's totally different than this book. Much lighter.