Sunday, March 17, 2013

Mind Games

Sisters Annie and Fia couldn't be more different. Annie, who lost her sight when she was young, is mild mannered and sweet. Her visions of the future allow her glimpses of sight. Fia is fiery and impulsive. Her ability is having perfect intuition. All of her gut feelings and first impressions end up being correct. So, when the Keane Institution offers Annie a full scholarship and tempts her with the possibility of restoring her sight, Fia knows something is wrong. Of course, Fia is right and, after her own ability is discovered, the Institute focuses their attention on her, using Annie and her safety as leverage to manipulate Fia. Fia will do everything and anything to keep Annie safe, including picking stocks and planting bombs, effectively trapping them both as pawns for the Keane Institute. She will have to do something drastic and completely unexpected to get out from their influence or she and Annie will do their dirty work for the rest of their lives.

I didn't expect a lot from Mind Games, but it surprised me. The cover doesn't really represent the story very well, so it is much darker and more intense than it appears. The Keane Institute is an ominous and frightening place that at first appears so welcoming and warm to the young people that come to them for education or an escape from their lives. After it ensnares the unsuspecting prey, they drop the facade and use immoral tactics to get their subjects to do whatever they want. These subjects have special powers, split into three categories of Seers, Feelers, and Readers, that can be used to further the Keane Institutes influence in big ways with acts of murder, espionage, and manipulation. As the novel moves along, the Institute reveals itself to reach further than Annie and Fia thought possible. That place is horrible and so easy to hate. The book is frustrating in a good way because these two girls are trapped so perfectly and I just want them to have normal lives away from the evil clutches of megalomaniac corporations.

The characters are vibrant and realistic. Fia is my favorite character by far. She is so broken and hurt, yet incredibly dangerous. She's an orphan who has only Annie as family, so she's fiercely and sometimes violently protective of her sister. Fia has been manipulated into committing the most heinous acts and lied to for years, so her mental state is not the best. Kiersten White does a wonderful job of capturing her frenetic and unfocused mental state through stream of consciousness writing during her chapters of the novel. Her relationship with Annie is complex. They obviously love each other, but resentment festers because Annie ignored Fia's misgivings about the Institute. Annie, although very sweet and much more mild than her sister, has a manipulative streak. She desperately wants to get her and her sister free from the Institute, but she's willing to allow her sister to be used as a pawn and others to be hurt and even killed to do it. She isn't all sweetness and light like she appears.

Mind Games is a fast paced paranormal read with an ending I didn't see coming. The narration jumps between the past and present and between the two sisters' point of view. I liked piecing together the whole picture bit by bit until everything became clear. The romance and small love triangle are surprisingly enjoyable and didn't detract from the main focus of the story. I can't wait for the next book to see what happens next.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

1 comment:

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

I have to say after all the negative reviews on this book I was fully prepared not to like it and was really surprised when I did :) Loved your review and loved how you've pinpointed Fia's energy as frenetic and unfocused. Glad you liked the book. As to the cover, UK cover is much more suitable to the feel of the book than US. It's called Sister Assassin.