Friday, February 22, 2013

Mind Games by Kiersten White

Mind Games by Kiersten White ReviewReading Level: Ages 13 and up
Hardcover: 256 Pages
Release Date: Febraury 19, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Narration: First Person: Sofia & Annie
Genre: Dystopian/Superpowers
Challenge: Paranormal/Dystopian

Order On Amazon: Hardcover
Order On Barnes and Noble:
Hardcover and Nook

Mind Games Duology
Book One: Mind Games
Book Two: Untitled

(Goodreads ! Website ! Twitter ! Facebook)

Goodreads Synopsis:

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."

My Review:

When a friend from class pointed this book out to me and asked for my opinion on it, I was ashamed to say that I hadn't read it, and was intrigued enough to purchase my own copy to see what interested him in the first place. If you've read my About Me page, you'd know that my friends.....aren't exactly what you would call book lovers. Actually, now that I think of it, most of them vehemently hate books with a passion. Of course, my friend wasn't the only factor that led me to read Mind Games, a huge percent of it, but not all of it. xD The cover immediately drew me in as soon as I set eyes upon it. Yeah, were all used to YA covers that focus on the face, or on the eyes in particular, but this one stood out to me. It seemed to scream, "Look at me! Look at Me!" The title is easy to remember and the font, although simplistic, sets off the blue hued cover nicely.

Mind Games was not what I expected it to be. As soon as I read the first sentence, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach, and at that moment, I knew I was not going to enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. With all the negative reviews pouring onto Goodreads, I should've seen it coming a mile away. If I had read Mind Games back in, I don't know, sixth grade I probably would've thought that this book was the best thing since sliced bread. But after reading such a variety of novels and learning what to look out for, I'm no longer as easily impressed as I used to be.

The writing was just......horrific. I was nearly to the point where I had to restrain myself from tearing my hair out strand by strand to serve as a distraction from the mental pain this book was causing me. The wording didn't flow; They were Short. Choppy. Sentences. Every other page, I kept telling myself, "If she tap tap taps her fingers one more time, I'm going to metaphorically slam her face into a wall. " It was alright the first few pages. I managed to restrain an eye roll here and there, but once she started repeating words words words consecutively just to emphasize her point point point every other page page page, I almost called it quits right there. I was stunned by how juvenile and forced Kiersten's writing came off as since she's a bestselling author who's already had a good amount of experience writing other books, such as her Paranormalcy series. I'm sure that many of her Paranormalcy fans will have no problem with her writing style since they never had problems with it in the first place, but I for one, did not enjoy it. At all.

Mind Games takes place in a sort of dystopian world, none too different from the world we live in today. Except for one thing. In this time, certain girls have supernatural abilities, all relating to the mind. I don't believe that the book delves into where these abilities came from or if there's a common factor tying all of these gifted children together. Every girl who meets the specific requirements or demonstrates the potential of having talents that aren't quite human, is offered a fully paid scholarship to a prestigious boarding school. If the parents of the designated child accepts, the children are automatically sorted into one of three categories, unbeknowest to them. Readers, people who can read the thoughts of others. Feelers, who have the ability to feel the emotions of others. And Seers, the ones who can see glimpses of the future.

Then we have Sofia, or Fia as everyone calls her, who doesn't fit into any of the above. She's different from the others and the only one of her kind. The one who can't be fooled by false promises of a special school where every wish is granted. She can see through the lies of those around her and can sense when danger lies just ahead. The one who can't be tracked by Seers, because she lives in the moment and makes split second decisions based on her impulses. She was born with perfect instincts, a heightened intuition that brings gut feelings to a whole new level.

This story was told from the perspectives of Annie, the older, blind sister who can see flashes of the future, and Fia, a seventeen year old assassin, sent on missions by her elusive boss to take out people who might threaten his chain of power. Some authors can pull off the whole switching back and forth POV, but at the same time, many author's can't. Sadly, Mind Games was of the latter. Most of the time, I didn't even know what the hell I was reading or which POV I was reading in, since both characters had a very similar manner of talking and thinking. The unreliable POV switches were bad enough, not even adding the fact that there were so many unnecessary flashbacks that only succeeded in confusing the reader even more. It seemed like half the time I was flipping pages back and forth just to see whether the chapter was past or present, rather than reading the book itself.

Even though were reading this story from the POV of Annie and Fia, I still have absolutely no idea who they really are. They had no depth, and to be honest, I really didn't give a crap about what happened to them nor would I bat an eyelash if they died.The summary emphasizes the supposed unbreakable bond these two sisters share, but even though they said they would do anything for one another a countless number of times, I never felt it genuinely. Their actions and decisions belied their words. Fia had flawless instincts, yet she ignored them and seemed to put them on mute a lot of the time. I mean, what's the point of having a gift if you just choose to pretend that it doesn't exist? Gah! The only part where I even remotely liked her was near the end when she.....did that thing in order to save her big sister.

There is a love triangle in this book for Fia, but since both of the love interests never meet each other face to face, you don't have to worry about too much angst. I absolutely despised James. He bluntly stated several times throughout the book that he was using Fia for his own agenda. Fia even knew that he was wrong for her yet still always goes crawling back to him and practically begs for his attention, love, and affection. 

"They're offering me me. Free. Whatever, whoever I want to be." He is quiet and I wonder what his face looks like right now, whether he can still feel my lips on his like I can feel his on mine. "You can't have that." "I could." "No, you can't. You don't get to choose that. I need you." "You use me." "I-yes. I use you. I need to use you. I can't let you go; I can't do this by myself."
                                                                       -Mind Games by Kiersten White

He's such a douche, and I really don't understand what Fia sees in him. Does she get turned on by being treated like some sort of fascinating toy who's only purpose in life is to do what others tell her to do? Other than his looks, he has nothing going for him. I understand his reasoning and agree with some of his ideas, reluctantly, but I don't like the way he executes his plans and goes about doing them. Then we have Adam, the gray eyed stranger that was meant to be her next hit. Since Adam is absent for most of the book, we don't learn much about his character, other than the fact that he's wicked smart and has legendary parents. Not too crazy about the way Fia describes him though...

"He is a panting-puppy salvation. He is legs that stick out at grasshopper angles as he gives the spaniel one last ear rub. He is shoes scuffed up and jeans worn thin and dark hair accidentally mussed. He is eyes squinting because of forgotten sunglasses and heavy backpack throwing off his balance. He is too-big hears and too-big smile and too-big eyes and (too-big too-big too-big) too real for me to end."
                                                                         -Mind Games by Kiersten White

Please hold while I slam my head against a wall.

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The only redeeming quality I found in this novel was the action. Although the writing style made the book hard to read and keep up with, I never got bored with what was happening to the characters as well as what was happening around them. I found this dystopian world where girls develop mental powers to be intriguing, and I really wish that there was more background information to make the story seem just a little more believable.

Overall, Mind Games did not meet my expectations. It had huge potential, and at the hands of a more capable author, it could've been a big hit. Of course, this is only my opinion, but I know that many others would agree with me. I would recommend this book to fans of Kiersten's Paranormalcy series. But if your like me and super picky about writing styles as well as characters, then I would advise you to steer clear and find something else.

Cover- 5/5
Fia- 2.5/5
Annie- 2/5
Romance- 1/5
Action- 3.5/5
Writing- 0/5
Overall- 1.5-2/5

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