April 25, 2013

Review: Mind Games by Kiersten White

Title: Mind Games (Mind Games #1)
Author: Kiersten White
Release Date: February 19th, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count: 237
Source: ARCycling
Rating: ★★☆☆☆  
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 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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

In Fia's world, there are some girls who have... special powers, shall we say. Most girls are either Seers (like Fia's sister Annie), Feelers or Readers. Fia, while gifted with these special powers, is none of these things. Instead, she has perfect instincts. After Fia and Annie's parents die, they're brought to a special school that helps girls with said special powers, develop their abilities. But obviously it's not a loving, kind school. No. That would be too easy. Instead, it seems like this school is run by bad guys. Which is how we have a story.

Let's break this down:

So the premise here is pretty interesting. Sounds a little superhero-y and you guys know how I love me some superheros. Yet, I didn't quite love this book. Like at all.

I'm told this book was written in 9 days. Which is mega cool and I am down for that. Well, actually, I'm down for that only if the finished product doesn't read like the the whole thing was written in 9 days. And I don't mean that there was bad grammar or misspelled words - because that's not something that's really likely to occur. I just feel like there should have been more editing and tweaking.

How would this book have benefited from editing and tweaking? Well, first of all, the two protagonists/POVs we hear from? They kind of sound the same. And yeah, they're sisters, so maybe it makes sense that they would sound SIMILAR, but it shouldn't be THE SAME. And then there's the flashbacks. All of the info in the flashbacks was necessary - we needed to understand why Fia was so angry and Annie was so... well, Annie. But I felt like the flashbacks took away from the now. Especially since until the later flashbacks happened, I was still SUPER CONFUSED about so much of the story.

And then I felt like Fia and Annie's characters were very black and white. Fia was just ANGRYPANTS and Annie was all woe-is-me and I guess Fia's anger appealed to me more than Annie's wah-wah attitude, but I can't say either had TOO much depth. I also didn't get what James's deal was. WHY does he flirt with everyone? And why is he ALWAYS lying?

I really just feel like a lot of facts were just dropped on pages and weren't pulled together right. Like, I could totally see this story being AWESOME, but it's not.

All of this being said, I did like the backstory (aka what the flashbacks provided, if not HOW they provided it). I think Fia's had the foundation to be really complex and interesting but in the end she took the martyr role too seriously and I couldn't handle it. And James, even though he's a lying jerk, actually turns out to be someone worth paying attention to, I think.

I dunno, this book just tried to play to the feels A LOT instead of developing the world the story takes place in or the character's voices. I mean, the world building is mostly limited to the room Annie's confined to, which means the reader gets no feel for the universe Kiersten White creates and I've already talked about how Annie and Fia sound like the same people even in their own chapters. And as much as I LOVE feels, these feels are really only here to serve as a blunt, angry/defeatist object that will hit you on the head repeatedly until you can't remember what feels are. There's no real hope at all until the last like 5 pages of the book and even then you don't know what to hope for because we don't really know what's going on.

Also. Adam. He seems a little too nice and normal? And to not want to kill him because he's nice to a puppy? I don't know. I know he's supposed to be super smart or something, but that doesn't make him Perfect Man, the superhero who comes to save everyone always. His character just doesn't seem to fit with the rest of this incredibly angsty story. That being said, I think I'd be WAY more interested in reading a book from HIS point of view.

Okay. Now I'm confused again (I say again because I was this confused when I first finished the book), so I'll stop here.

The long and short of it?

Plot: There was a WHOLE LOT going on and yet nothing really happened. Which sucks.
World Building: I have no idea what the outside world looks like. Is Earth carrying on, business as usual, while girls who have power are just kinda chillin? How have they not been found? Has X-Men taught us nothing?
Character Development: I think the flashbacks explain why our characters are the way they are NOW, I'm just not sure the flashbacks were the most efficient way to do that NOR am I totally satisfied with the fact that we only see past development, not present-to-future growth.
Prose: Despite it's flaws, this book is a quick read because the language is very fluid and easy to get through.
Would I Recommend This Book?: Eh, not really. I might skim the next one depending on how long it is and how busy I am, but yeah, no reason to start.

Have you read this one? Did you like it more than I did? How about Kiersten White's other books. Are they better? Should I give those a try? Let me know in the comments below!


  1. I haven't read any books by Kiersten White, so I don't know much about her other stuff. But a book in 9 days? Seriously? How did she do this? Well, I guess she didn't have much world building to do, but still. It sounds like the story was kind of rushed, not thought out enough. I don't think I'll read this any time soon :)

    1. Yeah, I mean, I don't know how someone can write a whole story in 9 days. I'm sure there's more to it but I still don't think I buy it. It was pretty rushed, tho. It's okay to skip a book every now and again.

  2. WAIT. There's another one?? I'm not sure if I knew that or not. Either way, I am so not reading it because this book was a whole lot of nothing IMO. Like, I can't really pinpoint anything that happened. And you're so right about the world building. What went on outside of Fia and Annie's minds/VERY small world? Who knows!

    1. Yeah, I'm pretty sure there's going to be another. I don't know how many others. And yeah, I want to see more of the outside world! The second'll have to be really good for me to want to read it (yay for book bloggers and their early reviews!)

  3. I haven't read this book, but I'll admit to being slightly curious about it. It makes me sad that the two sisters appear indistinguishable. I was looking forward to discovering more about each of them! Sadly, I'm going to have to pass on this one for the moment, I think.

    1. I was totally curious about it. But yeah, skip for now. Definitely a good idea :-/

  4. Spot-on review, Gaby! I felt pretty much the same as you did. Bad/no world-building - what DOES the rest of the world look like? Is it normal and there's this school? I felt as blind as Annie when it came to that. James was swoon-y but IDK why he was there...same with Adam. It was jut...a disaster. The flashbacks weren't needed AT ALL, or maybe one chapter of flashbacks. Ugh. Now I'm mad at this book again for not being what I wanted it to be. Haha.

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

    1. YES. Definitely as blind as Annie! Great comparison, Molli! I'm sorry to make you all mad again tho >.<

  5. I'm with you on pretty much everything here. I was sadly unimpressed when I read it. There's was too much going on and yet just about nil storyline. And sadly enough, I read this back in February and now remember absolutely nothing about it except my general feelings toward the story.

    1. I feel like that happens a lot, even with life - the whole not remembering anything but the feeling. Sometimes this actually happens to me with a book I LOVE but the good feelings are enough to get me to go back and at least skim parts of the book to jog my memory, y'know?


Hey there! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment. Also, if you have a blog, be sure to leave a link so I can go check it out!