Saturday, January 26, 2013

ARC Review: Mind Games (Mind Games #1) by Kiersten White

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
256 Pages

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.


When I first heard about Mind Games, I was immediately fascinated. The synopsis added in with the gorgeous cover made me desperate for this book. I thought I would love it and even when the negative reviews started to pour in, I wasn't phased. If I'm being totally honest, I probably should've been. Mind Games had the premise of a real winner, but was too short, too cliche and too predictable to make a mark. 

There is so much that I didn't like about this novel. I should probably start off by saying what I did like. I liked ferocity of the love these sisters had for each other. Familial connections are often downplayed in young adult fiction, so it was nice to see a novel that was centered around that. I, also, liked the idea of the story. Two girls being trained to be high end assassins with special abilities? Sounds great, right? I thought so, too. And I liked the way Ms. White left her readers wanting to know what happened next. I may not have enjoyed the book, but the ending left me curious. So curious that I will probably continue with the series.

Now, what I didn't like? Pretty much the rest of it. I didn't really like the characters. I loathed Fia almost one-hundred percent of the time. Her perspective and her actions make her seems more like a four-year-old than a young adult. It was hard to read from and even harder to care about. She made no sense to me and I still am befuddled by her actions at the very end of the book, a week after finishing it. I did not like the point-of-view switch, because there were also quite a few flashbacks. It was hard to distinguish a true timeframe and was extremely difficult to keep up with. I must be honest and say that I have no idea what the timeframe of the story actually was because of the disorder of the layout.

The characters… I don't know what to say about them. Besides Fia and Annie, we don't get much insight into the characters' lives. That being said, even though Fia and Annie are the main characters they still felt like strangers to me by the end of the novel. In both cases, they were strangers that I did not care for in the least. In fact, I didn't like most of the characters. Adam was one of the two that I was genuinely curious about. James was the other who intrigued me, but their parts in this story felt so minor and unimportant. The way the author tried to make it seem like they were pretty key players was extremely forced. It was as though we were supposed to be truly enamored by them, and I almost was, but when I sat down to think about it, I had no idea why because I had no idea who they were. The readers will really only know Adam in name because he's barely in the story, though most of the conflict has to do with him. Reading Mind Games felt like reading a sequel because it felt like only the surface was skimmed and the reader was just supposed to automatically understand. That's why reading this book felt more like a chore than a pleasure.

The plot would've been thrilling, if I had any feelings for the characters, or if almost everything hadn't been utterly predictable. Fia and Annie are orphan sisters, with special abilities. They, unwilling, attend a school that is catered to those with abilities similar to theirs. (Though we only really ever meet one other student…) They are stuck there, stuck being used because they are trying to protect each other from what those who run the school threaten upon the other sister. Then one boy does something to muck it all up. Thus Mind Games was born.

I think the main problem with this book was the length. It had a ton of potential. Really, Mind Games could've been epic, but the author rushed everything and didn't delve deep enough into a world that needed to be seen so that they rest of the story could be enjoyed. It's pretty obvious that the first draft was written in nine days and it seemed like the author didn't add much too it since then. This novel was a real disappointment and I'm actually upset about it because I thought it was going to be fabulous. The amazing idea behind this story wasn't done justice. That's not to say others won't enjoy the book. I'm sure that many people will like Mind Games. It was an interesting story, it just wasn't for me.

I received a copy of this novel for review from the publisher via Edelweiss.


  1. I'm currently struggling through this myself, it's called Sister Assassin over here, it's a great premise, but I agree it could have been executed better. I enjoyed the author's previous series, so I was expecting more. Great review.

  2. I am so sad. I was like you, I thought this book sounded promising and even as the negative reviews trickled in, I wanted to read it. But maybe I should heed the advice of my fellow readers. At some point, maybe I'll still read it myself but It sounds like I should bump in pretty low on my TBR list. Thanks for the honest review!!

  3. I have the UK version of this book - Sister Assasin - i hope i like it though your review makes me think i won't.

  4. Oh boy, that's such a shame. I haven't read so many reviews about this book, but this seriously disappoints me. I was so looking forward to this one! I might give it a shot after all, but I will keep this in mind; I will set my expectations a little lower. Thanks :)


  5. Ah, yes. Completely agree with this review. The gist of Mind Games is that it’s just a bunch of wasted potential. On paper and in theory I like this, but in execution it did absolutely nothing for me. Boring and meh.

  6. I had put this on my TBR list because the blurb sounds intriguing. I'm kind of hesitant now after reading your review. I'll probably still read it at some point but it just went down a bit in the pecking order. Thanks for your honesty.

  7. I haven't read this novel yet, but my first impression was smack bang the same as yours!! I definitely want to read it but i'm not itching to, I'm disappointed that you didn't enjoy it, but I like that you started with the positives and worked your way from there. great review!

  8. I really thought this would be great because of the stunning cover but I'm often lured and deceived that way! I think I may pass on this one there's no reason to subject myself to a book that I probably won't like when I can easily be reading something else that's better. Thanks for giving your opinion, you've saved me the time!

    -Seirra @ Dear, Restless Reader


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