I always get so nervous when I go into a book that so many people I know did not like, but I either have an obligation to read the book or I have a lot of curiosity regarding the book. Friends, I’ve read every single Kiersten White book EXCEPT Mind Games and then well, I obtained Perfect Lies, the sequel, through Netgalley so I knew that I had to read Mind Games despite some of the more, er, vocal reviews. Thankfully it’s been a few months since the book came out and the un-enthusiasm has sort of died down. I went in to Mind Games with a relatively open mind and you guys, I did like what I read.
The plot of Mind Games by Kiersten White is kind of hard for me to describe, but I guess I will roll my proverbial sleeves up and give it the old college try. The book opens with Fia’s point of view. All we know is that she is special and that she has been ordered to kill a 19 year old boy named Adam. Only, she can’t, because he pet a dog. It would bother her conscience. She makes Adam fake his death, but oh goodness along the way there’s a group of mysterious people who try to interrupt her job. THEN we get this bigger picture and see that Fia has a sister, Annie, who is older, blind and oh yeah, can see the future. Annie is basically being held prisoner at this special school for psychic women in order for Keane Industries, that’s the bad company, to control Fia. Basically there are so many things that are going on in Mind Games that it gets kind of confusing, but once I adjusted, I was fine.
What surprised me was the Fia, or Sofia, was the younger sister of the two which subverts the whole older sibling as protector trope. Fia is very, very protective of Annie and will do anything to protect Annie, including kill. Fia often has these jumbled up thoughts and her sections include a lot of stream of consciousness but it makes sense because she’s got to hide her thoughts and feelings from the other psychics employed by Keane. Also, Fia has some trauma in her past, so much of her sections explore that trauma and her attempt to recover. I thought she was a pretty fascinating femme fatale.
Annie, the older sister, gets her own point of view sections too. We see that she is more timid than Fia. However, she’s also more gentle. Annie feels like she should be doing more to protect Fia and that she’s not living up to her end of the whole sister bargain. Her sections deal with her feelings of guilt for the things Fia has done to keep her safe. OH! And I should mention, Annie is blind and I thought that was an interesting choice for White to make. I liked that Annie was not defined by her blindness, but she did have to live with it and make different adjustments in her life, like having special equipment like a Braille laptop and such. It just stands out to me that a YA book has a heroine with a disability. I am not at all an expert on disability and privilege though so I really cannot tell you whether Annie was accurately written or not.
Look, I will be honest with you and say that Mind Games is confusing. There’s not like magic or anything, but the characters have psychic abilities. Only women have these abilities but men try to control them. Kind of makes me think about patriarchy. Also, the writing does go into stream of consciousness A LOT which if you are not familiar with or used to that sort of writing can be jarring. However, if you can read To The Lighthouse you can read this. OH and there’s a love triangle just starting but eh. I am eh about it. Finally, I just want to mention that if you’ve read White’s previous books, this one is quite a departure from them. It’s much darker than her Paranormalcy books. There’s not a light feeling of joking and sarcasm. Honestly, if you go into this with an open mind and clear the neg-hype out of your mind you might like Mind Games. I certainly liked it enough to three star it AND to make reading the sequel, Perfect Lies a priority.
Disclosure: Purchased My Own E-Book