Review: Mind Games by Kiersten White

12578294Fia and Annie are as close as two sisters can be. They look out for each other. Protect each other. And most importantly, they keep each other’s secrets, even the most dangerous ones: Annie is blind, but can see visions of the future; Fia was born with flawless intuition—her first impulse is always exactly right.

When the sisters are offered a place at an elite boarding school, Fia realizes that something is wrong . . . but she doesn’t grasp just how wrong. The Keane Institute is no ordinary school, and Fia is soon used for everything from picking stocks to planting bombs. If she tries to refuse, they threaten her with Annie’s life.

Now Fia’s falling in love with a boy who has dark secrets of his own. And with his help, she’s ready to fight back. They stole her past. They control her present. But she won’t let them take her future.

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Where do I begin? I think I ask that question every single time I write one of these. It probably doesn’t help that I just finished it an hour ago.

To begin though, I was pleasantly surprised about this book. At the beginning of reading it I really wasn’t thinking all that much about it, nor was I trusting the synopsis. I don’t trust those things anymore. Full of lies. Not in this case. simon-cowell

Except for the last part, no icky kind of lovey dovey romantics. I wasn’t impressed with the last bit of the synopsis. Thank all the book gods, wasn’t what I though. Such a relief. Sorry just the line “Now Fia’s falling in love with a boy who has dark secrets of his own. And with his help, she’s ready to fight back,” Meh. Not really an enticing one for me.

What I fell in love with immediately was the girls and the way their powers worked. In particular, I favoured Fia for so many reasons. The readers, seers, etc, all an interesting take and I’m curious what more White might have to show us in the sequel. {Side note: I feel like I’m reading too many authors with colours as last names, just sayin’}. Which this is all really  bringing me on to Sofia, or Fia’s character. But first:

White had an interesting way to tell this story. The story follows along what’s happening from either Fia or Annie’s perspectives. Their two very different mindsets and lifestyles leads to plenty of dramatic irony and an interesting dynamic. Especially when it comes to the relationship of the sisters. More than that, White took to going back several years, then a year, then six months; all to show what had happened before to bring the girls to this point in their life. It’s a definitely more interesting than having a character go on about their sad life story. Although I didn’t love it, keeping track wasn’t something I was keen on.

This all leads into the characters of the two girls. Annie, in particular I didn’t quite like as much. She managed to be really naive about a lot of things going into the story. Changes had been made and she never listened to her sister the way she should have. Or herself really. In the end, I guess I just didn’t connect with her as well, nothing wrong with that.

Fia meanwhile, captivated me. I give White a big hand because her creation of Fia’s character and writing in her perspective was to the T and I loved it. Over and over again I was drawn into who Fia was, the quirks that had come from things that were destroying her inside. In particular, the ‘tap tap tap’ compulsion was eye-opening. Also, at the same time that all of this is happening we’re seeing how much she really just wants to live her own life, her own way. To be happy. And is continuously denied just that. Then, I have to fall back on her personality itself, I love a good character that can embrace the insanity and still manage some bittersweet humour about it. The fact that she still manages to torture those forcing her into this situation, makes it all the better. Talk about getting some of your own back. Hilarious and inspirational, “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” comes to mind.
She was not weak. Fia might have been broken, but it certainly didn’t matter. For that and reasons I’d say you as readers would have to experience, she was one of my favourite characters to encounter.

I recommend this of course to YA readers, it’s intended for you while avoiding being absolutely typical and annoying in that sense. Keep in mind though, you might not do all the things Fia or Annie do, but it’s what they do that makes this story and makes them into real characters. I feel like that’s something that would turn people off from this book. It has a take I’ve heard about many times, taken into a new sense that I enjoyed thoroughly.

And the ending. Beyond anything else, even this wasn’t the most fantastic book I’ve ever read, the ending got me. It is worth the read, getting to that point and understanding Fia’s character through it all. I will no doubt reread that ending time and time again. It’s worth a discover.

Until next time,

Shayla

 

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