Saturday, February 23, 2013

Book Review: Mind Games by Kiersten White

Book: Mind Games
Author: Kiersten White
Published: February 19, 2013
Source: ARC acquired at KidLitCon 12

It’s Fia’s job to take care of her sister Annie. Although she’s the younger of the two, Annie is blind, and Fia has always known that she is responsible for her. Even after their parents’ death, even after they were taken away to a secretive school for young psychics run by the malevolent Keane family, Fia has taken care of Annie.

Now, she’s become a teenaged errand girl, sent on all the nasty missions that Keane needs done. She’ll steal, she’ll maim, she’ll even kill, because if she doesn’t, Annie will suffer. Fia can feel her soul eroding, but she’d let it go entirely if it means Annie is safe.

But what she doesn’t realize is how far Annie is prepared to go for Fia’s safety.

Guys, you have no idea how afraid I was that this would be a love story about the damaged girl and the boy who saves her soul with the Powah of Lurve. The book opens with Fia deciding not to kill the boy that is her mark, and I went, “Oh, crap.”

Rest assured, it’s not. While Fia’s decision sets the plot in motion, the boy she spares is never more than incidental. White keeps the focus on the two sisters, and their determination to protect each other. Unlike many books where it’s all about the Boy and the Lurve and the Destiny, Adam and his foil, James Keane, serve as backdrop to a story that unfolds in two timelines and two points of view. One story focuses on Annie’s slow realization over some years that the school is not the benevolent institution she thought it was. The other showcases Fia, trapped in her hitwoman role, finally breaking out.

So apparently, this is the first of a series. I'm not sure what I think about that. On the one hand, the book works nicely as a standalone. Though it came around very abruptly (I feel as if I missed a chapter showing how and why Fia made her decision), the end is satisfying enough. On the other, many things (the eeeeevil Mr. Keane and his shady plans, to be precise) are sketched in so lightly that I really wanted more expansion on them. Also, the girls are left at new beginnings, and I kinda want to see where those take them. So I'll read the sequel next year and report back on whether it holds up.

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