Title: Mind Games aka ‘Sister Assassin’ (UK Edition)
Author: Kiersten White
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Genre: Young Adult
Published: 19 February 2013
Format: E-book, 256 pages
Synopsis: “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.” (Taken from Goodreads)
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Fia and Annie are two sisters who’ve lost their parents, and were offered a full scholarship to the Keane Institute (KI). From the start, the idea of going to KI gave Fia very bad feelings, but the Institute promised that they would help her blind sister see again someday. Fia’s intuitions are never wrong, but her promise to protect her older sister and to stick together, transcended everything after her parents’ death.
Annie is the older of the siblings and has been blind since age four. However, she’s able to ‘see’ occasionally as she’s been gifted with extraordinary powers to see into the future. The two girls soon come to learn that KI is not the wonderful place Annie thought it’d be, but it was too late to leave. Fia’s flawless instincts have caught the attention of the boss, the very Keane himself.
Both mysterious and a little creepy, this man is never seen and pulls the strings through his son, James, who runs the Institute after he inherited it following his mother’s death. In my opinion, James was all sorts of screwed up, and the way White described him was not consistent. At the beginning of the novel, he was described as an angry ball of fire, but we only really get glimpses of this. He turns into a sap around Fia, who apparently is ‘too young’ for him. I believe they’re around five years apart during the course of the novel – Fia being 17 and James being 22. Annie hates James (not really quite sure of the reason aside from jealousy), and keeps reminding him that he is too old for Fia. I’m not sure what kind of message White is trying to paint here, but if your only reason for hating someone for being near your sister is because of the age gap, then frankly it’s not good enough. Why didn’t Annie focus more on the fact that James was a Keane, and the whole reason Fia and her was trapped with no where to run? But no, she continuously reminds him that he’s too old.
Fia as a character was extremely annoying, and her personality did not flow consistently either. I understand that her actions are guided by instinct, but there was a part at the end of the novel where she explains that she is finally free to make her own decisions. The first few pages clearly shows her making a decision not to kill a target and going against orders – risking both her own and Annie’s lives in doing so. So I’m not sure what Fia’s really on about when she says she’s “free to choose”, when her ‘choice’ not to kill a target brought her to this very predicament.
I honestly did not like Fia much. While I can understand why her actions are so crazy and why her mind-set is the way it is, her continuous need to tell herself that every guy she meets must lust for her grew extremely annoying. Her vanity got to a point where I had to put down my kindle and roll my eyes, plus her consistent repetition of words in sequences of three was very deterring to the flow of the story. I read a review where someone commented that Fia’s consistent tapping was for the people she played a part in killing. But I recall her having killed four people throughout this story … so that does not really explain her very annoying repetition of stuff. Also, White’s lack of comma and sentence run-ons rubbed me in all the wrong ways.
Moving on from characters (I may have an opinion on each one that appears in the novel but I’ll refrain myself from rambling), I want to talk about the plot – or there lack of. Mind Games is told from the point-of-views of Fia and Annie, with flashbacks from both characters. This has the effect of being a quasi-plot filler, where the readers are provided with plenty of background information on Fia and Annie. But take that away and we realise that there is absolutely no plot, and you won’t find one in the first 252 pages of the novel. This whole book is a set up for the next in the series … so when you think about it, Mind Games was 256 pages of a prologue.
It is riddled with plot holes, and questions that do not get answered. What I wanted to know from the get-go was why any of these ‘powers’ existed in the first place. Such a simple question, but it was not touched upon even once. I will say that the ending did make me tear up, because the sisterly love dynamic can be picked up every once in a while, but Mind Games had so much potential and fell flat. Probably got trampled on a few times.
For a novel that was supposedly written in nine days, I cannot say I’m all that surprised. Beautiful cover though.
Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with an electronic copy in exchange for an honest review.