I had high expectations for Mind Games. At least two of the people I follow here at GR read and loved it, and the premise sounded awesome. Even with t...moreI had high expectations for Mind Games. At least two of the people I follow here at GR read and loved it, and the premise sounded awesome. Even with these high expectations, I was not disappointed. Peeves and high points listed in completely random order because I'm feeling too lazy to organize.
The cover art is a complete mislead. The main character, Justine, should have been surrounded by medical texts, sitting at a computer browsing the latest information on vein star syndrome (the condition her hypochondriac self is most obsessed with) and rubbing the tingling spot on her head which she is sure is a precursor to this disease. THAT would've caught my eye in a bookstore right away. The cover they have now, while nice, just looks like another badass armed girl in leather hunting the streets of some unnamed city. *yawn* While I do read a lot of books with covers just like this and enjoy a badass heroine armed with weapons hunting the streets of some unnamed city, this book should be celebrated because of its deviance from these tropes, not luring the unwary in with false advertising on the cover.
Justine's scenes of anxiety about medical issues read as so completely real to me. I personally have a terrible fear of driving and, while I force myself to do it when I have to, a lot of the negative self-talk and paranoia that goes on in my head sounded just like Justine. The continuous mental looping patterns of a condition like anxiety were so evident in Justine's personality. She was trapped in an unhappy and unfulfilled life because of it. Now this could've gotten old fast, believable or not, but the author touches on it just the right amount to breathe life into Justine's existence without dragging it out.
I wasn't really prepared for the romance aspect of this book. All the reviews I read mostly concentrated on the uniqueness of the plot, originality of the world, the not-your-typical-heroine aspect of the main character. I found Justine's love life the weakest (and most annoying) part to read. Since I like my romance in small subplot doses, this shouldn't be too surprising. Her repeated internal dialogue of lusty/angsty thoughts about the men in her life was enough of an annoyance to knock off a star for me (view spoiler)[ especially since she cheated on her boyfriend. Argh! (hide spoiler)]
To leave on a good note, the whole "caper" feel to this book is what kept me reading. Justine becomes a part of a group of people who (view spoiler)[ use their neuroses as a weapon against bad guys by channeling their fear into them and "crashing and rebooting" their brains to make them better people (hide spoiler)] and I would have loved to read even more about these adventures. There are no real battles, no hand-to-hand combat, no weapons (other than a stun gun), yet I found the times when Justine was on the job to be nail-biting, edge-of-my-seat exciting. Almost enough to cause my very own anxiety attack.
I will definitely be reading any future books in this series.
I have had a real love-hate relationship with this book. Well...maybe that doesn't fully define it. It was more an intrigued like that turned iffy, th...moreI have had a real love-hate relationship with this book. Well...maybe that doesn't fully define it. It was more an intrigued like that turned iffy, then slammed into hate, but was eventually won over into a kind of gentle fondess of the "why, the things you crazy kids in love will do" variety.
Reading back over that, it probably needs further explanation.
The Intrigued Like Part: This book starts off at a run, a werewolf run to be exact. I really enjoyed seeing Elena's world, and I felt sorry for her dilemma of being a werewolf trying to live in a human world. It was sad, and her attempts to live among humans seemed doomed to fail, but she was doggedly going after what she wanted anyway. The werewolf mythology was logical, interesting, and was given without being too info-dumpy, which I appreciated, and the reasons behind Elena being the only female werewolf made sense within the context of these rules (I was at first afraid this would be another UF heroine whose "uniqueness" really meant "super-mega-awesome-can-never-be-defeated-because-of-my-uniqueness" but that wasn't the case here).
The Iffy Part: There were two instances of what I felt were pretty callous behavior on Elena's part, at least that stood out at this point in the story. First, Elena causes the death of someone's pet without thinking twice. I know this seems like a small thing, but it bugged me quite a bit. Another happened when she had to dispose of the body of a murdered child, which they decide to get rid of at the dump for convenience. No thought was given really to who this child was, what happened to him, or the fact that his body would disappear and his parents would live out their lives with absolutely no answers. It just seemed to me that Elena's only real concern was the inconvenience of it all. I'm not sure if it was the author's intention to show how removed she was from humanity, despite her efforts at living in that world, or if the author didn't realize what these actions were really saying about her main character.
The Hate Part: So someone had purposefully taken Elena's human life by making her into a werewolf years before without her knowledge or consent. So I was thinking maybe this story might have this evil person who basically infected her with what amounts to Ebola at its heart, and she could finally get revenge or maybe at least come to some sort of resolution. Heh. How totally wrong I was, and it was this plot line that had me literally foaming at the mouth. I nearly stopped reading once I figured out where this was going. The only thing that kept me reading was the fact that the rest of the story was intriguing, and I was hoping further explanation of her past would clear things up to my satisfaction. Sorry, I know that's vague, but I'm trying to be non-spoilery.
The Other Hate Part: Cheating. Yes, I know it happens. I can even live with it if there's some kind of remorse shown, it's not a repeated thing, and the offending party comes clean as soon as possible. Unfortunately, none of these things happened. We basically have a cheating fest with Elena making constant excuses for her behavior, excuses like "it's not really cheating because we have such a deep connection." Yeah, I tell that one to my husband too when he catches me with the cable guy, and he totally buys it.
The Gentle Fondness Part: So yeah, despite the bumps and my occasional cursing at Elena's choices, completely against my will, I did warm up to these characters and enjoyed the story. I didn't even mind so much who Elena ended up with. I mean, come on, who else would put up with the two of them? They're perfectly and utterly dysfunctional together, and I wish them the best. I will be reading more of this series, but only if my best friend buys them.(less)