Author: Kiersten White
Series: Mind Games #1
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Date: February 2013
Source: ARC from publisher
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction
She never chose her deadly gift but now she’s forced to use it. How far would you go to protect the only family you have left?
Annie is beset by fleeting strange visions and a guilty conscience. Blind and orphaned, she struggles to care for her feisty younger sister Fia, but things look up when both sisters are offered a place at Kessler School for Exceptional Girls.
Born with flawless intuition, Fia immediately knows that something’s wrong, but bites her tongue… until it’s too late. For Fia is the perfect weapon to carry out criminal plans and there are those at Kessler who will do anything to ensure her co-operation.
With Annie trapped in Kessler’s sinister clutches, instincts keep Fia from killing an innocent guy and everything unravels. Is manipulative James the key to the sisters’ freedom or an even darker prison? And how can Fia atone for the blood on her hands?
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book because I thoroughly enjoyed Kiersten White’s debut Paranormalcy series. I purposely kept my knowledge of the book vague, but given both titles Sister Assassin in the UK and Mind Games in the US, I was generally expecting kick-ass sisters with cool mind powers. Instead I got so much more. The story was heart-pounding, dark action with an abundance of humanity.
I just loved it. It’s told from the alternating point of view of orphaned sisters Fia and Annie, both of whom currently reside an institution for ‘special’ girls. Annie, the elder sister is blind, but has visions of things to come. I thought it was really poetic that the only time Annie knows what anything looks like is through her visions. Fia on the other hand, has perfect instincts—she instinctively picks the right horse to win the race, or knows which direction to turn to avoid an accident.
It starts off with a bang, when Fia is sent on an assignment to assassinate someone. It then moves between Fia and Annie’s past and present until you get to the intense and pretty awesome climax ending. I loved how even though the plot was fast-paced and exciting, it slowed down through the shifting timelines, which revealed wonderful little moments in the past. Reading about when the girls lost their parents or Fia’s first kill made my heart ache for them and really helped me understand their motives.
I found both sisters’ voices to be very distinct. I absolutely fell into Fia’s erratic, somewhat careless and harried way of thinking as much as I fell into Annie’s more descriptive, thoughtful, sometimes anguished narrative. Both girls have their moments of pettiness and frustrations, but at the heart of most of their actions is the need to take care of each other—Annie, because she’s the older sister and Fia, because of Annie’s disability. At the end, my heart broke for Fia and Annie’s impossible situation and absolute care for each other.
There were some boys in their lives, namely the sweet genius Adam and anti-villian James, and numerous other peripheral characters and great big organisations. I’m almost sure there was a conspiracy theory in there somewhere, as well as a plot to bring down the man. I think I will care so much more about all of that when I read the sequel, and believe me, the potential of this series is phenomenal. But as for this book, the first in the series, everyone should relish it for the wonderful story about Annie and Fia and their inspiring sisterly love (ok, and maybe a few kick-ass moments).