Mind Games - Carolyn Crane 3.5-4 stars. A weaker 4 stars, but a 4 star rating nonetheless. It would probably be a stronger 4 stars if it were written in pretty much anything OTHER than the first person present narrative voice, which is used here. That said, I got used to it by maybe midway into the book...in the same way you get used to that annoying "whooooooooshing" sound the workplace coffeemaker makes, even though you're halfway down the hall from the pantry. Yup, that way.

Note that this isn't a typical romance novel (even though there are a couple of sexytimes scenes), and there's a sort of...happy for now (not HEA) ending to it. This is the first of the trilogy, though, so I assume it gets wrapped up by the end of book three. I hope.

The World and Story

The world here was REALLY really neat. The concept of the world is rather dark, but it really worked for me. Boiling it down to the bare minimum, Justine (the narrator) is a hugely neurotic hypochondriac, and she is recruited by Packard, an ambiguously-allianced mastermind, to join his sort of vigilante team of "disillusionists," whom he teaches to channel their neuroticism into their targets. It's very intelligent, and what makes it so engrossing is that you're never sure who or what is right or wrong. Now, I'm usually a romance reader, a genre where it's pretty much ALWAYS black and white who the villains are and who will end up together in the end, so that ambiguity in itself made me a little squeamish. Nevertheless, I learned to embrace it. It was really well done and kept me turning the pages. So yeah, the story and world pretty much rocked.

The Characters

The question of right versus wrong and the shady grey area that expands seemingly endlessly in between is closely tied to the strong characterization throughout the book. I found myself kind of disliking almost all of the characters at some points in the book (except for Shelby, Justine's friend and the only other female disillusionist, whom I really liked), but that didn't deter me from being eager to see what would happen next. I thought the book was really interesting and quite deftly choreographed for it to make me need to reassess how I felt about these characters so often. The only minus part of the characterization that I could see is...why did Justine's neurosis have to be hypochondria? Why oh why??? It got kind of annoying, to be honest. Actually, it was especially annoying in the beginning, even though I recognize it needed to be there to show how extreme and severe her hypochondria really was. Still...that part was kind of a meh part of the book for me, and that's kind of rough when it's uh...the MAIN CHARACTER'S neurosis.


I notice this book is categorized as "Fantasy" on the book cover's genre marking. I actually find it more genre-bending, to be honest. Without really knowing the genre very well, I'm going to throw it out there that it seems a little dystopian, what with the extremely high crime rate and the ambiguity over who's good or bad. It also is a little paranormal, what with the various "powers" that some of the characters and criminals have. It's also a little romance, what with the two potential love interests and the couple of sexytimes scenes. Overall, whatever it is, I liked it. Quite a bit, actually. I will be reading book two, mark my words.