Format Read: Paperback received from author for review
Number of Pages: 371
Release Date: March 23rd, 2010
Formats Available: Ebook, Paperback
JUSTINE KNOWS SHE’S GOING TO DIE. ANY SECOND NOW.
Justine Jones has a secret. A hardcore hypochondriac, she’s convinced a blood vessel is about to burst in her brain. Then, out of the blue, a startlingly handsome man named Packard peers into Justine’s soul and invites her to join his private crime-fighting team. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime deal. With a little of Packard’s hands-on training, Justine can weaponize her neurosis, turning it outward on Midcity’s worst criminals, and finally get the freedom from fear she’s always craved. End of problem.
Or is it? In Midcity, a dashing police chief is fighting a unique breed of outlaw with more than human powers. And while Justine’s first missions, including one against a nymphomaniac husband-killer, are thrilling successes, there is more to Packard than meets the eye. Soon, while battling her attraction to two very different men, Justine is plunging deeper into a world of wizardry, eroticism, and cosmic secrets. With Packard’s help, Justine has freed herself from her madness—only to discover a reality more frightening than anyone’s worst fears.
I read many reviews of Mind Games
before I started it. They all said it’s an awesome read: funny and all but I was by far not prepared for this. We are thrown into the world of an hypochondriac, Justine, and see everything through her eyes. It’s not as weird as I thought it would be. Justine is a wonderful character. She is so much more than a crazy hypochondriac. Yes, she clearly is a hypochondriac with her nightly ER visits and panic attacks because of her impending death.
She “suffers” from vein star syndrome and sometimes all her thoughts are centered around that. But she has a strong will in all things not star vein syndrome and very high morals, too. She knows what is right and good and stands up against everything that doesn’t fit into this category. She knows what she wants: a normal life without fear, a life where everything is perfect and full of smiles and love. She desperately wants this world and it broke my heart to see that she will probably not get it in the near future.
The action starts when Justine meets the mysterious and super sexy Packard. He offers her a world without fear and without her obsession about her health. But as always there is a price, an even bigger one than she sees at first. She’s introduced into a group of “misfits” who all joined Packards’ cause and now fight the bad in this world as vigilantes. They call themselves the Disillusionists and they all have their own burden to carry but with the help of Packard they can morph their craziness into a way to do something “good”. Packard invented a way to reflect your own feelings into another person. So for example Justine could infect other people with her hypochondria. They plan to disillusion the bad guys and to “restart” them. They want to reform them through breaking them before. That’s what these Disillusionists do.
I loved how much work and love Ms Crane puts into her side-characters. They all seem so vivid and real and they sneak into your heart without you noticing it. The group dynamics is wonderful and it was wonderful to see that Justine finally belonged somewhere.
“It’s reality,” he [Helmut] adds. “The water will be what kills us.”
“Unless a horrible disease gets you first,” I say. “Your own body’s working overtime right now finding ways to self-destruct.” It’s wonderfully liberating to be able to talk like this without upsetting myself.
“Who cares?” Shelby says. “We have no chance for happiness anyway.”Silently we sit, siblings in torment, The moment stretches on and I have this crazy sensation that I’m finally home. I smile at that thought. And then I chuckle. And then we all just burst out laughing.
The plot in Mind Games completely deserves the title. You think you know what will happen and bam everything changes. Ms Crane created a story that pulled me in and really played with my mind from time to time. In the end I thought I knew what would happen and she completely surprised me again. A thrilling story with many twists and turns.
Another fact I loved was Ms Crane’s unmistakable humor and wit. I smiled nearly through the whole book and some scenes made me laugh so hard. She also has a wonderful talent for geeky references and I adore those so much. She knits those into the story and I’m sure not every reader will notice those but I love every single one of them.
There is one thing that made me cringe sometimes: the names. Okay perhaps that’s just me being German but Helmut and Otto are so old people names and I just couldn’t imagine them being under 50 at first. See BF’s grandpa is Helmut and I live in the Ottostadt Magdeburg (named after 3 old historic Ottos LOL). It got better but for me these names will always be grandpa names.
Mind Games is one of the best debut novels I ever read. The Disillusionists world is wonderful unique and nothing you will find somewhere else. I loved the characters, the witty convos and the romantic storyline. Carolyn Crane is on top of my author radar now and I can’t wait to get my greedy little hands on Double Cross (Release Date: Sept 28th, 2010).
I give Mind Games 4.5 out of 5 bookies.
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