Monday, February 28, 2011

Mind Games

Title: Mind Games
Author: Carolyn Crane
Series: The Disillusionists, book 1
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Published: 2010

Recommendation: A fun adventure with a unique streak that urban fantasy readers will be sure to enjoy.
Rating: 7.5/10

Summary: Justine Jones is a hypochondriac who is barely coping with her paranoia about the vein star disease and trying to keep it together. Everything changes when she meets Packard who offers to cure her of her fear in exchange for training her to become a disillusionist -- someone who can break down a hardcore criminal and rebuild them from scratch. Justine's discovery of her new world is just beginning.

Reactions: I have seen good reviews of Mind Games on several review blogs that I follow and I did not regret picking up the book. It was a really quick read -- I read most of the book in one sitting and enjoyed it.

The world in which the book takes place is contemporary with a couple of twists. One twist is the existence of highcaps -- people with a genetic mutation that allow them to develop a superpower. The superpower can be rather typical such as telekenisis or telepathy. There are more rare powers too; Packard is a highcap who can see people's psychological structures and understand. The premise of Mind Games reminded me of Martin's Wild Cards premise a lot, but I guess that's just the type of plot device that's easy to use.

On the other hand, I thought the idea of disillusionists and having the main character be a hypochondriac was pretty unique and interesting. The disillusionsts themselves are regular humans who are capable of learning a technique for channeling their emotions into others. I liked Justine for being an interesting character despite her flaws. She came out very real and sympathetic and I would continue reading the series just for her. I just hope, she doesn't deteriorate the way many urban series heroines tend to. If you don't know what I mean, just read my reviews for Anita Blake series.

Just as many other enjoyable urban fantasy books, this is not the type of reading that would make you think deeply. I find that most urban fantasy novels just lean too much towards pulp adventure and easy writing, which makes them less effective and memorable than many of the science fiction works for example. This is no exception -- very fun, but not very deep. The other problem with this book was the number of male interests Justine has in the book. Two men make her tremble at every touch and another two are there for eye candy and maybe casual sex. The "romance" plotline just went over the top.

Still, I will be looking forward to other books by Carolyn Crane. Give me a fun adventure to read any day :)

See also: Those who like Mind Games would also be likely to enjoy Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich.

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