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REVIEW: Mind Games by Carolyn Crane

PLEASE NOTE: The following review contains a few SPOILERS. If you prefer to avoid spoilers, you might not want to read this review until after you have read the book.

Mind Games by Carolyn CraneDear Ms. Crane,

You've been part of the romance community since at least 2007, and I occasionally lurk on and enjoy your reading blog The Trillionth Page. Your debut novel, an urban fantasy called Mind Games, came out in March to great acclaim, so in April I downloaded a copy from the Sony store in order to give it a whirl.

Unfortunately, it took me over three weeks to finish reading Mind Games (I am a slow reader in the normal course of things, but not that slow!) and then a while to review it. It is a tough, tough book to review because it is stellar in some ways, and yet I also had some big problems with it. Before I go into what I think are the book's weaknesses and strengths, here is a plot summary:

Mind Games is narrated in first person present tense (a choice I often love, and loved here) by Justine Jones, a young woman living in a fictional Midwestern city called Midcity (I loved that choice, too). Justine suffers from hypochondria, which manifests itself in frequent delusions that she has vein star syndrome, a vascular malady which she describes as “the proverbial ticking time bomb in the head.”

Justine's mother also suffered from this phobia, and then she developed a very real case of vein star syndrome which killed her, so no amount of reasoning can make Justine believe that she herself is physically healthy while she's having one of her anxiety attacks. Her fear is potent, and one day Justine meets a man who wants to harness it.

Justine is dining at a Mongolian restaurant with her boyfriend, Cubby, when she is spotted by Packard. Packard is a highcap, a man with extra-sensory abilities. The existence of highcaps is hotly debated: many of Midcity's denizens believe in them, while the authorities and a few others say they aren't real. But Packard exists, and is able to sense other people's psychological structures. He knows without being told that Justine is a hypochondriac who believes she suffers from vein star syndrome, and claims he can cure her if she'll come work for him.

At first Packard doesn't reveal the nature of the work he wants Justine to do, so Justine refuses. Later, Carter and Shelby, two of Packard's employees, pick up Justine and take her back to the Mongolian restaurant, where Packard reveals that he can teach Justine to transfer her anxiety attacks into other people. Packard's team is a kind of “psychological hit squad” made up of disillusionists, people with psychological disorders who channel their own problems into criminals and thereby “crash” them so that they can then be “rebooted” into better human beings.

Justine doesn't believe in vigilante justice and she wants no part of Packard's brand of it. But Packard gives her a demonstration, allowing her to “zing” her fear into him. Being free of fear feels wonderful, and eventually, when Justine's terror of vein star syndrome returns a few weeks later, as Packard told her it would, she decides to accept Packard's offer. She does not tell Packard or his team of disillusionists that she plans to leave the group when she's thought of a good alternative, and she does not tell her boyfriend, Cubby, the full truth about her new job.

Justine's life as a disillusionist is complicated by her conflicted feelings about the profession, and her reluctant attraction to Packard. Eventually she discovers that just as she kept her intention to leave the disillusionist squad from Packard, he too, kept something very important from her. She also learns that Packard has been trapped in the Mongolian restaurant by another powerful highcap and that he cannot leave. She resolves to find a way to free Packard from his prison and herself from both her hypochondria and her new role.

You have a terrific writing voice and a gift for surprising ideas and creative worldbuilding, all of which made Mind Games so unusual that I haven't encountered anything this fresh and quirky in fiction since reading literary fabulist Judy Budnitz' debut collection, Flying Leap, well over a decade ago.

Take, for example, the Brick Slinger, a telekinetic highcap serial killer who terrorizes the citizens of Midcity by sending bricks zigzagging into people's skulls. Here is Justine's description of the situation, an inventive bit of worldbuilding:

The crime wave makes me sad and angry, and every year it gets worse. Now, thanks to our new serial killer, the Brick Slinger, the playgrounds and ballparks are empty even though it's the height of summer, and people scurry from cars to houses to cars, many of them wearing helmets and hardhats, even when it's ninety degrees.

Later, when Justine goes to her job at a boutique, you use the Brick Slinger's presence in Midcity to create a bit of scene-setting that is odd in the best, most wonderful way:

I lean on the glass counters watching the upscale shoppers rifle through the racks of dresses. A few of them wear steel-reinforced safari hats in pink or beige, the latest in protective headwear.

There are also the ways you use fresh metaphors to put your finger on Justine's feelings. The paragraph below captures beautifully how haunted she is by her hypochondria:

I pull the covers over me, wondering what it would be like to be Cubby. Cubby has faith in life the way you might have faith in a five-star hotel: It's a world of sunny swimming pools, plush towels, and capable people at the front desk, and your happiness is their number one priority. I want more than anything to live in Cubby's safe hotel. To go through one day without health fears. One day.

I have quoted so much because I think your language is wonderfully crafted. For this reason, when I started this book I was sure it would be a keeper for me. Sadly, it isn't, for the following reasons.

First, Mind Games was scary in places – a sign of effective writing, but I don't enjoy being scared. Second, this is also the kind of book where for much of it, it's not clear who, if anyone besides the main character, is trustworthy – and I don't enjoy that type of story very much either. Readers who don't share these preferences of mine, though, will probably like this book better than I did.

Aside from that the biggest problem, if I had to name one, was that the main characters felt static. While my perceptions of some of them shifted a bit, beyond the paranormal change in Justine when she channeled away her hypochondria, the characters never seemed to grow or undergo a meaningful change. That may be realistic, but it also made the book feel monotonous after a while. I think it's mostly because of this, and because of the above reasons, that the book took me so long to finish.

Justine's wit is the most charming thing about her, and I also like her vulnerability and her loyalty to her loved ones, but she is so good-hearted and so concerned with right and wrong that at times she comes across as someone who has no moral blemish whatsoever. Nearly every morally ambiguous act she carries out is something she is essentially forced to do. While I think we should all strive to be free of moral flaws, I also think it is a goal we can only approach without fully reaching. In other words, I don't fully buy that anyone as flawless from a moral perspective as Justine could actually exist.

Another problem with Justine's characterization is that nearly all the men in the book were drawn to her in one fashion or another, and she was described by one of them as beautiful (though she thinks she is only "medium-pretty"), so at some point, it began to feel as though she was just one mental disorder shy of being a Mary Sue. The fact that I still liked Justine despite all this is a huge credit to her narration, which was almost seductively clever.

But for whatever reason (maybe because we didn't get access to his point of view?) I never cottoned to Packard, never really grew to like or trust him, so for all the purported romantic chemistry between he and Justine- well, to use a dreadful pun, there was just no zing there for me. When Justine was transported by his kiss, I remained detached.

If Mind Games had been a romance, that would have killed it for me, but since it was an urban fantasy, I tried to let its other charms win me over.

Have I mentioned that the prose is stupendous? And the world-building? And that I think the premise is very inventive? Ultimately, these kept me coming back to the book. Your descriptions were music to my inner word geek. I love the way you can startle me with one daring word. A penis is actually described as “cucumbery” in this book. And there is this terrific description of Shelby:

Ringlets stands and smiles, revealing a chipped front tooth, which gives her a strange, carnivorous beauty.

Characterization, worldbuilding, and description are woven together in an exhilarating way in paragraphs like this one:

I'm surprised when Carter merges onto “the tangle”-’a nightmarish curlicue of highways that's the fastest, most unpleasant, and most treacherous way to move between neighborhoods. Everybody sane avoids the tangle, which has been blamed for everything from Midcity's industrial decrepitude to, of course, the eight-year crime wave, in articles with titles like “A Dark Snarl at the Heart of Our Fair City.”

Mind Games is particularly difficult to grade because the premise, worldbuilding and language have tremendous flair, which would argue for at least a B- grade, but on the other hand, because of issues with the characterization, pacing and my personal preferences, my enjoyment level was ultimately no more than a C. And so, although I have no doubt that many readers will feel Mind Games deserves a higher grade, I go with the midpoint between these two ranges and give it a C+.

Sincerely,

Janine Ballard

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Janine Ballard loves well-paced, character-driven books. Examples include novels by Shana Abe, Loretta Chase, Patricia Gaffney, Cecilia Grant, Judith Ivory, Carolyn Jewel, Laura Kinsale, Julie Anne Long, Alison Richardson, Nalini Singh and Pam Rosenthal. Janine also writes fiction. Her critique partners are Sherry Thomas, Meredith Duran and Bettie Sharpe. Her erotic short story, "Kiss of Life", appears in the Berkley anthology AGONY/ECSTASY under the pen name Lily Daniels. You can email Janine at janineballard at gmail dot com. or find her on Twitter @janine_ballard.

25 Comments

  1. Jennie
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 17:36:44

    Thanks for the review, Janine – in spite of your qualms about the book, it really sounds intriguing. I am not big on urban fantasy, but I might have to give this one a try.

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  2. Aoife
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 17:51:52

    I would have given Mind Games a higher grade, but I had some of the same issues with it that you did, Janine: probably a B-, because it is so darn original, and I did really like some of the characters. I agree with you on the lack of growth in the characters, however. Without getting too spoilery it’s hard to articulate one of the major things that annoyed me about Justine, but I felt she wasn’t particularly discriminating in the way she approached her love life. I’ve mentioned on another thread that I’m experiencing love-triangle fatigue, and that was a major issue for me in MG. Justine’s love-life gave me a bad case of whiplash.

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  3. Janine
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 18:40:08

    @Jennie: I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts if you read Mind Games. I think you might like it better than I do, since you have more patience for long character arcs that encompass more than one book. This is the first book in the Disillusionist Trilogy, and I have the impression (though I could be wrong) that Justine is the main character of the other two books as well.

    @Aoife: I totally understand why you would give Mind Games a B-, since grading it was so hard for me. This book was almost as hard for me to review as The Spymaster’s Lady.

    I agree that the freshness and originality in Mind Games were impressive. And I also loved the prose. But the lack of character growth became disappointing after a while.

    With regard to the characters’ love lives, it was a bit hard to know who I should root for. I didn’t ship for any pairing in this book, and I think that may have been partly because of that whiplash factor that you mention, but I also think it may have been because we only had Justine’s POV, and because of the way the men were presented.

    I’m wondering if there will be some change in regard to both the romantic threads and the character arcs in the upcoming books. Do you plan to read further in the series?

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  4. Jill Sorenson
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 18:52:03

    I haven’t disagreed with a grade so much since Lara Adrian’s Kiss of Midnight! That, and this, were A+ reads for me.

    Janine, you make a lot of great points, as always. The prose is just so sly and smart, totally. But I didn’t feel that Justine was static at all–she got stronger and learned how to control her anxiety. Nor did I find anything remotely monotonous about the story. For me, this was a gripping, edge of your seat thrill ride, beautifully paced.

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  5. Janine
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 19:01:15

    @Jill Sorenson: There is a lot of love out there for this book, so I expect there will be a lot of disagreement with this review and with the grade.

    But when it takes me at least three, maybe four weeks to finish a book, and I’m even tempted to put it down unfinished, as I was here, I have to take that into consideration when grading.

    Re. whether Justine got stronger — I don’t know, to me that strength felt artificial, the result of channeling her anxiety (which was still there, in the back of her mind) into others. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but my take was that her mental health was at risk throughout the book and she was in a pretty helpless position from beginning to end.

    Also, when I speak of character growth I often mean maturity, a sense of coming to greater self-knowledge, overcoming one’s flaws, etc. I didn’t feel that anyone in the book did that.

    It may be that Ms. Crane is saving that for books 2 and 3, but if so, it’s being doled out much too slowly for me, at least in this first book.

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  6. Ariel/Sycorax Pine
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 19:42:41

    I have to admit that I liked this one quite a bit more than you did, perhaps because I do like to be frightened (literarily, I hasten to add) and I do like – love! – characters who may or may not be trustworthy. It adds so much productive tension, I think.

    My central problem with the novel (whose sequel I am feverishly awaiting, I should say) was the resolution, which seemed so much more swiftly, pat, and uncomplicated than I had hoped it would be. After years of enmity, the “hero” and the “villain” come to terms that easily? Hmm. (I hope I am remembering this rightly – it has been a while.) So I look forward to the next book all the more, knowing that it will inevitably trouble the ease of that resolution.

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  7. Tweets that mention REVIEW: Mind Games by Carolyn Crane | Dear Author -- Topsy.com
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 20:17:08

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Janine Ballard, dearauthor. dearauthor said: New post: REVIEW: Mind Games by Carolyn Crane http://bit.ly/cgJpo1 [...]

  8. bettie
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 20:24:49

    This book sounds absolutely fascinating. Janine, thank you for being so clear about the reasons it didn’t work for you. I don’t think they’ll be a problem for me, and I’m dying for new takes on urban fantasy.

    Yet another book for my growing summer reading list.

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  9. Janine
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 20:29:26

    @Ariel/Sycorax Pine:

    With regard to characters who may not be trustworthy, perhaps it is more accurate to say that I like to know where I stand with the characters. I can enjoy knowing that they are not trustworthy, if it is clear to me that they are not and that the truth will come out during the course of the story, and if I also have the sense that the power disparity created between the too-trusting character and the not-trustworthy character will right itself before my eyes. But I didn’t get that feeling with this book.

    It is hard to explain, because I do love an unsettling read, but this is one that may have just been too unsettling for my taste, esp. since the tension you describe didn’t seem to go anywhere, really, but just lingered without getting relieved or building up to anything that felt truly meaningful to me.

    Ultimately, I see this as a pacing issue. I have the feeling that there are layers of things that Justine isn’t aware of, partly because she’s being kept in the dark and partly because she doesn’t want to examine her reality too closely, and that these layers may be peeled back in future books. That could be very interesting to me if it happened faster. I don’t have the patience for the slowness with which things progressed in this book.

    With regard to the resolution,

    BIG SPOILERS
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    I would agree with you except that I got the feeling from the ending that the “hero” and “villain” hadn’t truly come to terms. One of them has a card up his sleeve, and is plotting some nasty surprise for the other, I bet. But that being the case, I really felt that almost nothing was resolved except superficially. And that mirrors my feelings about the level of character growth — that too, felt superficial to me.

    I wonder if what happened here was that Ms. Crane paced the development of both the characters and the central plot conflict slowly so that she would have material left for the next two books. But I could have that wrong, of course.

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  10. Janine
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 20:31:37

    @bettie: You’re welcome. I think there’s a good chance this one will appeal to you. I hope you enjoy the book and would love to hear what you think of it!

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  11. Aoife
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 20:36:07

    @Janine

    I do plan on watching for the next book in the series, but the author has a very narrow window of opportunity to grab my attention. At the end of MG I was left feeling that Justine was not a reliable narrator, and that I wasn’t sure who to root for, not just in a romantic sense, but in general. Who the heck are the good guys? That’s not a feeling that I can handle for more than a short time in a series, and originality will only take me so far.

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  12. katiebabs
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 20:54:35

    Carolyn’s prose blew me away. I was somewhat on the fence up to page 80 and then out of the blew I could not stop reading. I was hooked.I did find Justine a little whiny, but it fit the character because of her self-imposed sickness. And the romance aspect really grabbed me.

    But, your review expressed some really great points what worked for you and what didn’t.

    BTW, are you on team cucumber or team kabob? ;)

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  13. Jennie
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 22:29:52

    It is hard to explain, because I do love an unsettling read, but this is one that may have just been too unsettling for my taste,

    I think I know what you mean. I like a story that can surprise me or reveal things about the characters that I didn’t expect. But I don’t like feeling really off balance for the majority of a read. I need an anchor, if that makes sense – I need to have a certain level of trust in the characters in order to empathize with them (and I think at least some level of empathy is necessary for a successful reading experience for me).

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  14. SonomaLass
    Jun 02, 2010 @ 22:36:59

    As always, Janine, thanks for being clear about why you felt as you did about the book. It helps me understand why my reaction was so different from yours. I glommed this book; rather than frightening me (which usually makes me read a book a little bit at a time), it grabbed me. But I’m a reader who is very comfortable with long character arcs over multiple books. I actually was glad that Justine didn’t change too much or resolve her situation. That would probably mean a different character at the center of the next book, and I want Justine back.

    Some UFs don’t work for me because the world building is either shallow or uninteresting; this was neither. That and the writing just sucked me in. I might have had more questions about things like growth and pacing if I hadn’t gobbled it down so quickly, I don’t know.

    I do know that after this and Patience, I am paying much more attention to the use of cucumbers (as objects or metaphors) in the books I read!

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  15. Tamara Hogan
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 08:28:34

    I really loved this book. I found the complex world Crane created in MIND GAMES to be wholly unique, and her voice is hella strong. I typically have to be dragged kicking and screaming to a book written in first person POV, but Crane’s writing was so vivid, so engaging, that I barely noticed. (That said, first person PRESENT tense? And… I enjoyed it? I bow down.)

    I very much appreciate books with long character and plot arcs, and appreciate some ambiguity in motivation and characterization. It seemed to me that this story is just beginning. I can’t wait for the next book(s) in this series.

    Oh, I’m on Team Kabob, all the way.

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  16. Janine
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 11:33:59

    @Aoife:

    At the end of MG I was left feeling that Justine was not a reliable narrator, and that I wasn't sure who to root for, not just in a romantic sense, but in general. Who the heck are the good guys? That's not a feeling that I can handle for more than a short time in a series, and originality will only take me so far.

    I don’t have a problem with Justine being an unreliable narrator per se, because I feel that every first person narrator should have blind spots, since the human being has not been born who doesn’t have them.

    I think the problem is that not only is Justine an unreliable narrator, but her narration also doesn’t give us readers many clues as to who we should trust. Oddly, I think I’d be fine with tolerating Justine’s blindness, at least up to a point, if I could see past it myself. I would also be fine with having some blind spots myself, if the protagonist was slightly less blind.

    I do agree with you that I too have no clue who to root for on any level, other than having some liking for Justine.

    I will be reading reviews of the next book with interest. If time were no object, I might pick it up, but since I have to write reviews on a timely basis and this book took me so long to read, I’m leery.

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  17. Janine
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 11:46:52

    @katiebabs: Justine didn’t strike me as whiny; I had a lot of sympathy for her situation with her anxiety. I did feel she was immature, though, as well as a bit of a goody goody.

    BTW, are you on team cucumber or team kabob? ;)

    Neither, and I think that’s one of the biggest problems. Like Aoife said, I don’t know which of them is the good guy, or even if either one is trustworthy. I also don’t find either of them hot or even appealing in other ways. They are interesting, and if forced to choose one I would probably say Kabob, but it’s probably for a superficial reason like his name isn’t quite as odd.

    But I’m left detached by Justine’s interactions with both of them, and the sex scenes mostly made me scared for Justine’s safety. So I guess my final answer is: I don’t trust either of them as far as I can throw him, and I’d rather see Justine with someone else altogether.

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  18. Janine
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 11:55:04

    @Jennie:

    I think I know what you mean. I like a story that can surprise me or reveal things about the characters that I didn't expect. But I don't like feeling really off balance for the majority of a read. I need an anchor, if that makes sense – I need to have a certain level of trust in the characters in order to empathize with them (and I think at least some level of empathy is necessary for a successful reading experience for me).

    You’ve put your finger on one of my main issues here better than I did. I did empathize with Justine, and I trusted that she was telling what she believed to be true (in that sense she was an honest narrator), but it was clear there was a lot she didn’t know (both because others weren’t totally upfront with her and because she didn’t want to look too closely), and she also didn’t inadvertently give readers many clues as to who was trustworthy. So there wasn’t quite as much anchoring as I would have liked.

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  19. Janine
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 12:23:24

    As always, Janine, thanks for being clear about why you felt as you did about the book. It helps me understand why my reaction was so different from yours. I glommed this book; rather than frightening me (which usually makes me read a book a little bit at a time), it grabbed me.

    That is interesting. I was scared for Justine every time she was sent to disillusion somebody. I thought Ms. Crane did an excellent job of creating a sense of real menace that emanated from the Silver Widow, the card-playing guy (forgot his code name, but he was scary!) and the Engineer. Justine was sent out to disillusion them without that much training that we saw, and often she was left alone with these people who seemed to be in some ways more perceptive than she was. Combined with Justine’s having to amp herself with the anxiety of hypochondria before disillusioning them, and then her going through “glory hour” and feeling careless afterward, it made for what I felt were very scary, unsafe situations — so unsafe that I wasn’t always sure I wanted to keep reading.

    But I'm a reader who is very comfortable with long character arcs over multiple books.

    I don’t think that had anything to do with my feeling afraid for Justine. I don’t so much feel uncomfortable with long arcs as impatient, and when they are well-written, I am almost always able to enjoy the first book in a long arc series (witness my absolute adoration for the first couple of works in Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series, or my great enjoyment of the first Temeraire book, the first C.S. Harris mystery, Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh, and I could name many more) even if each one that follows has diminishing returns for me.

    I actually was glad that Justine didn't change too much or resolve her situation. That would probably mean a different character at the center of the next book, and I want Justine back.

    As I say above, I have loved many, many a first book in a long, same-character series. It’s usually in the second or third book that I start to get bored with the character or impatient with the pacing. So I feel that it is entirely possible to pace a first book in a long arc, same-character series in such a way that I will adore that book. I just think that the pacing of this particular book didn’t feel very satisfying to me, not because I didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but because really, from my POV, Justine is stumbling in circles and has made almost no headway through the tunnel at all.

    Some UFs don't work for me because the world building is either shallow or uninteresting; this was neither.

    Totally agree that the worldbuilding was wonderful.

    That and the writing just sucked me in.

    I really loved the startling word choices and the way Crane sprinkled them so casually, so just when I wasn’t expecting it, I would come up on a diamond or two. She really is a fabulous writer in terms of her prose; I loved it and it was what kept me coming back to the book despite my other problems.

    I might have had more questions about things like growth and pacing if I hadn't gobbled it down so quickly, I don't know.

    I do know that after this and Patience, I am paying much more attention to the use of cucumbers (as objects or metaphors) in the books I read!

    LOL. I haven’t read Patience yet but I loved that cucumber line in this book.

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  20. Janine
    Jun 03, 2010 @ 12:42:10

    @Tamara Hogan:

    I really loved this book. I found the complex world Crane created in MIND GAMES to be wholly unique, and her voice is hella strong.

    Totally agree on that.

    I typically have to be dragged kicking and screaming to a book written in first person POV, but Crane's writing was so vivid, so engaging, that I barely noticed.

    I don’t have a general prejudice against first person, although in a romance I do prefer to have insight into both characters’ POVs.

    (That said, first person PRESENT tense? And… I enjoyed it? I bow down.)

    It’s always interesting to me when people say that because I think present tense works better in first person than it does in third person. The combination of first person and present tense has an immediacy that I like whereas third person present tense, not so much. First person past tense can really vary for me — I think it takes a lot of skill to execute well. I do, however, adore third person past tense which is of course, a very widespread and popular choice these days.

    I very much appreciate books with long character and plot arcs

    As I said above, I can love love love a first book in a long arc series. It’s usually not until the later books that I run into the problem I have with long arcs — getting bored with the characters and wanting to move on to someone new.

    and appreciate some ambiguity in motivation and characterization.

    Drat! If I gave the impression that I don’t appreciate ambiguity than I am communicating very poorly. In fact, I would have loved for there to be more moral ambiguity in Justine’s character, especially since she had to deal with shady characters. It’s the power imbalance, the not knowing where I stood , and a number of other factors, that made me feel unsettled and uncomfortable when I read this book.

    It seemed to me that this story is just beginning. I can't wait for the next book(s) in this series.

    I’m glad this book worked for you, and for so many others here, better than it worked for me.

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  21. KMont
    Jun 08, 2010 @ 12:02:13

    I’m so dismayed because I’m having similar problems with the book. I’m a little more than halfway done (although I’m also dismayed to say that I read the end so I know what happens then), but I already have several things that just don’t let the book work for me personally. It IS such a great unique premise, though.Makes it stand out and likely will do so for a long while.

    Great review.

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  22. Janine
    Jun 08, 2010 @ 12:41:45

    @KMont: Thanks for the kind words about the review. I hope the book improves for you, since it does seem that most readers love it.

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  23. Carolyn Crane
    Jun 13, 2010 @ 19:47:44

    Hey Janine!
    I never know if I’m supposed to poke into these discussions, but since your review takes the form of a letter to me, I just wanted to write back and thank you for taking the time to read Mind Games, and for all your kind words, as well as for the thought provoking issues that you raise about Justine’s character-one of which has given me a helpful little writerly insight here tonight. Also, thanks for taking the time to tend to a lively book discussion about it!
    Warmly,
    Carolyn

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  24. Janine
    Jun 13, 2010 @ 23:12:01

    @Carolyn Crane: You’re welcome, and thank you for the gracious response!

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  25. REVIEW: Double Crossed by Carolyn Crane | Dear Author
    Nov 18, 2010 @ 04:01:12

    [...] not having realized that Janine Ballard wrote a fabulous review of Mind Games, and frankly, not paying attention to release dates, I read both Mind Games and Double Cross [...]

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