Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Carolyn Crane is incredibly clever or she’s neurotic. Either way, the result is a creative urban fantasy landscape and the surprisingly purposeful supernatural talent of disillusionment. The disillusionists are overwhelmed by fears — social collapse, self-esteem and disease. With guidance from a highcap, one of many humans with extra mental skills, these people are able to channel their crippling, irrational fears into others. Targeting murderers and the like, the disillusionist team turns the bad guys into hollow shells to be rebuilt as remorseful souls.
They do it under the umbrella of the greater good. OK, they’re really vigilantes. And that’s Justine’s issue with the whole thing. She doesn’t want to be a vigilante. She wants the Midcity crime wave to stop, but she has faith in the police chief.
Justine is a hypocondriac, focused on a vein condition that has her believing she’s on the verge of death constantly. Her boyfriend endures it, but the frequent trips to the ER for nothing are wearing on him. So, when Justine discovers how great she can feel after zinging her fears into another, it’s hard to not join Packard’s team of disillusionists. The fact he’s easy on the eyes doesn’t hurt either. The more she thinks on it, and the more she gets to feel normal, the easier it is to rationalize the idea of taking out those the police can’t stop. It’s like helping.
Without giving away details of the story, Mind Games is a suspenseful page-turner. Justine is easy to like and easier to relate to — even when she’s trying to lie to herself, it’s easy to see a piece of yourself in her. She’s empathetic, but strong-willed. The romantic elements of the novel are attention-grabbers, but this book is more about finding out what’s real and understanding others’ motivations. I loved the mystery element to the story, and have to admit I really loved Packard — who is kind of a bastard.
If you’re up for an intense urban fantasy that’s part crime solver, part character development, you need to start Mind Games. Just be aware, it’s one of those addictive books and the trilogy is sure to be the same. I’ve already bought it’s recently-released sequel Double Cross.