Friday, 10 October 2014

Book Review: Mind Games by Carolyn Crane


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.

My Review:
Oh I was gutted about this book! It sounded so good, it was different from the other urban fantasy books that I had read, it had interesting quirks, was well written-then it jumped straight into the genre cliche of love triangle and ruined itself. I was so disappointed after such a great start.

Lets start with those positives. I really liked Justine as an MC. Her obsession with this imaginery bursting blood vessel made her very interesting and entertaining in a twisted way. She is convinced, wrongly, that she is about to die at and second. A slight headache causes her to freak out because the end is nigh, and it makes a normal life impossible. I really liked this idea and I was curious to see where the author was going to take this. It is nice for the MC to have flaws especially something intriguing like hypochondria. I liked the idea of the crime fighting team and the way that they used their 'disabilities' to take on the human filth in the city. They find peace of mind from their conditions by turning it against these criminals and using it to destroy them. This was pretty cool. It was such a different concept that I was pretty excited to see what was going to happen.

I'm never keen on books that are slow to get moving but in this case I could forgive it because it was a bit different. I could forgive the whiny side of Justine because I have experience with anxiety conditions and know how people can react with those issues weighing them down. So far so good!

And then came the love triangle nonsense which destroyed the book for me. Why does it always have to go this way? Why can the female MC not get through a story without loving every new man she meets? It is not what happens in reality and with such a strong story developing, it is not needed! So the story gets dead slow as we delve into her love life and we get less of what engaged me with the book in the first place. Justine goes from intriguing to pathetic hormonal girl from a bad YA novel and I start finding her annoying. I found Packard to be slimy, not charming, manipulative, not kind and there was as much chemistry between them as planks of wood. I always felt he was a dangerous guy who only cared about his own interests and this is not a guy that I want as a romantic hero. Otto wasn't any better and having her leaping into bed with him was so stupid and pointless that I got mad at the author.

Justine stops being the MC I like when you realise that she's going to be cheating on the poor boyfriend who has somehow stood by her in spite of all her crazy behaviours and episodes. What thanks does he get? Our heroine thinking about which of the line up of men she plans to jump into bed with, not caring about loyal boyfriend. Great, potential whore alert. In fact is it a love triangle or love square? Plus she starts treating other people badly and becoming a bit of a cow. That feels like betrayal when you liked her at the start. Her whiny and selfish traits get worse as the book progresses. The bloody boyfriend is the one I have sympathy for. Run for the hills boy!

This book had such amazing potential and if it had stuck to being about Justine's ability, it could have been a great urban fantasy. Instead the love trianle and hormonal crap plunged it into poor paranormal romance territory and I lost all interest in it. What a damn pity!
star rating photo: Two Star Rating 2stars.png

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