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Games: Disillusionists, Book 1 by Carolyn Crane narrated by Rebecca Wisocky. Great original idea but only average performance and story telling 3/5 for both. The good is that I loved the concept of this book. Justine Jones has debilitating hypochondria which is destroying her life and may eventually lead to the loss of everything she cares for. Then a stranger in a bar offers her not only salvation but salvation in a form that will turn her weakness into a weapon and allow her to help others. Now she just has to figure out how to live with the consequences. The plot alone kept me interested for the first part of the book as Justine is such an unlikely but likable heroine but the storytelling really lets it down and by halfway through the book I found myself completely unconvinced about any of it. The narrator does a great job getting us into Justin's mind and neuroses but the accents she uses for some on the men are just so over-blown, it became really annoying. Not one I'd bother coming back to or buying any more books from this author.
I adored this trilogy, my favourite fantasy of its type.
The premise is tenuous, but unusual enough that I didn't mind. A woman with massive, crippling health anxiety is recruited to join a band of vigilantes (or, "reverse emotional vampires" according to Simon) who, taught by their enigmatic leader, channel their destructive emotions into criminals, working as a team to disillusion the target. Essentially, they are hired as a psychological hit squad, to mentally break a target. In reality, this would probably just cause massive longterm psychological damage, but in Mind Games this process causes the target to 'reboot' back to factory settings, filled with newfound empathy for their victims and remorse for their criminal behaviour. That's the tenuous part.
It's more superhero fantasy than magic fantasy, as the other fantasy element is "highcap" high capacity humans; humans with mutated mental powers beyond the norm. Telepaths, telekinetics, dream-invaders, and the like. There are some new ideas I haven't seen before in the genre, unusual powers which have some fun, inventive applications.
I think the reason I liked this it so much, though, was because I identified so strongly with the heroine. I suffer from social anxiety rather than health anxiety, but I felt that the subject was treated seriously and handled sensitively, and I found myself really liking the heroine.
She really struck me as a realistic person, instead of the kicking-ass-and-taking-names alpha-bitch type heroine in so many books of this genre. It's written in 1st person and Justine has a very strong voice in the prose, and her wry sense of humour as well as mad panic is conveyed absolutely perfectly by Wisocky, who captures the voice and keeps up with the book's fast pace.
The whole trilogy is a perfect meeting of great book and great audio performance. Absolutely worth five stars.
Great narration. I like to list this first as it can make or break a story.
Just finished this series and highly recommend all 3 stories. But definitely read/listen in order.
I really enjoy it when readers with similar reading interests list their favourite authors and series. It really helps me find new authors too follow. Mine are Charlaine Harris, Jeaniene Frost, Jennifer Estep, Faith Hunter, Molly Harper, Ilona Andrews, Kresley Cole, Deborah Harkness, Nalini Singh, Coreene Callahan, Stacia Kane, Kelly Medding and Sherrilyn Kenyon.
22 of 24 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about Mind Games?
I don't normally read science fiction but this book grabbed me right away; the reader is fantastic and really conveys the humor of the heroine, who is a hypochondriac and meets a man who shows her a way to use her hypochondria for good, or is it?. It is romantic and erotic without being a formula romance, and is set in a dystopian world filled with interesting characters.
What other book might you compare Mind Games to and why?
I've never read anything like it but I don't read a lot of science fiction. I loved "Hunger Games."
Have you listened to any of Rebecca Wisocky’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
No, I haven't listened to others but I would buy one with her narration.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
"What if you could use your worst quality to save people from a life of crime?"
4 of 4 people found this review helpful