The first book in the Disillusionists trilogy with a definite comic book tone.

Publication year: 2010
Format: Audio
Publisher: Audible
Narrator: Rebecca Wisocky
Running Time: 11 hrs and 50 minutes

Justine Jones is sure that she will die of vein star syndrome, just like her mother. She spends much of her time concentrating about her various head aches, waiting for death. Unfortunately, this tends to drive away her friends and boyfriends. Currently, she manages a fashion shop and dates the wonderful Cubby who just might be able to offer Justine the normal life she craves for, if she can keep her neurosis from driving him away.

Then Justine meets Sterling Packard who is very handsome and Justine is quite taken with him until he offers her a place in his crime fighting group called the Disillusionists. If Justine joins, she will also get rid of her hyprocondria, although temporarily. Of course, Justine can’t resist. She meets the rest of the group and makes friends, feels very attacked to Packard – and then she finds out the group’s dark secrets. After that, it’s very hard to know just who the good guys are.

Justine is a pretty standard heroine, except for the neurosis. She wants to have a normal life and at first she tries to get it through her boyfriend. But she also wants to help people. She wants to do the right thing but she’s thrust into situations where it’s very hard to know what the right thing is. Fortunately, when she’s agonizing or angsting over her medical condition, it’s written in a very humorous way.

The book has clear comic book tone. The world has people with superpowers. They are called Highcaps and they have what I would call psionic powers, in other words their powers aren’t physical, such as telekineses or medical intuitionist. Some people don’t believe that they even exist and most people are afraid of them. Some of the characters’ names are almost out of a comic book. The Disillusionists think of themselves are heroes. Their leader Packard allows them to project their own fear or neurosis to another. The Disillusionists believe that projecting fear to bad guys will open the bad guys’ eyes to their own awfulness and reform them. Crime victims pay to Packard to disillusion a man or a woman who has wronged them in some way. In order to get close to their target, the Disillusionists go undercover and interact with the target to increase his or her fear.

The Disillusionists are pretty interesting group. They all have their own neurosis and fears, and that colors their personalities. Packard is pretty arrogant and charismatic from the start, and he’s clearly scheming something. I especially liked it that Justine got female friends, and male friends, during the book and not just a harem of adoring men. Then there’s the police chief Otto Schansez who likes opera, dresses fashionably… and is hetero.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really care for the romance angle. Justine starts with a boyfriend and is attracted to two other men, too. Both of them are essential to the plot and, frankly, poor Cubby pales in comparison to the others. Justine also drools over the both men a bit too much. There’s also quite a lot of descriptions of clothing and fashions which aren’t interesting to me.

For a comic book style book, Mind Games doesn’t have much violence. However, like the name implies there are a lot of twists and turns, and Justine finds it hard to know who to trust.

Mind Games is written in first person and present tense. However, I didn’t much notice this while listening. I really enjoyed Wisocky’s narration. She does a Russian accent for Shelby.

This was a fun new series and I will continue with it.

Advertisements