Title: Mind Games
Author: Shana Silver
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Published: August 27th, 2019 (Swoon Reads)
Synopsis: Arden sells memories. Whether it’s the becoming homecoming queen or studying for that all important test, Arden can hack into a classmate’s memories and upload the experience for you just as if you’d lived it yourself. Business is great, right up until the day Arden whites out, losing 15 minutes of her life and all her memories of the hot boy across the school yard. The hot boy her friends assure her she’s had a crush on for years.
Arden realizes that her own memories have been hacked, but they haven’t just been stolen and shared… they’ve been deleted. And she’s not the only one, the hot stranger, Sebastian, has lost ALL of his memories. But how can they find someone with the power to make them forget everything they’ve learned?
ARC received at BookCon.
Arden Varga is a computer genius and a skilled hacker. At the exclusive STEM focussed high school she attends, everyone uses a technology currently in beta testing called HiveMind, created by her father, which syncs to a persons brainwaves and allows them to upload all their memories into the cloud and access them at any time, essentially ensuring that you’ll never forget anything. Arden however, has hacked this system, and has a business of stealing and selling others’ memories along with her friend Zoey. Everything is great until Arden realizes that her own memory has not only been hacked but thousands of her memories are missing. Sebastian Cuomo, supposedly her project partner, has lost all of his memories, and the two of them quickly figure out that this whole thing is centred around their final project – something that was apparently life-changing, and something that the hacker doesn’t want to see completed.
This was another one of those books where I liked the concept more than the characters. I was very impressed with the technological aspect of the story. HiveMind is such an intriguing idea, and I really liked the portions where Arden retrieved a few of her stolen memories and put the trail together piece by piece as the memories played out in reverse. Mind Games definitely kept me guessing for a long time – in hindsight though, I should have guessed the identity of the hacker by about the midpoint of the story, seeing as there were very few characters who were not under suspicion and who get along with Arden. From the description, I initially expected something more along the lines of Warcross or Ready Player One, but this story goes in a rather different, but no less interesting direction.
I didn’t really like the romance side of things as it moved too fast for my taste, and somewhat lessened the excitement of the mystery. When it comes to the characters, Sebastian was somewhat interesting, essentially building himself up from a blank slate due to his complete memory loss. Arden on the other hand, comes off as extremely arrogant and more than a little amoral. There were several other things about her that didn’t make sense at all, for instance, why on earth a 17 year old would be walking about in stilettos in school, at home and while chasing hackers (and apparently never injuring herself in the process). I found the ending to be a bit rushed, though it was realistic – once the hacker was revealed, things were wrapped up a little too quickly.
Mind Games is a fast paced thriller that keeps you guessing. Overall, while this fell a little short of my expectations, it was an interesting and enjoyable read, especially with all the futuristic technology. It builds up the tension and mystery very well, and leaves you on the edge of your seat wondering when the hacker is going to strike next. Definitely recommended!
Mind Games releases on August 27th, 2019.
Do you plan to read this book? Let me know in the comments below!