Today, I'm reviewing James Dashner's The Eye of Minds. It's my first time reading a Dashner book, and I wasn't sure what to expect.
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Hardcover, 323 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Format reviewed: Hardcover (owned)
Synopsis via Goodreads:
But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.
The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker. And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team. But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.
In The Eye of Minds, Dashner introduces us to Michael - a hacker, like many of the other hackers out there - who spends a significant amount of his time on VirtNet, a full-immersion network where gamers can live and experience all of their fantasies.
While Michael is generally just content to hang out with his two online best friends in their virtual world, a chance encounter with a girl opens his eyes to the fact that not everything is okay on the Net. And he - whether he likes it or not - is one of the few people who can figure out what's going on.
First and foremost: I'm a big fan of technologically-orientated books, . So I thought that the world that Dashner has created for the VirtNet was scarily plausible, especially in light of the technology that we have now.
Everything that Dashner described in the book was believable - from the currency the players used, to the complicated entry and exit process that players would have go to through, were all clearly well thought-out, and absolutely immersed me in their world.
This believability also extends to Michael, Bryson, Sarah and their relationship. As strange as it may sound, I loved (and completely believed) the fact that were best friends on the Net, but had never met each other in real life.
And that's where my love sort of ended.
After all of the time spent world-building, I was ready to get immersed into the mystery of the hacker going around and ending the lives of fellow hackers.
However, I had a difficult time accepting the fact that Michael, Bryson and Sarah would be so willing to jump into the type of dangerous mission that they're asked to do, without really considering what was at stake.
They literally went from hedging about the mission, to accepting after having their minds changed which didn't seem realistic. From then on out, a lot of what the trio did didn't seem realistic - from their ability to extract answers at important times, to having to constantly flee danger, at every turn.
At the same time, as Dashner escalated the action, I felt like a lot of the characterization was equally lost - to the point where when the end came around, I thought: "Well... I expected that."
Ultimately, this book wasn't for me. However, I will fully admit that I'm definitely not in the target audience, and I can easily see this book appealing to a lot of other readers - particularly, younger male boys.
I recommend this book for fans of Dashner's previous series, but also for fans of films like Tron and The Matrix. More importantly, I recommend this book for reluctant readers. Dashner will more than inspire and intrigue them.