Sep 23, 2013

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner Review

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; 320 pages
An all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure from James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

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.

So something that you may not know about me is that I used to be a little bit of a gamer.  Now when most people say that, they usually are underestimating themselves.  But I really wasn't much of a gamer.  In fact, I enjoyed watching people play video games almost as much as I liked playing them.  Unless it was an RPG (role playing game) I was pretty much dismal.  But even if I wasn't a top gamer, I still enjoyed playing.  And I think every gamer has wondered what it would be like to live in a video game.  Well The Eye of Minds shows us a world where people can spend more time in the video game world, than in the real world.

Two things that really stuck out for me when I picked up this book were the title and the cover.  I seriously love this cover.  It is absolutely gorgeous.  It's really shiny and shiny things distract me.  The landscape of it is just so pretty, that you almost don't even notice the boy standing on the side.  I just love it.  And as for the title, it's very deep.  It made me think about how much your sight and mind are linked with one another.  I'd love to ask James Dashner how he came up with the title.

The Eye of Minds starts us off with a teen gamer/hacker named Michael.  In the very first scene he is in the video game world VirtNet trying to complete a mission, when he encounters a girl who is about to commit suicide.  If you die in the VirtNet, you just go back into the "Wake" aka the real world.  But after telling Michael some disturbing things about the VirtNet, and mentioning a mysterious person named Kaine, Tanya rips out her Core.  Doing this, means that not only would should die in the VirtNet, but she would die in the real world as well.  Tanya jumps off the cliff, killing herself and our story begins.

I personally love a book that starts off with such a high paced opener.  This book sucked me in from the very first chapter.  I liked getting to know Michael and his friends Bryson and Sarah.  They have a very interesting relationship because none of them have met in real life.  They only play games together.  It reminded me of the early days of instant messager, when chatting online you you didn't always see what a person looked like.  Nowadays with social media, that's almost unheard of because your photo is usually in your profile picture.  I love how these characters interact with one another.  I feel like the characters are teens.  They act like teens.  Sometimes I don't get that in YA books.  The characters can feel old, and their language outdated.

It does take awhile before you actually get to the characters playing a game.  I was impatiently waiting for it while reading.  It actually ended up being a lot different than I expected, but I still enjoyed it. It was a nice flashback to 2d old school Nintendo games.  Where you had to search for things.  I felt like I was playing Zelda again when he was looking through the trenches.  Wandering aimlessly until you find what you're looking for.  Then dying a few times before you figure out what to do.

Visually I could picture the VirtNet that James Dashner created.  The way he explained the scenery was pretty much on point.  My one complaint was that the middle dragged a little bit, but it picked right back up again towards the end.  And I absolutely loved the ending of this book.  It has a twist that I actually didn't see coming, even though there were clues thrown in.  I would recommend this book to the younger young adult readers, especially middle school kids.  It's books like these that can actually make someone put the video game controller down and crack open a book!

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