This was my third Bout of Books book! 🙂
Title: The Eye of Minds
Author: James Dashner
Genre: Sci-fi, YA
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: October 2008
Stand alone or series: First in a series
How did I get this book: Bought
Let’s start with a brief synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.
What I thought:
Okay, so I was kind of disappointed in this book, and because I am trying to finish/read most of If I Stay today, I’m going to make this review quick.
As you might have seen, I was a HUGE fan of Dashner’s Maze Runner series (you can read my review HERE), so I had been looking forward to reading this ever since I finished that.
I just don’t really know what to say about this book.
I REALLY liked the idea behind it, and I like the fact that Dashner just throws you into the world in each of his books. I think that’s cool because you are immersed in the story right away. Just like in TMR, the world is super interesting: you’ve got this VirtNet, which is a seriously fascinating virtual reality in which you can pretty much play whatever you want. You can play generic (in that we have so many of them already) games like shoot-em-up games, but then there’s Lifeblood, which is pretty much just playing life – you do what you do in the real world: get your hair cut, go out to eat, go to the park. At first I was like “what the heck is the point of this?” but then I realized if there was a game like this in our world, people would actually play this. Dashner’s got all the new tech/slang words like in TMR: the Coffin is what you lay in to Sink into the Virtnet; you go through a Portal to Lift yourself into the Wake (real life). I love that. I love being able to see this new world so clearly.
But then the world wasn’t really developed. At least, not the Wake, the real world outside of the VirtNet. Dashner makes it seem like the outside world is kind of screwed up, but there’s practically NOTHING about it. Michael, our main character, goes to school one day, but we don’t really get any descriptions (which I suppose makes sense in the end). I’m hoping that we get more of it in the subsequent novels, much like we did in the TMR series.
Also, I’m sorry to keep comparing it to that, but that’s what I was doing as I read it. Maybe that wasn’t fair, but this is the same author, right? I am surprised that this is what came AFTER TMR. This book seems less polished and well-done as TMR. It definitely felt like this was a less experienced Dashner, which doesn’t make sense. The writing style felt…well, clunky. There was a lot of repetition or sentences that didn’t need to be there.
Honestly, I hate this, but I just couldn’t care less about the characters. Michael is our main character, and I couldn’t get involved with him. I actually ended up like the secondary characters, Bryson and Sarah, more than Michael. And I didn’t even really care about them either. As I was reading, I was just thinking how much more I should have been involved with their emotions/plight. But I couldn’t. I didn’t relate to them at all. This sucks because I really did want to like them and care about them. The plot and what was happening to them was so interesting, but they weren’t. However, I did enjoy their sarcasm and they made me laugh a few times, which was good. And I will say part of the reason I want to read the next book is to find out what happened to Bryson and Sarah, so that’s something.
I do want to say though that I really loved the end. I wasn’t surprised with the twist we had in the middle of the book; I had actually predicted that one. But I can’t believe I didn’t see the end coming. It was perfect, such a good idea. I thought it wrapped up well and paved the way for the next book. Because of the ideas in the book and the ending, I know that I will buy the next book when it comes out this fall.
The bottom line:
Really interesting and cool ideas for the plot and world in which the novel is based. Not so great characters; I didn’t really care about them the way I wanted to. I’m kind of brokenhearted that I didn’t love this like I was hoping to. I do recommend reading it though and I will buy the next book when it comes out.
Rating: 6.5 – first time I’ve given a half point, but it wasn’t quite a 7 but wasn’t a 6 either.
Reading next: If I Stay by Gayle Forman