Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Eye Of Minds by James Dashner (Review)

Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Publication.Date  October 8th 2014
Published By:  Delacorte Books for Young Readers
AuthorJames Dashner

The Eye Of Minds on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:

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 Mindsis 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.


Tanya - wherever her body might be - was dead. She'd ripped out her Core before dying, a feat of programming, protected by passwords, that she only could've done to herself. 
"Go ahead and move forward, then. But don't assume that Kaine is the only one following you or trying to stop you. Do you understand me? Assume everyone you meet is your enemy."

       The Eye of Minds is an action-packed and edgy cyber adventure with plot that revolves around the concept of virtual reality, otherwise known as VirtNet. Sporting an intriguing, futuristic premise and highly imaginative vision, this book is a treat for all fans of science fiction thrillers. Suspenseful and twisty, The Eye of Minds blurs the line between what's real and what's not, making the reader question everything that transpires within the pages. It's a great mind-bender written in signature Dashner style - gripping, intense and stimulating. 

     Michael, the lead character, is a gamer addicted to Lifeblood Deep. Lifeblood is a game mimicking real life - realistic and gritty. And it's the most popular game in VirtNet. And what is VirtNet, you may ask? Why, VirtNet is a cool concept in itself! It's a vast cyber world, with games and hangouts for gamers of all ages. In VirtNet, you can experience just about anything you wish to - from physical pleasure to pain - and it's a whole body, full-stimulation experience. You can eat, but you'll never get fat in the real world because the Coffin (which is what most people call the NerveBox that allows them to connect to virtual reality) feeds you pure, healthy nutrients, even if you think you're eating some high calorie junk food. You can cut your hair, take a shower, even pee if you want to, and the Coffin will provide your brain and body with stimulants that will make the experience feel real. It's all extremely cool and entertaining, until someone decides to turn it into a nightmare. A cyber-terrorist named Kaine is somehow trapping people inside the Sleep, not letting them wake up. And not being able to get back to their real lives, some of them end up killing themselves. And not just in the virtual reality, but in the Wake, too.

     While playing Lifeblood Deep, Micheal witnesses a girl dig into her own skull and pull her Core out and then jump off the bridge (the Core being a piece of code preventing you from getting hurt/killed in the real world, even if something happens to your virtual self). He then gets kidnapped by masked men who, as he later finds out, work for VNS (VirtNet Security). Turns out, the government need his experience and hacking skills to find Kaine. His friends from the virtual world, Bryson and Sarah, agree to join him on his new quest to find the cyber terrorist (a quest that he is practically forced into), despite it being extremely dangerous and potentially deadly. To find Kaine, they'll have to go through a lot, including finding the path to the Hallowed Ravine first, and by the time they reach their destination, they'll be regretting ever getting involved in this case at all.

     This book will appeal to fans of science fiction interested in virtual reality, gaming and innovative technologies. Especially to teenage boys. The action packed plot is full of surprises and changes in scenery, making this a hold-on-tight-to-your-pants kind of read. The virtual world of VirtNet is well developed and described in a way that makes you wonder what it would be like to visit there one day and experience it all for yourself, but it also has a darker, more sinister side to it. And that's what makes this book so thrilling.

     The character development is on a decent level, though I personally didn't feel any deeper connection with any of the lead characters, perhaps because they seemed so young and different from the kids I grew up around. And, of course, it's totally understandable, considering the futuristic setting of this book and how incredibly technologically advanced their world is. That being said, I think teenage readers would not have any problem relating to the characters at all. I guess I'm just a bit too old for that ;)

     Overall, this book reminded me a lot of the movie The Matrix, and it's really no wonder, since Dashner himself admits it was one of his inspirations. The mystery behind Kaine's persona plays a big part in this book; discovering his motives is what keeps you turning the pages. And they're plenty of surprises along the way. Ultimately, The Eye of Minds is a promising beginning to a new, exciting series. It's not a perfect story, it has its shortcomings, but they're small enough to be easily overlooked, and Dashner's highly captivating writing style makes up for all of them.

About the author:

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James was born and raised in Georgia but now lives in the Rocky Mountains with his family. He has four kids, which some might think is too many but he thinks is just right. Once upon a time, James studied accounting and worked in the field of finance, but has been writing full time for several years. (He doesn’t miss numbers. At all.)

In his free time, James loves to read, watch movies and (good) TV shows, snow ski, and read. (Reading was mentioned twice on purpose.) Most of all, he’s thankful that he gets to make a living writing stories and considers himself pretty much the luckiest guy on the planet.
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