Series: The Mortality Doctrine #1
Published by Random House on October 8, 2013
Genres: Science Fiction, Thriller, Young Adult
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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.
The Eye of Minds takes all the elements of an epic fantasy with a unique world, crazy creatures and whirlwind events and changes it up – by setting it in a virtual reality world. Here we experience James Dashner’s epic imagination with horrific events, fantastical happenings, scary monsters and more.
Michael and his gamer friends Bryson and Sarah meet regularly in the virtual world called the Virtnet, where they assume virtual identities in the game called Lifeblood Deep (which pretty much reminds me of Second Life). The three gamers are skilled at manipulating code and hacking, which puts them on the radar of the VirtNet Security (VNS). The VNS kidnap Michael and adopts his expertise in looking for cyber terrorist Kaine and the Mortality Doctrine while he games. Now it’s kind of strange that Michael would be so agreeable to putting his and his friend’s lives in danger with very little reward, but for the sake of saving the world and becoming a hero, why not?
The search for Kaine is like a horrible nightmare that won’t let up – a brutal game of bloody battles resulting in constant deaths and respawning, an endless tunnel submerged in darkness, a huge line of corpses whose eyes follow you around, and the inside of a volcano with lava impending. Throughout their entire gaming career, the trio have been armed with the knowledge that it is only a game and they will wake up in real life, but they now have the added danger of KillSims. KillSims are these horrible, nightmarish demons that will wipe away your existence and damage your brain so that you wake up either dead or crazy. When I picked this up, I didn’t expect the thrilling, nightmare aspect of the book and I quite enjoyed it.
The Virtnet world was really well developed which made the constant, nonstop action really exciting. I’m the type of person who gets addicted to games easily and would probably not see the light of the day if virtual reality was ever invented. The concept of having a Coffin which is fully equipped to make your gaming experience as realistic as possible is fantastic – you can feel pain, sensations and even eat in game. I loved how the better players could manipulate the code and hack, whereas things like firewalls and passwords prevented them from going further.
Character development was stunted in The Eye of Minds – I couldn’t connect to any of the characters and they were quite cookie cutter. Michael is brave, talented, and addicted whereas his friend Bryson provides some comic relief and Sarah is the mandatory girl. We don’t really get any character development or background on who these people are – as they have never met in real life. I can definitely relate to having online gamer friends and building closer relationships to them than ones in person, but I would have liked a bit more to their friendship than just banter and maybe some development as to why they would risk their lives for the VNS.
The Eye of Minds is an exploration of a virtual reality world filled with horrors and the dark side of the cyber world, with only hints at romance. It is filled with suspense, fast paced action, epic gaming that will have you glued to its pages…until the crazy, unexpected ending that will you won’t see coming. I’d definitely recommend it to others who are looking for the next YA thriller set in a cyber world! Why have I not read a James Dashner novel before?
Thank you to Random House Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review! The Eye of Minds was released on 8 October 2013 and is available from all major bookstores.
Rating: 4 out of 5