Saturday, December 7, 2013

James Dashner's The Eye of Minds

The blurb:
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 brain0dead. 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 get 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 the game and reality will be blurred forever.

I really enjoyed James Dashner's Maze Runner and ordered The Eye of Minds looking forward to Dashner's latest adventure series. Set in a futuristic world where gaming is even more popular than it is in our time, we discover that gamers are able to undergo total mind and body immersion. Gamers like Michael, the lead character, spend most of their time in VirtNet where they experience fantasy worlds, risk their lives without any physical risk, and spend time with their friends without ever meeting them in person. It's a time and world where resources and VirtNet make nearly anything seem possible.

Michael leads a good life in his own way. His wealthy parents travel often, but they have left him a nanny that smooths nearly every problem away and provides amazing meals. School is uneventful. Michael has two close friends that he sees daily in VirtNet. Michael comes across an unnerving thing - a young girl intentionally kills herself by destroying her code in front of him in VirtNet. In the brief exchange before her suicide, she tells Michael about Kaine and how he's killing people on VirtNet. It's the first time Michael has seen someone intentionally destroy their own code, an act that leaves their human body a vegetable or can kill them altogether.

When Michael is approached by a government agency and asked to use his programming and coding skills to help catch a dangerous presence on the VirtNet, he reluctantly agrees and brings his close friends to help him. The kids wonder why the government has brought them in. It turns out that there are many groups like them; Skilled coders who spend most of their waking time on VirtNet asked to track down this dangerous presence and find out exactly what Kaine is doing. The three friends enter a highly developed, frightening and quickly evolving set of games/worlds in VirtNet. The only thing that is certain is that the danger has gone beyond their gaming identities and leached into their real worlds.

The VirtNet passages are well developed and someone immersed in the gaming world might find The Eye of Minds particularly entertaining. Like The Maze Runner, this new series gives us a strong young male lead character and the book is likely to go over well with young boys who enjoy adventure novels and gaming.

  • ISBN-10: 0385741391 - Hardcover $9.75
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (October 8, 2013), 320 pages.
  • Review copy courtesy of the Amazon Vine Reviewers Program.

About the Author:
James Dashner is the New York Times bestselling author of The Maze Runner trilogy and The 13th Reality series. Learn more by checking out his website,

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