Sunday, January 5, 2014

Book Review: The Eye of Minds by James Dashner


The Eye of Minds by James Dashner
Hardcover, 308 pages
Published October 8, 2013 by Delacorte Press

 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.

By Meghan T. 

 James Dashner does it again. A competent successor to The Maze Runner series, The Eye of Minds is a captivating and suspenseful sci fi adventure that left me craving the next installment of the trilogy.

The Eye of Minds follows the journey of Michael and his friends, Bryson and Sarah, as they track down a crooked madman hacker who has been using his skills in the Virtnet to corrupt others and render the human bodies of his victims brain dead.

In the world that Dashner establishes, those who can afford to purchase a "Coffin," the piece of technology that can transport the mind to the Virtnet, are empowered with the ability to explore an almost limitless world, in which death does not exist. When reading, it is evident that Dashner put a lot of detail and forethought into the workings and infrastructure of the Virtnet, and this is what really makes the world that Micheal lives in an original one.

As for the characters, I found the dialogue that they exchange amongst themselves entertaining, but I could muster nothing on a more profound level. Although the frequent exchanges of banter and sarcasm among the trio of friends brought a sense of realism to the story, I did not sympathize with or relate to any of the characters on a deeper level, which I presume has to do with the lack of character insight and development throughout the course of the novel.

Although the premise of the book kept me turning page after page, I began to lose interest somewhere near the hundred page mark, when Michael & co. are in the throes of their journey. This was undoubtedly influenced by the repetitive nature of the tasks that the characters faced. After they moved past an obstacle, another would appear shortly after, and following that one's completion, the characters would be faced with yet another obstacle to overcome, and so on and so forth. This is where I began to focus less on the character's current situation and just wanted to reach the final pages of the book to discover what conclusion was in store. However, I put my big girl panties on, sat down, and read through it  all.

Good decision. After braving through the book's drier sections, fueled primarily by anticipation for it's conclusion, I was presented with a major, completely unexpected plot twist. And boy was it a twist - the kind that causes the story to make sense on an entirely new level. I won't delve into further detail for obvious spoiler avoiding reasons, but I will mention that upon reflection, I realize that Dashner does provide subtle clues that foreshadow the plot's sudden twist. However, I had gullibly attributed these clues to a cause that Dashner leads the reader to believe, but is essentially a distraction from their real cause, which only contributes further to the element of surprise contained in those last few pages. 

Overall, despite my criticisms of the book, I recommend it to any YAers out there who are craving a sci fi adventure with a hint of danger and mystery. Read through the weaker spots and you will encounter an ending well worth the wait.

Rating: 4

Cover Comment:
Very cool. Sharp. Fitting. Grabbed my attention. 

Book Source: Gift

1 comment:

  1. Two of my favorite books reviewed in one day! TFIOS and The Eye of Minds! :)