Review: The Eye of Minds

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Hi bookies (you literary nerds)! Here’s a new review for you.

Title: The Eye of Minds
Author: James Dashner
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
# of pages: 310

So let’s jump right into this. This book is quite interesting. Sci-Fi books about virtual reality, connecting your brain to a virtual ‘net, or especially life-like videogames are always iffy for me. Some are very good, others are too deep, and some are just not my cup of tea and I can’t muscle my way past the first few chapters. The description seemed more or less interesting, but it still depended on how the author chose to develop the story, right? Just take a look at the blurb:

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 Minds is 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.

This book started out iffy to me, but it wasn’t too focused on world-building which actually helped me. It focused on the situation, what’s going on, and that was interesting enough to keep me going.

Michael is a rich gamer kid who loves gaming above all else. Gaming is basically his life. Whenever he’s not gaming, he’s just doing the regular things that have to get done to get through the day. His best friends, Bryson and Sarah, have that in common. The three are an amazing trio out to have fun who have good programming skills and apparently to much time on their hands. With nicknames like the Terrible Trio, the Trifecta to Dissect-ya, the Burn-and-Pillage-y Trilogy, shows how they aren’t the most mature kids out there, but they just want to have fun with friends. However, they’ve never met in person. With terms like the NerveBox, Coffin, VirtNet, Core, Portal you know you’re talking about a futuristic setting.

Now about the main characters, all three are young teenagers who can be classified as gamer nerds. But they have the computer skills to back it up. So while they may not be anyone important in real life and they may be looked down upon, they don’t mind because they matter to each other and are hackers with advanced skills in the gaming world where they usually live anyway.

Unfortunately, their carefree life is about to come to a sharp halt. A secret organization blackmails Michael into helping them catch a criminal mastermind in the gaming world who is not satisfied with infecting the game- now when he kills in the game, you’ll die- or worse- in real life. So not only does Michael have to catch a killer with nearly unreal, advanced computer skills… He has to do it without any help, besides that of his two best pals. If he loses, it’s game over for his life. Or so he thinks. What is the killer’s obsession with Michael? What is the secret behind his identity and motives?

This book does a good job in world-building, despite the challenges. However, the plot can get a little slow in some parts. I think I most enjoyed Michael’s interactions with his friends. He is someone who spends a lot of time in his head, but he doesn’t really get anywhere with all that thinking. Strangely enough, though his friends are the only ones that matter in his life, Michael doesn’t really share any of the problems that really worry him. He is a sort of confusing character that when you look back on it, doesn’t seem to have much depth. The ending was a total surprise though and a real cliffhanger that neatly sums up all the small details that don’t really make sense in the book.

So this book, to sum it all up, is not really my cup of tea. Despite that, I enjoyed it and would be interested in reading the second book. I give this book a 3/5. Keeps a good interest level but can be a bit tough to slog though at times. If you love videogames and wish you could live in them, maybe this book is for you. What’s your favorite genre? Let us know in the comments below.

Review: Yesterday’s Thief

Hi bookies (you raving book lovers),

I know that you’ve probably been waiting for the next book to check out, right? Or maybe you have been enjoying a good book yourself and want to read some more. Either way, I am happy to present this new review on Al Macy’s “Yesterday’s Thief”. Here are the basics:

Title: Yesterday’s Thief
Author: Al Macy
Genre: Sci-fi, Mystery

Now the blurb:

It’s the year 2020, and Eric Beckman is a mind-reading detective.
Although he reads only the conscious thoughts of the people he interviews, it usually gives him enough of an edge to overcome his inexperience as a PI. But mind reading is hell on relationships. Trusting comes hard when you know what people are really thinking.
The case of his life lands in his lap when a beautiful woman materializes during a televised baseball game. She floats in midair, then drops to the ground, comatose.
Beckman is at her bedside when she wakes up. From the moment she opens her eyes, she has him under her spell. He vows to figure out where—or when—she came from, even if it kills him.
The stakes increase when she disappears without a trace. Worse, she holds the key to a worldwide energy catastrophe. If Beckman can’t find her and unlock her secrets, economies will collapse, and the world will spiral down into chaos.

Let’s do things a little differently this time. First of all, my rating for this book is 3/5 stars. It is an good book to pass the time, but nothing I will be raving about or dying to read. It’s just kind of a “Meh” book.

shrug

Why? Well, let’s get into that.

The good: The author does a really good job for the introduction. He gets straight to telling the story. It just so happens that this beginning is very unique. A mysterious woman just appears out of thin air in the middle of a broadcasted baseball game… Yeah, definitely not your usual beginning. So you immediately want to know more, of course. You meet your main characters and get a brief description of the main characters and co. Our main character, the mind-reading private investigator, has all the right connections/friends to meet the mysterious woman as she is in a temporary coma.

I’ll be honest. At first I had big hopes for these interesting characters. I mean, mind-reading powers? Awesome! Mysterious woman materializes out of thin air? Great! You later find out she time traveled- yet another topic I am fascinated by. Everything seems to point towards a great story developing. Even the cover and blurb sound/ look professional and cool! Unfortunately, that’s where the bad starts to kick in.

Maybe one of the things I was most disappointed by was the lack of character development. I mean, you can do so much for this story just by giving a little bit of backstory. How did Eric get his powers? Since when has he had these powers? It is hinted at that he has had it for some time. How did he first feel when he discovered them? How did he discover it? As for Viviana, our second main character, what was her childhood like? How did it feel living with a genius? When did she develop her knack for burglary skills. How did she justify it?

As for the world building, it’s decent but things like the world situation and struggle with energy and economic problems can be explained more. The society is futuristic but we are not given too much in regards to the societal advancements. There is a romantic relationship, unfortunately, it’s my least favorite kind: the insta-love kind. There is a physical attraction between the two characters involved and that’s basically it. They throw all sense and reason to the wind and “trust” each other that easily. It kind of feels like they are just lonely and desperate for some type company.

Now, despite these shortcomings, the story is decent. It doesn’t go the way you expect. There are quite a few twists that throw you off and keep the story interesting, enough to keep you interested. Think mind-reading, learning languages, natural disasters, burglary adventures, manhunts, romance, an “evil genius”, and life-threatening wounds. Plenty to keep a fast-paced story running. Would I read this again? Probably not. Once is enough. And if I had known before hand what it would be like, I would probably just save it for a rainy day, when I have no other reading material, but feel like relaxing with a casual book.

What do you think about this book, readers? Do you think that you would read it? Does the blurb convince you? What would you want to know about our main characters? Hope you enjoyed this review!