Book Two of the Teen Book Challenge takes me into the world of virtual gaming.
The Eye of Minds
by James Dashner, is like the popular video game The Sims, and the movie the Matrix, together.
The book mostly takes place in the game Lifeblood. An over the top and very real virtual world. You get into the game not by using a computer, but by a device they refer to as the coffin. The coffin is just that. It looks like a coffin.
When the lid seals, it immerses you in this virtual world by micro strands, that bore into your skin. There, it feeds to the chip in your brain to stimulate the world. The coffin feeds you, releases other body functions, and can sustain you for months at a time. There are different levels of coffins that you can buy. The more pricy the coffin, the more realistic the experience.
But the thing that I stress here is that what happens in the game, your body does feel. You get beaten up in the game, your body feels the sensation. You can adjust the settings, however, the hard-core gamers like to keep the experience feeling as real as possible.
With any game, there are things to buy, people to meet and experience points to level up.
When we meet Michael, he is on a quest for more experience points. Michael is a teenager in the real world, born to wealthy parents. He spends the majority of his free time in the game. His end goal is to have enough experience points to enter the next level of the game, Lifeblood Deep.
The game sets up different tasks, and if you complete them, you get the points.
Michael’s challenge is to talk a girl from jumping off a bridge. In the game if you die, you feel the pain, but as long as your chip is functioning, you will survive. However, if your chip is damaged in any way in the game, it will malfunction in the real world. Game over.
In talking to the girl, Michael discovers there is a gamer in the virtual world, Kaine, that is causing mayhem. Performing experiments on other people in the game, torturing them, all with an end that no one is aware of.
After the discovery of the rouge gamer, Michael is approached by the programmers, VirtNet, to stop Kaine in the world that they created. Michael can choose to help them, or else they can make his online and his real life a disaster.
Michael is not alone in his quest. Fellow gamers and hackers Bryson and Sarah, agree to help him.
This books takes you on a game within a game adventure. Written in the same pacing as the Maze Runner series, the author keeps the story moving and character development going at the same time.
You feel immersed in this virtual world, like you were in the coffin with them.
It takes place in the future, and as I am fully aware, there are online realms in real life, such as World of War craft, however, none with this level of detail or Matrix -like plug ins.
They also reference a war in Greenland in 2020 that was turned into a game within the game that the older generations like to play. I’m being nice, they are teenagers so they referenced older people in a less respectable light.
I liked this book because it is like a window into the future (remove crazy hacker Kaine but you get the idea).
This is were the technology is headed for the gaming community. Wearable tech and more realistic virtual worlds are a present day thing. This book takes place more than twenty years in the future. Technology can be at this level by then.
I also see it as a great book for teen boys who struggle with reading. The book is three hundred and ten pages long, however, it is a quick read. It also uses language they are already familiar with from gaming, and the fact that it ties that gaming world and an adventure into one story, will keep them interested.
I will continue to read the series, as book two is already out. Being a tech nerd myself, I want to see more of how this world unfolds, and who the mysterious Kaine is.
A great suggestion as a title to read. If you enjoyed Maze Runner you will enjoy this book as well. If you haven’t read either there would be no preference in which to read first. They are both a fantastic read.
The end. Game Over.
Yesterday’s book review for the teen book challenge was by Kiera Cass.