In James Dashner's newest book, "The Eye of Minds," he explores what it would be like to live in a virtual world. The protagonist, Michael, spends much of his time in a "Coffin," something that looks much like a coffin, where he can experience other worlds virtually.
It's all about gaming, and Michael is one of the best. He spends time on the VirtNet (the name for the virtual world) with his two friends, Sarah and Bryson. The Coffin has wires that connect under his skin (sounds creepy, right?) so that all the virtual experiences are physical as well as mental. But as the reader learns in the beginning of the story, when you die in a virtual world, you still wake up in the real world.
A problem arises, however: people are losing their minds in the virtual world and ending up in comas in the real world. When Michael is recruited to find out what is going on, he can't say no. He and his two friends, who have never met in the real world, are a team.
Much of the story is about what happens in the virtual world when Michael, Sarah and Bryson are trying to find the bad guy. So while there is action, there isn't a lot of human interaction -- it's all virtual.
Dashner does a fine job creating the VirtNet and making it an alternate place where people eat, play games, make friends and even go to the bathroom. What does not work so well are the characters. Although there is action aplenty, the character development is generally lacking.
Michael's character has a smart-aleck mouth. Throughout the book, he is told to be quiet by various people. "This one is no longer allowed to speak," says one woman about Michael. "Silence," says another. And yet another says, "Shut your smart-aleck mouth kid."
Those who enjoy gaming and the concept of a virtual world will enjoy this first-in-a-series. And there is a fabulous twist at the end that readers will not see coming.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Delacorte Press, for review purposes.
If you would like to continue receiving book reviews, including information about author appearances, author interviews and giveaways, please click the "Subscribe" icon. It's free and anonymous. Thank you for reading, and thank you for sharing this article with others.