Michael is a gamer, but then again, who isn’t? Pretty much everyone goes through their day just hoping for a chance to escape into VirtNet, a game where you can live outside reality. Some would even call this place a utopia. VirtNet was a place where you could meet people, go on adventures without having to worry about whether you’ll die, a place to be a better version of you. That all changes for Michael and his friends when he witnesses a horrible- and very real- death.
Everyone knows about Kaine in the cyber world, but they don’t know how strong he is. Causing terror attacks leaves the government no choice but to enlist Michael and his friends to find out who -or what- Kaine is. Hacking into the cyber system, Michael and his friends have a long journey ahead of them.
I will first start off by saying that I didn’t have very high expectations for this book. I wasn’t a fan of the Maze Runner trilogy, and as it happened, I wasn’t a fan of this novel either.
The writing is very chunky. There are slow sections where you just want to put down the book and never pick it up again, and there are the quick paced parts that come and go so quickly you’re not quite sure what happened. I found myself skimming a lot, and had to force myself to reread the pages. The beginning was really slow for me. I’m not sure why, because there was plenty of stuff that happened, but I put the book down and started reading another one until I started feeling guilty. I thought that maybe my dislike of the Maze Runner had made me prejudiced, but no, this novel just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Again, bringing up the Maze Runner, The Eye of Minds reminds me of how I felt about TMR. I loved the idea of TMR, I thought it was clever, and although a human maze has been used many many times, the way Dashner executed it was fresh. HOWEVER, his writing style and characters made it impossible for me to enjoy. This was also the case for The Eye of Minds. Having your own video game reality? How cool is that? The only other version of this idea I’ve seen is Sword Art Online, which is a fantastic anime, by the way. The idea of this novel is great, it’s just the way that Dashner wrote his plot and characters.
Speaking about the characters, I hated Michael. A lot. He was too Mary Sue. I feel like Dashner tried too hard to make Michael seem “different”. When will people realize that everyone is the same with subtle differences? Authors, please don’t try and make your characters seem nonhuman, unless they are just humans! Michael was portrayed as someone perfect, and I couldn’t sympathize with this guy. There was a part in the book where he described his ideal girl:
Everwhere Michael looked, he saw perfection. Perfect hair, perfect clothes, perfect muscles, perfect legs.
Not my cup of tea, he thought with a smile. He preferred dorky girls with messy hair and potato chip crumbs on their shirts.
This is perhaps more of a personal issue than a criticism towards Dashner’s writing, but why? You can still have “perfect legs” and “perfect clothes” and still be “dorky”? You shouldn’t put labels on things, because chances are, everyone fits many categories.
We never really learn a lot about Sarah and Bryson, except for the fact that they’re best friends with Micheal. We got a lot of Michael’s backstory, but never delved into either Sarah or Bryson’s background. I would’ve liked to know more about them, because while I was reading, they just felt static to me.
As I mentioned before, I loved the idea of this novel. However, Dashner really sucked on world building. There were various parts in the novel where Michael and his friends were “coding”. They never described it. Ever. Also, the novel never really describes about the game itself, it mostly just follows the plot. I would’ve liked to learn more about the game, as it was mostly the only thing I was interested in.
Overall, I didn’t enjoy this book, and I won’t be picking up the second book in this series.