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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 19 October 2013
First of all, I bought The Eye Of Minds just after I'd read The Maze Runner trilogy - which I thoroughly enjoyed. And although I've enjoyed this tale, it didn't quite live up to TMR. Though that's not to take anything away from TEOM, Maze Runner's simply a fantastic read, and difficult to live up to.

I would have given it a three or possibly a low four star rating, but the ending blew my socks off. I wasn't expecting it to end quite like that (at least the end of this first part of the series). So I gave it a solid four stars. In some ways it's a little similar to TMR; the mysteries, the challenges, and the surprises. The way you think you have the general plot figured out, only to be shown how mistaken you were, and taken on a completely different course, one of the things I really enjoy about James Dashner's novels.

Highly recommended.
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What do you get when you combine the Internet with the kind of virtual reality stuff seen in old movies and sci-fi novels?

I don't really know, but according to James Dashner, you get VirtNet (aka "The Sleep"). This "place" serves as the battleground of "The Eye of Minds," the first novel of The Mortality Doctrines -- a place where money can buy you any online experience. And while Dashner has a few rough spots in his writing, this ends up being a fast-moving, twisty cyberthriller.

Michael is a hardcore gamer, spending most of his time on the VirtNet -- a network that allows people to experience anything they want, anywhere they want, with anyone they want, while their body sleeps in a Matrix-like "coffin." Even more important, he is a hacker who can make his way around the restrictions that hamper regular people.

Then he sees a friend being hacked, which causes her to literally kill herself -- in and out of the game. Dead for real. And she's not the only one -- more and more people are dying in the VirtNet, and more malfunctions are leading to death.

Well, as in real life, the government can't do anything about this sort of thing unless they have a hacker on their side -- so they select Michael and his friends Sarah and Bryson to find and stop the hacker known as Kaine, in the VirtNet. Unfortunately, this requires him to leave the parts of the VirtNet that he's familiar with, and venture out into strange, unpredictable areas. And if he doesn't watch himself, the REAL WORLD might be affected by the mysterious Kaine's work.

I've read/seen a fair number of people-in-VR-networks stories over the years, ranging from "oh come on" ("Caverns of Socrates") to "this is AWESOME" ("Epic," "Summer Wars"). And "The Eye of Minds" is definitely on the better end of the spectrum -- and a lot of this comes from Dashner's expansive imagination, and his knack for creating sci-fi adventures that are both exciting and thrilling. In other words, if you liked "The Maze Runner," you will probably like this.

Dashner does stumble over some issues early in the book, such as awkward dialogue and too-slow pacing -- it feels like he's struggling a bit to get to the parts of the story that he really wants to tell. Unsurprisingly, his writing and plotting both level out nicely once he gets to the meat of the story, and succeeds in flowering out a world where nothing is real, except when it might kill you.

But there's also a dark, gruesome edge to the story, from the creatures that threaten Michael to a girl who bloodily kills herself by removing her Core. It adds a sense of urgency to the story, and frankly it's pretty spooky.

Michael is a pretty standard hero -- he's clever, innovative but has a heart of gold, and he has an easy, strong bond with the others in his little gang. There's a little hint of romance forming with Sarah, but it isn't really intrusive at this point -- instead it's a little gang with a girl, a fun guy, and the hero. The characters are not hugely original, but Dashner does them fairly well.

"The Eye of Minds" is a solid if flawed start to a promising new trilogy, and those who enjoyed Dashner's prior books will probably get a kick out of this one. Just be warned: it leaves you hanging for Book Two.
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on 27 August 2016
Alright, it was OK for a light read. The main problem was that it didn't connect well with the underlying premise / world within which it was set. Essentially, the skills and scenarios that underlie the core story line just "magically happen" with no sense of explanation of how it happens or what they do... "they close their eyes, the code flies around them and they manipulate it"... Umm yeah, bit like "he closed his eyes, said 'I DO believe in fairies' and he found himself magically transported to fairy land".

The end was fast and (for me at least) relatively predictable, so the 'twist' was unfortunately more of a 'tweak' by the time it happened, then the book was suddenly done. OK, it's part of a series, so sudden cliffhanger endings make it easier to continue, but it felt like it was wrapped up artificially quickly to meet that very purpose.

It sounds like I'm critical, I am. It's a critique, a review. I still rated as 3 stars though. The reason being that I did not expect a William Gibson novel, I expected a story in line with the Maze Runner series, and that's what I got. Was good holiday reading, endless twists and turns, and the constant questioning of "is this real?"

In all it was a good, fun read, and I will continue the series. I just felt it was let down as it picked a "world" for a backdrop and just staged the story in front of it. The same story could as easily have been told against other backdrops with similar results as it didn't really link deeply with the world. Bit of a maze runner clone, but enjoyable holiday reading all the same. Some nice ideas touched on and interested to see where he takes the story.
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on 9 April 2015
Was quick to dispatch and arrive, great book, really makes you think. I loved the Maze Runner books and I think Dashner has done another superb job!
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on 17 January 2015
There was a good mix of action and tensity and the storyline is perfect. The end to this book is one of the best endings I've read five out of five
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on 15 June 2015
This book is a thrilling horror story written by my idle and role model this is a brilliant book and should be read by everyone and shared.
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on 14 January 2015
For me, this book had a good start, finish and twist. But the rest was quite random. I hope the next in the series is a bit better...
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on 19 November 2013
It's a good read, slightly poor in places. Bad English or poorly edited. It's a poor follow up to Maze Runner. Nevertheless an enjoyable read.
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on 18 May 2015
Gripping and amazing, I am a huge James Dashner fan, and this was very good. Although it was nowhere near Maze Runner standards, it is very hard to live up to. I loved it!
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on 14 February 2014
An original idea, a fantastic read with an amazing plot twist at the end that I just did not see coming.
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