Monday, March 30, 2015

Book Club: The Eye of Minds

The Eye of Minds is the first book in James Dashner's The Mortality Doctrine series. Dashner is also the author of the more well-known Maze Runner series, of which I have seen the first movie but have not read any of the books. Here is part of the description of this one from the back of the book: "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. But....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 government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker. They want [Michael] 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."

(picture taken from Goodreads;
cover art by Kekai Kotaki;
book design by Stephanie Moss)

First Impression: This is a really great story idea, but I'm not sure I like the actual book. Dashner is trying to do too many things at once, and the ideas aren't quite cohesive. Also, I don't like the psychological and emotional aspects of the characters. Why does Michael feel ashamed about his anger when he thinks he's being kidnapped? That seems like a normal reaction to me. And why is all of the emotion in this book so fleeting? Is it poor writing, or is that just how the author perceives adolescence?

Conclusion: I guess I'm not a big fan of Dashner's writing style, although this is the only book I've read by him, so it's hard to compare. The characters in this one were flat and contradictory. For example, Michael is supposed to be the most responsible of the three main characters, but as soon as the action really gets going, he's the one verbally attacking everyone they meet and generally being difficult. Also, the ending was horrible. I guess Dashner made the decisions that he did so he could continue the series on a certain path, but it pushed me even farther away from characters I cared little about to begin with. I almost feel bad for not liking it, because he obviously enjoyed writing it (my assumption based on his appreciation notes at the end of the book). But, so it is. I just didn't feel any connection to this book by the end. I probably won't read anything else he writes.

Recommendation: The people I know who liked this book were fans of Dashner before, so if you've read any of his other books and enjoy his writing style, here's some more.


  1. I haven't read any book by Dashner, and haven't planned to. It seems he is more into action, based on some reviews I read, is he?

    1. Yes, he is definitely more action-oriented than other authors. As I mentioned, I'm not a big fan of his writing, but if you're looking for more action and less character development, you might like him.