The eye of minds by James Dashner

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Doubleday Childrens, 2013. ISBN 9780857533142. ebook ISBN 9781448174195.
(Age: Lower secondary+) I am not a gamer though I can count several among my circle of friends but I can appreciate a fast-paced and complex plot with very believable characters - even though some of them are 'virtual'.
The action and tension of The Eye of Minds reminded me of The Matrix film with its slickness, blurring of reality and virtual reality and the ominous presence of evil (substitute 'Mr Smith' for 'Kaine').
Michael, Bryson and Sarah are three 'VirtNet' friends. They have never met in the 'Wake' but have shared and survived many virtual experiences, both good and bad, using their combined extraordinary hacking skills and technical savvy.
When they are recruited by mysterious government officials to help track down a diabolically clever cyber terrorist known only as Kaine, the 'game' becomes deadly serious.
Forget about creating wild fantasies in the virtual world, this is far more like creating horrific nightmares.
In this futuristic space, playing by the rules is forgotten as Michael and his friends run the gamut of colossal risks, demonstrating qualities of pluck, intelligence and initiative.
The text is written in a straight forward way which will ensure accessibility by reluctant readers, while the presence of both boy and girl protagonists will lend appeal for both genders. The first in the Mortality Doctrine series, this novel from the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, as well as the 13th Reality series and The Infinity ring, will be a sure fire winner with many young adult readers - especially those who are into the gaming action.
The moderate violence may be unsettling for some readers and thus recommended for Lower Secondary and up.
Sue Warren