‘The Eye of Minds’ by James Dashner

Hey guys! So yesterday (well today, considering it was 2am anyway) I finished The Eye of Minds by James Dashner, and in a previous post I did say I wanted to write a little review, or really more my thoughts about the book. Although I’m itching to read Divergent, I figured that I should probably write about it while it’s still fresh (somewhat) in my mind, before starting on Divergent and possibly getting the two worlds muddled up in my head. So without further ado! I’m going to split it into little parts to make it easier on just about everyone, including me, to read.

 

Character Development

I found that barely any character had any background. Michael, the main protagonist, had barely any background information, apart from the fact that he came from a wealthy family, had parents which were (very conveniently, may I add) never around, because they were ‘constantly travelling’. Now if you’ve read the book, you might disagree with this last statement (ooh, I wonder why to those who haven’t read it yet) – but either way, I still found it shifty and it just seemed lacking. Also, what about Michael’s school? He goes to school a grand total of two times, from memory. [mini spoilers here, but they’re really in like the first 50 pages of the book] The first time he is taken by the VNS, and the second time, it was (once again, very conveniently) a Friday, (although the actual day was never mentioned, nor were the previous 4 days of the week) as the next day Michael went off to spend the weekend in the VirtNet.

Maybe it’s just me, but I like to be emotionally invested into the characters, especially the main, for obvious reasons. But putting Michael aside, it seemed like Dashner went quite round about with the side characters as well, such as Bryson and Sarah. You barely know anything about them, they’re just ‘Michael’s best friends who he has never met’, but they’ve apparently been through thick and thin together, known each other for years, and are even better than his parents, as said by Michael himself. While I have absolutely nothing against internet friends, as I have a few myself, and it’s great to have them, because I can talk to them about anything and they don’t judge me. However, I feel like if a government organisation comes and kidnaps you, should your parents, or at least your nanny Helga, be your first choice to tell? You just got kidnapped, for gods sake.

But really, there’s only a handful of characters in this game that really come to mind and are actually important – Michael, Bryson, Sarah, Kaine, and perhaps Gunner Skale. Characters such as Ronika and Agent Weber really aren’t too important, although they could be of more importance (well at least, Agent Weber) in future books of the series. But really, there’s only four or five major characters, and after reading the book, I don’t feel like I know more than the bare minimum about them. Of course, this is linked to my next point about plot.

Plot

Whilst I enjoyed the book, looking back on it I feel like there were some points that could have been left out, and some other points that were definitely lacking. I got kind of bored around the middle, during the little arc of Devils of Destruction, and before that, when they were trying to enter the game, their fight dragged on for way too long, and I had no idea what was going on really. I didn’t care too much for Ryker and Stonewall, nor about the 2022 War of Greenland. After that came the Path, which was way too long for my liking, and had too many stages which I eventually got bored of, although the description of each stage was very intricate. So basically, it was long and drawn out kind of plot, but still mostly entertaining at the same time. 

(once again, slight spoilers here) Oh, and one little point I’d like to make. Bryson, Sarah and Michael are teenagers, at most. Seriously, why on earth did the VNS think they were the most ideal candidates? (If you ignore one obvious factor once you have completed the book). And really, how easy was it to just get them to say yes? Granted, VNS didn’t give Michael much of a choice, threatening his family and what not. But Bryson and Sarah? It was just too easy for the three of them to agree, in my opinion.

Twists

Linked to the plot were the plot twists, which I found mostly enjoyable and not cliche, especially the last few. The only plot twist that I found wasn’t very satisfactory was the one (slight spoilers here, but I won’t go too indepth) about Gunner Skale, and albeit all the  hype in the beginning about him and how he was some legendary, amazing, ground breaking player, he definitely didn’t live up to the hype. I can understand how Skale might have gone a bit loony after disappearing for several years onto the Path, but it seemed like, as with several other factors in this book, he was just put there for convenience, so that not too many irrelevant characters would have to be made. Why didn’t Skale just suicide, be Lifted up? Why would he choose to become some woodland hippie? This just goes right back to the character development, really. (spoilers end here)
Overall
So even though it seemed like all I’ve done was nitpick at this novel, they’re really just kind of the small things which are easy to overlook. I found the book enjoyable, as I love immersing myself in the world of a sci-fi novel, especially one which is similar to SAO (Sword Art Online – a very popular Japanese anime which I recommend people to watch!). While looking this up, I found a new sci-fi novel called Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline which seems similar in terms of virtual reality, which will be on my to read list after Divergent. But going back to The Eye of Minds, I would still recommend this to anyone who likes sci-fi novels, especially relating to virtual reality and gaming (things I absolutely love). 
So if I had to give it a rating, it would probably be a 7/10! Just because I love the theme and idea of the book, and definitely can’t wait until The Rule of Thoughts comes out, because man, that ending…
 
Anyway, thanks for reading, even though it was a bit of a text heavy post! I’m off to read Divergent
 
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