Book: The Eye of Minds

"The Eye of Minds"

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. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. 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 effects are horrific–the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.

And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him 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.”

If you’re looking for something exactly like The Maze Runner, then this book is for you. If you’re looking for something similar but has its own trajectory– Well, you might want to look somewhere else.

Okay, maybe that’s not fair. The Eye of Minds is a good enough novel. Nowhere near as good as James Dashner’s previous trilogy, but The Eye of Minds is shaping up to be a very good follow-up. But that’s also the thing. It follows The Maze Runner. Too much, if I’m to be honest.

Sure, they don’t exactly share the same elements. But the journey that our main protagonist takes to get to where he needs to go? It’s way too similar, and although months have passed in between me reading The Maze Runner and The Eye of Minds, I couldn’t help but connect the parallels. And it is distracting.

Things do improve, a lot, once we reach the end game. This is when The Eye of Minds completely leaves the shadow of The Maze Runner to finally stand on its own.

It’s just too bad that it takes us almost the whole book before we finally see that this is a different story. That this is not a retread of something that had worked before.

Although, if we had a more interesting protagonist, I don’t think I would have minded the parallelism between the two stories as much. But as it is, our main protagonist is pretty much one note throughout the whole book. Of course, we find out why in the end–but, once again, when everything happens near the end and during the end, then you don’t win. You’ve already lost your reader.

But seeing as I did finish the book, I am looking forward to see where James Dashner takes this story. I am curious as to how this whole thing will unravel.

Now, before you go, why don’t you check out a few other reaction posts on the book?
Alice Marvels
Book Twirps

Movie: Wreck-It Ralph

"Wreck-It Ralph"

Ralph is tired of being overshadowed by Fix-It Felix, the good guy star of their game who always gets to save the day. But after decades doing the same thing and seeing all the glory go to Felix, Ralph decides he’s tired of playing the role of a bad guy. He takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a game-hopping journey across the arcade through every generation of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero. On his quest, he meets the tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty. But it’s the feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz from the candy-coated cart racing game, Sugar Rush, whose world is threatened when Ralph accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens the entire arcade. Will Ralph realize his dream and save the day before it’s too late?” — (C) Disney

The first time I saw the trailer for Wreck-It Ralph, I knew I was going to be in theaters its first day of release. And I was. And I loved it as much as I loved the trailer. Seriously. Even the really quiet parts.

Wreck-It Ralph has the perfect mix of adventure and heart, with a healthy dose of nostalgia. And by healthy, I mean just enough. The familiar computer game characters that appear on screen don’t take away the spotlight from the main characters–but they don’t feel like tacked-on gimmicks either, with Clyde (the orange Pacman ghost), Zangief (from Street Fighter), and a zombie from House of the Dead playing a part in pushing Ralph into his journey.

The pace of the story could do with some work, but it’s a film. It’s not like we can change channels or tune it out while in the theater, right? It’s not dragging, so it doesn’t really detract from the whole feel of the film. But some parts, I felt, could’ve been more … faster, I guess. Like the whole chunk of sequences that had Ralph and Vanellope working together to make a car.

I know it’s important to build the relationship of the two characters, but–maybe there could’ve been a better way to do it? Or, you know, they could’ve made this part shorter and just added a different scene prior or after to further push the relationship of the two.

Other than that, the only gripe I have about the movie is the first time we see villain King Candy work around the game codes. I felt like it could’ve benefited from a better lead-in scene, as the actual scene of the monarch swimming in codes was a little jarring.

Is that a spoiler? Sorry. It’s a very villain thing to do to cheat though, so it’s not that big of a spoiler…right?

Now, going back to why I loved the film, it’s actually very simple: Wreck-It Ralph is a celebration of who you are. Not who people want you to be, or what you think people want you to be. It celebrates the role you play in life, no matter how other people see it.

It’s a movie about who you are–not what you are.