The Eye of Minds by James Dashner
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.
Michael is a lonely boy who sees more of his housekeeper than his parents. His best friends are two teens that he only knows online who are also talented hackers like him. When he and his friends are hired by the government to find an elusive gamer linked to terrorist activity, they’re in for a wild adventure in the VirtNet.
This is a fast-paced, thriller that teens and adults alike will enjoy. Most of the story takes place in the virtual reality setting, but it’s so lifelike that it feels real, and the danger is often real. There is a fun gaming aspect. The mystery and suspense builds to an exciting, climactic ending with a shocking surprise I didn’t see coming. The Eye of Minds is the start of an electrifying new series.