Book Review & Giveaway: The Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine #1) by James Dashner

Posted 10/07/2013 by alicemarvels in Science Fiction
Eye of Minds by James Dashner




Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 8, 2013
Page Count: 323


thrilling action; imaginative plot; mind-bending sci-fi concepts; unputdownable pace


characterization take a backseat to the action

A thrilling start to a mind-bending new series.

Following his successful Maze Runner YA series, James Dashner is beginning a new cyberthriller series, The Mortality Doctrinewith an action-packed thrill ride of a starter, The Eye of Minds. Our protagonist Michael is a skilled gamer in the VirtNet, the fully immersive virtual reality world that all humans can access easily through “coffins”—hi-tech devices that jack them into this shared virtual world nicknamed “the Sleep.”

Within the Sleep, anything is possible—dancing on the moon, fighting in wars from the past, flying, you name it. Any experience can be easily accessed, and a skilled gamer and coder can move up the ranks in this world of few consequences and many rewards. If they’re successful, they can access deeper virtual experiences, like the ever-elusive and seductive Lifeblood Deep, the most immersive virtual world within the Sleep.

When Michael is recruited by the government to help them track down Kaine, a dangerous cyberterrorist who is hiding out in the Sleep, he and his friends embark on the most dangerous game of their lives, navigating a terrifyingly realistic virtual maze, and it makes for a highly entertaining and fast-moving read.

Here are a few of the reasons we love The Eye of Minds:


Terrifying Virtual Reality


From the very first death-defying scene we see that the Sleep isn’t the completely safe gaming space it was intended to be. There is real danger that raises the stakes beyond simply winning or losing a virtual game. That sense of danger lies beneath every terrifying situation Michael and his friends encounter as they follow Kaine’s digital trail. Anyone familiar with Dashner’s Maze Runner series will not be surprised at the number of twisted, terrifying creatures and situations these teens face. Dashner knows how to make a scene stick uncomfortably in your mind for days.


Coding Made Cool


I’m not sure coding needs much help in the coolness department; it seems like everyone’s trying to learn to code these days with easily accessible sites like Code Academy and Maybe we haven’t reached the near future world where knowing how to code will be as second nature as knowing how to drive a car or operate a cell phone, but it’s not too far off. In The Eye of Minds, having amazing coding skills is the only thing standing between Michael and his friends and failure. They can manipulate the worlds they’re trying to beat and give themselves extra advantages, and after reading, I had the urge to sign up for an online coding class just in case I ever need to quickly summon up a laser beam or a fireball.


Blurring the Line Between Reality and Virtual Worlds


The Eye of Minds hits all the sweet spots of my favorite cyberpunk/virtual world movies and books, including The Matrix, Inception and Neuromancer. It’s clear Dashner is a fan of these stories, as he cleverly employs many of the same conventions and plot twists used by them, albeit with his own unique touch. In spite of my familiarity with the plot twists and possibilities of these movies/books, the big twist at the end of the book still took me by surprise, which was quite wonderful.


Cinematic Action


Dashner has always excelled at writing action scenes and mind-bending plot turns that just beg to be put onscreen. His books often read like a movie, which is probably why The Maze Runner adaptation is shaping up to be another huge YA movie franchise. I really hope The Eye of Minds gets an adaptation as well, because it is definitely big screen ready, with almost nothing to be lost in translation. With Divergent also releasing in 2014, I predict there will be a hunger for more virtual world based sci-fi and an adaptation of The Eye of Minds would be the perfect follow up (just as The Maze Runner movies will hopefully fill the void left behind when The Hunger Games movies are over).


Minor Quibbles:

I’ve come to expect a lot from James Dashner’s characters, after developing fierce love for Thomas, Minho, Newt and Chuck from The Maze Runner. I instantly felt connected to the Maze Runner crew, and genuinely felt fear, triumph and a whole host of intense emotions for them as they navigated unspeakable dangers. With The Eye of Minds, there was a slight disconnect, particularly with Sarah and Bryson, who were a bit vague and fuzzy compared to Michael. I hoped the characters would be a bit more fleshed out with more personality, but characterization took a backseat to the thrilling action. I’m hoping there will be more to sink my teeth into character-wise in the next book.



The Eye of Minds is a non-stop thrill ride that excels at what James Dashner has always been best at: action, plot and imagination. If you love mind-bending technothrillers in the vein of Neuromancer, Divergent, Insignia and Brain Jack, run, don’t walk to the store to get yourself a copy of The Eye of Minds. I can’t wait to find out what happens next in The Rule of Thoughts!


Watch the trailer:


Catch James on tour.


Read an excerpt:

Book Giveaway:

Update: Thanks to the lovely folks at Random House Children’s Books, we’re hosting a giveaway! Enter to win your very own copy of THE EYE OF MINDS via the Rafflecopter widget below. (US only, please). Extra entry points for following James on Twitter and Facebook, following Random House Kids on Twitter and Facebook, and using the #dashnerarmy hashtag (twitter, tumblr, pinterest, instagram, facebook, anywhere you like).

The Eye of Minds by James Dashner Giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway



    This sounds pretty good and this is the first I’ve heard of it. I have another of the author’s books but I’m yet to read it. Also, I love books that have a strong cinematic quality!


    Dashner isn’t the best with deep characterization but he IS awesome at action, adventure and keeping people glued to the page. Plus, I LOVE stories about computers and coding and virtual reality. Very cool-sounding story.


    The whole concept sounds really cool, and I keep telling my kids I will play video games when the become virtual reality. Now if I could use this coffin device to read while I slept…that my friend would be awesome!


    The action sounds really well done


    I am not a huge computer person or sci fi reader but I admit, this has me really intrigued!


    I definitely want to read this one, but I have so little time!


    I have yet to read anything by James Dashner, how ridiculous is that? This sounds like a fantastic start to a new series even with the slight character disconnect you felt, this seems like it’s more of a plot-driven book than a character-driven one so I don’t think the disconnect will bother me too much. I think maybe I should start my Dashner experience with the Maze Runner though, I’ve heard so many amazing things about that one!


    Oh, I want this one so bad. What an awesome review. Didn’t realize today was the day. I’m ordering it….


    Oh I still need to read his other series, but this one sounds fab!! I just read a plot driven book so I can deal with the slight disconnect. Just makes room for that connect to slowly happen over the next books in the series. If done correctly you then really become involved with them! I’ve been on the lookout for more sci-fi books and you have me curious!


    Sounds like an awesome read with plenty of action. I always love books that bring in the virtual world. This would make a great movie!


    I haven’t heard of this one before. I did hear about The Maze Runner but still haven’t read it. Anyhow I really love the sound of the plot and especially as it sounds believable. Too bad the characters weren’t that developed. Great review 🙂


    This sounds really intense and crazy! I read the first two Maze Runner books and I really liked them but they were actually TOO intense for me. Like I just couldn’t even handle it. Which is strange, I think that’s the first series I’ve read that I stopped reading because of that. It stinks the characters weren’t more well developed in this one though. Maybe that will change in the next book.


    Oh man – your comparisons to the Matrix and Inception have got me very excited indeed! I have yet to try out any of James Dashner’s books yet, but they sound right up my alley and unbelievably thrilling and exciting! It’s too bad about the characters though… my hope is that they will be more developed in the next book. I guess we’ll see! Really great review!


    With all the thrilling action, this sounds really exciting! I’ll keep in mind that the characterization may have taken a back-seat but I have to say… I LOVE the trailer. 🙂


    Sometimes I wonder if writers feel the pressure to make things so action packed that the characters take a back seat. This sounds like something that I would really like. Putting it on my list!


    I’m still confused about the ending… is Michael in danger of Kaine still now that he’s in the real world? Is Kaine still a threat?

Leave a Response

  • Twitter
  • Facebook