From the synopsis of this Sci-fi novel I was really intrigued to read it. The main character, Michael, is a gamer who splits his time between school and VirtNet, a virtual world where his goal is to reach lifeblood deep status, the highest level a gamer can reach. One day after witnessing a dramatic event in the virtual world, the government contacts him in his real life. They threaten Michael and ask him and his other online friends to help them find a terrorist hacker called Kaine. The gamers take the challenge and the journey begins to unfold.
I felt it hard to connect to the characters on a deep level; I didn’t really care about them and felt that the characterization of the teenagers was pretty lazy, almost non- existent. I’m not asking for the angst that we see in so many teenage novels but some real personality would’ve made me root for the characters more. As for the plot itself, it was intriguing at the beginning but as the journey progressed I really wanted to just reach the end of the book and find out what was going on. It’s written in a way that reminds me of video games – each chapter of the book is almost like a mission and there’s always some sort of conclusion but instead of drawing me in, I found this a rather patronising way to write for younger readers. Although it echoes the themes of the novel, it actually provides little payback in the end.
It was a predictable read and the end was frustratingly obvious. I think the problem with Sci-fi is it’s all too easy to fall back on classic plot points and this book has some obvious influences. At times it was so much like Existeinz that it made me want to re-watch that instead of continuing on with this novel.
The book does have some positives though, the twists for example keep you reading and it’s a surprisingly quick read too, managing to avoid the over complicated nature of some sci-fi novels of this ilk, but overall it was a disappointing read.