Friday, January 12, 2018

Otherworld by Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller

Author: Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller
Publisher: Delacourte Press
Date of publication: October 2017

The company says Otherworld is amazing—like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive—that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.

Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.

And it’s about to change humanity forever.
Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.

I loved the "Nightmares" middle grade series, so I was eager to see how this writing team would handle a YA fantasy.  Virtual reality stories seem to be all the rage lately. I wasn't too impressed with Warcross, so I had high hopes for this one.  Otherworld is a game that uses virtual reality and allows the player to do things they wouldn't normally do in the waking world.  In a way, it kind of reminded me of World of Warcraft only you become your avatar.  Simon's friend, Kat, is in an accident and has "Locked-in" syndrome.  The Company (makers of Otherworld) put her into their study where she would be able to enter the White City and live a peaceful life in virtual reality.  Simon realizes something is wrong, when Kat wakes up screaming.  

I thought the world building was pretty good .  I had a fairly clear idea of what Otherworld looked like.  Each realm had a different "vice" that players could indulge in.  Throughout the book. there was definitely  underlying commentary about the dangers of gaming and how can consume a player.  The story was a bit slow to start, but once they are all in the game, it goes pretty quickly and I was sucked right in to the adventure.  One thing I did like is that Simon occasionally leaves the game to deal with the real world.  It gave a nice break form the fantasy.

Aside from that, the overall story was just kind of fairly enjoyable.  It is told in Simon's first person point of view.  The problem with that was there were a lot of predictable parts that I figured out before he did.  Some of them were so obvious that it was a bit annoying waiting for him to catch up.  As a character, I was kind of indifferent toward him.  His drive to save Kat was a bit obsessive, but he did have some growth toward the end.  The story ends kind of in a cliffhanger, so I probably will pick up the next book to see what happens.   It is a YA, but I'd keep it to over 16 crowd.  I can be a bit graphic at times.

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