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Rick is a senior who’s got it all: a beautiful girlfriend, star quarterback for his school, and a football scholarship lined up already. But all that changes when his dad leaves the family and Rick is in a terrible car accident that leaves his legs weak and useless. Crippled and alone, Rick withdraws into his room, where he spends hours playing video games. But all that changes when he is approached by the government, and asked to save the world. Literally.

When a book compares itself to Ender’s Game and the Matrix on the back cover, my expectations understandably shoot way up. I wish I could say the book lived up to expectations. It did — partially, but fell short in crucial areas. Let’s start with the good stuff: this plot is really, really good. It’s original, and it jumps straight into the role computers are playing in our lives today. In fact, it brings up some interesting points on cyber-terrorism. But that alone isn’t enough to recommend the book.

This book feels like someone researched computers really well in order to write it — but that falls flat in many places. For example, the virtual reality Mind War, is an extension of the human body that takes place entirely in the mind. The book doesn’t explore any very new ground about cyber-terrorism — just retreads familiar possibilities. In my opinion, topics like these will mature when this current generation — that has grown up with computers attached to their limbs — comes of age.

Unfortunately, the characters don’t help this distracting drawback. Rick is a flat character. His reactions are predictable, his anger to his dad is predictable, he’s predictable. His girlfriend (one of the few characters with a real, human voice), barely plays any part at all. The characters serve the plot. Such a good plot, though, needs full and real characters for this to really be a great book.

I enjoyed this book — I really did — but it comes nowhere close to Ender’s Game (see previous review). The writing is inoffensive and the book is entertaining, but there’s nothing that enduring about the book. Maybe that’s too much to expect from a sci-fi novel, but Mind War won’t be occupying any permanent space in my brain. For now, that’s reserved for classics like the Space trilogy or Ender’s Game. If you’re a sci-fi fan, there’s nothing wrong with picking up this book. It’s fine, but that’s about all it is.

~Andrew

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Published on 26 July, 2014. Last updated on

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Into the Book was born out of a crazy idea of a blog that'd provide book reviews for teens. There aren't very many book review websites out there exposing awesome, high-quality Christian literature, and there are even fewer that target teenagers. Since 2009, we've been providing high-quality book reviews to the world through our blog. Into the Book has grown around reviews since then, but it remains our oldest project.

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