Most teenagers believe that Young Adult fiction is meant for a very precise group of readers: those aged 13-18. So, when they see an old person standing in the aisle of the bookstore or library, nonchalantly browsing the YA fiction, they get a little snarky. As if those who have passed the ripe old age of 30 have no right reading good, engaging fiction.
I may be old, but I will wrestle you to the ground if it means getting the last copy of the new book I want to read.
However, my point is not to show my vitality; my point is to show that these days everybody reads everything. For example, I don’t know who you are, aside from the next reader of this copy of The Eye of Minds. You might be a teenager who thinks I’m weird because I still read YA fiction. You might be a 50-year-old suit-wearing, business-talking father trying to find common ground with your kids. You might be a teacher like me, and consider YA fiction as a vehicle to engage younger readers. Reading tastes have changed THAT much in the last 15-20 years.
I think it all started with Harry Potter. Suddenly there was a book on the market that EVERYONE wanted to read. Parents read it to their children, teenagers read it, and most adults read it, though many of them didn’t admit it at first. A good story is a good story. And though you and I might get very different things out of what we read, we can both identify a good story.
And so, I hope you will agree with me when I say that The Eye of Minds is the weakest James Dashner book I’ve read. And it’s not because I don’t like James Dashner’s work. I loved The Maze Runner. I loved the premise, I loved Thomas, I loved all the minor characters and their conflicts, and I especially loved the twist at the end of the first book. And I liked The Scorch Trials too. And even though at times I found the description a bit weak and some of the language lacking, I didn’t slow me down. But even from the first few pages of The Eye of Minds, I kept thinking: “Is this it? When will it get good? Where’s the conflict? Where are the awesome minor characters?”
The simple fact is that the story is flat. Perhaps that is Dashner’s intent, given the final plot twist at the end of the book. Perhaps he means to reduce human emotions to make a point. But it makes for boring reading material. In fact, there were only two moments in the book where I was drawn in: once, when Michael and his friends try to enter a particular VirtNet game, and soon after, when they are trying to find the portal. The rest is dreadfully dull. This book has second-book syndrome – its only purpose is to get the reader to the next book.
Maybe you disagree. Maybe you are sitting there, smugly saying, “old people just don’t get it!” If so, I would love to hear your thoughts…if you would indulge an old woman!