Cover Image: Otherworld


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Member Reviews

Underwhelming. Seems a little like it was going for Ready Player One but missed the mark, it could have been very good but I don’t think this will connect with the readers we have
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I had to mark this book as DNF. Just couldn't get in to the story at all. Nothing wrong with the writing or characters, as such, just not for me. Requested the title so I could answer customer questions about the quality of the celebrity author.
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For someone who's first career isn't writing, this is a great novel. It feels like Ready Player One but for a younger audience. Simon & Catherine are characters that I really fell for and the story kept me intrigued. My only real comment for this book is that it feels much younger than traditional YA, and I'd class it as more of a Teen/9-12 read.
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Thank you for providing a copy of this book for review however I was unable to open the file for this document unfortunately! Apologies.
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My favorite thing about Otherworld is the world! I love modern sci-fi stories, especially those involving virtual reality, so Otherworld was a great choice for me personally. Though there are many stories on the market that are similar, I feel the way in which the world expands leaves it larger and more unique than others. It’s development definitely leaves room for a larger story in book two, and I am anticipating seeing where this world goes next.

I also really enjoyed the comedic value of the story. I adore reading a book from an author I know as a person, such as Jason Segel, and being able to identify their particular sense of humor. There were so many moments where a funny line would arise and I would immediately be able to say “Jason Segel totally wrote this.”

I REALLY disliked our main character – It is not frequent that I don’t like a protagonist (I even usually end up liking protagonists that are MEANT to be unlikeable) so this fact did put a damper on the story for me. I found him very abrasive, defiant of authority to an unreasonable extent (though of course, some of that defiance is warranted as the story progresses), and impulsive in a way that is not so charming. Though I did enjoy Simon’s friendship/relationship to his best friend, Kat, I feel his dedication to her did border on obsessive at some points and the whole “must save the damsel and distress” motive did become tiresome very quickly. Additionally, this book feeds so deeply into “The Chosen One” trope with people legitimately telling Simon every 5 seconds “You’re the One, Simon” and I just can’t wrap my head around One thing I did like about Simon besides his sense of humor is his nose? Simon constantly refers to his large “kishka” and though I could have live without a few less mentions of it, I always appreciate characters with insecurities and “not traditionally attractive” traits.

There is a scene at the beginning of the novel where Simon threatens to distribute someone’s nude photos (revenge porn is a crime, y’all) that I vehemently condemn. I understand a lot of people don’t find it to be an issue because “characters shouldn’t always be perfect” and “it’s clearly not an admirable action” which is *of course* true, but I feel the tone of the scene is what determines if this is meant to be an action we as readers “know” is bad or if it is being passed over. I think if it was the bullies who were threatening to share Simon or Kat’s nude photos, we would automatically say “oh well of course this is a bad action” but because Simon is using this to deter the bullies, there is a sort of congratulatory nature to the scene because the bullies are “getting what they deserve.” It was especially disappointing to me as Simon, moments before, expresses how women should “be allowed to do what they want with their bodies” and I was so pleased to see a boy in YA who seemed to be a feminist, yet he threatens revenge porn the sentence after. Overall, it was extremely disappointing and could have been so easily avoided.

My final dislike about the story is the ending. It felt very incomplete? There are more loose endings that resolved issues and while that it obviously a goal for a book with a sequel on the way, it felt very unfinished. I felt the book needed a handful of additional chapters to make the ending feel satisfying yet still open for more growth. Unfortunately, it left me feelings like I was missing the last few pages.
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DNF at 11%. 
I really could not stand the main character, he was a rich white boy who was obnoxious and annoying. Also what is with him stalking his so called best friend which was really creepy and then trying to expose two girls nudes for slut shaming this best friend.
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I am very conflicted when it comes to reviewing Otherworld. There is no doubt that the authors have considered the world building - in both reality and virtual reality - and have attempted to produce a book that reads like a RPG - moving through levels, different quests, challenges and bosses to beat etc. The characters are perfectly fine, if a little annoying; the main character was not massively fascinating and had some very odd character traits that I could not get on board with.

My issue with it is I cannot help but look at as a poor man's Ready Player One. When I read RPO, I fell head over heels with it - and seriously, if you've read that and want to share feelings, hit me up - and that made this harder to read because it wasn't the book I love so much. VR and video gaming books are, likely, to be overcast by the shadow that RPO has and boy, it's a long one. It will take a lot for a new book to feel different or new or better and sadly, Otherworld is not it.

By all means, it stands on it's own two feet perfectly well but the lack of containment (I would prefer a book that is prepared to be finished in one book rather than seeing the dollar signs of a trilogy) and the dubious motives of the main character make it struggle against perfection in the genre.
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I love stories that look at what technology might make possible in the not too distant future and with virtual reality something that is becoming more and more easily accessible Otherworld appealed to me as soon as I heard about it. The virtual reality game in this book is way more advanced than anything we have now though, it is a full on experience where you can not only see and interact with your surroundings but you can also taste and touch everything in the Otherworld as if it was completely real.

This story has two very distinct storylines, first there is the action adventure that Simon is on inside the Otherworld, his quest is to track down his best friend Kat and find a way to bring her safely out of the virtual reality environment. Then there is the real world which is more of a mystery story where Simon is trying to find out more about the company that created the Otherworld and a rash of mysterious illnesses that seem to be effecting people in his city.

This was a really fun story to read, it doesn't take itself too seriously and I have to admit it could have done with a little more development of the main characters but if you just relax and go along for the ride it's an amusing journey. I think I enjoyed the story taking place inside the Otherworld slightly more, Simon collects a ragtag group of allies as he goes along and the virtual world created was really vibrant and interesting. I had a harder time with the real life side of the plot because it was harder to suspend belief that Simon was able to uncover all these secrets and sneak into secure facilities without having too much difficulty.

Otherworld was definitely a story I enjoyed though and I'll definitely be picking up the sequel when it's released later this year.
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Otherworld is the ultimate in virtual reality game playing and I found myself immersed in the story and rooting for Simon to find his best friend (and high school sweetheat) Kat. If you liked Ready Player One you will love Otherworld - and there's a bonus undercurrent of conspiracy and cover ups. The VR sections were sometimes a little too techy/in-depth for me but this didn't detract from the story at all. I will definitely be reading more in this series.
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Thank you to Netgalley for providing me an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.

“I don’t understand. It’s just virtual reality,” I say.
Kat leans forward. “No, see, that’s the big secret,” she whispers. “It’s not virtual if it changes who you are. All of this is real, Simon. It’s real.”

What a wild journey!
Otherworld is the story of rich kid, Simon, who finds himself in a virtual reality world, only to uncover the corruption of a heavy weight business who is the leader in technological progress.
Simon faces losing his life in the process but will do anything to help Kat. 

That’s how otherworld traps you. It introduces you to sensations you’d never be able to feel in real life. You discover what you’ve been missing— because it’s taboo or illegal or because you lack the guts to do it for real. And when you find what’s missing it’s almost impossible to let it go again.
From beasts bred to kill, orgys, and unending feasts, Otherworld is a whole new world for gamers to experience. It allows them to indulge in all their whims and desires, no matter how taboo in the real world, without judgment. 
However, no world is perfect, especially one created by humans. It quickly becomes clear that there is something very wrong with Otherworld and finding a way to pull the plug may save thousands of lives. 
The world building in this novel was incredible, as someone who plays games occasionally, Otherworld honestly sounds like a fucking wicked game that I would have jumped at the chance to playif it wasn’t for the hefty price tag. 
The world has so many layers, diving into different territories and playing around with how much of an effect technology has on our lives, especially in regards to gaming. 

He looks at me and I smile. I’ve been working on my smile, and I think I’ve finally perfected it. Dead eyes and lots of teeth. 
I really liked Simon, although he comes from a rich privileged world, he hasn’t let that blind him. He’s kind to Kat who is from a whole different environment to him, and he’s willing to help anyone who needs it. 
My only criticism is that when Simon overhears a girl slut shaming Kat, he in turn slut shames her in the form of revenge porn. I’m all for male characters standing up to this kind of behaviour but being a hypocrite is not the way to do it. 
I do like that Simon had many faults and was never portrayed as the perfect hero that so often comes with novels written by men with a male main character, the fact that it was co-authored by a woman may have been advantageous in avoiding that.
“What am I supposed to do?”
“You’re supposed to keep going,” she says.
“I just came here for you,” I confess. “I’m not who they think I am.”
“Maybe you weren’t,” Kat says. “Maybe you are now.”

“My grandma taught me. She says you gotta be tough when you’re pretty and poor.”
I loved Kat, she’s feisty and brave, sharp and also kind. She never feels like the damsel in distress even though the whole plot is essentially about ‘saving’ her. I don’t know how Segel and Miller managed it, but they did.
All in all, the authors created quite a lot of female characters in this story and none of them felt like stereotypes. 
Carole is a soccer mom but she’s also this kickass gamer, never being a hinderance to any of her team’s missions. 
Busara’s race is never spelled out to us, it’s clear that she isn’t white. Again, she’s never labeled as an asexual but given one of the conversations she has with Simon, we can safely assume she is. I loved that Segel and Miller could have easily made Busara’s character all about her race and sexuality, however, they didn’t. These things are given to us as facts about her but the focus is on who she is personally and what she is capable of accomplishing, not in spite of the cards she was dealt. In my opinion it sets a good example of how white authors can write diverse books without crossing the line from progressive to offensive. 
"I got news for you, smartass. I'm practically Lara goddamn Croft. You think because I'm a lady I don't know what I'm doing? Well, as they say back home, Hide and Watch, son."

Gorog nudges Carole. “I told you,” he says. “Simon gets the special attention because he’s the One”
“There is no One,” the Clay Man informs him.
“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Gorog replies, undaunted. “Simon’s not ready for the truth yet. You don’t want to freak him out.”
I loved the obsession with Simon being the One, I really enjoyed the fact the authors took the piss out of such a strong and popular trope, kind of making fun of themselves in the process. I can appreciate authors who don’t take themselves or overused tropes in YA too seriously. 

People like me know that the world runs on blood
The big reveals were not too much of a surprise but that didn’t make this any less of a fun read, my only complaint is that it did feel a bit too long, some scenes felt unnecessary and I did feel that we spent a bit too much time in some of the realms of Otherworld. 
Other than that I did quite enjoy this book, I liked the exploration of themes like corporate corruption, consent and how easy our world is to manipulate and control by big businesses. I’d be open to reading the second in the series when it’s released and I would recommend it to anyone who loves gaming but struggles to find a book that holds their interest. I think this would be a great book for schools to use in English classes because it might help to get those who struggle with reading to enjoy a book. 

“The real world?” asks the Child. “Why is your world the real one? How can you be so certain you humans were not created by someone else? Does your history not speak of a Creator too?”
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Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.

The story is told from the perspective of 18-year-old Simon who arrives in Otherworld for the sole objective of getting his best friend, and his childhood sweetheart Kat to talk to him! His first expedition into this new virtual reality game world is facilitated via a VR headset and app and it is just that, A game. If you die you get re set and sent back to the beginning, no harm done. But it soon becomes apparent that not all is as it seems in Otherworld or even in the Real World for Simon.

After a tragic accident leaves Kat with very rare Locked In Syndrome she is selected to take part in a trial for a new software that is believed will help people with this type of illness or disability to lead a better type of life. The creators of Otherworld have made a new world, The White City, that can be accessed via a VR visor and a disk that attach’s to the back of the head. Once attached it transports you into The White City and allows the wearer to freely walk around and make the life you have always wanted whist your body is stored in the real world, broken and on a similar set up to Life Support.

There is however 1 big difference, players wearing a headset are visitors to this new virtual world and can choose to leave, the players wearing the disk are there in a more real way. If they die in Otherworld they also die in the real world.

As others living close to Simon and Kat become involved in “accidents” and are also diagnosed with Locked In Syndrome, Simon begins to suspect The Company and Otherworld isn’t what he once believed. He manages to acquire a disk and enter Otherworld to save Kat in both the real world and the Otherworld.

This is a really enjoyable, fast paced read and even though it is advertised as a Young Adult book, I am quite considerably older and I loved it!! Even though the characters are older teenagers they still seem relatable in a lot of ways and likeable. For a Sci-Fi Fantasy novel aspects of the storyline don’t seem that far-fetched either, VR headsets are widely available to us already so an entire Otherworld isn’t pushing the bounds of potential to far. But there are also the fantasy aspects that make this a really good story and keep it entertaining throughout.

The end is a bit sudden if not unexpected but I guess this was done on purpose setting us up for book 2. Hopefully that book wont be too long in becoming a reality!

This book is 100% definitely worth a read for young and old, it is a book I could quite happily and easily read again.
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I quite enjoyed this book. I really liked the style of mixing future with some nice kind-of-fantasy adventure. 
The beginning of the book felt a bit off, maybe a bit adolescent for me. The main character, Simon felt a bit weird, and I struggled with getting to like him, but thankfully with time and pages it got much much better! 
The story was interesting and engaging and I found myself really wanting to see how is it all going to end! 
A good, enjoyable read, I recommend it to anyone!
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I was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did.

Otherworld is a game. Or so you think. Simon thought that too when he purchased the virtual reality headset with funds stolen from his lawyer parents. It creates a world where the players can live their best lives and do what they've always wanted, but that's not the reason Simon wants to play. He wants to meet with Kat his best friend who has stopped talking to him.
However, when Kat gets injured in an accident, she is chosen to be apart of a beta test for the White City, a peaceful virtual reality for those with brain injuries. But, when more and more people seem to develop Kat's supposedly rare diagnosis Simon gets suspicious and soon discovers that the virtual reality is becoming more and more real.

Firstly, this book is so well done. It's something that could easily be disregarded or poorly executed but it really isn't! It's well-paced, flows easily, has a constant progression and some surprising and slightly dark plot twists that were so believable.

Our main protagonist Simon is a great character to follow. He isn't the popular guy or the cool kid or the bad boy. He's just so real and likeable. It makes him very easy to follow and sympathise with. You're really pulling for him and wanting him to succeed. He felt fresh and entertaining.
The supporting characters were all great additions also. I adore Kat. Her and Simon bounce off each other well. I liked how you were introduced to all these supporting characters but you never quite knew where any of them stood until the end. It kept you guessing, trying to figure out who was helping Simon.

The world-building is exceptional. I expected nothing less and I wasn't disappointed. I liked how both the real world and the virtual world were both present throughout the book. You constantly felt their presence even if you were in the other. The concept is so imaginative and the description is so well done that you really feel apart of it.

I was surprised to see the attention that was given to human nature, psychology and ethics. The way the human body and mind reacts to virtual reality and the changes it makes to the person itself. It was subtle but effective.

Overall, Otherworld is a page-turner. It is a wild ride full of mystery, anticipation and entertainment. The characters are fresh and important in their own way. I definitely think some development is required in the future but it's a great start. The world-building is immersive and realistic. I never expected this much from the authors but I'm very happy and I can't wait to see where the next one goes, it has a lot of potential.
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Otherworld is a cautionary tale for people who like to play God in online virtual reality games. Jason Segal, best know for his character, Marshall, from the hit tv show How I Met Your Mother, teams up with Kristen Miller to bring us a world of temptation, fantasy and morality. 

The story’s protagonist, Simon, is first introduced as a cocky, bored, rich kid whose parents are class A Assholes and want nothing to do with him. This leads to a beautiful friendship with the headstrong Kat, who is the sole cause for Simon’s journey from lost boy to hero. 

If you loved Ready Player One and Mind Games, than you will love this book. With well crafted VR realms that make you question your own morality as well as what it means to be human, Otherworld is compulsive reading. I flew through this book in 24 hours and I was left desperately seeking the sequel to this gripping tale. Otherworld made me laugh, cry and gasp out loud - which really isn't a good idea in public! :D
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Otherworld will appeal to Westworld fans (I haven’t seen the show but the premise sounds similar) in that it contains a simulated world where our characters visit. In the story, the namesake game is a virtual reality world run on anarchy, and where our main character has to find his best friend who is trapped. It relies on the cliche of an evil corporation with ‘good intentions’, and a lot of secrecy tying it all up. Simon starts getting suspicious about the ‘experimental treatment’ being offered to his best friend Kat, when it seems too coincidental for a lot of people to be admitted to the same. He goes poking around in Otherworld to find her, but has to cross the various realms created there to reach her, and realizes how much more complex this world was than advertised.

The key point of the book is Otherworld, itself, even though the real world also has a bearing on it. Inside Otherworld, pockets of code have gone rogue, and the initial parameters on which the virtual world was built has changed. It plays with the idea of what is real, what is sentience, and how deeply connected they can be yet can be divorced from each other merely by the origin of the thing in question. The realms felt like they were designed in accordance with the Seven Deadly Sins (or at least the bad impulses in humans) and well, from there it is obvious why the concept of Otherworld as a game would have failed in their world. The Otherworld is in upheaval not just because of anarchy, but because this anarchy affects others. It also makes a study of how the worst human impluses unleashed can bring down civilization, and how too much free will can damage a utopia. If you had a world to unleash all your desires without consequence, how much would you let yourself go?

Simon, however, feels separate from the cause of the Otherworld population – his goal throughout the book is to only save Kat. He doesn’t feel very developed beyond the cursory attachment of his to her, and that being the driving force for his decisions. His concern for the people of Otherworld seems superficial, and it is never made clear why he considers only one part of them to be worth saving. The characterization is where I feel the book could have improved upon – it is not bad, but it feels lacking in an otherwise richly constructed book.

The ending was sort of abrupt, but I am looking forward to further stories in the series. Overall, it is a vividly imagined book, with a good plot and decent writing.
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Otherworld - Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller

I have no idea where to start with this! Do you ever read a book where you like it, but not as much as you wanted to? So like, it was alright, but that sounds too much like I disliked it, which I didn't... Man, do I have thoughts!

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 first heard of this book while persuing the proofs available to win at YALC back in the summer and I remember being mind blown that Jason Segal had his name on a book cos like, that’s Marshall from HIMYM (turns out he’s actually a bestselling author WHO KNEW?!?)

It was while I was at YALC that I first heard the premise and got a bit excited for this book, I’d read and loved Ready Player One and this sounded similar and there was a lot of hype about WarCross at the time too, so I figured books about games were going to be the new big thing. Well my experience of gaming is pretty much limited to Donkey Kong and Mario Kart 8 (I'm an insomnia, so Mario and I are very well acquainted) and now having read two books about gaming, I’m quite happy for it to stay that way. This is a great critique on technology being too relied on in society and the dangers that come from having so much information available and spending too much time in a virtual world instead of a real one. The action that takes place within the game and the mystery surrounding The Company and the Otherworld really drew me in. However, the romance wasn't so great and I just didn't really care about it and the story itself isn't really that fresh or new, especially if you've read Ready Player One.

If you have read Ready Player One, this won’t be anything new to you. There is a VR game, our main character spends a lot of time there desperately trying to beat the game in order to finally be with the girl he loves. The world building in regards to the game is a bit similar, but much more nefarious and there is also an irl mystery going on, which kept the book moving, but did keep getting bigger and bigger and it was starting to test the suspension of disbelief a tad. Like, being faced with what humans would do when they're living a virtual reality as opposed to real life is a big enough concept, but then there was also a conspiracy with the Company and the mystery surrounding all the people from the same town with the same rare medical needs, there's so much going on with this book!

The adventure and the world building were amazing. Literally you can’t even pause for breath because the story whizzes along - its not really a book you can get bored of in that sense. It does fall short with the characters and the narration though. Because its not a character lead story, you don't really get to connect with them. Simon is our protagonist, but I literally couldn't tell you anything about him personality wise and I certainly didn't care much for him. The same with Kat, I barely knew her, so I wasn't that fussed about the romance or really understood why Simon was so motivated by her. Especially because come the beginning of the book, Simon has just returned from several months away at boarding school, during which time, Kat has stopped talking to him for reasons that were completely unknown for the majority of the book and don't really make that much sense when they're revealed. We're also told in the first chapter that Simon has been been expelled from school and is on an FBI list because his room mate used his computer to do a spot of hacking, something that Simon took the blame for... Though why anyone would take the blame for something that serious, I'm not entirely sure. Why, considering this information, he was allowed early access to Otherworld is also a bit lost on me... It was kind of hard to understand his motivations at times. Most of the story's big questions get answered in literally the last three chapters, this is a series so I'm guessing all the finer points will be ironed out later, but I did spend most of the book being like, come on, why was Kat a target? How does it make financial sense for The Company to be doing this? And so on. Also some of the reveals were a bit on the convenient side, so I'm hoping for a plot twist in later books.

Look, I said I had a lot of thoughts, it's difficult when you enjoyed a book but also see problems with it. Basically, I liked this, it has a lot of good stuff going for it, but some of the pacing is weird and the characters aren't that fleshed out. It reminded me a bit of the Death Runner series in that sense, lots of action, not enough character building. Also, and I swear this is the last thing I'll mention that annoyed me, there is a moment really early on where Simon overhears two girls trash talking Kat, so he mansplains feminism and slut shaming to them and then hacks their phones and threatens to release their nudes. Like brah? You have not grasped the fundamentals of not slut shaming.

Anyway, Otherworld was a riot, thanks to Netgalley for the hook up and I'm interested to see where this will be going.
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“They forgot nothing real can be perfect.”

Slated for a Halloween release, I couldn’t think of a better time for this pre-dystopic world building cyber novel to enter reader’s lives. Yes, it will make for a spooky read for those inclined during the evening of trick or treat. Yes, it will make for a good Christmas present and yes, you will most likely get a copy from me for Christmas.

To write this review I went back to my Good Reads progress comments thinking that would give me a basis and prompt to write. There were so many quotable moments and I knew I didn’t move from my comfy spot to get some post-its. Alas, I didn’t have much written. In fact, I only updated it 3 times. That’s because I was unable to put the book down long enough to update. Only comfort breaks and the need to appear sociable stopped me from devouring it in one sitting. I guess that just means I’ll have to pick it up for another read shortly.

I came to the novel hoping to have it compete for my love of Ready Player One. What I got was so much more. While Ready Player One is consumed by 80s nostalgia and the society is already accepting of the gaming platform in which the storyline is based, Otherworld is less reminiscent, much more relevant and loaded with foreboding and fear of what this technology could bring. It is a fable and Simon is not the only person on a journey of social and technological discovery.

The thing I love most about this book is that stylistically this is a book that has been missing from my reading life for a long time. It’s a cinematic techno-thriller, worthy of sitting on myself alongside the master of the genre and my favourite author, Michael Crichton and his counterpart Robin Cook. (Interestingly enough, Crichton directed the film Coma, which was written by Robin Cook.) I hope I’m right in thinking that Segel was a fan of the original Westworld growing up. I’d even go out on a limb and say he’s seen Coma. There’s too much passion and a labour of love around the creation of this book for there not to be.

The world building, pace and ‘Coma’-like jeopardy and moral ambiguity all make this a must read that will keep you on tenterhooks right until the last line. It reads like it could be lifted right from the pages and placed onto the screen. Its a story that is inclusive, despite its focus theme. I’m the furthest from a gamer and at no point did I feel Otherworld, Segel or Miller were isolating me from the plot.

There are secondary characters that some may feel are underdeveloped. I would agree to a certain degree; I want to know more about them. However, I would argue that this is realistic of some people we meet online. There is also enough hints to prompt people’s imagination and to also feel for the characters. I suspect the two characters in question will prompt many a fanfic over the next few years.

As the book comes to a close, there is enough of a resolution to satisfy any reader, while the set up for the follow up novel is a nice touch and one that should promote many chats, both online and in person while we wait, as patiently as we can for that second book.
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I so wish I was a gamer if I was I think I would have really loved this book, and probably understood the action scenes much more.having said that having never been interested in or played any online games remotely like the one in this book, I can still appreciate the complex world within the real world that has been created.I think the idea of being able to leave your real self behind and become a character in a different world is a fascinating idea, and especially when there are hidden agendas and the same people in the real world and the otherworld .There was really a lot going on here with back stories that made the main characters really interesting and likable  and had me caring about what happened to them in both worlds.I guess this was aimed at much younger people than me but although if I was younger I may be more up to date on the gaming world I still enjoyed reading this book and didn't feel that I was too old to be reading it..I enjoyed it I liked the imagination and thought it was pretty clever, and a good entertaining read.I would like to thank the publishers and netgalley for an ARC in return for an honest review.
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I am not sure whether this is a series opener or book one of a trilogy or other set number of books. To me it definitely reads more like the latter than the former in the way it ends. It definitely feels like there are a finite number of books left to tell the whole story rather than an open ended series. That said, the main part of the story told within does conclude nicely at the end of this book. But, for the full story you will have to keep reading, so be prepared to invest in more than just this book.
Being new to the genre, I have not read any of the books that other reviewers have likened this one to. I do have Ready Player One on my Kindle ready to go when I find some space in my tbr but only cos so many of my booky friends have raved about it recently and it was cheap on a daily deal. What I am trying to say is that I went in cold with nothing to compare this book to so my review will reflect this.
Otherworld was an old video game; now resurrected and expanded, as technology has moved on in leaps and bounds, to include virtual reality headsets and tactile, reactive gloves to give a total immersion feeling to the experience. Kit that costs a bunch of money. So much that our hero, main protagonist Simon, steals the money to pay for a set for both him and ex-best friend Kat to play. Hoping that drawing her into the game with him would rekindle their once tight friendship that has ended for reasons beyond his comprehension. Falling at the first hurdle when his kit is repossessed by his parents, Simon tries again to reconnect with Kat in the real world; following her to a party. But events at the party take a bad turn and an accident leaves Kat and others in a somewhat vegetated state and diagnosed with locked in syndrome. At the hospital, as Simon is visiting Kat, scientists arrive and connect her to a similar setup to the one they used in the new Otherworld. This time involving some kid of disc to connect with. Fearing something sinister to be going on Simon receives a set of equipment and enters this new world. Things are not as simple here as with other games he has played; there is something more real in the threats it delivers. Can Simon survive the game long enough to find Kat and possibly, together figure out what in the heck is going on, and why?
Well, for a newbie to the genre, I really enjoyed this book. I am not a gamer myself so I didn't quite get all the things being described but I am intelligent enough to accept what I didn't understand and go with the flow for the sake of the story. A story that actually kept my attention nicely throughout the book.
The characterisation was good throughout. Simon made for an interesting lead. Flawed and a bit of a bad boy but in a good way if you get what I mean. he has his principles and he more/less sticks to them quite forcefully at times. I loved his backstory, especially how his relationship with Kat developed. The action in the game was also interesting to me; especially the game-play tactics. Not being a gamer myself, my eyes were definitely opened by some of what was going on. I was especially intrigued with the thought that went in to game character building and avatar selection. Even though my interest in this stuff is pretty non existent, I was easily able to engage in what was going on and it help my attention nicely throughout; albeit a tad on the violent side on occasion.
I have already mentioned my suspicions regarding the format of this story and, with that in mind, this section ended very well. Enough was wrapped up to make this a complete episode but there is plenty still to happen and, on the face of what I read here, I will definitely be following the story beyond this volume. 
My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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Otherworld is a game, the kind I've always wanted to play. The participants leave their physical bodies behind and step, literally, into the game. Virtual reality is an amazing premise and one I hope to see more often in science fiction novels.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It moves with a good pace, is thrilling, entertaining and there's not a single dull moment. I finished it in a single day.

However, it's definitely a book for young adults and the writing style is aimed at the younger age bracket. The story is simple and straightforward and the teenage love story made the novel less interesting for me. People who have read Tad Williams' Otherland or similar books, might think this is not as original as it could be.

The characters are definitely well developed teenagers that sound authentic and the world building is intriguing, if a bit lacking.

I would recommend this to people who enjoyed the Maze Runner series and loved Ready Player One not because of the 80s nostalgia but because of the focus on virtual reality.
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