Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Book Review of the Rule of Thoughts by James Dashner

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Michael thought he understood the VirtNet, but the truth he discovered is more terrifying than anyone at VirtNet Security could have anticipated.
   The cyber terrorist Kaine isn’t human. It’s a Tangent, a computer program that has become sentient. And Michael just completed the first step in turning Kaine’s master plan, the Mortality Doctrine, into a reality. The Mortality Doctrine will populate Earth entirely with human bodies harboring Tangent minds. The VNS would like to pretend the world is perfectly safe, but Michael and his friends know that the takeover has already begun. And if they don’t stop Kaine soon, it will be game over for humanity.

Series: The Mortality Doctrine (Book 2)
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Publisher: Ember; Reprint edition (May 3, 2016)
Page Count: 352 Pages

After thoroughly enjoying Eye of Minds, I jumped into reading this sequel. Thankfully, I had bought the sequel far earlier--and had it signed by James Dashner himself. Just a warning, this review has some spoilers of the previous book. Because of the huge twist of the first one it's difficult not to spoil the big twist. Be warned. 

The Plot: The story was very fast paces with lots of running, spying, and mystery. It held my attention throughout, and even had some good twists. It kept to the flavor of the original while still being new and fresh. The whole concept of NPCs put into human bodies is just mindblowing. 

The Characters: Michael struggles a lot with guilt in this one. He feels bad for being put in a human body and strives to find his places in the real world. But I like his character arc and how he begins to find confidence in himself with his friends. Sarah and Bryson are great best pals. Kaine was still in the background and I hope he comes out more in the last book, but it seems to be a Dashner thing to have his villains in the background. Agent Weber is a cryptic woman, but I hope she develops more in the final book. So many secrets!

The Setting:  Unlike the first book, this one is set primarily in the real world, especially Atlanta, Ga, which makes me happy because I live an hour-ish from there. I wish Dashner went into some more details about the city, because I couldn't say I recognized much, but perhaps it would change in the future. However, he did mention the Atlanta Falcon's stadium, so that's something I knew. He also described police on horses sorta like what you would see in NYC sometimes, but I've never seen those. 

Epic Things: Number one favorite epic thing was that Dashner reference cranks from the Maze Runner trilogy. That was just awesome. 

The Theme: Dashner brought up a lot of big questions about what is real and what isn't and what is human and what isn't. I really like the line: A string of code in another body being life. It really makes you think. I also liked that Dashner showed that online friends can be good friends. I have met several people online who turned out to be great people.

Content Cautions: This is an action science-fiction novel, so there's a bit of violence that involves hitting and fighting and such. Nothing severe. There was some especially crude humor in here, which I was thought was a bit course even for James Dashner, including talk of men's parts. There were three usages of h*** and one usage of d***. 

What We Can Take Away For Our Writing:

1.) Disorienting the Reader - Dashner has a good way of confusing you on purpose. It's often how he sets up his best twists. Then eventually he gives you the real answer. He did this in the Maze Runner and he also does this in the Mortality Doctrine. He makes the reader doubt his or herself on what is true and what is false. It creates some very interesting tension.

How this can be applied to writing: Have you tried confusing your reader to your advantage? There's a way to confuse them too much, but some confusion can be a great asset.

2.) Taking Away the Characters' Weapons - In the Mortality Doctrine series, the main characters' biggest weapon is hacking using the code of the game. It's a subtle way for them to get themselves out of bad situations in the VirtNet or even bring in things such as weapons. However, near the climax of this book the only way they can enter the VirtNet without being detected by Kaine is to use a method that doesn't allow them to subtly use hacking. This pushes them to have to think out of the box and raises the stakes.

How this can be applied to writing: Can you take away a character's weapon to raise the stakes? You have their favorite ax broken, stolen, or lost. If they're fast you can have them break their leg or get stabbed in the leg. If their weapon is wit you can take away their voice.

Conclusion: The

About the Author:
James Dashner is the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series that includes The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and The Kill Order. He has also written The Eye of Minds (book one in the Mortality Doctrine series), the 13th Reality series, and two books in The Infinity Ring series: A Mutiny in Time and The Iron Empire.
Dashner was born and raised in Georgia but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains. To learn more about James and his books, visit JamesDashner.com, follow @jamesdashner on Twitter, or find dashnerjames on Instagram.

Don't forget to check out the review for the first book of the series, Eye of Minds!

Do you want a review of the other books in the series? Check out my reviews of the Maze Runnerthe Scorch Trials, and The Death Cure!

If you enjoyed this review, you can find more over on the Book Reviews tab of click the link. :)

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