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User Unfriendly (Rasmussem Corporation #1)

3.39  ·  Rating Details ·  1,028 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
It's the most advanced computer role-playing game ever: When you play you're really there in a dark dream teeming with evil creatures, danger-filled fortresses, and malevolent sorceries.
The game plugs directly into your brain--no keyboard, no modem, no monitor. And for game hacker Arvin Rizalli and his friends, no cash up front, no questions asked . . . and no hope of re
Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published November 30th 1990)
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Sep 08, 2012 Julie rated it liked it
I've read a few books about video roleplaying games. This one is different because it was written in 1990. The main character a few times would draw comparisons with tabletop gaming, which frankly is a more likely to be unfamiliar to the modern reader than the concept of a full-immersion video one. There were also a few instances where someone had to explain different concepts like the idea of the program being stuck in a loop.

Still, it didn't seem too dated beyond that.

Oddly, compared to other
Oct 01, 2016 Jerry rated it did not like it
As someone who grew up around computers and old-school computer games, I should have enjoyed this...but I didn't; it was just all-around dreadful, especially the ending.
Sep 10, 2012 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is a bit underwhelming. It took over the first 100 pages to really get into it. I have definitely read better by Vande Velde. For when the book was written I think it was forward thinking in the computer gaming concept. The ending was a little rushed and almost thrown together in a last minute way. There could be some room for improvement, but I did finally plod through it. I was still interested to find out what happened in the end, but it was just slow to get there.

I think there has
Mar 11, 2013 Sharon rated it really liked it
Another Rasmussem, not as good as Heir Apparent but better than Pink. I liked the main character, Harek/Arvin, and that he was clever but often came off at the weak link. Some of the other characters were really well done as well, others less so. Thea was kind of awesome. It was a nice touch that Shelton/Cornelius was handicapped in real life. The plot had some good twists, about the princess and the werewolf especially and how Marian and Robin were backwards, and the aftermath was well done, al ...more
Denae Christine
Not as good as Heir Apparent, but User Unfriendly really does combine the elements of teenagerhood, fantasy, trust, sci-fi, technological failures, and reallife worry. The quest itself was very creative and twisted. The characters were good. Just enough, but no so many that it was hard to keep track of them.
I liked that Giannine Belisario got to be in two books, and I enjoyed the way the people cheated to play, and how Shelton was handicapped in real life, and how Arvin wasn't always completely
Oct 18, 2009 Becca rated it really liked it
I did really enjoy this book, but it's not a very good book. It features the same Rasmussen as in Heir Apparent, as well as many similar features. It's much less repetitive, but the characters are equally shallow. My favorite moment was when Arvin (I had a hard time remembering that this wasn't his character name--it sounds Elvish) discovered who Noah was.
Ismael Garcia
Apr 07, 2016 Ismael Garcia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
3.5 stars

I recently found out that one of my childhood favorites, Heir Apparent, had a prequel of sorts written about a decade prior. User Unfriendly was in no way at the same level as Heir Apparent-it was a mere shade. This book had your typical medieval game adventure story with a distant outside conflict, but there was a lot more that the book could have delved into, but that's okay because the author gets to it in Heir Apparent!

This book had lackluster, 2D secondary characters that were gene
Vivian Vande Velde is a good writer, she knows how to show how a character and side character feel and think and make it feel natural, even a disability (and other serious issues) is shown as just something a character has, not something that feels thrown in.

This is a decent story about a young boy who acts his age and his friends (plus his mom) who illegally play a virtual reality game that takes place in a fantasy world. Its simple but well done, with a surprisingly serious problem worked in.
Sarah Crawford
Jan 15, 2016 Sarah Crawford rated it liked it
This story takes place in the near future where the technology is such that computer games like fantasy-role-playing adventures can be done with direct input of the human mind and the machine, thus making it a sort of virtual reality game.

In this case, some kids and the mother of one of them play a game that they have hacked into, a frp where, in the game, they take different roles such as an elf, a wizard, and so on. It's a very realistic game, but it should flow smoothly but it doesn't.

The mot
Sep 08, 2013 Stephanie rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Parts of it were a little slow for me or too wordy--I found myself skimming parts of it. But maybe that's just because I wanted to know what happened!
Great plot line, very creative and different. I liked that the plot was not entirely predictable. (view spoiler) I would have liked to see more character development. From my perspective, it didn't seem like too much of that happened outside of some from Arv
Mar 25, 2016 Michael rated it liked it
This was a solid book, but a book that I suspect is geared much more heavily towards its target audience than many YA novels.

User Unfriendly is about a group of friends who enter a VR game through less-than-legitimate means, and must complete the game, or...wait until the game runs its natural course. There are higher stakes to the story that are heavily implied throughout the book, but at its core it's a bunch of people playing a game of exceptionally immersive D&D.

Because character develop
Neal Buckles
Feb 16, 2016 Neal Buckles rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-lit-1-10
This book follows a young boy and a group of friends as they go on a virtual fantasy adventure to save a princess from life threatening danger. The trick is, they aren't exactly playing the game legally, but through a hacked version stolen from the game corporation. As the adventure unfolds, this group of virtual heroes can never seem to catch a break as disaster after disaster befalls them on their quest to save the princess and beat the game.
I really enjoyed this novel. It is a good fantasy th
Jul 25, 2015 Cassey rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015
This was, in some ways, better than I expected. The writing was nothing extraordinary and the action scenes, not too fancy. The conflict came as a shock though because it was more realistic than I would have thought it would be. Not too much depth on describing the characters but I love the emotions present during the narration.

I honestly picked this one up because I thought there would be more into the hacking thing and the concept kind of excited me as I am a programmer. This book focuses more
It was all right. I mostly was just bored and\or didn't care. The characters were bland. The story was sub-par. Writing was decent. Humor was barely there and definitely not as funny as some of VVV's other books.

Why was it such a big deal that no one know the real identity of the characters in the game? Just to improve the experience and make it more of a mystery to figure out? I didn't get it.

I thought that it was a neat way to get to where they needed to go for the purpose of the story with Ar
Mark Buxton
Apr 24, 2015 Mark Buxton rated it really liked it
Virtual realty stories aren't unusual, but this book connects connects the imaginary world with the lives of the game players. Their personality conflicts carry over into the interactions between game characters. It's very strange to have a character's mother become part of the team. Her illness created a huge conflict that lasted all the way into the resolution of the book. The plot included adventure and action, and the author leaves an unexpected twist until the climax. This book isn't a lite ...more
Mar 30, 2012 Patricia rated it liked it
I always like to read books by Vivian Vande Velde. This book is similar in many ways (that I will not go into) to Vande Velde's book Heir Apparent which is one of my favorite books but this story was not quite as good, in my opinion. I would probably give this 3.5 stars but if I rounded that up to four stars (since there is no such thing as half stars) it would imply (by my own Goodreads method of giving stars) that I would recommend it to others. I liked the story and always like Vande Velde bo ...more
Shea Kaiba
Mar 16, 2016 Shea Kaiba rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I thought this book was really good because it combines RPGs and fantasy literature; two of my favorite things. I also really liked the "cast" of characters, they were all so vivid and real! The only thing I found disappointing was the ending. I didn't always like Harek, but I could recognize myself in him. However, the character that was my favorite and that I could sympathize the most with was Thea. I think we are at similar places in our lives and we share many characteristics.
I recommend th
Sep 21, 2012 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, jims-reviews
I've always like stories about virtual reality. I've always loved fantasy. And I've always been into stories where people are pulled from our world into a fantasy world. This is a book that pulls all 3 together, so it was kind of cool. It's an good story, but obviously written for a younger crowd, and didn't exactly suck me in. But it was creative, and enjoyable enough. I see that there are sequels, but it's not likely I'll pick them up, unless I have some overpowering reason to. Also, it ended ...more
May 06, 2013 Andrew rated it liked it
Lots of the books I am putting onto my 'goodreads' account are from when I was a kid. I probably would not give most of these 'younger crowd' books a higher rating than two stars, but they are what got me into what I love now and they will always hold a cherished spot in my heart forever.

This one in particular is one that I had found all by my lonesome and it helped me fall in love with a genre that I relate so well to. Great book and I hope to share it with my kids when the time is right.
Rachel Boling
Mar 18, 2014 Rachel Boling rated it liked it
I read this one after I read the second book in the series. I didn't like this one as much, partially because I didn't like the main character as much. I also wasn't as interested in the game that the character was playing, which was basically Dungeons and Dragons, although they never actually said the name of the game. But it had a similar premise, being immersed in a game, and this one also had an element of danger for one of the characters playing.
Feb 16, 2013 Arancha rated it it was ok
I read this book after reading Heir Apparent and was greatly disappointed. I guess I expected it to be more like Heir Apparent that I kept getting frustrated that it wasn't.

I think what I was most frustrated about was the ending. It felt like there it goes just building up the suspense about the game and how they need to win and then they finally beat the game and that's it. It just ends and they're back to their normal lives.

Jan 01, 2013 Gabi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read "Heir Apparent" first and was excited to dive into this book. It was a fun ride, and there was the Noah twist that had me hilariously surprised! But the ending, as many say, seemed horribly rushed, as if the author had a deadline to meet. It left me a little unsatisfied, but the meat of the book was very enjoyable. :) Very creative! I didn't really like the whole woven-castle bit. Seemed confusing considering some things were fabric and some were (I assume) solid...
Looney Lovegood
Jan 14, 2012 Looney Lovegood rated it liked it
Read this and thought that it was an amazingly awesome book, so I decided to read Heir Apparent.

I liked Heir Apparent much much better. There was more of a dire feeling, and the plot was much clearer.

This book seemed to be like a published concept in comparison. The outlines of an idea.
I still recommend this book to others. It is still that good.
But I always recommend Heir Apparent right after.
Jul 03, 2014 Beth rated it really liked it
If you were ever a D&D tabletop gamer there are going to be elements of this book you will love. The main character is in 8th grade and he and a group of his friends (and his Mom) play a pirated version of an immersive computer roleplaying game where you can be any character from any genre you want. I found the gaming moments (95% of the book) so reminiscent of tabletop roleplaying I didn't want it to stop. Overall not the deepest book, but a quick moving, fun to read, YA book.
Mar 07, 2014 Daniel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: rpg gamers, fantasy fans
More of a 3.5 stars but I figured I'd give it 4 to be nice since there isn't a 3.5 rating. This is a real world gamers stuck in their fantasy environment story.There are better takes on this idea like or even better yet But still, I'm glad to see someone taking a stab at this subgenre of fantasy as its a favorite and of course very relatable.

Kelly Hayes
Not as good as Heir Apparent, especially in that the plot build-up seemed more like a line -- things were tense right from the beginning, instead of there being a slow build up. This made for a story that felt a little dragged out.

Nonetheless, it was amusing, and the game's conclusion was interesting.
Joanna Hollins
Well, it was an ok book. It had a fair amount of action and fantasy. But, I was kind of expecting, based off the description, that the main characters were actually trapped in the game with no escape. But it turns out they were just playing it and had some trouble. Don't get me wrong,I liked the book, I was just expecting a bit more.
Mar 08, 2014 Qilin7 rated it it was ok
At first, i was really looking forward to this book. I love RPGs in general and this definetely reminded me of other books and te anime Sword Art Online. However, the story went extremely slow for me and it didn't have a concrete plot. The protagonist got annoying at points due to his ignorance and I didn't care for the overall writing style.
It was okay, so-so, in my opinion.

The danger felt underwhelming sometimes and melodramatic at others. I can see the D&D influences which I liked but I'm also bias because D&D is awesome. This is my second book I read from her and I liked Heir Apparent better and I didn't even connect Thea with the protagonist of Heir Apparent which I guess is her point but as a fan, it was disappointing.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Book #72: User Unfriendly by Vivian Vande Velde 1 2 Jul 20, 2013 06:30PM  
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Vivian Vande Velde (born 1951, currently residing in Rochester, New York) is an American author who writes books primarily aimed at young adults.

Her novels and short story collections usually have some element of horror or fantasy, but are primarily humorous. Her book Never Trust a Dead Man (1999) received the 2000 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel. She says that she really likes to write for
More about Vivian Vande Velde...

Other Books in the Series

Rasmussem Corporation (3 books)
  • Heir Apparent (Rasmussem Corporation, #2)
  • Deadly Pink

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