User Unfriendly
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User Unfriendly (Rasmussem Corporation #1)

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  643 ratings  ·  49 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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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...more
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
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...more
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....more
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.
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...more
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...more
Mar 07, 2014 Daniel rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.

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.
Rachel Boling
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.
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...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...more
I agree that Heir Apparent is better. Cool concept. A bit dated, but moves along well. I wasn't crazy about something revealed in the middle, but it's only a big deal if you think about it too hard.
after reading heir apparent for the second time, i found out about this book. i think i might almost love this one more. can't wait to read the last one in the series.
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
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
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.
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...
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.

Looney Lovegood
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.
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.
Melissa Hunt
I read about this book on the library's website and so I requested it. I hate when I judge a book by its cover, but there is a really wierd looking kid on it and that turned me off a bit. I tried to get into it and it kept putting me to sleep, so I gave up. Plus I had the last Leven Thumps waiting for me so I returned it. Sorry to the author, but I just couldnt get in to it.
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.
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.
Arvin and his friends hack into a virtual reality D&D game. It's all fun swashbuckling action until the game starts getting deadly...I was really impressed by the natural tone of the characters, and how familiar and believable their arguments and personalities were.
Arvin was kind of strange. A good character, but strange. He gets confused quite easily (possibly because he's not as experienced as the game thinks he is), but he does his best to tackle the things the game throws in his way.
And there are a lot of those.
Rachel Antzak
I got through most of the book and still didn't find it very interesting. The characters made me more frustrated and upset with them and I didn't find myself liking any of them. Perhapse if they didn't fight each other so much and worked together more.
Todd Allison
I read this in High School and I loved it. It's one of the few books I'd go back and read again for entertainment. While the writing in and of itself isn't spectacular the place it took me to, and the world it created was something I relished.
Not Vande Velde's best writing, but an adequate YA novel; didn't connect with any characters and found the conclusion abrupt. However, her gender change-up and sudden reveal of disabled char was refreshing!
♥iDevourBooks♥ ☆Sonic~Obsessed☆
Just saying, this book sounds a whole lot like Virtual except more fantasy-like.
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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
More about Vivian Vande Velde...
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