New York Times bestselling author Jason Segel used to have nightmares just like Charlie, and just like Charlie, he's learned that the things we're most afraid of are the things that can make us strong...if we're brave enough to face them. Jason likes acting, writing, making music, and hanging out with his friends. Sometimes he writes movies. Sometimes he writes songs for movies. Sometimes he stars in those movies and sings those songs. You might know him from The Muppets and Despicable Me. Your parents might know him from other stuff. Nightmares! is his first novel.
Edit 4/7 - After further reflection, I'm dropping my rating to 3 stars. I feel this rating better reflects the balance between elements I enjoyed and elements I was underwhelmed by.
4 stars! I enjoyed this read.
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.
Overall, an enjoyable read, and a great audiobook narrated by Jason Segel himself! Will consider reading book two when it is published.
Otherworld is a fully immersive game, where the participant leaves behind both reality and their physical bodies, in their entirety. Eager gamer, Simon, filches his funds to join, from his wealthy mother's account. And with this further strain added to his real-world relations his desire to return becomes increasingly enthusiastic. But what is at first a fun and addictive new game soon turns into something that will turn both his reality and his virtuality on its head.
I knew nothing more about this novel other than it focused on virtual reality, and that was enough for me to be excited. The sections that actually did so were five star reads, for me. I found this fascinating, complex, and surreal. It also felt authentic, and the words acted on the reader as the transportive technology did for the characters, so enraptured did I become in this fantastical sphere. The traditional free-roaming world, as well as the task-centred gaming elements, made this both a fun and fascinating read.
The parts that were rooted in the real world were enjoyable but just not as intriguing. They appeared more thriller-esque in tropes and plot device. This was interesting but not what I had anticipated and, unfortunately, paled in comparison to the former sections.
I found these saturated in information that I struggled to fully grasp. There was a distance to the sci-fi elements but additional political aspects were added, which culminated in the overwhelmed feeling I experienced during my reading of these parts. There were many threads to disentangle, for Simon and the reader to learn the truth, and I was consistently forgetting corporation and character names, and which knot I was currently working on.
I was constantly eager to return to the virtual reality and what was first this novel's defining feature became its ultimate downfall, when I found I could not do so as much as freely as I would have liked.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the authors, Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller, and the publisher, Delacorte Press, for this opportunity.
Where to start? I'm not gonna go over the synopsis cause it's literally right there, but it's another YA about gaming. And I'd highly recommend skipping this one. If you've read my updates at all, then you know partially why I'm giving this one star. The main character (Simon) literally goes up to two girls after they call his love interest a slut, telling them they should learn what feminism is, and then threatens them that if they bother his love interest again, he's going to leak their nudes. You can't make this stuff up, y'all. He's also weirdly okay with killing people if it's done by his own hands even though he spends the entire book trying to stop other people (but mostly his love interest) from being killed. It didn't feel original either - everything was entirely too convenient and a few times I felt like I was reading Percy Jackson again. A Quest, a bunch of monsters, each with their own road block, a single person they're not aware of controlling the situation. And it's not even like that's a spoil, this was so predictable you could probably figure that out just by reading the synopsis. Every time a secret is "revealed" all the characters are like OMIGOD WHAAAT and I'm the upside down smiley face emoji. so yeah. If you're REALLY that interested, I'm not going to stop you, but otherwise, probably don't waste your time.
This book was unputdownable. I finished it in a single day. I haven't read a book that quickly in a long time. I magically found this one at a beautiful shop called The Book Barn in CT. It was an ARC that I'm guessing some wonderful book blogger left me to find.
This is like Ready Player One meets The Hunger Games. A new Virtual Reality headset has been invented and it's called Otherworld. Simon, with rich lawyerly parents, has stolen his mom's credit card to purchase a headset and haptic gloves and booties he's been on a waiting list for months for, and now he's been selected as one of the lucky few who gets to beta test it. Otherworld is an MMO game, where people can go to live their best lives, do all the things they've always wanted to do. Whether that means turning yourself into a bear slayer, or hanging out in the town of Imra at the spa all day.
Except the real reason Simon wants to play, is so he can meet up with his gamer friend Kat, who has mysteriously stopped speaking to him. When Kat is hurt in an accident, she is chosen to receive a VR headset that connects to a place called the White City. She doesn't have to be trapped in a paralyzed body. She can live her days out there. But when Kat wakes up screaming- Simon knows something is seriously wrong in the White City, and he's determined to find out what.
What follows is lots and lots of actions both in game and in reality. I don't want to say anymore because of spoilers (above is a summary of just the opening chapters of the book). This was grim. It was dark and gritty. Simon was a fun character to follow. Not the popular guy. A mischief maker of sorts. A rebel. I enjoyed all the other characters as well, Gorog, Carole, even Arkan. The settings we see in the game were fun and imaginative.
The only thing that held this back from being 5 stars, was the teenage romance. It wasn't present most of the book and then it's mentioned on like every other page.
I am now officially dying to get my hands on the sequel, Other Earth. I would recommend this to fans of Ready Player One, and just anyone who enjoys a dark, twisting story.
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.
Excellent twisty sci fi adventure in the vein of Tad Williams' Otherworld or Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. Completely different from Segel and Miller's MG series, Nightmares! but I liked it just as much.
Hilarious side note: the library had glued the dust jacket on upside down. I am now sure that the people at my gym and who see me walking my dog and reading thing I'm crazy or faking it, as it looked like I spent two days reading a book upside down.
This has got to be the one of the best YA books I have ever listened to (I heard in audio book format) . The characters are awesome, even the side characters, the world building is amazing and the quest is every gamers fantasy, to be part of a game ..wow . The villains are many, the heroes are real and the fight could cost you your life, the book is funny as hell with “nerdy” references all around and many mentions of “the one” , I was laughing out loud with this audiobook. Highly recommend this book to everyone, small and large, young and old ...believe me you will love it !!
Entertaining, but I'm starting to think I read way too much, because nothing seems new to me. The entire time I was reading this, I kept thinking of Tad Williams's Otherland series (yeah, even the titles are similar) and Ernest Cline's Ready Player One and even Marie Lu's upcoming Warcross. It just felt too much like enthusiastic, well-written fanfic rather than a unique, original story.
I just adore virtual reality, or well, the idea that one can just get lost in a whole world. Like in .hack (manga/anime/game) series.
But this one goes much further than just .hack. It goes so much further, and I loved each and every page of this one. Sure, at times I was wondering what kind of twist would be waiting at the next corner as they kept coming. :P
Really, all the adults in this book were messed up. Not only Simon's rich parents, but also Kat's. Plus I really couldn't understand how everyone was treating Simon so shitty. I get that he did a lot of things that... well, aren't that right, but come on. Anyone with half a brain could have figured out that he wasn't the one doing the hacking, hello, there is proof he was out of town during that event. But hey, just take his confession for real. And that is just the tip of the iceberg, Simon is treated quite shitty throughout the book.
Since this book was done by two writers, I had expected two POVs, Kat's and Simon's. Instead we only get Simon's POV. We see him go in Overworld, we see him do everything he can for Kat (which was just the sweetest), we see him in the outside world trying to figure out more stuff that he can't figure out in the Overworld or when he has to take action, like when he infiltrated that facility where all the comatose people are held. I definitely loved the Overworld parts the most, but that is because that is what I came for, what I bought the book for. Because it reminded me of .hack. Sure, those outside parts were interesting, and I did like reading them.
The Overworld was just a creepfest of a place. Good grief, everything that can go wrong in a world went wrong there. Not only due to the users who were cannibals, murderers, who enjoyed hurting people, but also because of the bad code, the Children. Also then there is that one city with all the orgies, drugs, and anything else. It was all so messed up, but it definitely made the journey way more exciting. I am sure that it would have been exciting to walk around there without all this, but all this messed-upness made it all better. Of course I knew who the guardian of the cave was way before anyone said anything about his identity. Come on, it was just too obvious. He is standing in front of the one place that allows escape from the game, if you have that ominous disc thing on your head.
I loved Kat and Simon's relationship, and I was shipping them like mad. Shipping them because I knew that they are meant to be together. They were so cute, and I just loved what Simon did for her.
Plus points to the cover!
I also hadn't realised this was the first book of a series. Sure, eventually I saw that no way this story would ever get completed in so little that was left. But until then I thought it would be a standalone. Not that I mind, now we get even more exciting story, though I worry that most of the book will take place OUTSIDE of Overworld, and I will kind of miss that. Again, I was just looking forward to a new .hack kind of story. :(
All in all, I had lots of fun to read this book, it was exciting. And sure, it took me a bit longer as I recently got Netflix (thanks Aggretsuko) and got addicted to Riverdale.
WOW. I sat and read this book in 100 page increments and just WOW. It’s was absolutely engrossing. Simon, the main character is resourceful and snarky as hell as he tries to save his best friend and uncover the conspiracy connecting a terrible accident and the VR game OTHERWORLD.
I loved this. Simon is a clever and fun character who leads us through the dangerous landscape of OTHERWORLD, from the White City to Imra and beyond. What an amazing read. Very excited for the sequel next year!
Readers who enjoyed WARCROSS and READY PLAYER ONE will love this book!
"The Company welcomes you to Otherworld. Are you ready to play?"
I didn't know Jason Segel wrote books?! He is talented in a lot of things he has done, and i, for the most part, enjoy his work immensely but was this book one of them? Yes and no. I haven't read anything by Kirsten Miller, but I could definitely pick out some of Jason Segel's humor throughout my reading of this novel. As a gamer, these sorts of books pull me in. I know I know, some may say it has been done before, many connect this book with 'Ready Player One' and that might be the case, but i haven't read that yet, still I think every story has its own unique way of making itself original, whether the original story idea is the same or similar to another book.
Otherworld is about the take the world by storm. Advertised as the most lifelike virtual reality game, that lets you live out the life your best life, indulge your every desire- lets you touch, feel and smell everything like its the real world and your destiny is whatever you make it- The Company will stop at nothing to advance their technology and bring to life a whole new reality which is Otherworld. Simon is a troubled young man, with parents who are never around, he is forced to move from his hometown and separate from the only real friend he has ever had, Kat. Simon ends up returning with a few new stories to tell, only his best friend will no longer speak to him. The more Simon uncovers the more he knows something isn't right. Having stolen his parent's credit card to beta test the new virtual reality game, Otherworld, Simon, and Kat will open a can of worms that could change their lives and the reality they know forever. What lies in Otherworld? What secrets is Kat hiding? And what could the Company really be trying to do?
One thing I loved about Otherworld was the world building! Modern sci-fi stories, especially about gaming are so far up my alley. The idea of Otherworld is really cool, a game so real it's like a whole other reality, where you can live your best life, choose your own destiny and fulfill your own desires. SIGN ME UP. I think what I loved most about the worldbuilding is that it has left room for so much more, we have only seen snippets of Otherworld so far, there is still so much to explore I can feel it. One thing I would have loved is a map! Most RPG games have maps, and im sure most virtual reality games do as well, its a part of the gameplay because otherwise you'd be totally lost. So why did we not get a map!? Even one where certain areas are locked, until the next book, where we uncover more and more of the world, you know, like in most video games have.
I will say I enjoyed the writing a fair bit. Like I said I could pick out parts that show Jason Segel's humor and overall, I enjoyed this reading experience. I did find I liked the start and the end a lot more than the middle of the book. It felt like something changed, whether it was the pacing or just plot-wise it slowed down, it seemed to lack a bit in the middle there. Not that we still don't uncover things and get a few twists and turns in there. Also, the end of the book just felt like it ended out of nowhere, we either needed a little more or a little less, because it felt incomplete finishing like it did.
Simon isn't a likable character but I think that was the purpose for both Jason Sigel and Kirsten Miller. Simon is the rich, troubled rebellious teen who does quite a few questionable things, even when he is trying to do the right thing, he seems to fuck that up. At one point, is even talks about feminism and how slut-shaming is bad, but the proceeds to threaten that he will leak revenge porn. Not cool. This kid definitely has a weird way of going about the right way to handle things. Kat is the opposite of Simon, the girl from the other side of the tracks, wild, free-spirited, kind. How these two are even friends doesn't make sense until you find out they were friends from a very young age. If they had met when they were older, no chance there would have been a friendship there. Simon is definitely infatuated with Kat. Not only is he protective of her but he will risk anything to find out what she is hiding and help her. Which is awesome, until he starts following her. Stalking is never the answer guys. Its creepy as hell and makes you look like you have a few screws loose. The fact it takes him so long to realize he is in love with his best friend was a bit ehh. Come on Simon, wake up buddy. I did like a lot of the characters we are later introduced too, I liked seeing who they were in the real world too and how different they were to their online avatars.
“My tongue produces words faster than my brain can approve them.”
Overall, I enjoyed this book, but it wasn't a favorite!I liked the worldbuilding, the plot, Kat and the additional characters, and the writing (for the most part). My issues were with the middle of the book, the abrupt ending, Simon and the lack of a world map. I think a lot of people will enjoy this, but only if they stop comparing it to Ready Player One, like a lot already have.
I really don't understand all the good reviews for this book... it was unnecessarily and unfunnily crass and Simon was extremely unlikable and kind of a brat. I thought the romance was poorly written and Kat deserves a lot better. The world-building was really good, but that can only get me so far.
Netgalley provided me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Otherworld is a book that is interesting from beginning to end and that features an amazing concept. It’s definitely worth buying once it comes out at the end of October!
Whilst reading this book, I was reminded that I can be a bit dense at times, despite being an university graduate. Everytime I looked at the cover art, something about the name of the authors seemed familiar, but I couldn’t quite figure out what. During this period, I was also rewatching the sitcom How I Met Your Mother. It’s therefore astounding to me that I only figured out that Jason Segel is in fact the same actor who played Marshall Eriksen on HIMYM, when I finished Otherworld and googled the book. Shame on me. Now onto the actual book review:
Otherworld is a virtual reality game that allows players to experience the world through a headset and other objects such as gloves. Through vision, taste and smell, individuals can completely submerge themselves into the multiplayer game and live their ideal life. The protagonist, Simon, starts playing Otherworld to meet with his friend Kat, whom he had a falling out with in real life. However, he soon finds out that the company that owns Otherworld isn’t what it seems. As a reader you get to follow Simon in Otherworld as he travels through it and also in real life, caught up in the actions of the company.
Despite the fact that I liked both ‘worlds’ and how they connected to each other, my favorite parts of the story take place in Otherworld. The entire concept of the virtual reality is imaginative, the world-building incredible and detailed. The descriptions – from the way the discs work, to gameplay characters and settings – make you as a reader feel immersed into the virtual reality too. The gameplay makes the story action-packed, while all that surrounds the company provides tension and mystery.
Attention is also given to human nature, ethics and psychology. It dives into the idea of what can happen to individuals who get too submerged into a virtual reality, like addiction or the disappearance of morals. Moreover, there is also the aspect of artificial intelligence and the danger of technology. All of these themes already seem relevant today, if not in the future.
The one thing I liked less about Otherworld is that the characters felt a bit flat. They were fun to read about, but I would have liked to see a bit more depth and development for characters other than Simon, like Kat. Perhaps that’s something to look forward to in the sequel.
This book is action-packed and tension-filled, with an original plot and engaging writing. I for one am already looking forward to book two!
So. This book. Yeah, this one that I have had an ARC of since a week before its publication. I didn't like it. I set it aside in hope that I could pick it up and enjoy it while I was in a different, maybe improved, mindset. For the record, I tried--I really, truly, with my entire being tried to get through this book. Normally if a book has an interesting story and poor writing, I can overlook what I don't like and get through (Susan Ee's angel/demon trilogy that I suddenly can't name; darn Christmas brain). Same goes for a meh story and great writing (ahem, The Hazel Wood is the perfect example). Otherworld, unfortunately, fell short on both accounts: the writing is mediocre at best, and the story suffered from the same predicament.
I know a few people who really enjoyed it and said they listened to the audiobook, so maybe that medium helped them to better enjoy it. (I think Jason Segel narrates it?) Regardless, I almost never enjoy an audiobook more than I do reading the physical book, so I don't think my mind would have changed.
Realizing my level of enjoyment wasn't going to improve beyond my meh, sometimes irritated, perception, I knew it was time to nix it, mark it read (85%--you betcha I am going to count this one toward my reading goal after forcing myself through that much!), and move onto a book that I am more likely to enjoy.
Also, anyone else get vibes that this one was trying to follow up in the shadow of Warcross? Maybe just me? I don't know; I am possibly thinking a little too much into this...
This was really fun! The audiobook was a great way to consume the story (Jason Segel is the narrator) and really brought the characters to life. The story itself could be quite predictable but I did really enjoy the time spent exploring the realms of Otherworld, the scope and limitations of the game, the children etc. The VR element was the most fascinating element of this book to me, especially one aspect of it that made it stand out from other games.
Simon makes for an interesting main character. I did appreciate a lot of his flaws and I found myself laughing at a lot of the humorous things he said/did. But he could also be very aggravating and unlikeable, namely during a scene early on where he threatens two of his classmates, saying he will leak nude photos of them in response to them calling Kat, Simon's best friend, a slut. This was *SO* not okay. I can see the message that was supposed to be conveyed here, but it was very poorly handled.
The last thing I want to mention was that I felt like the ending stopped almost mid-scene. I don't think that finishing a book (especially the first in a series) with questions still unanswered, or with some setup for the events in the next book, is an issue at all... but the way it ended wasn't very satisfying, it felt incomplete. It wasn't quite the same as a cliffhanger, but the characters are literally embarking on their next journey when it... ends.
This was the Winter Biannual Bibliothon group book. I went into this knowing nothing but the title and usually when i do this i find i am pleasantly surprised by the book. This time i was left completely unsatisfied with the story and unfortunately, it didn’t do enough for me to want to continue on with the upcoming sequel.
The writing style is slow. That’s honestly the best way to describe it because the first 100 pages are spent with our main character Simon mostly in reflection on his past. I understand that Segel did this as a way to incorporate the backstory so we understand why he does things the way he does, but it was just page after page of memories of childhood games and it didn’t keep my attention at all.
When we finally get into the actual “Otherworld” i already didn’t like the book. Although it definitely picked up in this virtual reality world i still found it to be slow and the twists to be boring. I don’t think it helped that the main character is kind of a cocky shit that bothered me as well. It just didn’t work for me at all and i pushed through it but i was close to DNFing it.
Simon is our main character in the book and he is flawed. That great right? Well, there is flawed and then there is weird and annoying. Yes he had a lot of questionable attributes but i think we were supposed to like him, personally, i just found him to be downright unbearable at times, and a bit creepy. He kinda stalks his friend (and when i mean kinda i mean hardcore, alerts tell him when she’s been online and what not) which was a bit weird but he also makes these ridiculous comments that just made me roll my eyes.
Also, Simon is supposed to be extremely intelligent but then he couldn’t put any of the pieces together and never thought that any of the “suspicious people” from the start of the book could have been behind the conspiracy. He’s supposed to be “the chosen one” but he sure does rely on others brains a lot to get him through.
Then we have the allusive Kat. The girl he is in love with who is super cool and fun, with a great personality – At least that’s how she is described. Kat is probably one of the most boring, uncomplex characters ever who is probably perfect for Simon since i didn’t like him either. There is just nothing to her and when she says something there’s zero emotion behind it.
With all of this in mind, i thought maybe the ending will really pick it up and make me change my mind about everything so far. Nope! I think anyone will agree with me that that ending was horrible. It didn’t seem like an ending at all, i honestly thought there were some pages missing because it just cuts right in the middle of a scene. So basically this just tipped me over the edge and i did not like it!
This book had the potential to be a very interesting story but because of the perspective it was told from, all the hiccups along the way in the plot and the predictability of it all, it just fell flat for me
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.
3.7 stars. I enjoyed the concept. I've read a few like it but didn't feel like it didn't bring anything "new and fresh" of its own to the table. I'll probably continue on with the series although I'm not feeling any rush to do so even if i enjoyed it
This read like it took vibes from other stories (Warcross, Ready Player One, Hunger Games, Rule of Mirrors) and mixed them together to make something else. I actually enjoyed this and am excited to see how the rest of the series plays out. No pun intended.
What a fast paced, wild, and wonderful story! It completely caught me off guard. I was a little hesitant to start this as it was reviewed by other bloggers to be a mix of Warcross and Ready Player One. Those are big words and lofty comparisons but I couldn’t turn down the chance to read for myself. I am happy to say I was not disappointed. I felt the authors wrote an original story that had the feel of several other stories (Warcross, Ready Player One, Hunger Games, and Rule of Mirrors) but they made it completely their own. Well done, you two!
Otherworld is the hot VR game which allows the players to submerge themselves into an alternate reality. Why stay at home and listen to your parents chew you out when you can be in Otherworld and battle ice monsters instead? That’s exactly what Simon thinks when he starts playing but he quickly realizes there is so much more to this game than it being just a game. The company that owns Otherworld is far more sinister and deadly than anyone imagined and Simon finds himself in the middle of something that could change the face of the planet.
Simon’s character was certainly quirky and interesting, but this really isn’t a character driven story. This is an fast action, constantly moving forward, never a dull moment of a story with twists I never saw coming. The characters turn out not to be who I thought they would be, as it seems everyone has their own secrets. Just when I thought I figured things out a twist would be thrown in. I found myself cheering Simon on as he throws himself into Otherworld time and time again, risking his own life, to save the girl he loves, Kat. I wanted to like Kat’s character more but she fit the manic pixie dream girl rebel model and I don’t jive with those too much. They feel too cliche. I understood Simon’s reasons for risking his life the way he did and, as I mentioned, I was cheering him on. I like how his character developed over the course of the story and cannot wait to read him in the next book. I want to see if they continue to grow.
I don’t want to give too much away because I hope you will give this a chance. It really surprised me and it takes a lot to do that nowadays. I will happily admit that I’m hooked on this series and cannot wait to read the next book. Too bad I have to wait a year for that to happen. I love the thought of an AI growing aware of itself and developing, which was certainly found in Otherworld. How can you not like a book like that? Please, add this to your TBR if it isn’t already there and give it a chance.
Otherworld is this new virtual reality game that looks and feels like its real. In Otherworld, you can be and do whatever you like and come back to your real life. It is addicting, for most of the players, it is paradise. But the world has evolved and become more than VR, it has become another type of reality.
I liked the premise of the story and it was quite quick to read. It has been written in a way where you can really imagine what Otherworld looks like. It was also really rooted in the real world and could happen in a couple of years.
I liked how independent Kat was and how the book plays with troped like a damsel in distress and the chosen one. Besides Kat, Busara had also really interesting backstory. Come to think of it, many of the side characters seemed to be more interesting and had more depth to them than Simon.
Where to me it fell flat was that they call the protagonist Simon a genius and it is true he has some good ideas, but really he is just obsessive, angry teen who can't put together some obvious clues. To me, it felt really annoying when I thought he had certain things figured out because I had, but he didn't. He also acted like a real dush and there wasn't much character development for him. I really hope the second book will bring more of that and that he gets help for his anger management.
All and all this was a fun read and I'm glad Biannual Bibliathon picked this as their group book, so I had reason to read it so quickly after publishing.
I don't know what the hell happened here. I felt this was trying to be too many things and just ended up being a hot mess.
The concept was interesting, but poorly executed. The main character - I feel the author was trying to pass him off as a little weird and eccentric, but he just came across as an opinionated, self righteous jerk. (yeah, I really didn't like him) The romantic aspect was forced and felt unnatural. The other characters were underdeveloped and I didn't feel a connection with any of them.
While I appreciated the world building, I didn't like the world. This is where I feel too many elements were involved.
All in all, I would most likely recommend you give this one a miss. There are other books of the same genre that are absolutely brilliant, and I feel this one is not up to the same standard.
Title: Otherworld (Otherworld #1) Authors: Jason Segal, Kirsten Miller Publisher: Delacorte Press, 2017 (Oct 31) Genre: YA Science Fiction
**This Review can be found on my Blog, TeacherofYA's Tumblr, or my Goodreads page**
So Otherworld doesn't have my "favorite" cover in the world...it's kinda bland and hard to tell what you're looking at...there's a really cool one I didn't get.
If anyone has the rainbow foil one, let me know...this is Segal's pic from Twitter and I love it!
But we all know not to judge a book by its cover. Right! 😂🤯
I'm glad I didn't in this instance though. I'm glad I went with my gut. I knew Jason Segal was a master. He's HILARIOUS. And his writing style is one of my faves. Normally I don't love reading from a male POV, or if I do, it's because the POV shifts back and forth from the girl to the guy. In Otherworld, it's a strictly male protag....and I LOVE HIM.
I gotta say, the writing is killer in this book. The tone is sarcastic but funny; you truly feel this is the voice of a teenage male with some issues and fear, but he puts on a strong facade only we can see through as the reader. Our MC is likable and relatable. He makes the whole story work.
Let me break down Otherworld...a game that's not a game, and a book you might overlook (and that would truly be a shame because you'd be missing out on an amazing read. I can say this with total confidence: I've had a slight book hangover from the awesomeness that is Otherworld.
Simon has a good life. Raised by wealthy parents, he doesn't want for much, but the one thing he does want, he cannot seem to have. He's got the exclusive Otherworld gear at two grand a set, and he charged an extra set for Kat, the girl who has been avoiding him since he came back from boarding school. For $4000 on his parent's credit card, all he wants to do is see her, talk to her about why she's avoiding him. She's his best friend, and since he came back she's been hanging with loser kids and acting out. Simon knows something is wrong: she's been his best friend and only confidante as a child of nannies. Kat is the adventure in his drab life. With a giant nose he calls "the kishka," he knows he isn't someone she could love...right?
When an accident happens at a warehouse party, Kat is diagnosed with "locked-in syndrome," a comatose state where she can hear around her, but she cannot move on her own. The developers of Otherworld, the game Simon played before his parents saw the charges and broke his gear, have a solution: it's simply a disc that attaches to the back of Kat's head, and she can be a participant in a study that might cure her. She's not just in virtual reality...she's in a new reality.
And Simon wants in. He needs to see Kat. He can't stand seeing her small frame lying in her hospital bed, unable to communicate with the world around her.
The technology is safe, the developers insist. It's not Otherworld, where you are playing from home and can still sense your surroundings. Kat is immersed in a paradise, wanting for nothing.
While Simon watches the developers reveal their plans to make Otherworld accessible to the world, he gets an idea: he needs to get a disc like Kat. He knows he can bring her out of her coma. And he's played Otherworld - he was one of the beta testers. He can save her.
But Kat's not in Otherworld...she's somewhere much more insidious. And Simon is the only one that can save her.
Here's a cool trailer for Otherworld that makes you want to read this book!
This is such a good book...I wish there were more resources on the web that I could use to demonstrate how amazing this was!
Is it Classroom-Appropriate?
Yes...and no. There's some graphic language that cannot be ignored. The F word being the most common of course. Now, we all know that teens swear, so it's not surprising to see it in YA. In a classroom-setting, however, this can definitely rile up educators and parents. Sex is discussed as Otherworld is touted as a place where "anything goes." A playland for those who can afford the gear, one can be as hedonistic as he pleases. I think this is an asset instead of a hindrance to the book. But one must be careful. So I would suggest if wanting to use it for classroom reading, a note should be provided home to alert parents to the benefits of the book, or maybe a clean edition could be issued that just removes the swearing. For now, I'd recommend junior and senior reading only to prevent issues with younger readers at home. Just my advice.
So for current class use, I would give Otherworld ★★★☆☆, just to be on the safe side.
As I stated, it could be used, but remember to be creative...the moral and ethical complications of a world with no rules is a great discussion area. However, with those topics, words and potentially inflammatory language could be a hard hurdle to overcome to get it used in the curriculum. I definitely would like to give it a try.
Finally, a Lexile-rated book! Lexile has Otherworld at a HL700L, which means though a 12 year old could understand the reading, it's more geared toward a higher level reader (hence the HL designation). The age range recommended is 12 to 17. Personally, I wouldn't think it wise to give this one to a 12 year old. I think the latter end of the Range is best, with 16 being my cap at youngest reader. As you know, these are just my personal guidelines: just because a 12 year old can read a book, doesn't mean they should read that book. I honestly would not have been surprised if I had found this in the adult science fiction section. The age of the characters does not solely dictate reader age range. But I do like that YA has some mature choices for the older readers. I would definitely give this one to a gamer fan or even a fan of dystopias.
If you can't tell by my personal gushing, I ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY LOVED OTHERWORLD.
If I could give six stars out of five, I would. But I don't believe in 110% as there is only 100% of something: it does not exist past that! 😂
But it seems unfair to put this book with some of my other five star reads, because it blows most of them out of the water. I could not put this book down. I had a book hangover that made it hard to start anything else. My judgement was clouded for sure. It even took me time to write this because I just didn't want to move on. I need the sequel. I NEED MORE SIMON. And Segal needs to write more books (I suppose I should include Miller in this sentiment too as the coauthor).
So here's my overall for Otherworld, though it hardly does it justice. ★★★★★
Stellar. Awesome. Amazing. (*cough needs a better cover cough*)
Go get this book. I demand it.
**PS I am going to a Con in two weeks so I'll try to update during that trip - it will mostly be Con-related info...so I'm going to try to post up more reviews before I go. Prepare for that because I want to bring you all the cool Con content as I'm there!**
Otherworld is like The Matrix and Westworld made a baby and named it Ready Player One. All of these are awesome stories and it’s an interesting combination of these elements that appear to have influenced Otherworld. This is the story of virtual reality gone wrong, greed, humanity, and friendship. Essentially, there’s The Company who invents true virtual reality where you are fully immersed in the virtual world with all of your senses engaged. However, in order to beta test the project they need test subjects. The Company will go to any means to acquire these subjects including murder and kidnapping. The world these subjects are entered into is anything but perfect. In fact the creators of Otherworld seem to have lost control of their creation. I think the overall theme of the story is to question the nature of reality and what it means to be alive.
There was a subtle sense of foreboding on every page. With every step Simon takes in the real world or in Otherworld you can feel that something is very wrong just below the surface. Several times throughout the story people talk about technology in ways that make it seem benevolent and innovative and in the next sentence someone will immediately say how someone could corrupt all those good intentions with frighteningly quick efficiency. For example: Someone will say “Virtual Reality will allow a poor kind from the slums in India attend college at Harvard!” Then someone else will say “Do you think Harvard is just going to let him in for free?” I liked that both of these viewpoints are represented and explored. Yes, technology is amazing but humans are garbage most of the time. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!
I liked our hero, Simon. He’s a bit nihilistic and kind of an asshole but in the end you can count on him to save the day. He’s an anti-hero. Again, I’m obsessed with anti-heroes so I’m naturally predispositioned to gravitate toward these kinds of characters. However, he had one moment where he was way too out of line. He threatens some female bullies with revenge porn he acquired from hacking someone’s email. He threatens this right after going on a rant about women’s rights and how it’s important to respect women. I get it, he’s an anti-hero and was trying to defend his friend from bullies but I wish there was just one sentence even where he admits he never would have actually released the photos because it’s a messed up thing to do. We didn’t get that sentence so it made me a little sour towards him. However, I read the ARC of this so maybe it changed in the final draft?
This may sound weird but the writing style had a definite masculine feeling to it. I primarily read female authors and I think their tone and what they choose to focus on perhaps as a more feminine feel to it. I can’t really explain what I’m talking about. It just definitely felt written by Jason Segel. The themes and content seems like it may be intended for an adult audience and instead, since the protagonist is 17, it was written for YA. The characters didn’t feel like teenagers and the situations they were put in are terrifying. I think maybe the characters could have just been a few years older it would have matched their personalities a bit better. But, on the other hand, so much of the story relies on the characters being teens for their circumstances to make sense in the real world. I think I’m going to classify this as NA instead and call it a day.
I have to admit that the ending was fairly anti-climactic. Yes, there were lots of game changers involved in it and it’s a bit of a cliff hanger but it wasn’t really all that exciting. It may be a cliffhanger but the cliff isn’t really all that tall. I think I may read the sequel when it comes out but it’s not something I think I’m going to rush out and buy right away.
This was disappointing because there was so much potential, and also the story is not fresh. I feel like the entire storyline was set aside so that the focus could be on the romance between Kat and Simon. The supporting characters were way more interesting and likable than Simon who began to be grating after about one hundred pages.
The book is very reminiscent of Ready, Player One which lends to the book feeling like an old idea rather than a new idea. An MMO with pop culture references. It also didn't feel very nerdy or gamer-like. I don't know how many games Segel or Kristin have played, but the book makes it feel like they've played zero to few.
The supporting characters (Carole and Gorog) were what made a lot of this book better. They kind of left off the Red Knight, but I guess he'll come back in the second book? Maybe? Maybe not, since there were some internal inconsistencies with the plot and actions of characters.
Perhaps if this had not been marketed and written as a young adult book the plot could have been better developed and the world could have been richer.
Overall, a disappointment but at least it was a quick read.
„Друг свят” (изд. „Бард”) на Джейсън Сийгъл и Кирстен Милър е лек и неангажиращ младежки сай-фай, който залага на модерните тропи за онлайн игри и виртуална реалност, плюс тийн бунтарщината, която (поне на хартия) е така ефикасна срещу сриването на антиутопичната система. Дали нещата ще се получат и този път? Предстои да разберем! Това е пета книга обща за авторското дуо, но любопитното е, че Джейсън Сийгъл е... ОНЗИ Джейсън Сийгъл – Маршъл от „How I Met Your Mother”. Прочетете ревюто на "Книжни Криле": https://knijnikrile.wordpress.com/201...