The Eye of Minds: The Mortality Doctrine, Book 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
The Eye of Minds: The Mortality Doctrine, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Cyberpunk series hits the ground running for gaming fans.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 17 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Set mostly within an immersive gaming system, The Eye of Minds plays fast and loose with what actually constitutes hacking, to the point where it becomes just another synonym for magic. More realistic is the novel's portrayal of the psychology of gamesmanship and what motivates players to persevere in the face of incredible odds.

Positive Messages

The Eye of Minds emphasizes bravery, loyalty, resourcefulness, and empathy as its characters struggle against digital obstacles and ponder the meaning of being human.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Michael, the protagonist of The Eye of Minds, is brave, resourceful, and loyal to his friends. He's also impulsive, sarcastic, and unhealthily obsessed with online gaming, but those flaws give his character additional depth. Readers will find him worthy of their attention across multiple installments of the story.


Set within a totally immersive online gaming system, The Eye of Minds features plenty of violence, but it's not graphic in its description. The protagonist and his allies are attacked by monsters and engage in vicious hand-to-hand combat, but the fact that they're playing a game without mortal consequences lessens the impact of the mayhem.


Michael, Sarah, and Bryson exchange occasional flirty comments.


Occasional "damn" and "hell." Characters infrequently say that situations "suck" or that they're "pissed."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Eye of Minds is a fast-paced cyberpunk thriller set in a virtual gaming world. It follows three teenage hackers as they search for the rogue gamer who's holding people hostage online and harming them in the real world. It contains a fair amount of violence (monster attacks, hand-to-hand combat in a warfare scenario), but the mayhem's usually not described in detail and usually doesn't have mortal consequences. The strongest language is "damn" and "hell"; characters sometimes say situations "suck" or that they're "pissed." Sexual content's limited to flirting, and there's no mention of drugs, smoking, or drinking.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bykimberlyc9 July 7, 2016

Blood and gore from the first page

I am very disappointed in this book. My son read The Mazerunner and other books by this author and they were fine. There is graphic violence from the beginning... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byJbeevey02 September 15, 2016


This is amazing, on so many levels. I wouldn't give it to my 12 year old sister, not yet. She still has bit more maturing to do before this. But if your he... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bykatnisslovegood April 9, 2021

Cleaner than Maze Runner series

This book was cleaner than the Maze Runner series, although it was violent at times. (But Maze Runner is worse.) There is no romance or sex in this book, which... Continue reading

What's the story?

After he witnesses the online suicide of a fellow gamer in the VirtNet, Michael is recruited by government agents to track down a rogue player suspected of holding people hostage within the digital realm. Accompanied by his close friends and fellow hackers, Sarah and Bryson, Michael travels the hidden, dangerous byways of the online system, searching for the virtual location where everything will supposedly be revealed. The path to enlightenment is strewn with danger, however, and Michael must face the realization that his fantasy adventure might actually kill him and the people he cares about.

Is it any good?

To fans of The Matrix or other science fiction from the '90s, this book might feel a tad old-fashioned in the way it poses familiar game-or-reality questions. But younger readers coming to the novel without any preconceptions will undoubtedly enjoy the fast-paced plot, snappy dialog, and shifting layers of perception. Author James Dashner serves up a couple of neat reversals, and the book concludes with a narrative jolt sure to propel fans into the next installment.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why online gaming is so popular. What makes video games so compelling to such a large audience?

  • What dangers do online games present to young players?

  • Do you think technology will ever reach a point where players won't be able to distinguish between online fantasy and offline reality?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction

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