The Eye of Minds: The Mortality Doctrine, Book 1 Book Poster Image

The Eye of Minds: The Mortality Doctrine, Book 1



Cyberpunk series hits the ground running for gaming fans.

What parents need to know

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

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."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Author:James Dashner
Genre:Science Fiction
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Delacorte Press
Publication date:October 8, 2013
Number of pages:320
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17
Available on:Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

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Teen, 13 years old Written byUseursense April 19, 2014

Oh, gosh. Amazingness

It was AWESOME! Serious. The only thing to worry about is description of violence. With James Dashner, he's one of the best authors, okay? It's just that even if his violence isn't bad, the detail he puts into it makes it more intense. That's probably the best word to describe his writing with; intense. Can't wait for the RULE OF THOUGHTS! The sequel! That was a crazy cliff hanger!!!!!:) almost as bad as the MARK OF ATHENA!
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written bykpanda56 June 5, 2014

Love the book, hate the ending!

I totally agree with the comment before me. I loved this book not only because of the characters, but because it was so different than any other book I have read. WARNING the ending IS almost as bad as mark of athena. (You are completely right Useursense)
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Parent 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 of the novel about tearing flesh and dismembering and self harm and suicide, and it continues throughout the book. It was so bad my son said he couldn't read it because it was making him sick. As an English teacher, I am saddened that in a society that celebrates violence in video games, media, movies, and music, our kids can't escape it in books.
What other families should know
Too much violence