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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
The Rule of Thoughts plays fast and loose with what computer hacking actually is. More realistic detail would undoubtedly slow down the plot, but there's little attention paid to the actual science of computing.
Be thoughtful of your actions in the real and virtual worlds. Be loyal to your friends.
Positive Role Models
Michael, Bryson, and Sarah survive their face-off against Kaine, the cyberterrorist, by depending on each other and staying brave and determined in the face of overwhelming odds.
Violence & Scariness
The Rule of Thoughts is less violent than the initial installment of this series. Most of the mayhem takes place in virtual reality, but there are gunfights in the real world that lead to deaths.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Bryson, Michael, and Sarah indulge in some innocuous, platonic flirting.
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The language in The Rule of Thoughts is mild. "Damn" and "hell" are used two or three times each.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Rule of Thoughts is a fast-paced cyberpunk thriller set in a virtual gaming world and in the "real world." It follows three teenage hackers as they search for Kaine, a sentient program that has gone rogue and is downloading new personalities into the brains of unsuspecting humans. The book contains some 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," which are used one or two times each. Sexual content is limited to flirting among platonic friends, and there's no mention of drugs, smoking, or drinking.
Is It Any Good?
The Rule of Thoughts suffers from Second Novel in a Trilogy Syndrome. Sure, there's plenty of action, double crosses, and hair's-breadth escapes, but some of the frenetic scenes begin to feel like so much running in place. Characters frequently withhold crucial information from each other for obscure reasons. This ploy grows old quickly, seeming to be more for the author's convenience than for the organic needs of the plot. Nevertheless, The Rule of Thoughts does find some fresh twists in its cyberpunk scenario, and young readers will be left eagerly awaiting the final installment.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.