Authors: Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller
Length: 355 pages
“The company says Otherworld is amazing—like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive—that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.
Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.
And it’s about to change humanity forever.
Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.”
★ ★ ★ ★ stars
This was my first read for the Winter Biannual Bibliothon. If you would like to check out my TBR and general updates to follow (as well as the reviews I will be posting on the books I am reading during the Bibliothon, please take a quick peek at my Channel).
- The concept of Otherworld
- Basically all of the scenes in Otherworld
- The plot (like 75% of the time) – really gripping
- The general idea of this books
- Funny (but see below)
- Simon was a bit strange at times
- Over the top references to sex, orgies, etc.
- Sometimes the humor was just trying too hard (just my opinion though)
- A bit too predictable
- The ending
- The last part of the ending
The entire premise and idea that this book hinged on – the Otherworld – was probably one of the most fascinating concepts that I have ever read in a YA book. (Now, granted, I haven’t read books like Ready Player One yet, so maybe it’s just because I just generally haven’t read a lot of books about things like VR yet). And while I did really like this book, unfortunately, some of the aspects of this book ended up feeling a bit strange.
Simon was a pretty likable character at the beginning of the book. I found him pretty funny – even if his jokes were a bit crude. But after a while, I have to say that I got a bit sick of his constant uncaring, vulgar attitude. I generally thought that his personality was quite uninteresting, besides his background with his parents and all of that. I generally found the side characters a lot more interesting than Simon himself, like Carole, Busara, Kat and Gorog. But I did incredibly enjoy the story between Simon and Kat, how they met, what happened, even just generally learning about Simon’s family situation was incredibly interesting.
The entire concept of Otherworld was fascinating to me. I greedily devoured all of the chapters that set place in the Otherworld and generally found myself reading the ones that were in the “real world” a bit faster and less focused. Furthermore, the idea of what would happen if we let the human race decide for themselves what morals to pick and choose and basically give anyone unhindered access to whatever they want (including murder, gluttony, glorified sexual objectification, cannibalism, colorful varieties of sexual immorality of any kind or just any kind of unending access to greed and power) is an entirely interesting concept. I think this book did a great job at showing the weakness that humans face when they are lured into power and pleasures offered to them without any limits. This entire premise (which obviously also inspired a lot of other books) is an incredibly thought-provoking idea to pursue in my opinion.
Sadly, I found the storyline to be a tiny bit predictable in certain areas. I’m not talking about specific scenes, like when the group was going through the different realms, but just the general overarching plot, with the Company being behind all of these alleged “locked-in syndrome” cases and the Otherworld basically being a gateway drug to evil incarnate. I wasn’t expecting Wayne to be behind the entire thing though. And while I was right in saying that Magna would turn out to be Milo (which I fucking called right at the beginning of this book…am I great at predications or what??) I didn’t expect Milo to actually be just as much of a victim as the rest of the addicted guests. There were also a lot of plot points that I totally did not see coming at first, like the comas happening in the first place. When Simon entered the Otherworld to follow Kat, certain things became quite obvious to me pretty fast, but up until that point I was pretty surprised by some of it.
And oh my sweet Lord, I did not expect them to KILL CAROLE??? I got so upset. She was by far my favorite character in the whole book. She was exactly the kind of strong, badass woman that I want from any book and they fucking killed her OFF. What. Not cool. To be fair though, thanks to them totally unfairly killing her off, I did end up taking this book a bit more seriously. Up until that point, I didn’t realize that it was going to be one of those books where the author would end up killing basically one of the main character but boy was I wrong.
Another thing that only slightly bothered me was just the amounts of times things like sex or orgies were mentioned. Now, anyone who knows me knows I’m not some sort of prude. I’m all for a sex-positive books, but it just seemed a bit too much by the end. Like, we fucking get it, the Otherworld is full of orgies. *eyeroll* And again, I am all for sexual empowerment, but some of the things said did come off as entirely objectifying. Oh and orgies are completely gross (and unsanitary) in my opinion, so no thank you.
Now, maybe this was just me, but the ending was just incredibly weird in my opinion. It might have been because I was reading through it fairly quickly, but a lot of it seemed confusing and incoherent at the time that I was reading it. It seemed hard to tell who the “bad guys” were and who exactly was on Simon’s side. An example of this would be Martin, who seemed to at first be on Simon’s team, helping him out to a certain degree, but then at the end posed a great threat, almost killing Simon and all of his friends. My brain was just way too confused at that point. And also that, the final ending (the last few pages of this book) just didn’t really keep me hooked and didn’t entirely convince me to read the next book. I definitely will though, but if we’re speaking strictly literary talent, those last few pages just really didn’t grip me and entice me with the next book.
What I did really enjoy though was the writing. It seemed really easy to read and flowed fairly easily when I was reading it and was generally an enjoyable aspect to the book.
What I didn’t know coming into this book though, was that this is only the first book in a series. I’m unsure how many books will still be coming out, though. I went into this book 100% believing it was gonna be a standalone and I have to say that I was fairly disappointed when I realized that there were actually going to be sequels. Which is really weird, because usually I’m super pumped for more books. I’m not entirely sure why I feel this way, but I feel like this book would have served nicely as a standalone and I fear that subsequent books will just go into that whole “anti-government, revolutionize the world and bring justice and peace” genre that we see so often in dystopian novels. (Not that I have anything against such books, but again, it’s not what I was expecting or hoping from this book).
Anyway, let me know what y’all thought of this book if you have read it. I would love to hear your thoughts!