Relevant posts: Ready Player One
I received a free digital copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Welcome to real life 2.0.
Are you ready to play?
There are no screens. There are no controls.
You don’t just see and hear it—you taste, smell, and touch it too.
In this new reality there are no rules to follow, no laws to break.
You can indulge your every desire.
Why would you ever want to leave?
Step into Otherworld.
Leave your body behind.
VISITOTHERWORLD.COM – WHERE THE NEXT PHASE OF REALITY BEGINS
Otherworld is a young adult, science fiction novel that sees a new type of gaming experience reach the masses of teenagers around the world. In Otherworld, anyone can be what they want and do what they want without any consequences. Until, one day Simon’s best friend Kat ends up in hospital and is diagnosed with locked-in syndrome and given the chance to test out a new device by creators of Otherworld, the Company. Little does Simon know how difference the experience will be with these new headsets provided, diving back into Otherworld in order to save Kat and the hundreds of others whose lives are at risk.
Not long into the novel I found myself comparing Otherworld to that of Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. The similarities surrounding headsets and virtual realities was definitely something familiar and not altogether unique however, it was the way in which Segel implements these headsets into the overall storyline that got me more intrigued and really provided a more thrilling aspect to the novel. The new headsets ( a visor and disk that connects directly with the skin of the wearer ) brings a unique aspect to Otherworld and highlights the corrupted nature of the Company but also the possibilities that such technology could provide – a concept that is batted back and forth as the narrative progresses and really shows the pros and cons and the ethical reasons behind this advanced technology. The emotions within the novel were definitely heightened drastically when the implications of the headset began to set in for Simon, pushing him further in his quest to save Kat and those he may not already know about.
Simon’s character is definitely one I found myself growing towards as the novel progressed and he experienced more. In the beginning, I found his personality and his overall persona to be one that was hard to believe. Simon is described as a rich kid who gets away with anything, has a criminal record, and has no self respect for himself or anyone around him – other than Kat. I found this description to be one that I couldn’t connect with due to the likelihood but also the inability to connect with someone on this level. However, his development is definitely evident as the novel progresses and he steps into Otherworld on a far more dangerous level: beginning to understand that it isn’t all about him and that he may be the only one that can save many more people. He begins to grow conscience and to think about the bigger picture, putting himself at risk in order to help someone else who he doesn’t even know. This development made him more relatable, and more likable, and he became a character to look up to and admire.
I really did enjoy Otherworld and appreciated that Segel looked into the ethical concerns of this device and showed the difference in leadership within the Company and the varying perspectives people have on something that could change the future. It makes you think hard about the consequences and weigh out the pros and cons. It was an enjoyable novel that was thrilling, tense, and full of suspense during those moments when you believed it could all end. Having ended on a cliffhanger, I am interested to see where Segel now takes this novel and how Simon and Kat accomplish the destruction of the Company and the headsets they are trying to provide.