Thursday, April 25, 2013
First off, let me say that although this is technically a series book, each one of the books stands completely on its own - without even any crossover of characters to speak of. The unifying thread is the Rasmussem Corporation's total immersion virtual reality gaming center, in which players are wired up and transported into the game of their choosing, complete with full sensory capability. The books can be read in any order, and while Heir Apparent is still my favorite of the bunch, this one was a highly enjoyable read as well.
Our heroine is Grace Pizzelli, and when she is called out of class in the middle of the school day, she can only think that something horrible has happened. And while, to her relief, there's been no death in the family, something awful has indeed occurred. Her sister - her perfect, popular, intelligent, amazing sister, has somehow wired herself into one of Rasmussem's total immersion virtual reality games - and using her skills that she'd developed interning for Rasmussum, she has bypassed the codes so that the safety backups no longer apply to her. In effect, she's sealed herself off in the game, and eventually it will fry her brain, and she will die.
Grace can't imagine why her sister would do such a thing, and while feeling that she has little chance of succeeding, she agrees to go into the game, which her sister has designed, and convince her sister to come back out. Her sister has no intention of doing so, however, and she has all the powers and skills of the game at her disposal, which means that Grace has to find a way to beat the game, within its rules, track down her sister, and find out what is going on.
This is a fun, action-packed adventure book with a lot at stake. It explores the relationship between the girls without being heavy handed or preachy, and there is also plenty of Vande Velde's quirky humor and snarky social commentary, not to mention the usual unexpected plot twists along the way. It's intelligent, thought provoking, and a whole lot of fun.
Books in the User Unfriendly series:
1. User Unfriendly
2. Heir Apparent
3. Deadly Pink
Deadly Pink (#3 in the User Unfriendly series) by Vivian Vande Velde (Harcourt, 2012)