Title: Otherworld (Otherworld #1)
Author
: Jason Segel & Kirsten Miller
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: October 31st 2017
Pages: 368
Genre(s): Young Adult, Science Fiction
Source: Netgalley
Purchase: The Book Depository

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.

Netgalley provided me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Otherworld is a book that is interesting from beginning to end and that features an amazing concept. It’s definitely worth buying once it comes out at the end of October! 

Whilst reading this book, I was reminded that I can be a bit dense at times, despite being an university graduate. Everytime I looked at the cover art, something about the name of the authors seemed familiar, but I couldn’t quite figure out what. During this period, I was also rewatching the sitcom How I Met Your Mother. It’s therefore astounding to me that I only figured out that Jason Segel is in fact the same actor who played Marshall Eriksen on HIMYM, when I finished Otherworld and googled the book. Shame on me. Now onto the actual book review:

Otherworld is a virtual reality game that allows players to experience the world through a headset and other objects such as gloves. Through vision, taste and smell, individuals can completely submerge themselves into the multiplayer game and live their ideal life. The protagonist, Simon, starts playing Otherworld to meet with his friend Kat, whom he had a falling out with in real life. However, he soon finds out that the company that owns Otherworld isn’t what it seems. As a reader you get to follow Simon in Otherworld as he travels through it and also in real life, caught up in the actions of the company.

Despite the fact that I liked both ‘worlds’ and how they connected to each other, my favorite parts of the story take place in Otherworld. The entire concept of the virtual reality is imaginative, the world-building incredible and detailed. The descriptions – from the way the discs work, to gameplay characters and settings – make you as a reader feel immersed into the virtual reality too. The gameplay makes the story action-packed, while all that surrounds the company provides tension and mystery.

Attention is also given to human nature, ethics and psychology. It dives into the idea of what can happen to individuals who get too submerged into a virtual reality, like addiction or the disappearance of morals. Moreover, there is also the aspect of artificial intelligence and the danger of technology. All of these themes already seem relevant today, if not in the future.

The one thing I liked less about Otherworld is that the characters felt a bit flat. They were fun to read about, but I would have liked to see a bit more depth and development for characters other than Simon, like Kat. Perhaps that’s something to look forward to in the sequel.

This book is action-packed and tension-filled, with an original plot and engaging writing. I for one am already looking forward to book two!

Otherworld

8.5

Characterization

6.8/10

Plot

8.5/10

Writing style

8.5/10

Pace

8.5/10

Setting

10.0/10

Pros

  • Interesting concept
  • World-building
  • Attention for ethics, human nature and psychology
  • Action and mystery

Cons

  • Some characters a bit flat