For the last month my fiancé and I have been binge watching How I Met Your Mother and because of this I ended up on Google, as one does when your watching a long running television show, to see what the cast has been up to since the last episode aired.
So, colour me surprised when I found out following his departure as Marshall Eriksen, Jason Segel has been absolutely killing it at the YA author game.
While it is natural for some people to discover an author through their first work(s), Segel’s is a series, entitled Nightmares!, so I thought I would pick up his most recently published work, co-authored with the lovely Kirsten Miller.
Did Otherworld spark my interest to read the co-author duo’s other series? Keep on reading to find out my thoughts and opinions.
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Publisher: Delacorte Press (October 31, 2017)
Print Length: 355 pages
Audiobook Length: 10 hrs and 32 mins
Narrator: Jason Segel
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.
And here I was expecting a lazy rehashing of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, shame on me for judging a book by its cover, well not by its cover but you get the gist.
Otherworld (Otherworld #1) finds the reader transported to a time in which The Company has redeveloped the cult classic game Otherworld. For Simon, it’s a chance to chase after his best friend Kat. For Kat it’s a way to escape a terrible accident. For both Otherworld is nothing that they hoped for.
As I’ve said, I expected this novel to read like Ready Player One, which it wasn’t. Yes both novels dealt with escapism through virtual reality, but really that is where the comparisons stop. The world that Segel and Miller created was vast, with a never ending idea that leaves the reader realizing they have only scratched the surface of Otherworld and the White City.
While I did find Simon comedic, there were certain character traits given to him that rubbed me the wrong way. As many reviewers have pointed out on Goodreads there is a certain arrogance to him that makes him unlikable. Also, there is a scene, early on in the novel, where he doesn’t like how characters are attacking Kat. Instead of telling them to stop he bullies them in the same manner, thus making the scene kind of counter intuitive to the plot. I also had a bit of an issue with the romance between Simon and Kat. Instead of seeing that she either wasn’t ready or didn’t want a relationship, Kat was consistently hounded by Simon and his affection, kind of making the relationship reveal not as anticipated as it could have been. Where Otherworld truly shined for me was with its handling of secondary characters. Besides Carole and Gorog, Busara was hands down my favourite character to read about. She was spunky, full of life, had an interesting backstory, and out of all the characters she had a real reason to be apprehensive about trusting the Company. Hopefully in book two Segel and Miller realize what a gem of a character they created and give her more reading time.
I guess where this novel truly fell flat for me is how I could tell how the authors were in transition between writing middle grade, with their series Nightmare!, and Otherworld. While that isn’t necessarily the worst thing to happen to a novel, it took me out of the story at times and because of that I didn’t always feel the need to pick it up right away. Hopefully in the sequel, Otherearth (Otherworld #2), progression is less evident.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
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And those are my thoughts on Otherworld (Otherworld #1) by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller. Do you have any science fiction recommendations that you think I should check out? Leave it as a comment below and help my TBR grow.