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It’s the most advanced computer role-playing game ever: When you play you’re really there—in a dark dream teeming with evil creatures, danger-filled fortresses, and malevolent sorceries.
The game plugs directly into your brain—no keyboard, no modem, no monitor. And for game hacker Arvin Rizalli and his friends, no cash up front, no questions asked . . . and no hope of rescue when the game goes horribly, ...

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Overview

It’s the most advanced computer role-playing game ever: When you play you’re really there—in a dark dream teeming with evil creatures, danger-filled fortresses, and malevolent sorceries.
The game plugs directly into your brain—no keyboard, no modem, no monitor. And for game hacker Arvin Rizalli and his friends, no cash up front, no questions asked . . . and no hope of rescue when the game goes horribly, deathly wrong.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Readers...will not be able to put this swashbuckler down.”—Publishers Weekly

“Vivid and diverting.”—Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Arvin Rizalli, his mother and six of his friends pirate a computer-generated, interactive role-playing game. No dull video game, the program plugs right into the players' brains, putting them in the middle of a daring quest to rescue a kidnapped princess. The quest moves at a breakneck pace, careening from forests to caves to deserts to enchanted cities. Along the way, Arvin and his company fight a dizzying array of orcs, wolves and other evildoers, but their biggest challenges come from Arvin's mother's mysterious, life-threatening illness and a bewildering assortment of dangerous glitches in the computer program. Readers who are fond of either sword and sorcery fantasy or role-playing games will not be able to put this swashbuckler down. Ages 12-up. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-- As this fantasy adventure begins, eighth-grader Arvin Rizalli has just become Harek Longbow, warrior elf, in the first stage of a fantasy role-playing game that simulates reality. He is on a five day quest, goal to be discovered, with six other teenagers in various roles, and his mother, impelled by curiosity to play the game for the first time. As the quest progresses, Arvin realizes first that the program has some glitches complicating their activities, and later that his mother seems to have some other, unrelated problem that interferes with her ability to play but adds to the urgency with which they must finish the game and return to reality. Just as the game is missing certain levels and controls, this novel is lacking in some basic levels of character development, motivation, and relation to a real world. In their fantasy roles, the seven players encounter giant rats, trolls, werewolves, and more, with each meeting an excuse for swordplay and general mayhem, usually accompanied by death and destruction. Arvin describes his fellow players and speculates on which roles they have assumed--this is the extent of the characterization. The mechanism or procedure by which the program simulates reality is also not explained. Velde begins this game on page one and finishes it only four pages before the end of the book, leaving little room for further developments. Fantasy game players will enjoy this story as another level of the game, but readers looking for more may be as anxious as Arvin/Harek for the game and the novel to be over. --Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152163532
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 7/10/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint Edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Lexile: 750L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Vivian Vande Velde has written many books for teen and middle grade readers, including Heir Apparent , User Unfriendly , All Hallow's Eve: 13 Stories, Three Good Deeds, Now You See It ..., and the Edgar Award–winning Never Trust a Dead Man. She lives in Rochester, New York. Visit her website at www.vivianvandevelde.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2003

    good

    User Unfriendly is a great book that is amusing, exciting, and enjoyable. It's about a 14 year old who gets into a modem, monitor, and keyboard, less game. The ending is amusing, and Arvin aka Halek's commentary is very humorous.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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