Official Review: When the Eye Sees Itself by Eric Borgerson

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teacherjh
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Official Review: When the Eye Sees Itself by Eric Borgerson

Post by teacherjh » 28 Jun 2018, 15:26

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "When the Eye Sees Itself" by Eric Borgerson.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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When the Eye Sees Itself by Eric Borgerson is an interesting combination of dystopian literature and science fiction with lots of political intrigue mixed in. It is set in a future society where the masses are divided into three categories. Citizens have all the power and rights. Vulnerables who are deemed as too sensitive and weak are kept in closed neighborhoods for their own protection. The third group, Agressives, are considered volatile and are often incarcerated.

The plot follows several storylines which eventually overlap and intersect in complicated and unexpected ways. First, there is Anna, a Vulnerable who wants to achieve citizenship. Together with her advocate, Leo, she decides to fight for changes in the classification system that would allow her to be reclassified as a Citizen. This leads to public uproar with both support and opposition to her case. At the same time, the Department of Domestic Intelligence (DDI) is investigating a new technology that allows people to connect mentally using a quantum neural interface. This takes group meditation and mind reading to a whole new level. It has crossed into criminal territory because some people are creating abuse videos and connecting with others to share them allowing the users to not only see but feel all the emotions of the victim and the perpetrator. A third plot line follows a group of hackers who are trying to access information to prove the government is using torture on political prisoners.

One of the most enjoyable parts of this book was how the author kept surprising me with connections between the characters. There were several ah-ha moments when I saw how the groups were intersecting in ways they did not even realize themselves. The character development was also skillfully done. I felt I knew these people and had real emotional reactions to them. Even with the science-fiction elements, the plot developments were very logical and believable. One character becomes addicted to drugs and both his descent into darkness and his struggles with recovery were skillfully presented.

The novel was well edited with only a few verb tense errors and one fragment. The author’s style was intelligent and thoughtful with excellent use of literary devices. There were a few times, however when I felt the vocabulary was falsely inflated such as when Leo describes his friend as having “solipsistic lacunae.” Still, I like reading a book where I have to look up a word or two occasionally.

The biggest problem I had with this book was the pacing. It felt like the author’s commitment to realism worked against him in this aspect. Most crime novels have events presented at an accelerated pace. In this one, if it would normally take a month to go to trial, it took a month in the timeline. There were several long gaps with no real action and way more political maneuvering than I prefer. The whole book could have been condensed and accelerated and been more enjoyable. One other concern I had was that a few minor plot lines were left unfinished. The book almost had a sense of ending without being done.

Despite these minor deficiencies, this would be an enjoyable book for anyone who appreciates dystopian and science-fiction stories. There are a few mild sex scenes including a homosexual relationship as well as minimal cursing and references to physical abuse, so it is not appropriate for younger audiences. Overall, I rate it as 3 out of 4 stars. With a little plot tightening, I would have given it a four. The premise and characters were amazing making it enjoyable to read.

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When the Eye Sees Itself
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Post by Bianka Walter » 29 Jun 2018, 06:09

This reminds me a bit of the factions in Divergent. Even though they are much more cut and dry (or seemingly so?). I love dystopian books, but the pacing would be a problem for me.
Thanks for the great review!
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Post by JR Mercier » 29 Jun 2018, 07:13

First off, I love the cover. It's sad that is dragged on in some spots but it sounds like a great read. Great review.
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Post by kandscreeley » 29 Jun 2018, 08:26

I love the idea of this story; in fact, it's my favorite type of plot in science fiction. But the sex scenes just put me off. So I guess I won't be reading this one even though I'd love to know what happens with Anna and if she becomes a citizen or overthrows the whole classification system. Thanks for the review. I guess I'll pass.
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Post by gen_g » 29 Jun 2018, 09:41

Thanks for the brilliant review as always - this certainly seems interesting. Borgerson seems to be a talented author with a knack for developing detailed background context, which I enjoy very much. It is a pity that the story seems to be slightly long-winded at times. Nonetheless, I'm definitely going to give this a try – thanks again! (:

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Post by teacherjh » 29 Jun 2018, 12:03

kandscreeley wrote:
29 Jun 2018, 08:26
I love the idea of this story; in fact, it's my favorite type of plot in science fiction. But the sex scenes just put me off. So I guess I won't be reading this one even though I'd love to know what happens with Anna and if she becomes a citizen or overthrows the whole classification system. Thanks for the review. I guess I'll pass.
Actually the sex scenes were just vague references with no details. It was refreshing for an author to leave those details out.

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Post by teacherjh » 29 Jun 2018, 12:14

gen_g wrote:
29 Jun 2018, 09:41
Thanks for the brilliant review as always - this certainly seems interesting. Borgerson seems to be a talented author with a knack for developing detailed background context, which I enjoy very much. It is a pity that the story seems to be slightly long-winded at times. Nonetheless, I'm definitely going to give this a try – thanks again! (:
Thanks for the kind words. You made my day.

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Post by Helen_Combe » 29 Jun 2018, 16:06

Thank you for an excellent review. It sounds a little reminiscent of ‘Divergent’. An interesting social construct.
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Post by Dael Reader » 29 Jun 2018, 18:36

Nice review! I'm not sure how I would feel about the subplot involving abuse videos. But the class system idea is one that I would find intriguing. Even though I would hope that a future society would wise up and steer clear of that sort of thing. ;)

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Post by kdstrack » 29 Jun 2018, 20:23

Great review! The idea of connecting mentally with quantum neural interface really intrigues me. The pacing is a real drawback, but the plot seems interesting enough to overcome it. Nice job!

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Post by teacherjh » 29 Jun 2018, 22:10

Bianka Walter wrote:
29 Jun 2018, 06:09
This reminds me a bit of the factions in Divergent. Even though they are much more cut and dry (or seemingly so?). I love dystopian books, but the pacing would be a problem for me.
Thanks for the great review!
It reminded me of Divergent too. It did have a dark side though.

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Post by julessawyer » 30 Jun 2018, 06:44

i like the way your review was written. The details were good but not spoiler. the plot about mind and emotion transfer got me. i want to try reading this although I hope I don't find the pacing to slow or it will be a struggle to finish. thanks again for the review. the book has a nice cover and an intriguing title by the way

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Post by teacherjh » 30 Jun 2018, 10:38

JR Mercier wrote:
29 Jun 2018, 07:13
First off, I love the cover. It's sad that is dragged on in some spots but it sounds like a great read. Great review.
I know. The cover is amazing.

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Post by Sarah Tariq » 30 Jun 2018, 11:38

I haven't read any dystopian book but I think this will be interesting. So I should give it a try. Thanks for your thorough review.
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Post by Misael » 30 Jun 2018, 21:12

Your review was very organized and thorough but not to the point of giving spoilers. Happy reading to us!

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