Rating: Disliked (Hated-Disliked-Okay-Liked-Loved)
So often I go into a book completely blind. My To Read pile is about 170 books high, so by the time I get to a book, usually I've long since forgotten anything about it. And as they're ebooks, I can't even see much of the covers. That usually leads to surprises, and generally happy ones.
Insert Coin to Continue started with a giant happy surprise. As I read through the front matter, I got to the listing of 'other books by the author' and was overjoyed to see that John David Anderson was the author of one of my favorite books of last year: The Dungeoneers (my review of it).
Unfortunately, right from the first page, this story really didn't work for me. The main character seemed bland, and his 'voice' was hard to tell apart from his best friend's. Plus the plot just didn't work at all for me, I didn't believe it: In it a boy found a secret level of a video game which somehow changed all of reality. He woke up the next morning and his legs were paralyzed, and he was seeing a coin slot with 'insert coin to continue' above it. He had a coin on his nightstand, stuck it in this floating coin slot, and suddenly his legs worked. As he went through his day, stuff like that happened. He looked in the mirror and saw his clothing had stats and names (like Shoes of Average Traveling Speed, +1 resistance to fire). No one else noticed these differences, yet all of reality was changed by it (teachers turned into other things, but no one else in the classroom saw it but the main character).
That seems like such a fun idea, doesn't it? But for some reason it just all fell so flat for me.
I'm not the target audience for this book, so my faults with it are probably personal to me. (This was a middle grade novel, which is one step younger than a YA novel.)
I thought I could at least get to the 50% point before giving up, but when I hit the 30% mark I had completely lost interest in it, so sadly I moved on to something else.
It's such a disappointment when you're sure you'll like a book but it just doesn't work out.