The Invisible Invasion — “Trapped in a Video Game” Series

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Book Review

In The Invisible Invasion by Dustin Brady, Jesse learns a video game company is illegally using kids to test their virtual reality programs. He and his friend Eric work together to save their classmate’s life. It is the second book in the “Trapped in a Video Game” series.

Plot Summary

In book one, 12-year-old Jesse Rigsby and his friend Eric Conrad were trapped inside the unreleased video game *Full Blast*. They discovered their missing classmate, Mark, was stuck there as well. He was aging rapidly since time operated differently inside the game. Mark helped the boys escape but couldn’t get out himself. When Jesse and Eric told game creator Mr. Gregory what they’d experienced and seen, Gregory went missing.

This book begins two weeks later. Jesse wakes up to find he’s invisible and surrounded by video game creatures. Mr. Gregory is lurking in his bushes and says Jesse is now inside a new augmented reality game called *Go Wild*. The game is similar to *Pokémon Go*, where people look through their phone screens and see a video game universe superimposed over the real world.

Mr. Gregory tells the boys bad things are happening at his company, Bionosoft, and admits Mark is trapped inside the headquarters. He and the boys sneak onto the grounds of Bionosoft. Since Jesse is still invisible, he’s able to infiltrate the building. Gregory gives Jesse some special glasses that allow them to communicate. Jesse rides a dinosaur and blasts robotic lizards with his freeze ray before discovering a high-tech control room.

Operators are watching him on big screens, and he realizes the game developers have been using kids like himself to test their potentially dangerous virtual reality technology. He also sees an old, dying man on a screen he’s sure is Mark. When he last saw his 12-year-old classmate in Gregory’s game, Mark looked to be in his 20s. Jesse realizes Gregory may be complicit in these crimes against unsuspecting children and warns Eric to run from the man. A chase through the facility ensues.

The company president, Delfino, captures the boys, and Gregory sits nervously nearby. Delfino explains he’s waiting to see what will happen when Mark’s computer-animated body dies. Will Mark be gone for good, or will he come back to life? It’s clear Delfino is only concerned about the future of his virtual reality technology, not about the lives of the people he’s using as guinea pigs.

Gregory gets the boys’ attention and motions for them to release his lab rats into the room. While the rats climb on and distract the president, Gregory and the boys are able to lock Delfino in a black box from which he can’t escape. Mr. Gregory and the boys free Mark from his trap. Once he’s outside the game, Mark is 12 years old again. They also free a bunch of giant, angry praying mantises from another game, which inadvertently puts them in peril once more.

Throughout the story, the boys use blasters and invisibility to battle pirates, bats, furball monsters, dinosaurs, lizards and other creatures. Several pages at the end of the book define *algorithms* and explain how they are used to create games and other computer programs.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

None

Authority Roles

Mr. Gregory initially fails to reveal the extent of his involvement in the company’s wrongdoing. When Delfino continues to use children to test his games, Gregory sides with the boys to overthrow him. Delfino wants to see what will happen to people who are trapped in the game, even if it means they perish in the real world.

Profanity & Violence

While a lot of blasting takes place, there is no blood, gore or death.

Sexual Content

None

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments

Lying: Eric lies to Jesse’s parents and kids at school about Jesse’s whereabouts.

Theft: Jesse takes a credit card number from a security guard to pay for needed upgrades in the video game. He intends to pay the money back and eventually does return some of it.

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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