A boy battles giant robots to save his kidnapped friend.
As this series entry opens, the evil corporation Bionosoft’s system has crashed, and all the kids trapped in their video games are free—but so are the villains. When giant robots from “Super Bot World 3” capture Jesse’s best friend, Eric, Jesse, his classmate Mark, and an Australian girl named Sam risk their lives to rescue him before the bots blast him to the moon. In addition to the robot adversaries, hostile, suited men wielding threats of treason against the United States pursue the children. Readers new to the series might do well to follow instructions in the preface to read the first two books, as this one plunks them down in the middle of the action with just the barest bones of summary. Jesse, Eric, and Mark receive no character description at all apart from depictions in a few interior illustrations, leading to the likely assumption that they are all generic white boys. Sam, on the other hand, wears her hair in a blonde ponytail (according to the text; it’s presented inconsistently in the illustrations) and speaks in a “British-ish accent” or an “Australian way.” The setting includes improbable features, such as a mine underneath the Bionosoft headquarters, that make it a challenge to follow the story (but do make it feel a bit like a video game).
Weak writing and an unbelievable story—game over. (activity) (Science fiction. 8-12)