Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Posted February 8, 2018 by Amber in Reviews / 9 Comments



by Jason Segel, Kirsten Miller

Series: Otherworld #1
Publisher: Delacorte Press on October 31, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction, Video Games
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: ★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

The company says Otherworld is amazing—like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive—that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.

Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.

And it’s about to change humanity forever. Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.


I think I need to come to terms with the fact that gaming books are not going to be a great genre for me.

And that kills me because I LOVE IT when it’s done right.  But when it’s not… I feel like I spend a lot of time going “you imbecile, NOBODY calls them ‘non-player characters’!!!” or flailing that nobody has a gorram health potion and OMG do writers not research MMORPGs before writing about them please just stop.

Otherworld was super frustrating for me.  First of all, I wanted to like it because I like Jason Segel as an actor. Obviously this is the WORST reason to decide a book will be good – I am an excellent maker of cookies but not a trustworthy sports correspondent, so not all skills are equal even in talented people.  Secondly, I am still looking for something that pulls me in like Ready Player One and the comparisons are endless.

One small good thing – the transitions in writing were flawless.  I have no idea what will written by Miller, and what was written by Segel.  They flow perfectly together.

That’s all I’ve got on the “I liked it” scale.  So lets talk about what didn’t work.

The characters.  hated Simon.  I was not for one moment invested in his success or happiness.  People dying for him?  People helping him? I DO NOT CARE.  He was a self-absorbed asshole completely obsessed with his gangster grandfather who treated other people like they were trash (especially his parents) and talked about his nose a lot.  And Kat?  Kat was barely introduced and wasn’t that likable either, so I wasn’t invested in that odd love story.  I got to like Busara a bit, and Marlow as well.  I would have been so much more invested if Busara and Marlow were the MCs.  They had motive and were better rounded characters.  Simon and Kat made very little sense (especially Simon) but Busara and Marlow?  Yes.  I love them, they belong, I even ship them a little.

Then, as someone who has played MMORPGs for most her life, Otherworld itself is just wrong.  The lingo is wrong, the gameplay is wrong, the in-game character behavior is wrong.  For example – how in the WORLD could a handful of total n00bs cross a PVP sandbox without getting mugged by level 60s?  There were no potions, no leveling… there was literally NO in-game motivation for these characters.  No skills to train.  People don’t run around killing things for lols – they do it for loot and leveling.  The complete lack of structure, even in a sandbox world, made the setting totally unbelievable for me.

The story, at the bottom of it all, was about a bunch of evil people uprooting a corporation to leverage a new technology for the sake of progress and money.  Nothing new, not really.  The foundation for an interesting (if not entirely original) story is all there, but I couldn’t appreciate it because of the cartoon-like villains, shallow characters, and poorly researched world.  I think that people with a little less time spent in a traditional MMORPG could enjoy this book.  If you like high action, or conspiracies, you’ll probably enjoy it.

Otherworld just didn’t do it for me.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★ 1/2
Plot: ★★★
Characters: ★ 1/2
Writing: ★★★★
Pacing: ★★★
Personal Enjoyment:

2 Star rating


Have you read this book or anything by this author?  If so, did you enjoy it?  Tell me all about your experience in the comments!

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9 responses to “Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

    • Amber

      Ah, sorry! MMORPG is “Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game”. Like… Dungeon’s and Dragons, video game style, most of the time. Other fandoms have built worlds, though – Elder Scrolls, Star Trek, Final Fantasy, to name a few. It’s actually quite fun, but seasoned and overly invested players can be jerks, lol.

  1. Ooooh no. This is disappointing.
    I was really looking forward to this because I too ADORE Jason Segel! What a bummer!
    Though I’m not really a gamer myself so maybe I’ll still enjoy it.
    Great review!

    • Amber

      I hope you like it better than I did! The friend who lent it to me was GLOWING with love for it, and he IS a gamer, so I may just be a me thing?

  2. You know, that’s really too bad. I liked Ready Player One quite a bit–and I liked the cover art for this one, too. But Ready Player One was sooo spot on, I felt. I’m not a huge gamer, but I dabble. My brother is a big enough gamer that I could sense that things were basically perfect in RPO. Sometimes I felt like I was just hanging with him and his gaming friends.
    And it seems like it shouldn’t be too hard a culture to duplicate. I don’t know…maybe I’m wrong. But it seems to me like if you spend time with a gamer while they’re playing games, you’ll catch on with things pretty quick–at least the basics, that is.
    I hope that other readers like it more, but oh well. They can’t all be winners, I guess.

    • Amber

      I agree entirely. I suppose it’s quite likely people have different experiences. I am a very casual gamer and I haven’t popped into my favorite MMORPG in about a year and a half (#shame), so maybe this is written by someone who has experience being the Best in the Group and does everything solo, happily sacrificing the rest of the raid party? I dunno. Just sat wrong with me. The characters weren’t likable, either, so there was no forgiveness.

      I swear, RPO has set me up for so much disappointment. Disappointment in other books about video games, and disappointment in other books by Ernest Cline (did not like Armada…). Now, disappointment in the film adaptation that appears to be loosely based on the really clever storyline of the book, turning instead to high action and high nostalgia.


      • Eloquently put. I’m still planning on seeing the movie, but I’m just going to leave my expectations at the door. Pretty much everything about the trailer was wrong. If I can separate myself from the book, and go in to see the spectacle for what it is, then it could be a lot of fun. At least, that’s what I’m hoping. My hopes of it being an accurate adaptation were shot to pieces when the trailer was released.