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5.0 out of 5 stars A Darkly Glorious Book That Pulls Few Punches
I sympathize with the reviewer who said that the first few pages of _Virtual Mode_ turned them off of the book. I was given this novel as a gift when I was about eleven or so; I, too, read the opening passage and was disturbed into putting the book away, not touching it again for another year. Yet once I really began to read it, I found myself drawn into a grim reality...
Published on May 13 2001 by Amanda M. Hayes

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Nice try, Piers, but no cigar.
This book was one of the most perverted books I have ever read!! A 14-year-old girl, barely starting high school, falling in love with a man that's TWICE her age!! And that's not all. Anthony gives vivid descriptions about Colene's "youthful" body, and too often. What are women?? Well, not sex subjects!! And it's not every day a girl would let some adult...
Published on June 29 1997


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5.0 out of 5 stars A Darkly Glorious Book That Pulls Few Punches, May 13 2001
By 
Amanda M. Hayes (Indianapolis, IN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: 01 Virtual Mode (Mass Market Paperback)
I sympathize with the reviewer who said that the first few pages of _Virtual Mode_ turned them off of the book. I was given this novel as a gift when I was about eleven or so; I, too, read the opening passage and was disturbed into putting the book away, not touching it again for another year. Yet once I really began to read it, I found myself drawn into a grim reality where even the wonders of magic cannot compensate for the horrors of the human psyche.
I adore the protagonists: Colene, the mentally and emotionally twisted young woman whose attitudes and perceptions have been skewed almost beyond recognition; Darius, a man whose rigid sense of honor threatens to strangle his chances of happiness; Seqiro, Prima, and all the rest. Their conflicts and challenges may not be the stuff of epic fantasy, but they're interesting and can give one food for thought. Most moving of all, at least for me, was the exploration of Colene's emotions, history, and motivations. Anthony doesn't whitewash her situation: she's a deeply disturbed individual, and one who has cause to be that way.
I must admit, though, that as much as I love this book, I couldn't recommend that children--or possibly adolescents--read it without reservations. The folk who've said that it's full of sex are right; further, there's blood, vulgarity, remembered rape, and a host of other such things. While they add to the power of the story, they might (or might not) be considered inappropriate for younger readers. I doubt my mother would have gotten it for me when she did had she known what it was really about... but then, I didn't have any problems understanding it and certainly wasn't traumatized by it.
It's also true that the heroine is awfully young for all of the sexual situations she gets into, and that one could see the portrayal of women as sexist if one really wanted to do so. I personally read and enjoyed the story without worrying about such things, but I think that anyone who says _Virtual Mode_ shows sexism just may have a point. (Anthony *has* begun to disturb me in recent years with his fixation on the sexiness of very, very young women, but that's a subject better reserved for a Xanth review.) If such things offend you, you may wish to give this a skip.
Otherwise, I can say with enthusiasm that I feel _Virtual Mode_ to be a wonderful novel, one whose story and characters have stayed with me for years. Readers who enjoyed Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series may find this one especially appealing, as its resemblance to that saga seems much more pronounced than any to the perpetually punny Xanth.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Before it's time, June 23 2000
This review is from: 01 Virtual Mode (Mass Market Paperback)
Long before the press talk shows or anybody else talked about the ugly secret of cutting Piers Anthony had it here in this book. Collene is very real and is a sounding board for millions of teenage and twenty someting females. More than once I myself felt like Collene was spkeaing things that I have often thought. Mr.Anthony is able to make this book so real by really listing to his readers and using his own story telling genius. From begining to end this book is great. An even though she is confused hurt and brash at times Collene is a rolemodel for today's youth becuase she is just like today's youth. She isn't water down to smooth things over and make things P.C. She is the voice of millions of girls who have wrote to the author and he responed by writing one of the most realist honest and heart felt charters ever put into a book. I've read this book many time and I love it more each time. I glad that the subject that are so "ugly" and swept under the rug were brought up in this book. I can't wait for book number four so I can find out how things turn out with Collene.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An awesone book and series!!!, March 23 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: 01 Virtual Mode (Mass Market Paperback)
Virtual Mode is one of those novels that really blow my head away. Colene is one of the most realistic characters that I have ever encountered in my life. Her pain and suffering are something that I can relate very well. For those that think that the things that happen to her doesn't happen in real life, well I have bad news for you, they do happen too often for my taste. Rape, depression, suicide, dyfuntional families, etc... are part of the reality of many people right now. Horrible to hear but truth, but what makes Virtual and its main character so humane and wonderful is her spirit to fight in adversity, even though she still is depressed and want to die.
Also the world of the Virtual Mode is amazing!! Piers really create a world full of multitude of realities.
I can't wait for DoOon Mode, the last novel, to know what will happen to Colene and Darius!! I really want them happy!!
I think this is the best series that Piers has written. And it is not a surprise considering that most of the inspiration of Colene come from real life suicidal teenage girls, asking him for help.
So if you haven't started reading this series, do so!! You will never regretted it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A must read for anyone who's wished for a way out., Aug. 23 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: 01 Virtual Mode (Mass Market Paperback)
"I like to consider myself apart from the whole earth. There is no dignity left. I would like to be able to float away with my books and music and my guitar. It just seems to me that there are few people left with any integrity, and two of them happen to be my favorite writer and my favorite musician. I do too much thinking for my own good. I compose poetry in my head, but it won't come out right on paper. It's depressing. I dream too much also. I have so many ambitions, and I am crushed when I realize how very few will ever be achieved . . ." This is an excerpt from one of my favorite passages in Virtual Mode. If this girl's thoughts sound familiar, you should read this book. I have never felt the shock of recognition in a book character quite as strongly as I did when I "met" Colene. The Mode premise is an fresh take on a common alternate reality theme. There are some good minor characters, although Anthony tends to oversimplify them. Virtual Mode is a good book, but what makes it exceptional is Anthony's portrayal of Colene. This is a must read for anyone (particularly women) who knows what it's like to be a seriously depressed or suicidal teenager.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I've read the whole series three times!, July 5 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: 01 Virtual Mode (Mass Market Paperback)
I admit, at first I was disturbed by the sexual content in this book and the relationship between a 26 year old man and a 14 year old girl. After getting to know Colene, however, I began to relate to her, and I could see exactly how she was feeling and why she did the risky things she did. It took me longer to relate to the age difference; it was a true challenge. This truely is a MATURE book, and it takes a little maturity to understand. In no way is the Colene-Darius relationship "sick" or "perverted." In fact, it is quite the opposite: a portrayal of two people who are deeply in love, willing to go to the ends of the Earth for each other...and willing to wait. If you understand Darius's culture, you will understand his attraction for Colene. But Darius is not a pervert for being attracted to Colene when his culture accepts it. In fact, I have the deepest respect for Darius because of his amazing sense of control over these feelings. I felt that all the characters in this story were strong and respectable, despite the flaws that makes them real. I truely think Anthony was making a statement, and some people have missed it. I know that reading the series has made me a better person and pulled me out of many depressive slumps. On a less defensive approach, I absolutely loved this book, and all the books in the series. I love the plot and I love the characters. I've read the series three times, each time hoping there will be a fourth book coming out when I finish the third. With the characters traveling a path through millions of alternate realities, there is no limit to the adventures they can have.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Nice try, Piers, but no cigar., June 29 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: 01 Virtual Mode (Mass Market Paperback)
This book was one of the most perverted books I have ever read!! A 14-year-old girl, barely starting high school, falling in love with a man that's TWICE her age!! And that's not all. Anthony gives vivid descriptions about Colene's "youthful" body, and too often. What are women?? Well, not sex subjects!! And it's not every day a girl would let some adult touch her body freely (as Colene did with Darius during their first night together), or drops out of high school to pursue a thought in her mind!! Or writes to an imaginary horse in her Journal (as she calls it). AND most girls are actually SEMI-MODEST, instead of willing to perform a striptease in front of four adult men, as Colene did when she was trying to get Darius' key. The girl's suicidal nature is lifelike, but the rest of the book.. Ugh!! Mr. Anthony goes even farther to describe the other women in the story, as if we of the female origin were nothing more than, quote "a walking vagina waiting to be unwrapped and plunged". From prior experience, Piers has a very sexist attitude about women in general. In his Xanth novels, Demoness Metria is more or less a femme fatale who does kinky stuff. In the Apprentice Adept series, the Red Adept is portrayed as a "healthy, well-formed" adult. And in the "Tarot" series, Amaranth is described as "voluptuous" and a cheap strip-tease who liked to show off. They are all women who are degraded by the descriptions Mr. Anthony has given them. Yet, he worsens the prejudice by displaying the males as good, noble people with wonderful ideas, intense lusts, and the ability to withstand the "tainted" seduction of the women
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, but not intended to be, either, Aug. 28 2001
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This review is from: 01 Virtual Mode (Mass Market Paperback)
As a longtime fan of Piers Anthony, I wasn't overly impressed with this book, or the remainder of the series (although I haven't read it all yet, and I do intend to finish it). I didn't feel drawn into the characters, and the story itself didn't enthrall me. However, this may be mainly because I am not the target audience for this series; judging by other reader reviews I have read, adolescent females feel a very strong bond to the lead character, and the book seems to touch thier emotions on a very personal level. I feel this is one of Anthony's strengths, the ability to write very specifically to his audience, and reach them completely, even if this lowers the appeal for others. If you are not an adolescent female, or have not been one, this may not be the book for you. However, it may provide some insight into what motivates and interests today's female youth.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Colene is cool, Feb. 28 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: 01 Virtual Mode (Mass Market Paperback)
I thought that the book was an interesting look at sucide and love. Colene is at first uncaring about her life. She seemed to have a death wish. When she met Darius she wanted to believe him and went to great lengths to retrieve his amulet, but couldn't trust him enough to believe him. When she realized that he was gone and she had lost her only chance at happiness she prepared to kill herself but found she couldn't. When the Virtual mode came and she started on her way she was happy again, but she did not just need Darius she needed Seqirus too. She always kept her suicide self. She was always pushing her relationships almost to the breaking point. I loved this book and its realistic look at emotions, but it would not be complete without the unrealistic touch of magic and the modes
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1.0 out of 5 stars gag, gag, gag, Aug. 3 2000
By 
This review is from: 01 Virtual Mode (Mass Market Paperback)
I eagerly approached this book as my sister, an Anthony fan, had been tooting his praise for some time. This was my first taste. Well, yuck! Does anyone have an antidote? This guy would embarrass a romance novel writer. How anyone would find the pathetic 14 year old, sexually active, suicidal, heroine, Colene, or the sanctimonious hero, Darius, interesting is beyond me. I can't imagine to whom this book is aimed. Certainly it is not for children as hardly a paragraph goes by without mention of sex and/or personal hygiene. Neither is the tone of the book aimed at normal adults. It must be aimed at Anthony fans who may give him a pass. Yuck!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Almost a Virtual (Com)Mode, April 11 2000
By 
T.P. McArdle (Lincoln, Nebraska USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: 01 Virtual Mode (Mass Market Paperback)
A plain vanilla, unimaginative tale. I recommend this only for teenagers and not for any one looking for elaborate, complex storylines. The story is basically girl hates world, girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl and boy try to find each other, girl and boy are captured by a truly nasty person who is bent on domination of all realities. If you are squeamish about blood, you might also want to skip this book or at least skip those parts. I am planning to read the next two installments since I purchased them already. I do like Piers Anthony but this is not aimed at his more mature readers.
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