The Mortality Doctrine #1-3: Book Series by James Dashner
The 3-book set of paperback novels includes the below titles:
The Eye of Minds (ISBN 9780385741408): The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and the more hacking skills you have, the more fun it is. Why bother following the rules when it’s so easy to break them? But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And one gamer has been doing exactly that, with murderous results.
The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker. And they’ve been watching Michael. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid, to the back alleys and corners of the system human eyes have never seen—and it’s possible that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.
The Rule of Thoughts (ISBN 9780385741422): Michael thought he understood the VirtNet, but the truth he discovered is more terrifying than anyone at VirtNet Security could have anticipated.
The cyber terrorist Kaine isn’t human. It’s a Tangent, a computer program that has become sentient. And Michael just completed the first step in turning Kaine’s master plan, the Mortality Doctrine, into a reality. The Mortality Doctrine will populate Earth entirely with human bodies harboring Tangent minds. The VNS would like to pretend the world is perfectly safe, but Michael and his friends know that the takeover has already begun. And if they don’t stop Kaine soon, it will be game over for humanity.
The Game of Lives (ISBN 9780385741446): Michael used to live to game, but now, the games are over. The VirtNet has become a world of deadly consequences, and cyber terrorist Kaine grows stronger by the day. The Mortality Doctrine—Kaine’s master plan—has nearly been realized, and little by little the line separating the virtual from the real is blurring. If Kaine succeeds, it will mean worldwide cyber domination. And it looks like Michael and his friends are the only ones who can put the monster back in the box—if Michael can figure out who his friends really are.