To me The Training of Socket Greeny is, like The Discovery of Socket Greeny, about identity. But it is also very much about seeing things as they are. You know, seeing through the bullshit of the propaganda we are fed, and seeing through our expectations into reality. Which is kind of odd to me as much of the book happens in Virtual Reality (no, not for real).
And what a VR it is. Poor Socket draws out new abilities, but the cost of his new abilities is high. His trainer, Pon, puts him through a program that is enough to kill anyone. This is where VR is a good thing. Except some of the damage Socket sustains is real and he has to learn to transcend it. In fact, it seems as if that is what his training is about: transcending himself. Socket doesn’t understand what that entails and I am going to admit that I don’t either. Because how do we let go of our fears. In a sense, they are kind of comforting because we don’t have to think so much about what is going on. But there is a part of me that would love to be able to set them aside.
Socket also has to figure out if transcending himself means that he has to leave his old life and his old friends behind. When do we reach the point of not being able to give any more? Lots and lots of existential questions are being asked throughout the trilogy, questions that we sometimes forget to ask as we grow older. However, these are questions that a lot of youth ask themselves.
It wouldn’t be a Bertauski story if there wasn’t a lot of action thrown in with the deeper story. The action is excellent and probably too violent for some of you. There are also romantic bits.