Review: Infinity Ring- Book 1: A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner

Goodreads: Scholastic’s next multi-platform mega-event begins here! History is broken, and three kids must travel back in time to set it right!

When best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste stumble upon the secret of time travel — a hand-held device known as the Infinity Ring — they’re swept up in a centuries-long secret war for the fate of mankind. Recruited by the Hystorians, a secret society that dates back to Aristotle, the kids learn that history has gone disastrously off course.Now it’s up to Dak, Sera, and teenage Hystorian-in-training Riq to travel back in time to fix the Great Breaks . . . and to save Dak’s missing parents while they’re at it. First stop: Spain, 1492, where a sailor named Christopher Columbus is about to be thrown overboard in a deadly mutiny!

Historical fiction for the middle school crowd usually isn’t my thing, but there has been so much buzz about this new series that I was excited to receive it as an advanced reading copy from Scholastic.  As the first book in the multi-author collaboration, it served to lay the background story, introducing the characters and explaining the alternate universe and the importance of the infinity ring.  Some explanations and theories were hard to wrap my head around, but I found Sera’s explanation of the breaks the useful.  She explains, ‘Breaks are great big boulders that have been plopped into the time stream. The stream keeps flowing but it has to veer a little bit from it’s natural course’.  As Sera, Dak and Riq attempt to fix these breaks, readers are treated to tons of humour, adventure and action (including multiple explosions!)

Overall, I think middle graders, reluctant readers, boys and girls, and fans of The 39 Clues would LOVE this book.  Don’t forget to extend the reading experience with the online component- http://www.infinityring.com  I tried it out- tons of fun!  ‘A Mutiny in Time’ is available TOMORROW-August 28th 2012. To hold the reader’s interest, the remaining six will be spaced out and released shortly after one another.  Big thumbs up!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Love it or hate it. For most reviewers of The Maze Runner, their choice is clear. However, I stand somewhere in the middle, a nice solid LIKE.

When I picked up Maze Runner, I was looking for the next Hunger Games.  However, Maze Runner is nowhere near as well written as The Hunger Games trilogy. Actually, I’m not sure if any dystopian book could ever be better than The Hunger Games.

The summary is provided from Amazon:
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

Bet you want to read it now, right?

What I enjoyed:

– figuring out the secrets of the Glade right along with the main characters.

-usually I’m not one for tons of description, but I think in this book it was really needed in order for the reader to visualize the Maze, Glade and Homestead

-After the reader gets through the detail, the plot gets more interesting and surprising as the story evolves.

The Maze Runner has a little something for everyone. Action, adventure, sci-fi, mystery and even a little bit of romance.

Improvements:

-I didn’t enjoy the amount of made-up curse words throughout the book. For example, the boys call each other “Shuck-face” in most of their conversations. They also use the term ‘klunk’ because it describes the sound of poop when it hits the water.  It was a definite overkill.

-I didn’t like that when I had finished The Maze Runner, I had more questions than answers.  I’m still confused. Readers are left hanging, and the epilogue clearly indicates that the Maze Runner is meant to be a series. In order to find out what really happens to Thomas and the rest of the Gladers, one must continue on reading the series.
Have a minute? Check out this neat book trailer made by University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

FYI- The Maze Runner is in development to become a major motion picture.

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