Saturday, October 6, 2012

Friday(-ish) Forward: Infinity Ring, Book One by James Dashner

FIRST: If you haven't yet entered to win a copy of Joanne Levy's SMALL MEDIUM AT LARGE or Michael Ian Black and Debbie Ohi's I'M BORED, you can do that here. I have four prizes, so if I don't get at least ten entries, I'm going to have to save the prizes for another day.

Now for this week's Friday Forward: the first book in the INFINITY RING series, A MUTINY IN TIME by James Dashner.

Here's the bumpf from Amazon: 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!

I really enjoyed this book. With high-stakes action broken up at exactly the right places with bursts of humor, it has just the right mix of history, science, intrigue, and thrill to keep me turning pages. The characters are well developed, and their relationships are complex and interesting. And on top of being a great introduction to different periods in history, A MUTINY IN TIME is a good introduction to the topic of time travel. It will get kids asking good questions about the nature of time: can you really change history? Is it possible to change it so much that you cease to exist? And what happens to the changes you made if you are never born? Is time linear, multi-leveled, or something else entirely?

My primary issue with this book is really more of an issue with the series as a whole: the basic premise behind the "breaks". The series proposes that the present is affected by what came before, and yet, after fixing the break in 1492, the kids travel even further back in time to the viking invasion of France. But what if fixing the break in France changes how things go down in Spain in 1492? And if breaks have been happening for so long, then why didn't they set Columbus' journey off course in the first place? This series seems to want the breaks to be able to affect the future, and yet treats each incident as fairly isolated at the same time, and I'm not sure if this "having their cake and eating it too" is working for me. However, the question is intriguing enough to make me want to read the next book to find out more, and the fact that it raises these questions and gets kids thinking about the topic of time travel in a critical way makes it well worth the price.

A MUTINY IN TIME is available in all good bookstores now, or pick it up online at IndieBound here or Amazon here or (for Canadians) at Chapters Indigo here.

Happy Reading!

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