Friday, July 27, 2012

The Infinity Ring

The Infinity Ring: a Mutiny in Time by James Dashner

Expected Publication Date: August 28, 2012

Childrens'/Tween, Ages 8-12

ARC copy used for review.

Personal Ranking 3 out of 5

"History is broken...."

Best friends Dak Smyth and Sera  Froste could each be considered a genius in their own right, even though they are still only in the 5th grade. Dak loves history, and cheese, but mostly history. His parents are research scientists, and Sera shares their love of science and quantum physics. So when Dak's parents go out of town and Sera figures out how to get their new invention to work, it causes consequences the likes of which they could never have imagined. Now with his parents missing, Dak and Sera have been recruited by a mysterious group called the Hystorians to go back in time and fix history. Before its too late.

Yes, I am a huge fan of The 39 Clues, and was actually reading Book 3 of the Cahills vs. Vespers when this ARC arrived on my desk. So I was very excited, but a little hesitant to jump on board a new series that was so similar. To give it a fair chance I put it aside, actually read some published books and tried to get Dan and Amy Cahill out of my head. Now here we are, and 24 hours after I started, its finished and I loved it!

The overall concept for this series is that Aristotle predicted that one day time travel was going to be possible, and that there were "breaks" in history. Or rather, things that happened, that were never supposed to. The Hystorians know that the world in which they have grown up in seems off, but its the only life they know. Yet they believe Aristotle and his plan to fix time when it becomes possible. When the book starts, Dak and Sera attend Benedict Arnold Middle School and are on a school field trip to the Smithsonian Museum in the nation's capital of Philadelphia.

America was discovered by the famous Amancio brothers, but the story often leaves out the tale of their heroic mutiny over the cruel Christopher Columbus.  So, when Dak's parents get lost in time and Dak and Sera are recruited by the Hystorians they are told that they will just be providing the transportation to teams that have been training for these opportunities for years. But when the SQ raids the facility, Dak and Sera escape with Riq, a sixteen year old language expert, and their only option is to begin fixing the breaks in time themselves. So when the first break tells them to go to Palos de la Frontera, Spain on August 3, 1492 they know that they have to do something with the voyage to America. But are they supposed to help the Amancio brothers or rescue Christopher Columbus? All they know is that they have to get on that boat!

One thing that is a common theme for me is my love of "altered" history. The ability authors have to take the reality that we know, tweek a few things, and show us one of the many "what if" realities is really fun and impressive to me. Even though they call it "broken history" in the Infinity Ring, seeing how they put it back together is what is going to keep me glued to this new series. Thankfully, they included the publication schedule in the back of the ARC, so here are the dates to keep a look out for. Book 1: 8/28/12, Book 2: 11/6/12, Book 3: 2/5/13, Book 4: 6/4/13, Book 5: 9/3/13, Book 6: 12/3/13, and Book 7: 3/4/14. So just like The 39 Clues, keep an eye on the Infinity Ring website. Right now its just an except of the first book, but once it goes live it will include the online component of the games. Thankfully, Scholastic seems to know what it is doing in using all avenues to keep children engaged in reading!

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