Saturday, August 25, 2012

Infinity Ring: A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner

Scholastic, the publishers of The 39 Clues series for kids 8-12, launches a new series for that age group on August 28th. James Dashner's A Mutiny in Time is the first in the new Infinity Ring series. I have to admit I'm a sucker for books such as these. Mary Pope Osborne's Magic Tree House books took readers back in time so her characters could save history, but they didn't go as far as this series does. History has been totally changed, broken, over the years, and it's up to three young people to fix those breaks.

Dak Smyth and Sera Froste are best friends. He's a nut about history, and Sera loves science. When Dak's parents return from a trip, they are shocked to discover Sera has completed one of their inventions, an Infinity Ring that will allow them to travel through time. Dak's parents are lost on the first trip back to the American Revolution. However, before Dak and Sera can try to rescue them, they themselves are snatched by a mysterious group of people who call themselves Hystorians. Their founder, Aristotle, was convinced that his student, Alexander, would become Alexander the Great. However, Alexander died young, and someone else came to power. He saw that as a break in history, a moment when something went wrong. The Hystorians have secretly been funding the Smyths' attempt to travel through time because they are convinced there have been Great Breaks in history. And, the government, SQ, has benefited from all the changes in history. The Breaks have damaged reality, causing people to experience Remnants, moments when they know something is missing. And, natural disasters are occurring more frequently.

The Hystorians convince Dak and Sera to work with them just before SQ invades the Hystorian headquarters. Dak and Sera, along with Riq, a young language expert, escape through time, only to find themselves on a quest to fix the Great Breaks. On each of their trips, they will be helped with a Hystorian who is waiting for them. However, they will also face representatives of SQ, determined to prevent them from fixing history. Their first destination? Spain, where Christopher Columbus is about to sail with the Amancio brothers, the two men who successfully led a mutiny against Columbus, and went on to discover America.

A Mutiny in Time is a terrific kick-off to the series. Adults will appreciate pieces younger readers won't necessarily catch, such as Benedict Arnold Middle School. Philadelphia is the capital of the United States, a country with 48 states. Kids will enjoy this series with young people as the heroes. As in The 39 Clues, the trio will face danger and separation. They will also learn about history in the process. A Mutiny in Time was a fast-paced exciting story, marking a successful debut. Readers of The 39 Clues will appreciate this series, along with readers who have moved past The Magic Tree House books, and still enjoy time travel stories.

As with The 39 Clues, Scholastic has created online games to accompany the Infinity Ring series. There will be message boards, book excerpts, behind-the-scenes information, and, of course the adventure of the game itself. It will be up to the young Hystorians who play the game to save history at

Infinity Ring: A Mutiny in Time, Book One by James Dashner. Scholastic Inc. 2012. ISBN 9780545386968 (hardcover), 192p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.

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