Friday, October 12, 2012

Review: A Mutiny In Time (Infinity Ring, Book #1) by James Dashner

Publisher:  Scholastic
Publication Date:  August 28th, 2012

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!
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Back in January, when I heard that James Dashner was writing the first book in a series similar in format to The 39 Clues, I knew that I had to check it out.  I've been reading The 39 Clues with my son for about 8 months and although they aren't my favorite books (he LOVES them), I love the idea behind them, and I love how each one is written by a different popular MG author.  I also love that they have an interactive, internet-based component; If anything is going to get video-game obsessed boys reading, it's books that incorporate technology.  Well, this new series, Infinity Ring, is set up the same way, but this time the series is written by popular YA authors.  Obviously, this first book, A Mutiny In Time, is written by James Dashner, author of the acclaimed Maze Runner trilogy.  I love his writing, but if I'm honest, I have to say that I'm most excited for books two and three, which are written by Carrie Ryan (The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy) and Lisa McMann (Wake trilogy, Cryer's Cross, etc.), respectively.  Now that I've read the first book, I'm even more excited for future installments!

Much like The 39 Clues, history plays a huge role in this series, but at the same time, it is vastly different.  The setting is an oppressive dystopian society where everything you do is monitored by the government, where people who question it just disappear.  But it's more than that; They have altered things so that natural disasters abound and everything is just not quite right with the world physically.  Dak and Sera are different from other kids their age; Dak is a total history nut and Sera is a complete science genius.  They understand each other and because of that they have an intense bond of friendship.  When Dak's parents, brilliant scientists themselves, go out of town, Dak and Sera break into their lab to find out what they've been working on and find the Infinity Ring.  When they find it, it doesn't work, but Sera's brilliant mind figures out the missing piece, and chaos ensues!  This device makes time travel possible, and for their government, this development could change everything.  They are recruited by a secret organization called the Historians.  They have been waiting centuries for the opportunity to go back and set history right, to change the "great breaks", and now is their chance.  First stop?  1492, on board the Santa Maria, to make sure that Christopher Columbus discovers the New World...

This book is full of action.  From the beginning it is adventure and turmoil, and it doesn't ever end.  Earthquakes wreak havoc on class trips to the Smithsonian, government agents and secret societies battle, often with kids caught in the middle, technology rules, and then... We are thrust into 15th century and everything is different for the characters, but the adventures only intensify.  Boys will be drawn to this series because of this, but because Sera is smart and pretty kick-butt, girls will enjoy it too.  There is danger around every corner for our characters and it kept me on the edge of my seat- I read this book in a day.  And speaking of characters...  I've already touched on Dak and Sera, but there are some other great ones as well.  There is Riq, a slightly older boy- smart, attractive, and constantly at odds with Dak.  Then there are the Historians- adults who help the kids on their quest.  They exist both in the present and in the past.  Some are obvious, while others are not, and since I don't want any spoilers in this review I will just say that the adults really add to the story, and give it a touch more plausibility (as much as can be given to a story about time travel).

The only thing that nagged at me a little was some of the language used to describe some of the tech and physics.  Some of it was over my head (and I am a science nerd), so I can't imagine it will make sense to most MG and YA readers.  I'm sure most fans of The 39 Clues will pick this book up, and I'm not sure some of the younger fans will follow those parts as well.  I think as the action picks up, they won't care, but they may be lost for a few chapters.

Overall, I think this book is a fantastic beginning to what promises to be a ridiculously popular series.  I'm eager to read my copy of book number two, Divide and Conquer, by Carrie Ryan.  It releases on November 6th, so keep you eyes peeled for my review in upcoming weeks!

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Grade Level Recommendation:  Other than some violence, this book is squeaky clean.  This book is suitable for any age you consider The 39 Clues appropriate for.  I would say 2nd or 3rd grade and up (ages 8+).

**Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY for a SIGNED copy of Lauren Oliver's fabulous new book, THE SPINDLERS! Click HERE to enter! US/CAN. Ends 10/20/2012.**


  1. I love the concept of different authors writing different books in the series. Great review!

  2. I just love the 39 clues series so I can't wait to get my hand on these!!


    1. I ended up reading this and didn't love it. I don't know... the end was just too fast. It was crazy that everyone on the boat just joined up with the kids no questions asked really. 2 stars from me.


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