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!
Read and Play and you could also win with Infinity Ring - competition details: www.scholastic.co.nz/assets/pdf/tileE.pdf
I was so happy when I discovered the existence of this series. The book is very similar to the 39 clues because of the thrills, adventure and danger in every step. In my opinion it isn't quite as good as the 39 clues series but it is still a very exciting read. The cover looks great and is very detailed. The top secret item you get from the book unlocks the first episode of the Infinity Ring series.
The books are about history and the 'Great Breaks' which are periods of time that things that weren't meant to happen did happen and teared a hole in the fabric of reality. Two friends and a member of a secret organization called the hystorians go on a journey through to 1492, Spain made possible by the 'Infinity Ring' a time travel device to fix the break. Only problem is that as history is often murky they aren't sure what the break actually is...
The collectibles in the books are history maps that contain a code to unlock a spectacular mission on-line. This book is one of the few that even come close to the 39 clues series because it is more action packed and filled with danger and excitement. I have now been reading the next 2 books of this series as well and I have to say that they are all as good if not better than this first book.
The mission/episode is spectacular and are part of the actual series similar to as if the mission was a book. I cannot wait to see the next few books of the series and I hope that they will be as good as the rest of the series.
As an avid reader myself, and father of an avid reader who is home-schooled too, I am always on the hunt for books that are either entertaining, or educational, but especially ones that are both. After I watched The 39 Clues series convert my son from a kid who VERY LOUDLY HATED READING to a total bookworm who was also developing a strong interest in maths, science, cryptography and history, I started to keep a VERY close eye out for those kids of titles.
Few ever came close, and none surpassed The 39 Clues series, mainly because they lacked that "more than just on the pages" aspect - they were great books, but didn't have collectable card sets, nor online resources including hunts, missions, games, puzzles, information, etc. So when I was made aware of a new series coming from Scholastic that ran along similar lines to the 39 Clues, but had even cooler online games (I got a sneak peek and it really is amazing!) and historical maps instead of cards... well, I knew this was one I would have to get for my son.
Luckily, Scholastic were able to get be a pre-release copy to read through, and I am certainly going to be following this series. Though it is a little 'young' for my tastes, I can rest assured it is quite safe for the target audience despite a 'rough and tumble' plot theme. Really, it's quite well done, introducing strong elements of how rough and tumble historical times were, without really delving down into the more disturbing facets of the era. The kids can find that out via Google if they really want to know, but as parents you can rest assured it isn't being shoved into them via these books.
The structure of the series is quite similar to 39 Clues - a boy and a girl, parents gone, brought into service by a super-organisation with agents everywhere, jaunting all over the place trying to find a way to set right some very old wrongs, while being chased by another super-organisation that has reach everywhere. The new twists of including time travel, a third team-mate - albeit an annoying and ungracious one - plus the added frisson of 'paradox timelines' and incomplete information meaning they can't even be sure of what the goal is, what they need to change and how, to repair the damage... it all adds up to familiar-but-thrillingly-new, something kids can very easily attach to!
Overall, if you want your kids to be learning, while still having fun, and you missed out on The 39 Clues series, then this is one you will probably want to have a look at when it hits shelves at the end of August. If your kids DID get a chance to experience the 39 Clues, then you just KNOW this is going to be another hit... so it might be worth considering these books - spaced for release every 3-4 months - as "Special Treat" rewards, birthday and Christmas presents, etc. Simple to buy, entertaining and educational at the same time, and with some extra components to really keeps the kids locked in with brains in gear. Not having encountered James Dashner previously, I was quite impressed with the first encounter!
I am seriously excited about this series coming to the bookshelves, because this has got all the danger, thrills and adventure of the 39 clues times 2! The cover design was awesome, the compass showed a sort of visualisation of the location of the great break, and the background looked cool with the dark colours and the pictures of gears on it.
I actually noticed that the layout of both the front and back covers were laid out in a similar way to those of the 39 clues books, and since it was my previously favourite book series, that gave a good first impression on the book. The story started well, the prologue and first chapter introduced the main characters, and then once chapter 2 came around, things really got cooking. I think that if I had a favourite character it would be Dak, even though Sera is a science geek like me, Dak is funny, knows a lot about history (so he is also a source of info) and seems like someone that I would enjoy being around.
The breaks in time having effect on the present played out as I thought it would, earthquakes, colossal waves, tornadoes, tropical storms, hurricanes... all those things happening close together in time and having a huge effect gave the idea of Domesday being on the horizon and the world running out of time until it is destroyed, and if you want to bring more of the paradox theory into it, maybe even a larger part of reality or even reality itself! Another thing that made this book great was that there were a couple of riddles and a puzzle in the book, plus a pile of mystery and deception, so I think that this book is more like a goody-bag of excitement and adventure!
Something I noticed was that in the book there was an organisation, the SQ, who's behaviour reminded me of the Nazi's during WWII, they were raiding, rationing food, people had to put up the SQ flag in hopes that they would then leave them alone, and control, they had a large influence on history, and even the U.S President was eating out of their hands! Now, you might think that going back in time and stopping something happening or making something happen would be relatively easy, well to throw a wrench in the workings, The SQ had agents throughout time on the lookout for future-dwellers, so this gives a little competition to the story and makes the intensity rise up a level!
The book was very descriptive, it expressed the emotions and feelings of the characters from a second-person point of view, and even though it would still be cool of they could turn the storylines of the books into a set of movies, I felt like I was reading the manuscript of a film and there was a reel in my head projecting the movie onto the back of my mind.
The book ended in a cool, explosive way, and on the very last page there was a crystal clear hint on what the next great break/mission would be, and sure enough, the online mission was set up in the exact same time and place that was mentioned, and therefore the next adventure, one that I can take part in. The story had most of it's historical facts right, Christopher Columbus and two brothers known as the Amancio brothers lead the voyage, but in fact after a bit of research, the Amancio brothers are two young people who are alive today, so they were sort of fictional, but the story was very good at creating the illusion of their actual existence in that time and place.
I saw an online video showing the game in action. It looks very cool, and appeared even better than the 39 Clues games as they were 2D, not 3D like this new game. It is full of places that you will need to complete puzzles, manoeuvre through artificial environments, and actually move your character around, so it really is a video game on your PC! I have also seen pictures of the map that comes with the book. It looks good and gives you information for the mission, shows you some key points to visit and even the locations of time capsules left by the Historians where you have to solve a puzzle to open them.
The price of the book is awesome, it is a very good sum of money for a book with such a high level of enjoyment. I will most definitely be reading this book again, in fact I've already read it twice, it's that good! All in all, this is an awesome book that I am looking very forward to reading the sequel of, so, enjoy the book, follow the guide, play the game, and fix the past to save the future. Have fun!
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"Ever notice that 'what the hell' is always the right decision?"
Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962)