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Fast paced action and endearing characters
on September 14, 2012
The "Infinity Ring" is a time-travel" science fiction novel written and marketed for the "Young Adult" audience. I feel confident that young teen readers who have not been exposed to "adult" time-travel novels or stop to think about some of the unpinning concepts presented in the story will enjoy the fast paced action and the endearing characters. The author, James Dasher, write with sly humor. As you would expect all adult characters are looked upon with suspect by the highly intelligent teens. The story takes a while to introduce the cast of characters and the several organizations that propel the narrative. In fact the opening part of the book is confusing in that organizations - Hystorians, SQ - and concepts - Remnants - Great Breaks - are mentioned but never defined. It would be very helpful if there were a brief appendix with short biographical sketch of the characters and some background concerning the concepts and organizations. Unfortunately there is no appendix, at least in Book 1.
Perceptive readers may question the impossibility of time travel. Or, wonder about the sure risk that any "tampering" whatsoever in the past would irrevocably change the future. Even more perceptive readers may question why the intrepid teens avoided traveling to the FUTURE, where presumably all issues would have already been resolved one way or the other. Some may question why the teens did not go back in time to the point before the first use of the Infinity Ring and inform Dak's parents that they would be "lost in time' as a result of that initial experiment - so don't proceed!
There are a considerable number of barefaced declaration, all critically important to the story, made with no justification or rationalization. For example the author states that the murder of Alexander the Great by the King's father-in-law is the original "Great Break" in history that initiates the whole snowball effect of future changes. Sound interesting, but inquiring minds may ask just why is this so, what makes that particular event so pivotal to the whole future of mankind. Convince me Mr. Dashner why I should believe this is so. In my oppinion the essence of a good science fiction story is based upon the author's knack in persuading the readers to suspend their disbelief, and to encourage us by explanations, however far fetched, that the version of events presented could happen. There must be a thread, however thin, of narrative credability to the underlying theme of the story. It is absent in this book.
It is apparent that the editorial team at Scholastic drew up a detailed outline for a series of books to maximize sales and merchandise tie-ins. Just in case the series becomes a run away best seller all seven books will be written by different authors. That will prevent James Dashner from morphing into a J.K. Rowling with the result being escalating demands for increased author royalties. Seven books in a series written by seven different authors...interesting. I think I'll wait for the inevitable video game, movie and TV series instead of reading volumes 2 through 7.