Sunday, August 17, 2008

Book Review - The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

The Journal of Curious Letters (Book One of The 13th Reality Series)… by James Dashner

The Journal of Curious Letters
(Book One of The13th Reality Series)
By James Dashner
(Advanced Reader Copy)

What do Quantum Physics, the Bermuda Triangle and cemeteries have in common?
The 13th Realty holds the answer to that question…

Thirteen year old chess and science geek Atticus Higginbottom (Tick, to his friends) is drawn into a life and death struggle between the influences of good and evil among alternate universes. When twelve mysterious letters are delivered to Tick that will reveal a supernatural and secret ritual to “save the lives of many people” he sets out to unravel the mysteries hidden in the clues which will send him on a journey rife with peril. Along the way Tick meets and befriends three other teenagers who have also committed to the cause. An eight foot tall woman named Mothball and Rutger, a short, rotund man with a mischievous sense of humor serve as both tutor and vanguard to Tick and his friends. Guiding them all is the mysterious Master George.

The Journal of Curious Letters is a unique story for both children and adults young at heart and has all the markings of a strong series. It is full of high adventure and the pace quickens considerably once the initial plot and characters have been fleshed out. There is enough action interspersed throughout to balance the plot with the antagonists and protagonists and the last few chapters overflow with conflict and exploration. While I could complain about character development and exposition I won’t, simply because I’m absolutely sure most of us could not create and write what James Dashner has accomplished here.

After reading the back cover blurb I wanted to believe that this book could be the next “Harry Potter” or “His Dark Materials.” It isn’t, of course, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing since the distinctiveness of this tale makes me look forward to reading the next book in the series. In my humble estimation this book should rest on the same bookshelf next to the above named children’s books as an equal in its own tradition.

I look forward to learning more about Master George, Mistress Jane and “The 13th Realty” which is why I will put up my hard earned cash for the next installment when it becomes available.

Four stars for the legend and a half star for the exceptionally creative idea.

The Alternative One
Southeastern Wisconsin
Feb 14, 2008

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