Why Are There All These Blank Spaces?

You may notice that in some of my posts there are blank spaces in the reviews. These are spoilers that I've written so I can remember important details of the books when I want to read the sequel. I've made the text a beige color to blend in with the background so you won't accidentally see something you don't want to. If you want to read it, just highlight the section to make the text appear - although you should really just read the book yourself! :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Journal of Curious Letters

by James Dashner

One of the things that most drew me to this book was actually the acknowledgement at the beginning. The author writes how he always thought that was a stupid part of a book and why should he give a "flying patooty" what it says. The whole 2 pages of the acknowledgment was laugh-out-loud funny, and I thought that if the intro could be that funny that I had to see what the actual book was like.

The Journal of Curious Letters in the first entry in the series titled, The 13th Reality. There were a few funny moments throughout, but mostly the book took on a more serious/mysterious tone. The first part of the book is consumed by the mystery of the letters and solving of riddles. The second part focuses on a battle soon to take place.

Atticus Higginbottom is a 13-year-old science nerd who starts receiving mysterious letters in the mail. These letters ask him to perform a certain task on a certain date in a certain place. In order to figure out the correct task/date/place Atticus (Tick for short) must solve a series of riddles. I enjoyed reading and solving the riddles along with Tick. In fact, I read this book slower that I usually do because I had to stop at each riddle and try to figure it out before I got to the part where Tick figures it out!

After Tick solves the riddles and the fateful day arrives the story completely shifts. Tick learns that he lives in "Reality Prime" and that there are alternate realities that exist apart from his own. In some Realities the people are exceptionally advanced in technology. In other, the human race is abnormally tall. In yet another, humans have grown to be short and round. Now Tick and the other kids who solved the puzzles must work together to save the Realities from being destroyed.

The larger section of the book is devoted to the solving of the riddles. And while it takes nearly 6 months in book time for Tick and the others to solve the riddles, and the final battle takes place over a time of only 3 days, it still felt that too much of the book was dedicated to the riddles and not enough to the "action."

I also found the other kids to be terribly annoying! Tick becomes friend with Sofia and Paul while solving the riddles. Sofia is a sarcastic know-it-all, and Paul is a ridiculous surfer-dude. Paul was such a flat character and I found myself wondering why anyone liked Sofia. She needed to be taken down a few pegs in my opinion. I found myself thinking of Hermione, from the Harry Potter books, who is a bit of a know-it-all as well. The difference is that Hermione has a heart and acts likes she really cares about people when it counts. I don't think Sofia cared about anyone but herself.

On the plus side, in this book our main character actually turns to his dad for help. It's so common in kids' books to find the kids doing everything on their own, either because the adults wouldn't believe in the magic, or that they're just plain stupid. In this book Tick goes to his dad for help and his dad actually helps him. They trust each other, with was a nice element to the book as a whole.

Still not sure if I'm interested enough to read the next book, but there were definitely some good things about it. I didn't hate it, but there were some parts I wasn't crazy about.

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