Saturday, December 24, 2011

The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters—James Dashner

"Mark your calendar. One week from the day before the day after the yesterday that comes three weeks before six months from six weeks from now minus forty-nine days plus five tomorrows and a next week, it will happen. A day that could very well change the course of your life as you know it." (43)

Every once in a while (especially when things in my actual life are getting stressful) I like to take a break from what I would call "grown-up books" and read a nice children's or young adult fiction book. I can zoom through it, and it usually doesn't require much paying attention; there aren't usually many serious themes that have to be considered, which I sometimes appreciate. This book was a perfect distraction from my life, although I did have to do more paying attention than I normally like.

One day, Atticus Higginbottom, also known as Tick (unfortunate name, possibly more unfortunate nickname) receives a mysterious letter in the mail, which includes the cryptic clue quoted above. He is provided with the instruction that if he burns the first letter, then he will not continue to receive the others; however, if he decides to keep the first letter, the sender will know and will continue to send these cryptic clues. If Tick can put the clues together, it's possible that he can help to save the world as we know it. He's warned by the enigmatic sender that it will put him in quite a bit of danger, and so he should think greatly before he makes a decision.

Tick discovers that there are a few other kids in the world who have received these letters and corresponds with them on the nature of the clues and the nature of the ending of the world. As the next letters come to him, he encounters some potentially lethal creatures and people who seem quite otherworldly. He is also provided with some "guides," who are sent to explain some things to Tick by the man who sent the letters; they are instructed to not give him too much information.

Although this book was 500 pages, it was a super quick, engrossing read that was well-written and tied beautifully to what I can only assume (having never had the patience or brain capacity to study them myself) are fairly relevant existing theories of quantum physics. Also, I really enjoyed realizing - although it's written for young adults, so I suppose I shouldn't be too impressed with myself - that I had put together some of the clues on my own. It kind of reminded me of reading The Mysterious Benedict Society (another great series).

And it's the first in a series. I can't wait to try out the others.