Publishers Weekly Review
"History is broken, and we need your help to fix it." What kid could turn down an invitation like that? Not fifth-grade best friends Dak Smyth and Sera Froste, who star in this kickoff to the seven-book Infinity Ring series (Lisa McMann, Matt de le Pena, and others will write subsequent titles). Dak and Sera live in an America beset by natural disasters and controlled by an organization known as the SQ (also, there are 48 states, and the U.S. capital is Philadelphia). Passionate about history (Dak) and science (Sera), both friends are drawn into an ancient conflict between the SQ and the Hystorians, who hope to correct "Breaks" in Earth's time line. Via the Infinity Ring device Dak's parents invented, Dak, Sera, and 16-year-old Hystorian Riq travel to 1492 Spain to prevent a mutiny against Christopher Columbus aboard the Santa Maria. It's a quick, straightforward adventure with a successful mix of action, adventure, and historical substance. An interactive online Infinity Ring game debuts alongside this installment; the second book, Divide and Conquer by Carrie Ryan, arrives in November. Ages 8-12. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal Review
Gr 4-6-In an alternate reality, fifth-graders Dak Smyth and Sera Froste discover a time-travel device invented by Dak's parents called the Infinity Ring. After a test run leaves his parents lost in time, the friends learn of a secret group called the Hystorians who claims that there are breaks in the past that have caused history to go off course. They plan to use the Infinity Ring to fix those breaks and, as Dak and Sera are the only ones able to use it thanks to a DNA-lock implemented by Dak's parents, the kids are enlisted to help. Events necessitate a rushed departure from the present when the SQ, a mysterious organization that seems to run the world, attacks the Hystorians's headquarters. Dak and Sera disappear into the past, joined by Riq, a teenager with a talent for languages to complement Sera's scientific expertise and Dak's historical knowledge. They are charged with fixing the Great Breaks in time to save the future from a Cataclysm of natural disasters. This is the first title in a multiplatform series patterned after "The 39 Clues" series (Scholastic). It includes a code to unlock an online game or mobile app. Action drives the narrative, leaving little time to develop characters and relationships. Events happen very quickly and there are missed opportunities to probe more thoroughly ethical questions raised by Dak and Sera about changing history, as well as which events to change. Still, the brisk action and interactive component will likely attract readers, particularly those who devoured "The 39 Clues" titles.-Amanda Raklovits, Champaign Public Library, IL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
This latest attempt at a multiplatform, multivolume, multiauthor adventure is best approached as pulp fiction, as it doesn't hold together as well as its successful conceptual predecessor, the 39 Clues series. Dashner has constructed a seven-book time-travel arc and is responsible for the first and last titles, with others to be completed by such authors as Carrie Ryan and Matt de la Pena. Here, we're introduced to Dak and Sera, self-proclaimed history and science nerds who live in an alternate America presided over by the mysterious evil power SQ. After stumbling upon the Infinity Ring, the tweens find themselves hurtling through the ages to right wrongs, protect Aristotle's legacy, and save Christopher Columbus from a mutiny, all just in time for a French Revolution teaser finale. The standard first-volume hazards (slow start, no resolution) bedevil the text and are exacerbated by underdeveloped characters. Still, the yet-to-be-revealed interactive-package experience seems certain to buoy the ship. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Dashner's Maze Runner trilogy and the 13th Reality series are blockbusters, and the supplemental 3-D online game and full-color poster-map will further stoke the fires. Initial demand is a sure thing.--Medlar, Andrew Copyright 2010 Booklist