Monday, April 14, 2008

#13 The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

My Rating: 8 out of 10 stars

Atticus "Tick" Higginbottom thought himself to be just your average thirteen-year-old boy... until the day he received a mysterious letter from someone who signed himself simply "M.G.". Little did Tick know that from that point on, his life would be forever changed. For all of a sudden, Tick is exposed to things that he never knew existed, things that were previously hidden from him. He's visited by people from "alternate realities" who refuse to tell him too much, only that he must solve the 12 clues that he will be receiving to proceed to the next step, and that if at any time he wishes the "madness" to stop, he need simply burn the very first letter he received from M.G.

But Tick is determined to see things through to the end and solve all the clues he receives, despite the difficulties constantly being thrown in his path. Because in all honesty, this is one of the most exciting things that's happened to him in a very long time!

Many of the scenarios Tick encounters throughout the story actually present important lessons to the reader, which is great for a young adult book. And even better when you're an adult and don't even realize it's being done. ;-) But one of the strongest lessons which overlaid much of the story's premise is how the actions you take in the here and now have far reaching consequences that affect the rest of the world around you, often without your even consciously realizing it. It's the pebble in the water theory, where the waves or ripples caused by a single event (the pebble thrown in the water) reach out to affect all of the surrounding area as well. Or as it's applied in this story: every choice a person makes can lead to drastic changes in other Realities.

The whole pebble in the water theory is a concept wholly embraced by Pagans, something we build our lives around, so I really liked the subtle emphasis on it throughout the story. It just made me feel very connected to the story in a way... if that makes sense. ;)

To sum up, this was a very interesting take on the theory of parallel universes. From that standpoint, it may even be partially science fiction and not simply fantasy as it was originally labeled. But whatever the exact genre—probably a mixture of both—I found this to be a satisfying read and a great start to The 13th Reality series. More detail on Tick and this fascinating new series can be found at The 13th Reality website.

BookCrossing journal page for this book