Sunday, July 27, 2014

The Void of Mist and Thunder (13th Reality #4) by James Dashner

And so, I finally finished this series. The 13th Reality series started with The Journal of Curious Letters, which... well, I couldn't pass that name up. So I picked it up. And though it is definitely in the younger group of YA (or the older group of kids), it was entertaining with a good plot and some very interesting characters.  This series is probably best for kids in the 8-13 age range.

So what's it about? Well, the series is about Atticus "Tick" Higgenbottom (14), who is recruited to become a "realitant," which sort of means, person who knows that there are multiple realities, that there are sometimes issues with and among the realities, and who is tasked with the job of protecting those realities when and how he can, along with the other realitants.

Tick is in Reality Prime, the strongest and most stable of realities, but there are thirteen other known realities that the realitants can travel through and protect. The thirteenth reality is Mistress Jane's domain, and has some weird properties that seem to heighten the "chi'kaarda" levels. So, what are Chi'kaarda levels? Well, it's sort of the juice that allows the realitants to travel between realities, but also much more, allowing people to harness its strength to accomplish great feats. And Tick and Mistress Jane are two such individuals who, for differing reasons, have the ability to harness great amounts of chi'kaarda.

And at the end of book 3, they have done so to such a degree (in a fight against each other) that they have found themselves in the Nonex, along with Reginalt Chu from the 4th Reality, who found himself there by coming into interaction with his "alterant" -- i.e., another version of himself from another reality (in this case, Reality Prime). So, the Nonex is a place where .... well there's just a whole lot of unknown about the Nonex, but what is known is that people don't escape from there. At least, not ever before. So, can Tick, Mistress Jane, and Chu work together to escape the Nonex?

On top of that, resulting from the climactic fight at the end of book 3, there appears to be a rift in the realities, through which the Fourth Dimension seems to be trying to leak in. The Fourth Dimension may or may not have consciousness, may or may not be evil, but is definitely wreaking havoc in the realities and the realitants must work together to try and salvage the worlds.

So the book has a lot going on. And even though it'd been a while since I'd read the 3rd book and had forgotten most of what had happened, this 4th and final book in the series is written in such a way so as to remind me of everything without simply repeating it (which would be rather dull for those who did remember what happened in the prior 3 books). In other words, it all came back to me rather quickly and seamlessly.  The book is quickly paced and suspenseful, leaving you constantly wondering how Tick will react and how Jane will react.

And although you suspect that it will somehow work itself out in the end, you don't know how it can do so, and you definitely don't know who will make it to the end (not everyone does).

I thought Dashner was creative in his approach, and I didn't mind the introduction of new major elements in this final installment. I did think it was a little convenient at times, but then I think Dashner took a rather inconvenient sharp turn--to his credit. Keeping the reader guessing and keeping everything up in the air made the final installment read just like a final installment should -- like a final, grand climax, where everything comes to a head.

And it's wrapped up well enough. I like neat little packages and it was good enough for me; for those who like it a little less neat, I think it's also good enough for them. There's still a future on the horizon, but you're okay that you're not going to read about it.

Overall, definitely recommended. Certainly for those who've started the series, but also for those who haven't, it's a younger and sweeter series than HP, but it hits the right notes and is satisfying in the end.

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