I have been a huge fan of James Dashner since I first read The Maze Runner (and promptly devoured the sequels), so when I was given the opportunity to read and review this, I jumped at the chance.
About the book
What if every time you made a choice that had a significant consequence, a new, alternate reality was created–the life that would’ve been had you made the other choice? What if those new realities were in danger? What if it fell to you to save all the realities? Atticus Higginbottom, a.k.a. Tick, is an average thirteen-year-old boy until the day a strange letter arrives in his mailbox. Postmarked from Alaska and cryptically signed with the initials “M.G.,” the letter informs Tick that dangerous–perhaps even deadly–events have been set in motion that could result in the destruction of reality itself. M.G. promises to send Tick twelve riddles that will reveal on a certain day, at a certain time, at a certain place, something extraordinary will happen. Will Tick have the courage to follow the twelve clues M.G. sends to him? Will he be able to solve the riddles in time? Will Tick discover the life he was meant to live? The first volume of an outstanding new children’s fantasy series, The Journal of Curious Letters is filled with adventure, humor, riddles, and, oh, yes–danger… As M.G. warns Tick, Very frightening things are coming your way. Will you join Tick and his friends on an amazing journey through the Realities? What will your choice be?
Initially, I found the premise of an ordinary teenage boy receiving a letter and having to solve riddles to save the world a little difficult to engage with, but I was soon sucked into the adventure. I wanted to be able to solve the riddles before Tick did, or at least alongside him, but they were insanely difficult. I found myself pouring over them at some points, and pulling my hair out at others. I was just not clever enough. I envy all the readers out there who will be able to work them out.
I did find that the clues / riddles gave an interesting structure to the novel and kept it fast-paced and engaging. I loved the idea of travelling through different realities and of each reality having a different version of a person, although some of the realities briefly touched on in this novel were pretty dark (and I would love to know more about those!)
The characters are an interesting bunch. I particularly liked Sophie: she was focused, outspoken and tried to organise things (I love an organised character!) I loved that she was interested in maths and solving problems, as this is something that is underrepresented in literature. I also enjoyed seeing a positive representation of online friendships.
What really stood out for me above all else in this novel was Tick’s relationship with his dad. So often in young adult books we get troubled relationships between teens and their parents, but that’s not the case here. Tick and his dad are really close. Tick knows that he can go to his dad about anything and he’s there for him. His dad lets him explore the world within safe boundaries – he is having his big adventure but not alone. I think this is a really important message for younger readers.
The 13th Reality has a really interesting ending, opening up for further books in this series and they will certainly be some books to watch out for!
Thanks to Sweet Cherry Publishing for my review copy and for having me on the blog tour.