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James Dashner

James Dashner(1973- )
James Dashner was born and raised in Georgia but now lives and writes in the Rocky Mountains. He has four kids, which some might think is too many but he thinks is just right. Once upon a time, James studied accounting and worked in the field of finance, but has been writing full time for several years. (He doesn’t miss numbers. At all.) In his free time, James loves to read, watch movies and (good) TV shows, snow ski, and read. (Reading was mentioned twice on purpose.) Most of all, hes thankful that he gets to make a living writing stories and considers himself pretty much the luckiest guy on the planet. To learn more about him and his books, visit James Dashner’s website or blog.

The Journey of Curious Letters

The Journey of Curious Letters — (2008-2012) Ages 9-12. Publisher: 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?

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The 13th Reality: A rousing adventure

Readers’ average rating:

The 13th Reality by James Dashner

The 13th Reality, the first volume of The Journey of Curious Letters by James Dashner, was a complete delight.

Tick (short for Atticus) is your ultimate unlikely hero. He has a birthmark on his neck that he hates so much that he wears a scarf year-round. The school bullies call it the "barf scarf" and when we meet him, he is in the midst of being bullied. That very day, he receives the first in a series of curious letters, each with have a clue (or two). What are they clues for? Well, if he solves the riddles in time, they will “reveal on a certain day, at a certain time, at a certain place, something extraordinary will happen.”

This novel is about a kid finding courage and learning that he is stronger than he thinks he is.
... Read More

The Maze Runner

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsThe Maze Runner — (2009-2016) Young adult. The Kill Order is a prequeul. Publisher: When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade — a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up — the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.

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The Maze Runner: Not as gripping as it could be

Readers’ average rating:

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner is a young adult read that zips along, mostly keeping the reader’s interest. James Dashner’s new novel is relatively suspenseful, but never as gripping as it could be due to weaknesses in detail and character.

The Maze Runner starts off strongly. Thomas is riding upward in a creaky old elevator, seemingly forever. Details have been wiped from Tomas’ memory, so he has no idea of where he’s coming from or where he’s heading. In fact, he has no idea who he is save for his name. When he arrives, it’s in a place known as “The Glade,” a relatively large open area bounded by towering stonewalls and populated by a group of boys, all of whom arrived as he did and with their memories wiped as well. Beyond the stone walls lies a huge maze whose walls move every night... Read More

The Scorch Trials: A weak follow-up to a not-so-strong first book

Readers’ average rating:

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

I wasn’t a huge fan of The Maze Runner by James Dashner, thinking its frenetic pace was as much weakness as strength and that its characterization was pretty thin (plus there was the whole “let’s not have anyone talk to each other or explain things” pet peeve of mine). I admit, however, that it probably would meet the needs of a particular reader — one who likes fast paced action that blows by any annoying plot holes and who isn’t particularly looking for a lot of in-depth characterization. That same sort of reader will probably find the sequel, The Scorch Trials, just as satisfying, though again, for my own tastes, it falls mostly short of being a good book. It’s going to be impossible to discuss Th... Read More

Other books by James Dashner

Jimmy Fincher — (2003-2005) Ages 9-12. Publisher: What begins as a summer-day climb up his favorite tree quickly takes an ugly turn for poor Jimmy Fincher, as he witnesses something that turns his perception of reality upside-down. When the perpetrator of the act notices Jimmy in the tree, the ensuing adventures explode into a torrent of suspense and excitement. The next month of Fincher’s life includes an ancient legend come to life, a conspiracy of madmen decades old, strange portals to other worlds, villains named everything from Raspy to Shadow Ka — and behind it all is the old wooden door in the forest by Jimmy’s home. There, something wondrous awaits.

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The Morality Doctrine — (2013-2015) Young Adult. Publisher: From James Dashner, the author of the New York Times bestselling Maze Runner series, comes an all-new, edge-of-your seat adventure. The Eye of Minds is the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams… and your worst nightmares. Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway? But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific — the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery. The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker. And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team. But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom — and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

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