Note: This is the fourth in a series of posts about the Underground Railroad.
I was recently feeling a little ho-hum about time travel stories. I was, that is, until a few weeks ago I read The Trap Door (Infinity Ring,#3) by Lisa McMann, (2013, 190 pages). This thoroughly enjoyable book jump-started me into reading other time travel books that have the Underground Railroad as a theme. (I reviewed them in the last few posts.) For those of you not familiar with it, the Infinity Ring Series is an enormously popular series consisting of eight books written between 2012 and 2014 by different authors.
Summary from Goodreads:
The multi-platform adventure through time continues! Dak, Sera, and Riq return to the United States and walk immediately into a deadly trap. The year is 1850, and the nation is divided over the issue of slavery. In these dark days, the Underground Railroad provides a light of hope, helping runaway slaves escape to freedom. But the SQ has taken control of the Underground Railroad from within. Now Dak and Sera are left wondering who to trust… while Riq risks everything to save the life of a young boy.
I think by “multi-platform” they are referring to the fact that Scholastic maintains an elaborate Infinity Ring website that goes along with the book series. I registered this time so I could play the game, but you can’t use a Chrome browser with it, and last time I used a not-Chrome browser it messed up my computer so I didn’t play. Weak, I know.
I still find the whole premise of the series confusing. Even more confusing than most time travel “logic”. From Wikipedia:
For an unknown reason, a secret society known as the SQ has changed many things about time, so history is dramatically different than ours. Those changes have also caused many problems, including more intense natural disasters and civil unrest. The SQ also manipulates every government’s actions. Dak’s parents, both scientists, have developed a time machine with financing from the Hystorians, a secret group, founded byAristotle, which works against the SQ and has been preparing to go back in time to fix the changes. However, their first attempt at time traveling fails, getting them lost in the time stream. Shortly after that, Dak, his friend Sera, and language expert Riq have to go back in time themselves to fix the changes themselves.
How can they change major aspects of the past without setting off waves of other changes? And if so many things change, what of the memories of the people who remember things the old way? Will these people realize everything has been changed? Perhaps someone patient could sit me down and explain this. Luckily, I am able to shelve this brain-hurting paradox and appreciate the plots of Infinity Ring books. In this one, Riq gets grouped with some slaves, and is in danger of being sold away forever. Then he has to protect a little boy, who is traveling on the Underground Railroad.
The characters are appealing, too. I love Dak! We should all be so lucky as to have a best friend like Dak– funny, and loyal. However, it did not seem realistic to me how Dak was cracking jokes even when the action got very tense. Riq, who is a couple years older than Dak and Sera is smart and brave. Sera, or course, is also intelligent, and is the peacemaker when the two boys snipe at each other.
Another review of The Trap Door: Kirkus.
As always, for more book reviews of middle grade books, check out the links at Shannon Messenger’s blog.