the Infinity Ring comes full circle--with The Iron Empire, we are once more back with James Dashner, who wrote the first book of the series (A Mutiny in Time). Sera, Dak, and Riq have travelled through the centuries fixing Break after Break--all the bits of history that didn't happen as they should have. Now they have travelled to the time when it all began. It is the age of Alexander the Great, and the time of Aristotle--who founded the league of Hystorians who sent the threesome off on their quest.
The mission seems simple. If Sara, Dak, and Riq can keep Alexander from an untimely death, they will have healed the last break, averted the cataclysm that will otherwise engulf the earth, and they'll get to go home to a better world (except, perhaps, Riq, whose future might have been lost due to the changes in the past*). But to their horror, they find their old nemesis Tilda has gotten to Greece before them....and nothing is going to be easy.
I enjoyed this one quite a bit--perhaps because I knew that Finally there would be an end to all the trials and tribulations and excitements, which, though exiting, had filled the previous books almost to the point of saturation. I liked seeing Aristotle play a real role, and Alexander was rather fun to meet as well. And it did indeed all resolve in a satisfactory way...and although this isn't actually the end of the series, at least there's a bit of a breather! (edited to add: the eighth book, Eternity, by Matt de la Pena, comes out in July).
And in this book, the bickering and tensions between the three kids was diminished--they've come to rely on each other, accept each other, and work as a team. Since I'm the sort of reader who doesn't thrive on interpersonal stress, I appreciated this.
This isn't a series that is deeply educational--although young readers will acquire a few basic facts (such as Aristotle being Alexander's tutor), it's not the sort of time travel that gives a rich and detailed picture of the past (not a complaint, just saying). But for those who love action and adventure given point and zest by time travel, these books should be just right.
Nice detail in the cover art I appreciated: it's not always the white boy (Dak) who's shown front and center in the picture of them that's on every back cover. On this one, it's Riq:
disclaimer: review copy received from Scholastic for review
*When reading this, my little one, already wise to the ways of stereotype, said cynically "Oh, the black kid dies." In case you are worried about this too, he does not die, but stays with Alexander, renamed Hephaestion.