Author: Chad Morris
Goodreads Rating: 4.43
Format: Finished Copy from BEA13
CONGRATULATIONS! You've been admitted to Cragbridge Hall!
Imagine a school in the year 2084 where students don't just read history, but watch it happen around them; where running in gym class isn't around a track, but up a virtual mountain; and where learning about animals means becoming one through and avatar. Welcome to Cragbridge Hall, the most advanced and prestigious school in the world.
Twins Abby and Derick Cragbridge are excited as new students to use their grandfather's inventions that make Cragbridge Hall so incredible. But when their grandfather and parents go missing, the twins must follow a mysterious trail of clues left by their grandfather. They must find out where their family is, learn who they can trust, and discover what secrets are hidden within Cragbridge Hall.
Abby and Derick soon realize they are caught in a race with a fierce adversary to discover their grandfather's greatest secret -- a dangerous discovery that could alter both history and reality.
I have to admit, when I first picked up this book and the read the synopsis, I thought it was going to be extremely interesting and fun to read. However, after the first few chapters, I but the book down and didn't pick it up for another month. There was nothing interesting enough to keep me reading. I absolutely love the idea and the concept of the novel, but the delivery of information lacked excitement. For example, when Abby and Derick started their classes, several pages were dedicated to describing the class. I understand the teachers played a larger role as the story line progressed, however, the descriptions lacked interest and started to become boring. At the end of a chapter, the author tried to create a cliffhanger. Although it left me wondering, it wasn't enough to make me read the next chapter. I understand the author was trying to create a suspenseful atmosphere, but he didn't give enough action and information to establish the mood he wanted for a cliffhanger.
The complete second half of the novel was better than the first half. As the action and the mystery started to surface, the more I read. I thought this novel was going to be a science fiction-mystery. It was not very mysterious, I was able to piece the clues together fairly quickly. For example, when the main characters find a clue it ends up taking them two chapters to figure out; I figured it out after half a chapter. Other times, the clues and story line moved to quickly. When they would discover something (I can't tell you what), it only took them another paragraph and no dialogue to put the clue together. Even if you blink, you could miss very important parts of the story.
The climax to resolution of this novel was the best part of the novel. It was very exciting and slightly suspenseful. It made me forget how long I went without reading. Although it didn't redeem itself, the mystery and surprises made the cliffhangers much more exciting. There were many moments where I didn't see what was coming. It made me want to keep reading. I can't give away too much or it will ruin the mystery.
Another very good part of the novel were the characters. Each main character, and even the minor characters had a big role in the main idea. Two characters I really enjoyed reading about were Rafa and Carol. Carol was the type of character where you never know what would come out of her mouth. She was very humorous and witty, plus she wouldn't shut up for two seconds. Her acting ability comes in handy in a time of crisis in the climatic showdown. Rafa, on the other hand, took me a longer time to warm up too. He was one of those characters who was hard to trust and you didn't know how you felt about him. As the true danger of the situation began to show itself, he stepped in to help. It was then I realized I liked him. He may be a show off, but he knows how to get the job done. The two main characters, Abby and Derick were decent characters with very different personalities. Derick was perfect, but as the danger grew, the seriousness of his family's life became too much for him. Abby always lived in his shadow, but for once when she stepped in where Derick failed, she succeeded. She not only proved she is special to the people around her, but she proved it to herself.
Even though I didn't enjoy every part of this novel, I would still recommend it. I would recommend this novel to teenage boys who like realistic science fiction. There is no cursing or fighting or gore, nothing. Anybody who is at this reading level can and should read this book. It not only shows possibilities of the future, but it also shows us the consequences these inventions can have on the world. I would rate this book a 5.5 out of 10. It is the first in a series, and I am eager to read the next book when it is released.