Well, I can't stay away from James Dashner's writing for too long, it seems, not when there are still books of his to be read. This time, it's the continuation of the Jimmy Fincher Saga. I enjoyed Dashner's debut novel and start to the series, A Door in the Woods, last year, a quick and easy read that still packed a lot of story in. So now I move onto the second volume: A Gift of Ice.
And what do you know? It's better.
After opening a door found in the forest near his house, Jimmy Fincher was given The Shield, the first of four Gifts needed to combat the fearsome Shadow Ka. With it, he's practically invincible... until the Bosu Zoku show up.
Jimmy, now in Japan, has the Sounding Rod thrust upon him, and it stops the effects of The Shield. Jimmy himself can and does activate it, but he doesn't know how. Now, he's powerless against the forces of evil, and he'll need all the help he can get.
That help will come in the form of the Alliance, a bizarre group dedicated to ensuring Jimmy receive all four Gifts and save the world. And they know where to find the second Gift... but beware, the Stompers are coming.
James Dashner shows real improvement in his writing from A Door in the Woods here. While the style is still not up to the heights of The 13th Reality or The Maze Runner, it's still definitely his, and it's definitely good. He has a way of keeping your eyes glued to the pages and your hands turning them, and his mix of wit, action, and heart is always compelling.
There are some great new developments this time around, with some huge, game-changing events occuring at the end. New characters are introduced, along with, once again, a wealth of story. I think A Gift of Ice could be twice as long and still work, though Dashner's minimal, fast-paced writing has its own unique draws. This book is about 50 pages longer than its predecessor, though, which was good. Dashner had noticeably more time to breathe, even at the book's breakneck speed.
His trademark creativity, which was what initially drew me into The 13th Reality, is present here, in spades. Jimmy's transformation from carefree fourteen-year-old to almost superhero status in less than 500 pages is well handled, and I can always get a clear visual picture of what is happening.
In other words, bring on The Tower of Air. At least, as soon as I can find it. I may have to order it off Amazon now...
My rating: 9/10
Coming Soon: A STAR WARS retrospective, LOST: Season 1, and Empire in Black and Gold.