In the concluding Sixty-Eight Rooms adventure, Ruthie and Jack finally recognize the enormous power and great danger that magic can bring.
In the past, shrinking down and exploring the miniature Thorne Rooms was thrilling. Who wouldn’t want to explore more? But Ruthie and Jack don’t know the full extent of the magic. A letter they find from Narcissa Thorne, the woman who created the Thorne Rooms, puts everything into perspective. The warning of danger becomes all too real. Cycling through more time-travel excursions than ever before—some only a scant five pages long and some with no apparent purpose to the narrative—Ruthie and Jack find themselves in multiple cities of 18th-century England, in the middle of the Boxer Rebellion in China and, through a surprising portal, at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. Along the way they learn more rules of time travel and realize that it is possible to get stuck in a time period with no way of return. Multiple adventures and seemingly tense moments should spark the pace, but the story plods along, never reaching its full potential. (By book’s end, the magic may need to be shut off, but the opportunity to reignite it still exists. Malone is keeping options open.)
A disappointing (probable) end to a series that should have been better, given its promising concept. (Fantasy. 8-12)