The Infinity Trap takes us a couple of hundred of years into the future, and many millions miles away, to Mars. We follow the adventures of Zeke, a 15-year-old boy who has cheated his way into a prestigious school for children with psychic abilities. The school is located on Mars, which has been partially inhabited by humans, and has been set up to train gifted teenagers to become Mariners, who are then sent off into outer space on secret missions. Zeke’s father was a Mariner who has gone missing on such a mission, hence his desire to gain entry to the school and seek clues to his whereabouts.
Author Ian C Douglas has worked hard to create a story that is both imaginative and an easy, fun read. This is a book that is aimed at younger teenagers and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. There is a clear division between the good and the bad characters and while there is some complexity and layering of the central characters, the baddies are deliberately straightforward and stereotypical. The storyline is engaging, and there are a few scenes that are original and thought-provoking. Overall, there is probably a tad too much borrowing from other stories – Harry Potter in particular – which could have been easily avoided; while it can be good to find familiar elements, particularly for children, writers do need to ensure that this doesn’t detract from the identity of their own story.
The standard of writing is generally very good; care has clearly been taken over ensuring that the syntax, the feng shui of language, is of a high standard, making chapters flow enjoyably. The central character is developed well and is believable as a compulsive teenager, defiant of authority, and while he is audacious in his drive to find his father, he is loyal and principled too. The Infinity Trap leaves us with a number of questions unanswered suggesting that a next instalment will be forthcoming, and I will certainly look forward to seeing how the characters and story are developed.