Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

Escape Room by Christopher Edge

In true Christopher Edge style, there is so much more to Escape Room than meets the eye. With layers of symbolism and the complete unexpected, readers are challenged to think about their own place in the world.

12-year-old Ami has been given a fantastic gift – an immersive escape room experience. She absolutely loves puzzles so this is perfect for her. At first, she wonders if she will be playing alone but then four other young people arrive: Adjoa seems seriously cool with her pink sunglasses and so much confidence; Oscar has a sporty swagger; Ibrahim is quietly clever; and Min is a walking encyclopaedia. Together they should make a brilliant team. Their task – Save the World and Find the Answer.

The escape room starts out as they expect – clues, puzzles, messages to decipher. Ami knows she needs to question everything and take nothing for granted. When they come across a strange, automated chess set, the solution seems simple enough – defeat the machine and move on to the next stage of the escape room. But suddenly, the situation takes a dark turn. This is no ordinary game and the threat seems real. Are they supposed to win or lose? Go forward or back? Trust their judgement or find a different way? One thing is clear – this is not going to be easy.

The team find themselves in a series of bizarre rooms: an attic full of old tech, a library with more books than anyone could ever read, a cursed tomb and a deserted shopping mall. Each is more dangerous than the last and none of them are certain they’ll all make it out alive. Some say life is a game but Ami’s not sure this is the game she wants to play.

Ami is pushed to question everything she has ever known about reasoning, logic and her own abilities. Questions of the problems humans have created, the destruction of the environment and the power of a child’s mind run through this captivating story until the mind-blowing final moments. Nothing is as it seems in the Escape Room.

This story will challenge readers to dig deep into their own understanding. They will love joining the team and working through the escape room puzzles with Ami and the others. Then, as the story takes a darker turn, they will find themselves questioning just what it means to have intelligence and our responsibility for what we choose to do with this power. Only with optimism, creativity and imagination can we build a brighter future.

Thank you to Nosy Crow for this intriguing book.

Click on the covers below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon or bookshop.org.

Books by Kate Heap:

Contemporary Children’s Literature: Years 5/6

Contemporary Children’s Literature: Years 3/4

Nonfiction: Years 5/6

Nonfiction: Years 3/4

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