Spoilers Ahead! (marked in purple)
Find the Answer. Save the world.
I love the idea of escape rooms, a group of people working together to find clues that will enable them to solve a series of puzzles. Ami loves solving puzzles and is excited by the challenge The Escape presents.
Ami is joined by four other participants. There’s enthusiastic Adjoa – “Think Lara Croft meets Indiana Jones, but with a better sense of style.” There’s Ibrahaim, who notices things other miss, and Min, the smart one. Then there’s obnoxious Oscar, the one I really, really wanted to vote off the island. And Ami? She’s the all-rounder.
There’s plenty of action in this book, with a need to not only solve each individual room but the overall puzzle. I consistently felt the characters were facing impending danger. This all made for a compulsive read.
The rooms the group explores included one where “old computers come to die” and an abandoned mall. I loved trying to figure the rooms out alongside the kids. Had I been invited to play, though, I would have been eliminated very early on.
Even if I somehow managed to survive the first room, the library (of all places) would have taken me out. While all of the connections that were needed to level up made sense, I don’t think there will be too many readers who will be able to confidently say they would have made it through the entire game.
The message, which quickly became obvious to me as Ami and her team moved through each room, was a really good one but it came across pretty heavy handed. Granted, subtle probably wouldn’t be the best approach given the gravity of the situation, but the twist that accompanied its reveal felt so jarring that it lessened the impact for me. I’m hoping the target audience will just go with it and find the message empowering.
When the kids were explaining things like the Mayan calendar and space dust, they sounded suspiciously like walking encyclopaedias. This will make sense by the end of the book.
I couldn’t figure out why Ami didn’t immediately recognise the Host’s voice. I absolutely adored the literal firewall.
I haven’t managed to find the correct alphabet to decipher the symbols on Ami’s library card. Yet.
I loved David Dean’s cover image and the illustration that accompanied the beginning of each chapter.
“Do you still think it’s a game?”
Content warnings include the death of an animal.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Nosy Crow for the opportunity to read this book.
Once Upon a Blurb
When twelve-year-old Ami arrives at The Escape, she thinks it’s just a game – the ultimate escape room with puzzles and challenges to beat before time runs out. Meeting her teammates, Adjoa, Ibrahim, Oscar and Min, Ami learns from the Host that they have been chosen to save the world and they must work together to find the Answer. But as he locks them inside the first room, they quickly realise this is no ordinary game.
From a cavernous library of dust to an ancient Mayan tomb, a deserted shopping mall stalked by extinct animals to the command module of a spaceship heading to Mars, the perils of The Escape seem endless. Can Ami and her friends find the Answer before it’s too late?
The latest mind-blowing novel from award-winning author Christopher Edge, Escape Room is a thrilling adventure that challenges readers to think about what they’ve done to save the world today.