**spoiler alert** This was recommended to me by a friend and we will be discussing the book at a virtual book club meeting.
As a fan of the Hunger Gam...more**spoiler alert** This was recommended to me by a friend and we will be discussing the book at a virtual book club meeting.
As a fan of the Hunger Games series and in general, dystopian genre, I was very disappointed with this novel and most likely, won't pursue the rest of the books in the series.
The beauty of the dystopian genre is the strength of its characters. Hunger Games, Divergent, Ender's Game all had strong, confident protagonists - someone you root for til the bitter end. I understand that Thomas, the lead character in Maze Runner, was put into a situation out of his control, but the way he takes charge of said situation was not reflective of a compelling leader. Instead of letting the character grow in this new environment, the author basically makes him inconsequential - the reader learns about new information in the following format: Thomas asks a question, someone answers it and that's how the plot & characters are developed. Also, the novel has the most unnerving ending of all time - "I'll take this shot and remember how I got here and yay! problem solved!!!!!" Not so much as making Thomas truly think about how he could save the kids from the maze. I ultimately knew I had no feelings toward any of the characters when I couldn't even believe Thomas's grief towards the death of Chuck - he wasn't even that nice to him in the beginning. Just because you mention every other line, "I must keep Chuck's promise to get him home" - this doesn't lead me to believe he truly cares for him. This was an irritating theme throughout the novel - let's repeat sentences and maybe the reader won't notice! "I should be a runner, I think I'm a runner, I REALLY REALLY feel like a runner"
Lastly, the tagline of the story is a girl arrives and changes everything - what a bunch of BS. That could have been a game-changing plot line, but nope, let's make Teresa boring and again, inconsequential and useless. In fact, it is quite sexist to describe her as pretty throughout the novel. Does she not have any other attributes than "looking like a lady"? This is a classic example of how authors can't get away with just providing an "entertaining" story line in lieu of under-developing characters.
One of the praises for the book was that the story was intriguing. While the overall idea has promise, it wasn't much different from the classic "young kids killing each other" plot line. As I mentioned briefly above, the ending was predictable as was the shock factor leading up to the finale. I understand that the novel was trying to lay the foundation for a series, but I hate how books these days are heading towards that trend. What happened to a killer first book with a full story and ending? Maybe we have tapped out on creating an original dystopian novel, and this book makes that even more evident - Maze Runner definitely doesn't crack the surface of originality and creativity.
PS: I didn't even mention the horribly irritating cliched dialogue...just shucking kill me already... (less)
By no means is this novel a true detective story. The cases that the protagonist solve are not very developed and interesting. But, if you're looking...moreBy no means is this novel a true detective story. The cases that the protagonist solve are not very developed and interesting. But, if you're looking for a book about the life and times in Botswana and how a strong, determined woman makes a name for herself- this is a good read. I liked the subtle tone and the gentleness of the detective. It's a soothing read, but don't go into it thinking you'll solve intriguing cases. The only mystery here is how we go about living our life and overcoming obstacles along the way. (less)
What a gripping novel from beginning to end. This was a tale of really sick, twisted characters whose lives are entangled in this sensational thriller...moreWhat a gripping novel from beginning to end. This was a tale of really sick, twisted characters whose lives are entangled in this sensational thriller. What makes this different from the run-of-the-mill murder mystery is that the characters COULD BE people in the real world - this could very well become a lead story with Nancy Grace screaming, "Did the husband kill the wife!?" instead of fictional TV host Ellen Abbott. The author does a great job breaking down the failures of marriage, family, and suburban life - at the end of the day, we look out for ourselves because it's in our nature and humans are fallible. I especially enjoyed the psychological insight that the author brings to the novel. It's a captivating, unexpectedly gratifying page turner, to say the least... (less)
I started to read this, but then decided to switch to audio because the guest voices and even Novak's reading style make the stories so much better, g...moreI started to read this, but then decided to switch to audio because the guest voices and even Novak's reading style make the stories so much better, giving each narrative life, heart and verve. If you're looking for laugh out loud moments, I'm not sure this will be satisfying. The humor is dry and sad at the same time. I especially liked the story "Sophie" - it was both ridiculous and depressing - a very hard combination to get right. I'm not sure if it's because of Lena Dunham's tone of voice as Sophie or the development of the story, but it's definitely worth the read alone.
Other favorites like "Julie and the Warlord", "One of These Days, We Have to Do Something About Willie" & a few others give rise to questions about our culture and the way our society is at its current state.
The only *constructive* (wink wink) criticism is that that the plots are so inventive, but the endings of a few stories fall a bit flat. I suppose he wrote vague endings to let readers interpret the meaning.
I feel like I should just stop reading books at this point because I don't think anything will ever top Wonder. It's not your run-of-the-mill story ab...moreI feel like I should just stop reading books at this point because I don't think anything will ever top Wonder. It's not your run-of-the-mill story about a child who has a genetic anomaly, entering middle school for the first time & the tough situations that the child has to endure. Well, it IS about that, but the story unfolds using unique perspectives - the eyes and voices of innocent children. The voice of Auggie is so endearing and pure, his observations so acutely aware. The author makes you appreciate the struggle of fitting in (cause we have ALL been there, even without any visible scars, defects...) because for every bully, for every taunt, for every kid who runs home crying cause he is ashamed, there's always kindness somewhere. I found this book in the juvenile section based on a goodreads recommendation, but this is a story for all ages. If every parent read this to their children, I think the world would be a kinder, safer place (or at the very least maybe middle school won't be so bad for kids...win win!)(less)
This book had so much promise, but as we all know, sequels to hugely successful books never quite live up to expectations. The good: I actually liked...moreThis book had so much promise, but as we all know, sequels to hugely successful books never quite live up to expectations. The good: I actually liked the author's writing style, which is cheerful and breezy. It's the perfect page turner during your summer vacation - if you're looking for a narrative that is light and fluffy. The bad: Andy, the main character, is supposed to be this complex figure (by chick-lit standards) but she kind of falls flat in my opinion. Her feelings (and her musings) are so repetitive and her constant struggle to figure out what's going on around her becomes mundane - you almost don't feel sorry for her because she's just SO clueless. There's also a lot of hypocrisy and double standards - so it's ok to be irrationally mad at your husband for meeting with your ex-girlfriend but when Andy meets up with her ex-boyfriend without telling her husband, then it's completely fine. I just don't know where this whole story was going. So many plot lines just fell apart, unanswered or answered in a brief sentence or two (i.e., Pages and pages devoted to why Andy was upset at her mother-in-law, but with a few minimal interactions with her throughout the novel, what was the resolution? what was the point??) As far as the "revenge" goes, I wish there were more Miranda/Andy interactions which made the first book so deliciously awesome.(less)
The third installment of the Divergent series was such an improvement from the second novel. This was action-driven, suspenseful and thrilling. The ch...moreThe third installment of the Divergent series was such an improvement from the second novel. This was action-driven, suspenseful and thrilling. The characterization was better captured as well (aka Tris wasn't annoying). The ending seemed a bit rushed but because there was SO much more information presented in this novel, the author probably didn't want to drag out the whole story.(less)
I thought this book had a very tired plot (or maybe I'm tired of reading this type of genre?), but I didn't find the novel intriguing enough for me to...moreI thought this book had a very tired plot (or maybe I'm tired of reading this type of genre?), but I didn't find the novel intriguing enough for me to pursue it further. Most books in this genre (fantasy, dystopian) usually can crossover from young adult to adult fiction, but I found the writing and characterization juvenile. A silver lining - I thought the author made some though-provoking points regarding our society and how our superficial values will eventually be the downfall of civilization - dark stuff, but not explored enough. (less)
Perhaps it was the hype or the success of Divergent that led me to believe that this novel was going to be thrilling, but sadly, I found the second bo...morePerhaps it was the hype or the success of Divergent that led me to believe that this novel was going to be thrilling, but sadly, I found the second book in the Divergent series quite disappointing. The protagonist, Tris, seemed needy, whiny and dare I say very Bella Swan-esque. I understand that the novel targets a similar demographic, but there was no need to stray from the original novel and pander to a subset of the audience (aka lovesick teenage girls). The whole "Does Four love me? Does he not?" and "His beautiful, blue eyes! Swoon!", reiterated multiple times throughout, was exhausting to read and unfortunately brought out the worst insecurities in Tris. The strong girl I admired in Divergent disappeared in this novel, and I want her back Veronica! This could possibly be due to the author's poor writing skills. I believe Roth wanted to create a multi-dimensional character - not a superhero, but someone with different sides - imperfections & human flaws, emotion-driven, wavering confidence, but Roth's writing skills do not capture that. Instead, Tris is self-conscious and hesitant throughout the novel. What the author wants us to believe is heroic, just seems foolish.
Also, the plot was burdensome and predictable. I'm hoping this was just to set up a really exciting finale and the Tris that we all love and know will return to kick some ass in Allegiant.
This was a fascinating book! Totally captures your attention from page 1, which was surprising since Casual Vacancy (a novel from the same writer) was...moreThis was a fascinating book! Totally captures your attention from page 1, which was surprising since Casual Vacancy (a novel from the same writer) was such a slow, unbearable start for me. Very intricately drawn character development and captivating back stories. It's a modern day thriller that fulfills all your 'superficial' needs (celebrity murder, family drama, passionate love affairs, scheming conspiracies, oh my!) Demoted to four stars only because the author tends to insert some random, superfluous sentences that don't always add depth to the story line.
Not his best. The personal anecdotes seemed to be all over the place as if he was grasping to fill material. His non personal stories were a bit bette...moreNot his best. The personal anecdotes seemed to be all over the place as if he was grasping to fill material. His non personal stories were a bit better and relevant to what's going on today.(less)
This novel was so beautifully written and poignant for me- I'm still reeling from the captivating emotional experiences. The author has such amazing s...moreThis novel was so beautifully written and poignant for me- I'm still reeling from the captivating emotional experiences. The author has such amazing storytelling skills, I literally couldn't stop thinking about the intersecting lives of the characters he portrayed. I would dream about them, think about Pari, Abdullah, Thalia during my day to day activities...their stories ring so true & you get invested in their lives, trying to find some hope in their tragedy. The author delivers such a powerful message on the importance of family - that it sticks with you long after you read the words on the page. (less)
This was amazing! Can't say enough about it. This is a memoir of a very funny blogger (www.thebloggess.com) who discusses her perspective on life's li...moreThis was amazing! Can't say enough about it. This is a memoir of a very funny blogger (www.thebloggess.com) who discusses her perspective on life's little intricacies. She's not a comedian like Chelsea Handler, Kathy Griffin or Sarah Silverman, but she's a journalist who is just as funny as them. She's not trying to elicit laughs by over-exaggerating parts of her life - her stories reflect her true voice and she's completely likable despite the crazy (i.e., the stories from her unconventional childhood are pretty insane). Admist all the funny, she also shares some personal struggles and offers her perspective on some difficult topics. A lot of the funny females out there now tend to be brash and grotesque (so as to keep up with their male counterparts) which is fine, but I think Jenny Lawson and the humor she offers us is refreshing and delightful. (less)
This book was amaaaaaaaaazing, The movie was already in my opinion one of my favorites, so I had pretty high expectations for this book. And it exceed...moreThis book was amaaaaaaaaazing, The movie was already in my opinion one of my favorites, so I had pretty high expectations for this book. And it exceeded them! The author's writing is so subtle and endearing (much like one of my all time favorite books by the same author, remains of the day). The book is full of heartbreak and spirit. The sadness lingers with you after you read it, making you question humanity in a way you hadnt thought about before. Highly recommend!!!!(less)