Interesting prequel to the City of trilogy. I'm not sure why I expected it to be a stand alone book, but it isn't...and I'm heartbroken to learn the n...moreInteresting prequel to the City of trilogy. I'm not sure why I expected it to be a stand alone book, but it isn't...and I'm heartbroken to learn the next book in this prequel series is not due out until December 2011. That seems like a very long time to wait.(less)
I'm going to say this right off the top, James Dashner is an amazing writer. The Maze Runner has an intense and intriguing opening that immediately pu...moreI'm going to say this right off the top, James Dashner is an amazing writer. The Maze Runner has an intense and intriguing opening that immediately pulls the reader right into the story, throwing them right in beside a lonely and confused Thomas in a creepy elevator shaft.
"He began his new life standing up, surrounded by cold darkness and stale, dusty air."
Dashner's pacing is perfection. The story flows along so nicely you almost don't realize as you sneak up on the ending. I was so involved in Thomas's character, trying to figure out why he seems so familiar with everything, yet why most of his memories are missing. Trying to put all the clues together to find out what is happening so everyone can escape the horrors of the maze. The author doesn't give too much away too early, he lets the reader discover the important aspects of the plot as the characters do. I love this in a storyteller. It keeps you reading, turning every page one right after the other until you reach the mind-numbing conclusion.
One of my favourite aspects of The Maze Runner is the new language the characters create during their time living with one another. Completely devoid of memories of their past they quickly develop their own entertaining slang. I love how this allows the boys in the book to "swear" as boys often do, but without having the book filled with profanity.
“Klunk’s another word for poo. Poo makes a klunk sound when it falls in our pee pots.”
That quote seriously made me snicker out loud on the subway... embarrassing...
The chapters were short, yet involved, which keeps the readers interested and coming back for more. The characters were alive and vivid, allowing the reader to become emotionally invested in them (which is not always a good thing!)
I highly recommend this book to everyone, male or female, old or young, I think there is something in it for everyone.(less)
As mentioned in a previous review, I am a long-time fan of Kelley Armstrong, pre-YA novel days. And one of the things I feel Mrs. Armstrong does best...moreAs mentioned in a previous review, I am a long-time fan of Kelley Armstrong, pre-YA novel days. And one of the things I feel Mrs. Armstrong does best is shifters. It was wonderful to see her returning to a shifter based character.
I think I am also a bit biased because this story takes place in pretty isolated portion of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. I have long since had a strong fascination with this area due to the "sea wolves" that live there. I love nature, and wildlife, and just general outdoorsiness, and this book has it all and more. It also has a strong basis in native culture, which also is a strong draw to me. (This is one of the few things I actually enjoyed in the Twilight series as well.)
Maya, the main character reminds me so much of myself. I was instantly able to connect with her and understood almost every decision she made (and I pretty much had made them in my head before even she did!). I was a very enjoyable read.
One of the best things about this book was the presence of strong parental figures! It's about time! I am so tired of wondering where the heck all the parents are in these YA books! No wonder they get into so much trouble without anyone to guide them. But Maya's parents (adopted) are fantastic role models that support her in her decisions while still allowing her the space to become her own strong and independent person. But you still get those strong parental undertones, like when Maya comes home with a guy and you can immediately tell the father is not super impressed by it at all. It makes sense! This is the way parents would (typically) act in reality. Thank you Mrs. Armstrong for proving parents can indeed still exist in a good YA novel.
Since most people are aware of my extreme hatred for cliffhangers of doom...I was warned in advance that I might not quite be happy with the ending. But I have to admit, it didn't really bother me as much as others have in the past. It seemed mostly wrapped up with a little bit of "what now" at the end. I can live with that.
I don't have much negative to say except for a slight feeling of "meh". I don't quite know how to describe that more in detail, but basically there was just a little of the certain something missing that I would need to rate a book a perfect 5. It was really close, but not quite there. Maybe next time! I'm also not a huge fan of the covers. I don't feel it suits Maya at all. The model on the cover seems much older and "calm" for the Maya I have pictured in my head as I am reading.
I have already devoured book two in the series, The Calling. The review will follow soon!(less)
This book is the first YA book I have read in a while (since Hunger Games most likely) that didn't make me want to stick my fingers deep inside my thr...moreThis book is the first YA book I have read in a while (since Hunger Games most likely) that didn't make me want to stick my fingers deep inside my throat until putrid yellow bile came spurting out. Most YA books try to keep things so tame that they literally bore me to tears. I am so sick of the build up, the love triangles, and the resulting nothing ending that leaves almost everything unresolved because the writers have to drag everything out into at least a trilogy nowadays. It's sickening. I've mentioned before my hatred for the cliffhanger ending and the being held hostage by the author...Roth doesn't do this to us.
This is a beautifully written first novel by Rae Carson. It is reminiscent of a younger, more toned down storytelling type such as Jacqueline Carey is known for in her Kushiel series. The language is so vivid and imaginative. I can picture every single thing that is happening in the book, like a little movie playing out in my head.
"Beside me, Ximena's gray bun has come loose and her hair swings below her shoulders."
I am immediately intrigued by this gem that is somehow located in Elisa's bellybutton area. But I am guessing that is the point! It's very interesting how it reacts to Elisa's emotions and actions with heat and cold, almost as if it is a living creature, yet hard as stone.
I think Elisa, the main character and heroine of this novel, is one of my favourite female characters in a long time. She is not perfect. She is not the ultimate slender and stunningly beautiful lead that is most often seen. She is "lumpy" and "awkward" and "clumsy", and she is much more likely for readers to be able to understand. Her sister is the family favourite and as such Elisa is often ignored and pushed aside, invisible.
One of my favourite things about this book is that not only is Elisa described as an overweight girl, but it's not just pointed out once in the beginning of the novel and then never mentioned again, hoping the reader will forget she isn't perfect. It's brought up over and over again throughout the whole story, without being too obvious. It is noted in her actions, and in the way the people around her perceive her and react to her. It is amazingly woven in.
"I feel so slow as I run toward my husband, my belly and breasts bouncing painfully with each step."
As the story progress and certain things occur it is interesting how the author even works in some fluctuations in her weight, eating style and overall appearance and character as her life forces her down different paths. She experiences amazing growth throughout the story and ultimately works toward and deserves the strong role her character is placed in. And it's not just Elisa, all characters get equal treatment from the author with vivid descriptions and depth of emotion and overall character development. Every character is their own person who exists and struggles with their own stories, emotions and experiences their own growth.
There is enough action in this story to keep even the most overactive boys sitting eagerly on the edge of their seat. Add to that all the mystery, intrigue and politics and you have the making of a great novel!
Some parts of the story are highly predictable and therefore take the shock and awe out of what takes place. Also, many of the areas I found lacking flow and very jolting to the reader, hopping from one part of the story to another without any kind of warning pause or break. There are also some minor editing issues with missing words, incorrect words and spelling errors which jolt the reader from their reading flow, but as this is an ARC it is to be expected.(less)