This wasn't bad at all, quite an easy enjoyable read and fairly typical of what you'd expect from a young adult science fiction story.
I liked the ethi This wasn't bad at all, quite an easy enjoyable read and fairly typical of what you'd expect from a young adult science fiction story.
I liked the ethical questions about scientific advances and the different philosophical viewpoints of the religious and the non-believers, some were nothing like what we would expect them to be. However, the author spent the first half of the book trying to create some mystery around the circumstances of Dominic's secret brother's life and death, this would have been fine if the book wasn't called 'unique' and the protagonist hadn't already found a photo album with pictures of a boy who looked exactly like him but was supposedly just his brother who died in the year before he was born. You'd have to be an idiot not to guess what was going on.
As for Dominic, I felt sorry for him on occasion but, overall, I found him quite a boring and uninventive character. The author was trying to say something about individualism in this novel and make Dominic (2) a unique person that could shine apart from his brother without turning into a psychological as well as a biological clone. The point seemed rather void to me when Dominic didn't have much of a personality - isn't that ruining the whole moral of the story?
The best character by far was 'Pops'. I loved his ramblings and his occasional insane nonsense that he would spurt out; like near the end of the book when he's rushing through the house and shouts "fish balls", he's a bit of light entertainment in an otherwise serious young-adult novel.
Definitely interesting and enjoyable on the whole, I might have a look at some of the author's other writings.
So, this is the end of the Declaration series as it currently stands and I found The Legacy to be a moving and befitting ending to a series that has kSo, this is the end of the Declaration series as it currently stands and I found The Legacy to be a moving and befitting ending to a series that has kept me on my toes, questioned philosophical and ethical matters and delivered them in Gemma Malley's beautiful writing.
However, it has to be said that the first three quarters of the novel would have given it three stars. I did enjoy the story and the development of Jude but it didn't have the panic and urgency that the other two books did, I found it quite slow at times. Also, I don't think I will ever like Anna or Peter has characters. Anna is whiny, pathetic and behaves like a 5 year old, I can't find any kind of endearment towards her. Equally, Peter is moody, selfish and at times seemingly sexist also; there is a sense that the men must protect their women in this whole series which aggravated me. By the way, Sheila is an awful character.
So, how did the last quarter redeem itself? Well, the ending was fantastic. Seriously, I never saw the twist coming, I even feel confident in pointing out there's a twist and that you still won't see it coming until the last minute. I want to say more about the ending and the revelation that came about but I simply won't ruin it for other readers, but trust me that the slow start is worth every paragraph.
The genre is questionable. It is in some ways a science-fiction novel because of the future society, longevity drugs, etc, etc. But it is a lot more focused on relationships and people than the science aspect. It doesn't lack much for it but it would of course be better if the people were likeable, which most of the time they are not. And aside from the ending, I think my favourite part of the book is when Julia and her husband make the decision to die naturally together, I found it incredibly touching and just a really sweet sideplot. I can say that I hope this isn't the last we hear of Gemma Malley.
Look, I really enjoyed this book, probably even more than the first one when I got into it but the author went and did exactly the same thing again... Look, I really enjoyed this book, probably even more than the first one when I got into it but the author went and did exactly the same thing again... created a happy ending.
It's annoying me. Both books follow the same format of Problem > Panic > Solution > The End. I finished the first book thinking "hey, that was a really original story" but I only half-heartedly purchased the second one because the first one had ended with both Anna and Peter alive, well and no longer on the run. There is no "oh my god, I must know what happens next" and Gemma Malley went and did it again with the second in the series.
But, aside from that fact, I am completely in love with this dystopia that Gemma Malley has created. Anna was far more bearable in this book than the last, and I liked the twist in the story (that I'm obviously not going to give away and ruin for other readers). It employed some crazily good elements of mystery, horror and science-fiction; it also made me sure that I would be getting the next book in the series, even if the ending didn't call urgently for it.
So, yeah, overall it was a really good read. But next time, I demand cliffhangers....more
My opinion on this book swayed back and forth between 3 and 5 stars, so I eventually settled on 4 and I'm now going to do my best to explain why.
Why iMy opinion on this book swayed back and forth between 3 and 5 stars, so I eventually settled on 4 and I'm now going to do my best to explain why.
Why it got 4 stars This book got 4 stars for being a highly original and intriguing story. I'm a real lover of dystopian societies, especially those set in a foreseeable future, and this is one unlike any other but with elements that are so cleverly woven with the current thoughts and fears that it makes it seem like a tragic possibility.
The book tells the story of a society where longevity drugs mean that the body never grows old and dies, they keep all the organs working and eradicate diseases such as cancer, heart disease and AIDs. But a society where no one dies cannot exist unless no one is born either.
Hence the declaration. Signing the declaration gives you eternal access to longevity drugs, as long as you swear to never have children. Any children born illegally are called 'surpluses', and sent away to surplus houses where they are taught of their lack of worth. How they are a burden to mother nature and the Legals who were here first, they are trained to be slaves to the Legals and to expect beatings and mistreatment as a punishment for their parents' sins.
It's an incredible and well-constructed idea and you can feel the frustration at being told your nothing by people who have selfishly warped nature in order to avoid death. It questions some of today's issues, particularly some practises found in China, and is a story about the value of life... and, strangely, of death. I cannot wait to read the second book in this series.
Why it didn't get 5 stars Quite simply, I didn't like any of the characters. The protagonist, Anna, was selfish and bratty and just really quite pathetic at times. Also, Peter was a drip. I've never been a big fan of the male hero coming in and saving the helpless princess, but if you are going to go down that route, at least make your hero memorable. There just isn't much to say about Peter, other than the fact that he was boring. The most interesting character was Mrs Pincham and the strange twist to this story that does come as quite a shock.
I am eagerly anticipating more and just hope that the author can develop her characters to match up to the standards of the the very imaginative story....more
This book pretty much completely overruled everything negative I may have said about Lies. The last book seemed like the series was running out of ju
This book pretty much completely overruled everything negative I may have said about Lies. The last book seemed like the series was running out of juice and I found it impossible to believe that Grant could sustain the story throughout the 3 more books he had planned. But alas, all is forgiven and Plague was pretty much awesome, apart from some of the same old annoying factors that got on my nerves before in Gone and Hunger. Books 1 and 2 built up this overall plot about the radiation effects from the power plant and how it all led to the mutations and superpowers blah-de-blah... we also began to find out that the adults had known something about what was happening before the FAYZ incident. Cool and interesting. Then Lies just died a miserable and boring death. Grant's writing was still undeniably good but the story wasn't polished - it felt to me that Grant hadn't fully worked out where the story was going after Hunger. I was therefore apprehensive about reading Plague. But no, the story is well and truly back in full swing.
The plot was incredible - this time around Michael Grant simply did not have the word 'boring' in his dictionary - and not to mention extremely gory. As in, flu that makes you cough up your lungs (literally) gory... and insects that eat you from the inside kind of gory. Damn, this author does not bother to spare the reader any detailed nastiness! I also have to point out that any reluctance I had in picking up this book was more or less eradicated by the opening sentence. I have ranted and complained in previous reviews about Sam being such an unrealistic, self-sacrificing character. I mean, he's fifteen years old, he should not be such a do-gooder. I distinctly remember saying that at fifteen he should be drinking like a fish and raiding the porn sections at local stores... so imagine my utter delight when I opened the book and chapter one, first line: "Sam Temple was drunk". I had to laugh at the hilarity of it.
And yes, it appears to be mostly true: Sam has finally got over his self-sacrificing hero phase and has now moved on to the tortured emo phase. There is only one boy who successfully worked the hero image at fifteen years old - Harry Potter - and we all know he got blasted in the forehead as baby, whereas Sam Temple had no such excuse. Now we've moved on to the characters in this book (and believe me, I have a lot to say), I should probably point out how much I hate Astrid. She said it herself towards the end, something about how everyone must think she's a hypocritical, sanctimonious bitch. Well, yeah, and I wonder why? Maybe it's because you spout all this religious scripture about sin and God's will and then spend half this book wondering if you should murder your autistic brother. I think we're supposed to feel sorry for her... and hey, maybe it's just me, but it really didn't work in my opinion. Oh and the whole sex thing in this book: either do it or don't but please stop making it into a huge God issue. I don't know what was more annoying: Sam's constant whining because Astrid won't have sex with him... or the fact that she won't have sex with him for fear it will lead her deeper into sin (murder's okay but sex is just plain evil). She is a teenage girl from a regular high school in a town on the sunny shores of Southern California - not a nun from some hut in Uganda. Not that there tend to be a large amount of nuns hiding out in huts in Uganda or anything... Oh, and one last thing about Sam and Astrid: chemistry. Or lack of. Because I'm not getting it AT ALL.
Know who else is really bugging me character-wise? Lana. When did Lana become such an annoying character? She used to be cool... now she's barricaded herself in a hotel on a hilltop where she chain smokes and only talks to Patrick - her dog. This could be forgiven, I mean, she's had it rough... but she's also turned bitchy, nasty, selfish, and the unflattering list goes on and on. She now begrudges all those she has to heal, jesus, she only has to touch them, like it's such a huge bloody chore! It's not as if she's the only one who's had it hard - other people are having their guts eaten by giant bugs! Ick, stop with the self-pity, I liked you before.
Though, it's not all bad in the character department, it must be said. Brianna, you are now my favourite mutant. I always thought you were annoying, and I was right - you are annoying (you nicknamed yourself 'The Breeze'... like Spiderman or Cat Woman... and that's just sad). But I forgive you because you were so awesomely kick-ass in this book and you completely showed Caine how it's done. You go girl! You go Breeze!
Now, here goes: the rant. Well, sort of. I've had chance to calm down since I first read the offensiveness. But, well, if you've read my other reviews regarding the earlier books in this series, I was majorly pissed because all the strongest characters were male, all the leaders were male, all the girls needed protecting - they were mostly little more than the love interests of the novels. But I sort of shrugged it off because the series is written by a guy who is probably just trying to cater to the reading desires of teenage boys: superheroes, villains, action scenes and hot girls. I can take that, especially seeing as there were some strong females to alleviate the blow like Brianna, Dekka and Lana; and, of course, Michael Grant never actually stated that the girls were weak or anything like that. And then I read a certain line about half way through this book. And then I read it again. Oh dear god... that did it. I was actually liking Caine and Diana for once, I found their relationship quite touching, and then it had to be said - didn't it? - I almost choked on nothing when I read it "A girl like her could use a strong male protector". OMGWTF?! It would have even been forgivable to declare she needed a "strong protector" but the deliberate emphasis on it being male just served to make it a gender issue and... well, ouch. Wow, this was just blatantly stating the fact that the women need men to protect them. Cringe. That is not what I wanted to read at all. Then just to make it worse, Caine turned into a bully as soon as he was asked to come back to the island. I'd never seen Caine as an evil character. I saw him as troubled and rather selfish but I was sure there would be enough humanity left to redeem him... not feeling so confident about it after he used his powers to force Diana to do what he wanted. He even went as far as to point out that, even though she'd willingly had sex with him, he could easily have forced her if she hadn't. That was another reason why it was so wonderful when Brianna swooped in and saved his sorry ass. Who's the tough one now, buddy?
My angry girl rant aside, the ending to Plague is my favourite of the series. It's the one that has made me most want to locate the next installment asap (2012 - noooooo!). The book finished where a lot had been successfully wrapped up - good, because I don't want a year of wondering what the hell will happen to the giant bugs - but it also opened up an entirely new mystery. I think we're finally getting to the exploration of the extent of Little Pete's powers, he's the biggest mystery of the FAYZ, afterall. But the ending was interesting, mysterious, even ambiguous... I cannot wait to read Fear....more
This series is getting weaker. After rea Plot: 2.5 stars Characters: 4 stars Writing: 3.5 stars Sci-fi Element: 3.5 stars Ending: 3 stars
Overall: 3.3 stars
This series is getting weaker. After really enjoying the first two in the series, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the third installment. But it just didn't add anything to the series, it was still well-written but I felt like the author was merely prolonging the story and not really moving the plot along. Maybe it's the old: longer series = more money, but that's just... crap....more
Whilst this book impressed me greatly, as did the first of the series, I found that there were still those little things that majorly irked me, even
Whilst this book impressed me greatly, as did the first of the series, I found that there were still those little things that majorly irked me, even amid the fast-paced sci-fi and action told in a gripping and imaginative way; it was these little things that again prevented me from awarding the novel the 5 stars it would have otherwise deserved.
So what's the problem? I can sum it up in two points: 1) Sam is a lame protagonist. 2) All the girls are 'cute'.
Let me explain.
Pointer number one: Sam is one of those over the top do-gooders that just don't exist in real life, let alone at fifteen. He is given too much credit for his age by the author and his character becomes increasingly unrealistic, Sam is essentially the very ideal stereotype of the 'good guy', the hero, the constant martyr for the greater good. Oh please, he's a fifteen year old guy in a town with no adults, he should be drinking like a fish and raiding the porn sections at the local stores. His self-pitying attitude also results in generating absolutely zero sympathy.
Pointer number two: The girls of this novel are teeth-grindingly useless. Astrid the genius is Sam's 'beautiful' girlfriend and the dark and seductive Diana is Caine's obedient sidekick. Nearly all the females are trophies and repeatedly described as 'hot' or 'cute'. They also need protecting. There is way too much of this:
And nowhere near enough of this:
Whatever happened to the ass-kicking female? She isn't in this book. Other readers might point out characters like Brianna and Lana as examples of strong females. However, in the heat of battle when Brianna is required to be strong, she instead decides to run away and cook herself a pigeon. What the hell?? And Lana is not strong enough to defeat the lure of the 'Darkness' but rather leads the others into danger and needs to be rescued. By Sam, Caine and Duck (the male characters who come swooping in to rescue her), in fact. Also, most of the battle stuff is done man-to-man. Usually featuring Sam, Caine, Drake, Edilio, Orc and Jack; the girls tend to hide behind the rubble or are used to threaten their boyfriends (i.e. Caine threatening to kill Astrid unless Sam surrender). Seriously? Why are all the strongest mutants male, anyway? Is radiation that particular?
After this great big rant, you're gonna be thinking - how the hell did it get 4 stars then?
Well, it's a great story really. It's exciting and action-packed, there are always several sub-plots happening at once meaning that the book never gets slow or tiresome. Some of the characters are interesting and highly likeable and it's a good portrayal of growing up and the difficulties of being a teenager (only times by about a thousand). Every teenager should be reading this series, my only recommendation is that they follow it up with a large dose of Buffy The Vampire Slayer to remind themselves that having a vagina does not equal weak, pathetic damsel in distress. Quite the opposite at times....more
What the hell? Even though I have sometimes enjoyed a book and not really liked the sequel, it's very rare that I would love one and absolutely hate
What the hell? Even though I have sometimes enjoyed a book and not really liked the sequel, it's very rare that I would love one and absolutely hate the other. I desperately tried to finish it but I was bored, I kept getting distracted by either my family, my cats or some random fluff on the carpet... so I just skim-read it to the end and gave myself a basic idea of what the conclusion was.
I truly loved The Maze Runner, even though quite a few people found it annoying - particularly the protagonist - and not the best written book ever. I found myself dragged into the maze with them, trying to solve the mystery - why are they there? How do they get out? Can they get out? And so on. But this second in the trilogy(?) was so disappointing. Thomas was even more annoying, we'd already lost the best character (Chuck) at the end of book one and the story just didn't grab me. Maybe because it took me a while to get what they were meant to do - cross a desert basically - and when I got it I thought "how lame".
I just felt nothing for this novel, the characters, the plot. I wanted it to end and that's never good. Mostly I felt as if Dashner himself didn't know where he was going with it. Where The Maze Runner was structured and clever, this story all felt a bit random and haphazard. I found myself wishing that the author could have just rounded the first book off at the end and not bothered with a second installment - it seemed more like a money-making scheme than a contribution to the overall story. Plus, Thomas must be both the most boring and unrealistic character ever.
Another thing that annoyed me in both books, but stood out more in this one because it didn't have a gripping plot to distract me from it, is that the author tells you everything. A good author knows how to show the way things are, if that makes sense, and it makes for much better writing. Dashner continually tells the reader what Thomas or whoever is feeling rather than letting them realise it for themselves; instead of saying something along the lines of "Thomas' eyes grew cloudy with suppressed tears", he would instead say "Thomas was really upset". And, therefore, it simply did not flow. But the worst thing for me is the constant inexplicable 'sensing' going on. Countless times in the novel Thomas "just knows" that something is dangerous or an individual can be trusted because he gets a "feeling" - and just how the hell does he do that? There is no rational explanation for it and the author doesn't seem to be developing some sixth sense storyline as of yet. It all seems a bit ridiculous to me. That's why I won't be reading The Death Cure, it's unfortunate because I was really looking forward to this sequel....more
As science-fiction, or as a dystopian space mystery this book was pretty much awesome. I loved the idea behind it: frozen people being transported onAs science-fiction, or as a dystopian space mystery this book was pretty much awesome. I loved the idea behind it: frozen people being transported on a spaceship to a new planet, destined to arrive in 300 years from take-off... but, uh-oh, not everything goes to plan. Someone is reviving the frozen people in their containers with the intention of letting them drown.
I really liked this whole aspect of it, and I've never been a space story fan. I never cared for Star Wars, Star Trek... or anything like that. My problem was how the book was sold to the audience. It should have been shown like this:
But instead it was marketed as a romance story, which it just wasn't. A few lustful imaginings of a teenage boy is hardly a romance novel, the publishers obviously thought that was all young adult readers want. But, let's face it, very few guys are going to be interested in reading this book just by looking at the cover (yeah, I know, guys are silly and what's not to love about pink sparkles?). This is much more sci-fi or mystery than it is romance. In fact, there is hardly any romantic suggestion at all - and most of what there is happens to be one-sided. Does Amy even like Elder that way? She seemed to do an awful lot of pining for her ex-boyfriend, Jason, rather that showing much interest in Elder.
Not that I mind that much, the story wasn't lacking without the sweet-nothings and teen love (perhaps a refreshing change actually), plus I loved the sci-fi. Will definitely read the next book.
EDIT: Read again and loved it even more, upping my rating to 4 stars.
.................................................................................EDIT: Read again and loved it even more, upping my rating to 4 stars.
....................................................................................................................... Old Review
Ok, so 3.5 stars actually. Maybe 4 but I've decided to be picky.
I was greatly torn as to my opinion on this book, it's a very confusing and weird read at times and not even remotely what I expected when I read the description.
The novel consists entirely of a 4-hour oral exam on a specialist subject of the individual's choice, set in a society that is built up through the dialogue in the examination as the protagonist narrates the history of it's development. You can tell from the start that Beckett knows a thing or too about both philosophy and science, particularly genetics, and even those who feel their minds automatically shriveling up at the thought of any of those will still find themselves impressed by the originality of this literary idea.
A lot of the time I found myself thinking "Eh?" I had picked the book up expecting to find the story of yet another dystopian society but it was quite unlike anything else I have ever read. Plus, the ending is a shocker, almost laughable in some respects but definitely enough to surprise even the greatest mystery-mind. Trust me, if you see it coming then you're one of those who reads the last few pages first.
The book made me think. A lot. It made me question some of my greatest beliefs regarding life and what it is to be 'human' or 'real'. I do want people to read this book, don't be put off by my 3 star rating. My warped reasoning is that, even though it shocked me and raised some interesting questions, I found the style not quite up to the 'really liked it' marker....more
This was a very good book about adventure, mutants, superheroes and just the plain old story of surviving high school... only this time there are no aThis was a very good book about adventure, mutants, superheroes and just the plain old story of surviving high school... only this time there are no adults to keep a check on things.
This novel tells the story of how one day in a small Californian town everyone 15 and over mysteriously disappears. But that's not all. The town becomes surrounded by a strange spherical barrier, no one gets in or out. And stranger still, the children and teenagers left behind are discovering that some of them have weird mutant powers. And that snakes can fly. And coyotes can talk. In a world gone mad, power and leadership are up for the picking. In a world run by children, power belongs to the bullies, the sadists, or the mutants.
So, I'm going to explain the reason it got four instead of five stars. Well, I've spent the last few weeks reading books that are instantly gripping, they throw you right into the middle of the story and build up their characters around it... this book, however, takes time at the beginning to introduce and explore each character in a way that I feel would have been much more effective if it had been integrated throughout the novel. But it's not just that. I have some issues with the female characters.
As a woman and a feminist, I love strong females in books. But the strongest female in this book was probably Diana, the psychopath, and even she was most notably only the girlfriend of the opposition. The girls in this book are all "beautiful" or "cute" and are important only as ornaments on the arm of the leaders - all of which are male, there never seemed to be any discussion in this book as to whether the chosen leader would be female. Also, I grew increasingly annoyed by the way Sam was built up as Astrid's saviour and hero. I had higher hopes for Astrid at first, she was described as a genius and I thought she could be a great contribution to solving their predicament, but she was actually fairly useless, often needing to be rescued herself. My favourite female of the book is Lana. She survived alone in the desert without ever needing a guy's help (unless you count her lovable dog, Patrick) and she braved a truck crash, coyote attacks and more. I hope there's more strength and admirable qualities coming from her character in the second installment. Which, by the way, I am extremely looking forward to because the story is VERY good even if my rant seemed to suggest otherwise....more
“You are the shuckiest shuck faced shuck in the world!”
2 1/2 stars.
It's funny how just a few years can change everything - your reading tastes, y
“You are the shuckiest shuck faced shuck in the world!”
2 1/2 stars.
It's funny how just a few years can change everything - your reading tastes, your expectations, your standards... because when I read The Maze Runner in early 2011, I enjoyed it a lot. It seemed fast-paced, exciting and a little scary. Plus, I thought the slang was a nice touch.
Three years and a million dystopian/sci-fi books later and everything about me has outgrown this book. It's not terrible. I can still see why someone who is new to YA dystopias might get caught up in the loosely-plotted (read: nothing happens) drama and think that "shuck" amounts to a clever invention of a new language. But as I was rereading this before seeing the new movie, I realised just how much it pales in comparison to many others in the genre.
The thing about this book is that it is so simplistic and... immature, I guess. I'm not here to simply piss off the book's fans - I enjoyed it too, remember! - and I can still see why it might provide some light entertainment. But... the characters and plot are so underdeveloped. The language seems silly now. The scary Grievers no longer seem scary, but cartoon comical instead.
Dashner uses that tiresome old writing technique called "withholding information" to propel the non-existent plot along. The whole book is built around a single mystery - that of the maze - and our supposedly intelligent-beyond-belief characters keep the novel going by standing around and scratching their heads. It's so lacking in any depth, layers or complexity.
Comparisons to The Hunger Games are frankly quite hilarious when you consider Collins' intricate world, complex characters and clever plot... then consider what Dashner offers up next to it. Not to mention that Thomas is an extremely boring, self-sacrificing MC.
In its defense, though, I was still affected by what happens near the end. I would recommend the book - with some hesitation - for younger readers or those who are new to YA dystopian fiction.