Book Review #25: The Maze Runner

“Thomas knew he was a smart kid – he somehow felt it in his bones. But nothing about this place made sense. Except for one thing. He was supposed to be a Runner. Why did he feel that so strongly? And even now, after seeing what lived in the maze?”

The Maze Runner by James Dashner (p. 40)

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Story: A boy named Thomas wakes up in a large room known as the Box. He doesn’t remember any specific details about his life, only general things. He is soon introduced to the Glade, a large area where a group of boys survive. Thomas is introduced to Alby, the leader along with several other boys.

The boys’ lives depend on each of them doing specific jobs. Several include raising animals, cleaning, cooking, and slaughtering. The most unique job is the Runner. Outside of the Glade, there is a giant maze. Runners are responsible for running throughout the maze, and later mapping out their routes. This is crucial for escape from the Glade, therefore Runners are highly respected and needed.

Thomas soon feels like he was destined to be a Runner. Along with the strange desire to be a Runner, he remembers other, odd memories. The memories soon begin to explain the creation and purpose of the Glade itself.

My opinion: Four stars. The Maze Runner is a great survival/adventure book. The reader is constantly interested by new characters, creatures, and discoveries about the maze. The boys on the Glade have to survive alone in their own society. I’ve never read many books with a survival theme, and The Maze Runner made the genre appealing.

The Maze Runner is also a mystery book. The mystery of Thomas’s past and the outside world add to the plot. Near the ending, (I promise I won’t spoil anything!) all those mysteries and clues come together in a very shocking turn of events.

I recommend The Maze Runner for fans of survival stories, along with mystery lovers. The book has enough to satisfy both, along with being a great read!

Want more? James Dashner’s website has much more information on The Maze Runner. Books and Movies, Devourer of Books, Rhapsody in Books Weblog, and Karin’s BookNook have reviews on The Maze Runner.

Upcoming Reviews: Sadly, I didn’t finish Airman in time, and had to return it. Sorry!

  • Old Magic by Marianne Curley

-whirlofwings

Update! I’m finally going to be able to read Angelology! Yes!!

Book Review #24: Quaking

“I cannot get away from the Photo of Death. It is not only in World Civ now. It is in the library. Slapped partially across the top of the peace club sign on the conference room door. As if the photo itself is not enough of an affront, someone has scrawled words coming out of the dead marine’s mouth: Are you with us or with them? An arrow points from the words to the peace club sign. “

Quaking by Kathryn Erskine (p. 125)

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Story: Matt is an outcast, traveling from home to home. She is an outcast in school as well, most kids avoid her. Matt is being arranged to live with Sam and Jessica, a Quaker couple with one adopted son, a disabled boy Matt at first calls the Blob. Matt is determined to leave as quickly as possible, she is planning to go to Canada.

In school, Matt is shocked to hear that she applies for all AP classes. She takes them in hopes of graduating sooner. However, in her World Civilization class the teacher Mr. Morehead, or as Matt calls him, Mr. Warhead does not believe in peace and is obsessed with war. Also, a bully known as the Rat is in that class. He too, is obsessed with war.

Adding to her problems, Matt also has to battle with the demons of her past, which are constantly reappearing. She also has to make sure she does not get too attached to Sam and Jessica, out of fear of rejection.

My opinion: Three and a half stars. The book is short, but amusing. It isn’t spectacular, but I didn’t get bored reading it. I normally don’t tend to read many religious books, but Quaking did not have too much religiousness. In fact, the main topic the characters debate about is peace. What I loved most was that the book’s narrator (Matt) knew when to be serious, and when to be humorous. This book has the perfect balance of both – a hard task to pull off.

However, the unfortunate thing was that not too much of Matt’s past is revealed. There are only some clues. Also, sometimes there aren’t too many events going on. As for plot and character development, they’re fine but I noticed that Sam and Jess don’t change too much while Matt changes drastically.

Want more? Kathryn Erskine’s website has more information on Quaking and her other books. Goodreads, Author’s Den, and Boys Blogging Books also review Quaking.

Upcoming reviews: I went to the library, and I’m now on hold for Angelology. However, I found these books I’ll make reviews on:

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Airman by Eoin Colfer

So long.

-whirlofwings

Book Review #23: The Clan of the Cave Bear

“The woman who had been childless for so long felt a surge of emotion. ‘My daughter’, Iza said with a rare spontaneous hug. ‘My child. I knew she was my daughter from the first, Creb. Didn’t I tell you? She was given to me; the spirits meant for her to be mine, I’m sure of it.’

Creb didn’t argue with her. Perhaps she was right.”

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

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Story: The story begins with five year old Ayla’s parents being killed by an earthquake. With not place to go, she begins roaming all around the woods where she lives in. When Ayla is nearly dying of hunger and thirst, a clan of Neanderthals, who call themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear, find her.

All of them instantly recognize Ayla as one of the “Others” and insist on leaving her. Only Iza, the medicine woman of the Clan, insists on keeping her. With the approval of Creb, her brother and the head spiritual leader of the Clan, Iza is allowed to keep and nurture the girl back to health, an action that will change the Clan forever.

My opinion: Two stars. The reason the Clan of the Cave Bear reviewed kept getting delayed and canceled was that I lost interest in reading it. The pace of the book was very slow for me. The length of the book also lessened my interest. I personally do not mind books that are long, for example the later books of the Harry Potter series were up to 7oo pages. However, the difference between the two books was that Harry Potter kept me interested while Clan of the Cave Bear didn’t.

Now, this book was recommended by a friend who told me it was good. That’s fine, people have their opinions. In fact, one great thing in Clan of the Cave Bear was the historical accuracy of the book. It’s amazing how much research Auel did to create the “almost-real” feeling of prehistoric times Clan of the Cave Bear gave.

Overall, I didn’t enjoy this book. Lack of overall action and interest are the main problems.

Want more? Jean M. Auel’s website has information on all of her Earth’s Children books, the series Clan of the Cave Bear is in. Goodreads, enotes, and Powell’s books all have reviews on the book.

I found this link on Rotten Tomatoes that tells about a Clan of the Cave Bear movie. Who knew there was a film? (I’m not saying this sarcastically)

Upcoming reviews:

East by Edith Pattou

Old Magic by Marianne Curley

If I have a chance of going to the library this weekend, then I will check for:

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Big Girl by Danielle Steel

Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

So long, for now.

-whirlofwings

Book Review #22: Uglies

“Tally’s eyes widened as Shay turned the pages, pointing and giggling. She’d never seen so many wildly different faces before. Mouths and eyes and noses of every imaginable shape, all combined insanely on people of every age. And the bodies. Some were grotesquely fat, or weirdly over-muscled, or uncomfortably thin, and almost all of them had wrong, ugly proportions. But instead of being ashamed of their deformities, the people were laughing and kissing and posing, as if all the pictures had been taken at some huge party. ‘Who are these freaks?’

‘They aren’t freaks’ Shay said. ‘The weird thing is, these are famous people'”

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (p. 198)

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Story: Tally Youngblood lives in Uglyville, a section of a furutistic city where she lived. Uglyville is a dorm school where uglies, normal looking people, spend their days learning and sneaking out until they turn 16. At that age, everyone gets an operation to make them look pretty. They also move to New Pretty Town, where there are no rules and the new pretties can have as much fun as they want.

Ever since Peris, Tally’s friend, left for New Pretty Town, Tally can’t wait to get the operation and join Peris. One night, Tally meets Shay, another ugly. They soon become friends, although they disagree on the operation. Shay doesn’t believe she is ugly and doesn’t want the operation. When Shay proposes to leave to a town, some believe is a rumor, called Smoke, Tally refuses and watches Shay leave. Later, Tally must find the smoke to aid another organization also thought to be a rumor.

My opinion: Four stars. I always wanted to start this series. Thankfully, I have more time so I can begin. Uglies is a great start to a series. The world Tally lives in is interesting and fun to read about. I’m happy to say Uglies was fun to read.

As for the plot, it was perfectly balanced between dialog and events. All characters are introduced well. I loved reading about (spoilers ahead!) Tally’s journey to find the Smoke. There is also romance and comedy that blends well along with action in this book. I really recommend everyone to read Uglies.

Does Scott Westerfeld sound familiar? That’s because he also wrote Leviathan, another great book! Here’s my review on it. Another book to check out!

Want more? Visit Scott Westerfeld’s website, which also has more information on his other series. The Trades has a very detailed review, so beware of spoilers! Teenreads.com and Ems Bookshelf have reviews as well which have less spoilers.

Upcoming reviews:

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

East by Edith Pattou

Old Magic by Marianne Curley

Bye!

-whirlofwings

Book Shedule/Have a Recommendation? Post it Here!

In one of my posts, I clearly said I’d make a review every Saturday. And I have for the past few months. But… this schedule turns out to be pretty hectic.

I admit, I’m a slow reader, but I will pace myself. Look at The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. I read that in five days. That’s a record for me. However, I have other things to do besides review books. No, I won’t quit reviewing, I love it but it can be a hassle when I have to whip up a review in a hurry.

So, I devised a plan. This not only will make reviews less exhausting, but also make them better. I will review a book only when I’m done with it. No, I read or have read all the other books I reviewed. I will also mention in my Upcoming Reviews section when I am starting, middle, almost done, etc. in a book.

Due to this new system, expect a book review every (maybe) 2+ weeks.

To end this post on a high note, why not recommend me some good books to read? I’m up for recommendations, so if you have a book to recommend, post it in this post.

-whirlofwings

Update! As I was reading my edition of People magazine, I was at the book section when their #1 choice interested me.

angelology

The brief summary got me hooked! It’s basically about Nephilim and a society known as The Society of Angelology. Normally, I don’t go for religious books, but I’m definitely checking this one out!!

Book Review #21: Wild Magic

“No, the mare replied. The light’s only for humans. You may look like a human, but you aren’t. You’re of the People: the folk of claw and fur, wing, and scale.

‘Impossible’, the girl said flatly. ‘Look at me. I’m pink, my fur is patchy, I walk on two legs. I’m human, human all over.’

On the outside, the pony insisted. Not inside. Inside you’re People.”

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Story: Wild Magic takes place in the land of Tortall, which is part of the Eastern Lands. In the Eastern Lands, there are people able to preform magic. They are known as the Gifted. There are several types of Gifts from healing to summoning fire. Many with the gift usually decide to become mages whose job is to assist the non-Gifted.

Onua Chamtong is a horse caretaker. She is also Gifted as well, with the ability of protection. It comes in handy when protecting her horses. At a fair in Tortall she meets Veralidaine Sarrasri, also known as Daine and the main character. Daine is looking for a job and asks Onua for employment. Onua is reluctant at first, but when she finds out Daine is an orphan, she agrees.

Daine is great with animals, actually even better than the average person. She can talk to animals and the animals can understand her. Many think Daine has the Gift, but Daine swears she doesn’t. Later, Daine finds out she has a very rare and powerful type of magic – wild magic.

My opinion: Four stars. Wild Magic is a great start to the Immortals series. I really enjoyed reading it and I thought that the world where it takes place is very original and interesting. I loved reading about the various types of magic and the animal’s thoughts. Usually, I don’t enjoy reading books in fantasy worlds, but Wild Magic‘s world wasn’t confusing and difficult to learn.

As for the plot, it is filled with many events. There are many characters, but they’re not so many that you won’t forget them all.

A funny thing I noticed while reading this book is that Daine reminds me a lot of Lyra from The Golden Compass. Both are half-wild, can talk (in Lyra’s case, not all the time) to animals, and are surrounded by them.

Want more? Tamora Pierce’s website has more information on the Immortals series and her other books. AllReaders.com has several summaries, but beware of spoilers. Best Book I Have Not Read also has a very good review of Wild Magic. The Free Library has a good summary as well.

Upcoming Reviews:

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

Note, The Clan of the Cave Bear is quite long, so its review might be delayed.

-whirlofwings

Update! I will review Clan of the Cave Bear despite not finishing it.

Sorry, the review has been canceled. I’ll explain in my next post.

Book Review #20: Memoirs of a Geisha

“A woman living in a grand house may pride herself on all her lovely things; but the moment she hears the crackle of fire she decides very quickly which are the few she values most. In the days after Mameha and I had spoken, I certainly came to feel that my life was burning down around me;…”

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (p. 296)

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Story: Little Chiyo lives with her family in a small fishing village, Yoroido. Her life is peaceful, until her mother becomes very ill. Despite trying and hoping to help her, Chiyo’s father sells Chiyo and her sister, Satsu, are sold to a man named Mr. Tanaka who takes them to Kyoto.

Once there, Mr. Tanaka separates the sisters. Chiyo is sent to an okiya, a place where geisha live. Two women, Mother and Granny, run the okiya. They tell her she must be a geisha and work hard to repay her debt. Chiyo meets Hatsumomo, a renowned geisha, and another girl her age, Pumpkin who is also aiming to be a geisha. Once she becomes a geisha, she is known as Sayuri.

My opinion: Three and a half stars. Memoirs is a great narrative novel. It transitions from events clearly. People who enjoy narratives, such as The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian will also love this book. In my opinion though, I think everyone should read Memoirs.

One of the great things in this novel is that Sayuri explains and describes her environment. This is very helpful and great because it teaches people about the culture of Japan. Also, the descriptions blend in well with the story.

However, like Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, there is a lot of describing. Memoirs does have events, but mostly Sayuri describes her setting and the people she meets. If you want a book that has lots of movement from event to event, Memoirs may not be for you. I wasn’t bothered by the description and I even found to enjoy it. I think many readers would be confused and bored if there was too little description.

Want more? Arthur Golden doesn’t have an official website, but he has a Shelfari page. Happygrrs and CNN reviewed Memoirs though Happygrrs contains spoilers. I found a nice Memoirs book vs. movie review done by About.com.

Upcoming reviews:

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel

See you next time!

-whirlofwings