Maze Runner (3)

The Death Cure

by James Dashner

2/5

Definitely a let down.

I am flummoxed. This story had such potential. A disease ravaged world, with an crazy levels of technology… and we spent Goodness knows how long reading about Thomas‘ feelings for Brenda!? Can you say irrelevant?!

I’ve always hated these completely unnecessary romantic entanglements. I feel like the author is trying to hide a lousy story behind a forced and fabricated emotional twist. And, sometimes, that’s not even the case.

I think The Death Cure would have gone down better, with me at least, with a more complicated and complex love-hate-distrust relationship with Theresa, than how it went trying to force this other new and totally untrustworthy female character into it.

Andtalking about superfluous characters, what the heck is up with that Jorge guy. I don’t think James Dashner could have possibly come up with a more cliché character. It is so bad, it’s almost offensive.

At the end, this book had more a feeling of “Let’s flee from the zombies” than even World War Z had. There wasn’t a lot a really liked, but there wasn’t much I actually hated either.

Except for one thing. One thing that pissed me the hell off: Killing your friend out of mercy.

And I’m not saying that it is a horrible idea. That letter, at the beginning, where Newt asks for it, was one of the reasons I kept on reading this book. It’s a totally relevant issue, especially because we’re talking about a long and dehumanizing terminal illness.

I guess this could inspire a very heated debate, and I totally understand those who simply can’t do it but, did we really need a whole chapter of indecision?! He either does it, or he doesn’t. Don’t drag it out!

Would I do it? I couldn’t tell you. I would hope so. What about you?

Would you kill your friend out of mercy?

All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this book. Nor this series, actually.

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The Scorch Trials

by James Dashner

3/5
Definitely, action-packed. At least at the beginning. How can you not get into it when there’s a bunch of kids running for their lives against a post-apocalyptic thunderstorm?

tST

I think that was my favorite part. I was on the edge of my seat to find out who would make it.

But then they get separated and it is just not the same. And then, there are new characters that I don’t feel have any place nor purpose in the story. Especially Jorge, who has a minor participation at the beginning and then just becomes something they are dragging around.

SPOILER ALERT

And don’t get me started with those damned girls from Group B. How is it that no-one even mentioned the injustice! The girls got backpacks, weapons, and specific instructions to get to their destination in tunnels so they could avoid not only the sun but also the city full of crazies!!

And what did the boys get!? Killed! That’s what they got! Such injustice!!

I’ll admit, one of the parts I liked from the previous book, The Maze Runner, was the big twist at the end. All was not good. It was great.

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It wasn’t a second time around, though.

The unexpected twist does become predictable when you’ve already seen it once.

It did peak my curiosity, though. So, after that cliffhanger, I had to keep going to the next and last part of the story: The Death Cure.

Hopefully, we will finally get satisfying answers

The Maze Runner

by James Dashner

3/5

I actually feel bad about not being more excited about this book. I was really looking forward to reading it. I was sure it had to be way more exciting and complex than the movie.

It was not.
tMR
This is one of the reasons I dislike watching the movie before reading the book. It just kills all the excitement or surprise that a story could give me.

If you haven’t watched the movie nor read the book, you might want to stop reading now.

Spoiler Alert

Unexpected girl in a box? Yeah, that ‘s Teresa.

The doors won’t close? Well, of course, that’s how the grievers get in.

The make it to the other side of the maze in spite of the ugly things chasing them? Obviously.

Best friend dies? I was thinking about that since he was introduced.

How can I possibly be surprised or shocked? There wasn’t even any extra details or excluded characters to get to know. I was totally not thrilled. This was, however, the first audiobook I’ve gotten totally into in quite a while, though.

THAT I thoroughly enjoyed. The recording I got had even a couple of accents and a different tone for almost each of the characters. I really love the ones where the performer really gets into it and takes you into the story simply with his or her voice. I think that is the only reason I immediately jumped to the next book in this series: The Scorch Trials.

That movie, I didn’t watch. So maybe I can get more excited about the gladers and their new challenges.

The Hunger Games (2)

 

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

4/5

Talk about sadness all over!

I know this isn’t much of a spoiler, but there’s honestly eth all over the place, how can that be pleasant?

MockingjayIt all felt like a good ending until that moment when Finick died in a single sentence. Seriously?

“Far below, I can make out Finnick, struggling to hang on as three mutts tear at him”

Really? Her last true allied? the last person she could really, unconditionally, trust? And you just killed him off after he just got married?

And then… he has a son?! Did he even get to know his new bride was pregnant when he decided to get back into semi-arena without a real purpose or plan? As a set of tools only used to draw fire and public image managing? How depressing is that?Have tissues close by

I understand that this whole series is told from Katniss’s perspective, and in previous ones, I actually enjoy all the little things she doesn’t know. I like being surprised and trying to figure things out as she does.

But, usually, she got a bit of a briefing after every confusing event. Enough not to keep us in the dark about what really happened and the intentions and actions of every player. Not this time, though. The whole of the last couple of chapters felt like the genuine experience of someone who has gone through such a horrible and traumatic thing likeKatniss has, but it left us all in the dark about the finer details.

Like, for example…

What happens after the murder of President Coin? There was a trial? What happened? Who testified? What could they possibly say to justify Katniss’s actions?

And Gale? I understand why he never comes back to her, but we don’t get to know about him again? And even if h accepts their relationship beyond friendship will never happen, he was supposed to be her best friend! eh just abandoned her to her grief? How lame is that!

And Katniss’s mom! She also abandoned her to her grief?! After everything she did for her when she succumbed to hers after the death of her husband?! And who cares if going back to their old house was painful to her?! A mother should have done it anyway! Her last living daughter needed her the most, and she just let her be taken away?! How disturbing!

And don’t get me started on Peeta!! He was seriously crazy! Quite demented! In a way most would have expected him to need constant supervision for the rest of his life… but no! He just goes back home alone where he has no family left to keep an eye on him, and to a girl who he used to love so much that he tried to kill her more than once. And we hear nothing about his therapy or road to recovery? That was kind of a necessary step if you wanted us to calmly accept he was now safe for Katniss, and capable long term to have a family of his own.

That’s another thing. Children? They had children? I don’t feel comfortable with people this damaged and traumatized to be responsible for raising a couple of children, on their own. Do you? Honestly?

But well… all and all, I did like it. Most of it felt right (except the part about Finnick), and wrapped most of it up. I guess I’ll just have to live with it.

Hunger Game (2)

Hunger Games series

Ok. Time to get to the end of the story.

I’m actually kind of looking forward to knowing what’s gonna happen next. With Katniss’ relationship with Haymitch in ruins, and leaving her feeling totally betrayed (n rightly so), I’m very curious about how, the leaders of the revolution, are going to go about manipulating her into doing their bidding.

Even when I saw the movie, to me this story has always felt to be about how there are not good guys and bad guys, in life, but especially in war. Everything is varying shades of grey. And everyone is trying to use Katniss and her pain/grief/ love for their own ends no matter what they call them… Being national unity, or revolution.

But, no more dillydallying… let’s get to it.

Catching Fire

4/5
by Suzanne Collins

 

I was actually not expecting to like this book as much as I did.

Catching_fireHonestly! I really liked it. it is filled with action and a lot of not knowing what is happening. I loved the fact that it was all told from the perspective of Katniss, so every time she’s confused or surprised or shocked, you are as well.

Not to dismiss the all-knowing narrator, but I do enjoy being surprised.

I have to say that for me, this book was a lot about betrayal. But I kind of liked that. It felt right to feel like that when everything feels like a battle for survival. And it IS a battle for survival! At least for Katniss

SPOILER ALERT

… She feels like she’s betraying her life-long friend, by faking a relationship with Peeta, but at the same time, Gale having feelings for her and trying to push their agenda with her when all she wants is to find the light at the other light of this tunnel she voluntarily got into, that feels like a betrayal to her.

And, on top of all that, comes the expected but not any less shocking betrayal of the government. She tried really hard to please the President. She did what she was asked, and was willing to do more… but it didn’t make any difference. The government still breaks all possible trust, as small and tentative as this could’ve been, by sending her back to fight for her life to that place she barely survived the first time.

And, just in case you thought that wasn’t enough to break all her trust in people in general, her friends betray her. By lying, by plotting against her, by using her as a pawn in their own game… as if she hadn’t had enough of that. It doesn’t matter if they think it is a noble cause or if they call it a Revolution or whatever.

It is all a betrayal, for Katniss. She is being forced into a role and into actions that don’t come of her own volition. You know how we call in the real life when someone is forced against their will to do something they don’t’ want to do? ABUSE! She’s being abused! By her friends! I feel for her.

I would’ve gouged Haymitch‘s eyes out without remorse.

But that’s just me.

… I think the only person in the whole book who doesn’t demand anything from Katniss is Peeta. I think he sees what she’s going through, and most of all, he understands her. He can empathize and he just loves her, anyway she lets him, being with her in any capacity she needs. That is true love.

That is true love.

The Hunger Games


As I’ve said before, work has been crazy lately and I’ve realized that lately the only free time to relax I have is while I’m driving from one place to another. So it’s time to dust up my audiobook collection.

I’ve been thinking about the advantages of modern technology when it comes to enjoying audiobooks, and I think the best way to break in my new phone (the one I had to buy out of necessity… stupid phones that break down even when you treat them nicely!) is to start a new one.

So… Catching Fire it is. Hopefully, I can make some progress with my goal for this year and check mark another book series my list.

NSFW 

4/5

Specimen by Shay Savage

Definitely not appropriate for reading in public, specially if you’re like me and it requires effort and concentration to keep what goes through your head to show on your face.

Specimen by Shay Savage
Specimen by Shay Savage

I did enjoy it, though. Besides the hot and detailed sex descriptions, there is also a good story being told. There are super soldiers, and brain-machine interfaces, mad scientist experimenting with human beings, and all a bunch of stuff that can be considered immoral, but it is not because it happens in a post-disaster world.

It kind of made me think about all the things we would be willing to do to eachother as humans when survival is the immediate goal. I imagine we wouldn’t be so “civilized” then…

I also like the ending of this story. It took a moment to let it settle, but I honestly think it couldn’t have gone any other way. And it wasn’t even that surprising with the pace and direction of the book. It did feel a little sad, though.

But I won’t spoil it for you. Let me just say that it took me back to when I read 1984 by George Orwell. That’s all I’m saying.

Unexpected horrors

3/5

Commodity by Shay Savage

 

I don’t think it is possible to Love this book. It has nothing to do with either the writing nor the plot, it is just the content. How can you possibly love a book about human trafficking, rape and world-wide extermination?!

It was a hard read the first time around, I don’t think I would be up for reading it again in a very very long time… If ever.

Commodity by Shay Savage
Commodity by Shay Savage

I have to say I was grateful for the mid-book time leap that we get between part 1 and 2. I’m not always a fan of time voids or jumps that happen in he middle of the action part of the story, or that leave you hanging with out knowing the fate of one of the main characters, but this time I seriously appreciate not having to witness the horrors Hannah had to endure, from her own perspective. I think that would have just made the whole thing unreadable.

All in all, it was not that far from what I’ve come to expect from Shay Savage. She always delivers some heart-wrenching stuff just when you were hoping things would get better.

I did have a problem with the Alien part of this story, thou… If it weren’t because it was alluded  to in the introduction, it would have felt completely forced…

Specially that last encounter Falk has with them, that turns out not to be the first one he has!

It felt like a last minute addition to me that didn’t quite flow right, but I guess some kind of explanation had to be given for the almost extermination of the whole human  race… Right?

Maybe it would’ve been better for it to remain a mystery to just speculation.

 

Manimals!

3/5

Inhuman by Kat Falls

Yes, there were mutant, just not quite the kind I expect it. These were a tinge more dramatic and sad.

The idea of mixing up human and animal DNA is not at all new, but I’ve always seen it as a way to make men into more than they are: stronger, faster, able to heal themselves, to see in the dark, to breathe under water. Super-soldier science. But Kat Falls took it the other way. The mutants she tells us about are more the product of horrible accidents. The kind that comes from human hubris and scientific ego.

The best example of… “You can but it doesn’t mean you should”

The story follows our main character, Lane, out of her sheltered childhood growing up inside a what is basically a quarantine zone, and into what can be considered the real world after the outbreak of a man-made virus that turns people into animals. It does fee much like a story about growing up and understanding the realities and problems of others beyond what you have experienced.

During her adventure, Lane meets two boys. Everson who grew up like her, and who teaches her about the importance of action, about our duty to others and how we cannot sit by and watch the world crumble without being guilty of it too. And Rafe, the one who grew up on the other side of the wall that keeps the quarantine zone safe, and who teaches her to be leery and distrustful of mankind’s nature, about how anyone can betray you and hurt you, no matter if they intended to or not.

Yes, it is all about growing up.

But, what I liked most were the manimals. People who while slowly turning into animals, gain the characters and characteristics of those animals. I thought it was interesting, and would have loved to get more detail about them and their lives. Getting to know them more would have made Lane‘s crisis os conscience more relatable.

It was an enjoyable read, though. The first third of the book just flies by without you even noticing! It wasn’t until our characters reach Chicago for their quest, that things started to get slow. When it began talking about crazy queens and evil/demented kings, I was starting to get worried that it would spoil the story, but then…

WHAMM!

Plot twist! And we were back on business. Turns out that the bad guy was the bad guy all along. From the very beginning! I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but it was a great plot maneuver.

Another thing that most be said:

The ending did feel like an ending, even when there’s another book that supposedly follows this one, not that cliffhanger crap that has become more and more common. Definitely a thumbs up for that.

Did you say mutants?

Inhuman by Kat Falls
Inhuman by Kat Falls

 

I don’t know if my brother is to blame for sharing with me his love for comic books, or if I’m just a daughter of the right generation, but I love mutants… one of a kind/first of its kind individuals… those things get me all excited about a story. Or maybe it has more to do with me that feels empowered with a good and exciting fight for equality.

Or maybe i’m a fatalist and what really draws me is the end-of-the-world scenario.

Who knows?!

Anyway, let me get into Inhuman by Kat Falls, and I might be closer to figuring out what is it that attracts me.

2 out of 3

Truly. It was all the hype. The second movie had just come out and I still didn’t fell like watching it. tumblr_mdkrjxc3Hl1qjplu2o1_500

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as much of a movie person as I am a book one, but these movies just failed to attract my interest. They do create noise everywhere, thou, so I felt the need to know what it was all about.

I’m a firm believer on that saying…

“I you only read the books that everyone is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking”.

… and that’s precisely why i think that the best way into other people’s minds is by reading what they do. So, I plunked my butt down and took on Divergent by Veronica Roth.

And it was great. The pages basically flew away, and by the time I was done I realized it was almost morning. The next day was one of those strange ones when you are so physically tired, but your mind keeps going round and round.

I simply had to know what would happen to Tris and Four, I mean, they were on the run! Most her family was dead and his family was horribly accompanying them.

There was sleeping in not-so-healthy intervals, and I don’t remember the last time that I binge-read something like I did this specially when I still had to go to work and the every other responsibility I still had to see to. Seven days was all it took.

The first book left me anxious for what would become of them, and the second was sufficiently packed with action and character growth and all kinds of interesting happening, that I had no choice than to just to the third one. Sadly the 3rd and last, sort of deflated my balloon.

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And, really, I get it. I see why the huge fandom. And that’s why I went over to my computer and tried out the movies and, as often happens, I was sorely disappointed.

But then again, I was also disappointed by the ending of the series. I mean…

-SPOILER ALERT-

… I completely see how Tris’ death was appropriate, maybe even needed for the right feeling the writer wanted to give, but I found it cruel to have to follow all that through Tobias’ pain. I think that boy had suffered enough, and taking us into his mind for one more heartbreak was unnecessarily cruel for us readers.

But well, what are you gonna do? Oh, yes! Leave it to the fandom! I’ve heard there are various alternative ending already floating online for those who, like me, are not happy with what we got. I might have to dive into that and find something less painful.

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