The Maze Runner by James Dashner


I apologize in advance for the somewhat emotional and excited post. The book just really hit me hard. It was…
utterly crazy, fantastical, wild, predictable, exciting, and un-putdownable (it’s a word, trust me.)

I’ve been wanting to read this book for at least two years now, but haven’t gotten around to it. Eventually, after paying a visit to the marvelous McNally, I saw it and reminded myself to order it at the library. Well! I’ll definitely be making another visit to McNally and purchasing this wonderful book!

Ah, but, let me be concise.
Actually, no. Let me be wordy, blabberous (another word, believe me,) and a general raving lunatic of joy (and madness)!

This book was so exciting and so terrifying and so dark and so dystopic that I simply could not put it down. I read a few chapters this morning and then put it aside to complete the duties on my list. As soon as my jobs for the day were done, I read. And read. And read. And finished the blasted the thing.

This book is a true YA dystopia that doesn’t revolve around the whole premise of an emotionless (love-less) society that isn’t really all that loveless because there are two hot boys for a heroine to fall in lust love with. Anyway…. This book was truly horrifying in an amazing sort of way.

James Dashner weaves an incredible story out of it and his characters are all great. However, I’m disappointed in the lack of females. There was one measly female.

SPOILER! You’re telling me that the only geniuses that WICKED could find to use as lab rats were boys? That’s a load of klunk.END SPOILER

So that annoyed me. The other thing that caused me to shave off a star was how predictable it was. Yeah, it was exciting, but I kind of expected what was going to happen. I still was on the edge of my seat and into it, but it could have been more intense.
Still, I loved this book. Loved it, loved it. I’m def going to be reading the next one.

Fourstars Four out of Five Stars

Son by Lois Lowry


This was one of the most surprising books of the year. After Messenger, which was written in 2004, I thought that the Giver series was finished, but apparently not. Out of the blue, she publishes Son, which was a great conclusion to the series.

We end up going back to the place where Jonas lived and Gabe was born. We meet Claire, a fourteen year old girl who’s task is Birthmother. We follow her as the child she bears is taken away to the Nurturing Center, and she is moved to her next task. We continue reading as crazy things happen and as, somehow, this book begins to tie in all the rest.

Claire is a great main character. I liked her instantly and then as the book progressed, my feelings only became fonder. The other characters were also quite likeable. I loved the village by the sea, though I question how old it felt. If the world is this world in the future, then wouldn’t things be more… advanced? The village that was by the sea felt like an old village from way, way back when. If the place Claire originally came from was so advanced, then why would this place be so behind?

I wish that I had reread Gathering Blue and Messenger before reading this book. While I still understood what as going on, I realized that to truly understand everything, I needed to remember Matty and his tragic end, as well as Kira’s story. Maybe I’ll read them now, though.

Fourstarsfour out of five stars

Mistborn: The Hero of Ages


After a few months, I finally got around to reading the final installment in Brandon Sanderson’s marvelous trilogy! It took me forever to read all the three books, both because I didn’t want the series to end and that I just never got around to ordering the book from the library. However, now I can say that I truly do love Sanderson’s Mistborn series.

The thing that became really clear to me in The Hero of Ages is how great Sanderson is at world building. His world is solid. His system of magic is solid. There are few (I didn’t find any) holes in his world or contradictions. Everything fit together just perfectly and that impressed me. I’ve read too many fantasy novels where the premise is good, but the world is botched and just doesn’t work. The Mistborn world works and that was refreshing.

But, to the book. I was amazed at how he wrapped things up. I worried that it was such a mess that he would never, ever be able to come up with a satisfying ending, but he did! It was more than satisfying; it was heartbreaking and exciting and just perfect. For days after I finished the book I wandered around the house with a stupid smile on my face. What was I thinking about? This book, of course.

Another thing that Sanderson does really well, is creating characters. Every single one of them is deep and well thought out, and unique. I cannot think of a character that I didn’t like in this book. I loved Spook, Breeze, Ham, Vin, Sazed, and Elend. Even the smaller characters such as Demoux or Cett were well rounded. Deep, realistic characters are something of a passion for me, so when I find an author who writes characters like that, well, I get really excited. Like, jump up and down, do my happy dance excited.

At the end of the day, I would say this book is simply a gem. The whole series was just one wonderful, exciting adventure. Now that I’m finished it, I’m definitely disappointed that there aren’t three or more books to follow up. (There is one, I know, and I’ve already gotten it from the library, but it’s three hundred years later.) This book had few, if any, flaws and I’ definitely recommend it.

fivestarsFive out of Five stars.

The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld


This series is my favorite of the new year so far! (To be fair, it’s the only series I’ve read this so far…) Scott Westerfeld the other of the Midnighters series and the Uglies series, has once again blown me away. This time in a very positive way. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the Uglies series was quite good. He’s a talented writer. But, boy, is he infuriating. In the Uglies series, everything would be going amazing until you reached that one point in the end, where he’d pretty much dash all your hopes against the rocks. He’s done this with all of the books I’ve read of his. Due to my past trauma, I was nervous about reading this trilogy.

I was, however, swept away. I shall start with the first book:

Leviathan 

It was everything a first book in a trilogy should be. It’s different in the aspect that it’s alternative history. It’s retelling the story of WWI. Now, it is a battle between the Clankers and the Darwinists. The Clankers, are machine type people who create wonderful walking war machines. The Darwinists are fabricators of real life species to make them more useful. The Leviathan is a giant fabricated whale that the Darwinists use as an airship. I loved the idea of the Clankers and Darwinists. Personally, I think I lean a little to the Clanker side, but… I think of Bovril the Perspicacious Loris, and then I’m almost a Darwinist.

We were introduced to the main characters: Deryn Sharp, a Scottish girl who wants to work aboard an airship. To do so, she disguises herself as a boy called Dylan. She is very clever, has a quick mind, and is great at fixing problems. The other main character is Aleksander, the son of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife Sophie- the two aristocrats who are assassinated at the beginning of the book, causing the war to begin.

The book was exciting, clever, and an enjoyable read. A highlight would be Keith Thompson’s illustrations. The pictures add so much to the book.

5/5 stars.

Behemoth:

The second book was also brilliant. The characters grew in impressive ways, action was always present, and Bovril, the Perspicacious Loris makes his first appearance. He’s the cutest and cleverest wee fabricated beastie in the book. I do love him.

There isn’t much to say about Behemoth. It doesn’t suffer from middle-book-itis (the unfortunate affair when the first book is amazing, but the second horrible.) It was quite good!

4/5

Goliath

This was the perfect conclusion to the trilogy! Everything was wrapped up swimmingly! I admit, I’m a bit curious as  to what will happen next to Deryn and Alek. I wouldn’t mind another book with their next adventures at all!

Ah, but this book is what I’m talking about.  It was barking fantastic. The characters evolved realistically through the entire series. I could easily believe their personalities, secrets, and idiosyncrasies. I thought Westerfeld handled all of the characters- both main and side ones- masterfully.

It was all quite exciting. Though, I was a bit disappointed to find out that the main weapon in the end wasn’t as dangerous as Westerfeld suggested. It made some of the events earlier in the book useless and pointless. Not quite, of course, but still, everything just wasn’t as dire a situation as we’d been led to believe.

That was the only thing that annoyed me, really. I enjoyed this book immensely and couldn’t put it down.

5/5

For the whole series: fivestars A solid five.

A Musical Interlude


I know, I know, this is technically about books, my passion. Yet, I have another passion: theater, mainly, musical theater. I recently went to a local production of The Sound of Music. It was amazing! The play was, dare I say it, better than the movie!

Jayme Armstrong plays a vivacious and delightful Maria. She brought a youthfulness to the role that even Julie Andrews wasn’t able to accomplish. Jayme Armsrong was charming and watching her play Maria brought a smile to my lips. She was fantastic and definitely the highlight of the whole production. However, the whole production was well done. The sets were fancy and impressive, and the set changes were very smooth. Everytime that a big change had to happen, the curtain would fall, but some humorous little scene would be taking place out front that kept the audience engaged and laughing.

The voices of the entire cast were marvelous and strong. The singing was talented, the acting was great, and the costumes! Oh, the costumes! I love 1930-1950 style outfits! It was eye-candy for me. And, of course, Rogers and Hammerstein’s musical score is a joy to listen to. I’ve been humming and singing the songs ever since I went to the play weeks ago!

This was one night that I wish I could re-live. I would love to see the play again and experience Jayme Armstrong’s breath-taking performance.