Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The Scorch Trials - James Dashner (The Maze Runner #2)

*Contains spoilers from 'The Maze Runners' but not from 'The Scorch Trials'.*

"Guess my mom doesn't have much of a chance if she's ever standing between us and a grocery store." - James Dashner, The Scorch Trials.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner is the second book in The Maze Runner series and it remains true to everything you would expect from a young adult dystopian novel. A plot so unnecessarily complicated that you give up trying to understand anything and blindly accept whatever the author throws at you – Check. Characters who betray each other for unrealistically convenient reasons –Yep, right here! And the dreaded love triangle – yes, Dashner fell prey to the king of cliche’s, Lord of bad plot devices... I could go on.

The Scorch Trials begins hours within the end of The Maze Runner. It is, in the simplest way I can explain it, to The Maze Runner what Catching Fire is to The Hunger Games. The maze which Thomas and his fellow gladers overcome in the previous book is just the first phase of a sinister series of trials conducted by a scientific group called the WICKED. The Scorch Trials follows the gladers across climatically disrupted vast lands of the Earth as they try to escape their captivity all the while on the hunt for a cure of a virus that may or may not be made up (because their memory is still not restored); Like I mentioned before – Complicated. Now add to this mix the possibility of another group just like the gladers who are on the hunt for their blood.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The Maze Runner - James Dashner (The Maze Runner #1)

“If you're going to decipher a hidden code from a complex set of different mazes, I'm pretty sure you need a girl's brain running the show.” – James Dashner, The Maze Runner.

The truth is that the signs were there all along but I was too foolish to notice them. Am I talking about the plot on which this book hinges or my experience with this book? I mean so much of it is a dystopian era cliché.

It is 1)set in a post – apocalypse universe 

with 2) the protagonist having way too much power in their hands to control the fate of the world 

despite 3) being hoodwinked, betrayed and ignorant. 

The Maze Runner starts off with Thomas (last name unknown) entering a place called the Glade from a box shaped hole in the Earth. Turns out for the previous two years, boys of different ages (but still in their teens) have been sent up to the world via the box. No need for the ‘birds and the bees’ talk in this universe fellas. And everyone turns up with amnesia. No memory of anything but their first names. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Spud - Exit, Pursued by a Bear.

"...I'm yet to hear anybody ask about how big Shakespeare's triceps were..." - John van de Ruit, Spud: Exit, Pursued by a Bear.

I started reading Spud somewhere around April or May 2015 and at last; here I am having finished reading this crazy series nearly 5 months later. It hardly ever takes me this long to follow up on a series and perhaps that is (in a tiny manner) a reflection of the kind of books John van de Ruit has written. 

‘Spud: Exit, Pursued by a bear’ is titled after The Guv’s catchphrase which he often uses while saying goodbye to Spud. And you must have already figured out why this title is so apt. So the fourth book in this comedic series weighs heavily on the ending of Spud’s schooling and by extension, our sneak peeks into his life. But don’t be fooled for a second into thinking it to be a sappy or emotional. 

Matric year for Spud means stepping up into prefect duties and more importantly, enjoying the privileges that come with it. Among the new batch of first years, titled the ‘harmless half dozen’, Albert Schweitzer and Near Death stand out. Albert Schweitzer being Spud’s attentive, highly organized slave who is personally speaking, the highlight of the book. John van de Ruit continues the theme of insanity and madness, and introducing wonderfully developed flat characters. Rambo remains just as aloof as before and even more obnoxious while Vern reaches a new level of insanity. Sarah Silver, a new addition to Spud’s messy romantic life has the singular characteristic of having stalker tendencies. Speaking of Spud’s love life- the book ends on a confusing note with regards to the same, coming full circle to the first book.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Mouthful of Forevers - Clementine Von Radics

When will I stop belonging to this hungry thing inside of me? – Clementine Von Radics, That Spring Everything Grew Wild and the Rain Came Down Like Punishment.

I feel a little bit out of my depth for sitting down this week to review a collection of poems. I do enjoy poetry and sincerely believe them to be the most moving form of literature but am I in any position to review them? We shall find out. 

The book I’ve read – Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine Von Radics would fall under modern poetry, with its free verse, imagery and often spoken word adaptation. Clementine Von Radics talks about the fire running through your veins and loneliness in the same poem, understands heartbreak and doesn't dictate how you heal yourself, uses words to create magic and allows us to glimpse instances from her personal life. Mouthful of Forevers is filled with vibrant intensity, painting the world with colours in shades unheard off. It is a delicate patchwork of scenes that only fit together by this poet’s genius. 

In my reviews I usually talk about the plot and the characters but today I will mention my top three favourite poems from this collection.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Sight - Why the only fantasy fiction I will read is the LOTR.

"... before they did any of this they looked out on the universe and they were glad at what they saw...for in the beginning, there was light."- David Clement-Davies, The Sight.

New drinking game: Take a shot every time the word ‘growled’ is mentioned in the book and you may be drunk enough to pass out, which is not a bad way to read this book. But the thing that truly bugs me is that ‘The Sight’ isn’t a bad book, it’s just a badly written book.

In a manner of typical of fantasy fiction, the story speaks a wolf legend. The legend often passed around that a children’s (pups?) fable speaks of the power of sight; a power which allows its bearer to view the world through birds and animals, to gaze in water and see not his reflection but the past, the future and the present, to control the minds of all animals. Once it is established that the protagonist Larka is indeed one to fit the legend and inevitably change the course of fate, she and her family travel across Transylvania in order to survive the coming winter. This story outlines their journey, as individuals and as a pack, both emotionally and physically. As stories go, this one has a villain, a she wolf by the name of Morgra.