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review 2014-04-26 19:18
Book Review: The Maze Runner Trilogy By James Dashner
The Maze Runner - James Dashner
The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2) - James Dashner
The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3) - James Dashner


The Maze Runner is a read in an entire day sort of book. It’s fast paced and never lets up. The continual questions kept me glued to the pages. What is going on here? My imagination ran wild with the possibilities and I was afraid that in the end I’d be disappointed, but surprisingly I wasn’t. The conclusion actually made sense and didn’t seem contrived just to explain the author’s cool concept.


I would have liked more character development, so that I could get to know the characters better and care about what happens to them more. (Though this is the sort of book I don’t dare get attached to anyone going in.) I understand that it must have been hard for the writer to show characterization when none of the characters has a past. Yep, that’s right none of the characters can remember anything before the maze.


Thomas wakes up in an elevator box with no memory other than his name. He’s greeted by other teenage boys in an area called the glade. The glade is surrounded by a massive maze that the boys are trying to solve to escape. Surprisingly for a group of kids they’ve established an organized society where everything works. I can’t really say anything more about the premise without spoiling things. The whole point of the book is to keep reading to figure out the why behind the maze.


The Maze Runner is a quick book. There are no slow spots with flowery descriptions here. Other than height, age, and shoe size all we know about the main character’s appearance is he has brown hair. I like a bit more than that, but that’s not the sort of book this is. Maze Runner’s also light on romance, which is odd for a young adult book, but it worked. There wasn’t time for romance. (Though there is more romance in the Scorch Trials.)


The Maze Runner is almost an eight star book, but fell just short of great for me. I can’t explain without minor spoilers, so skip the rest of this paragraph if you don’t want spoilers of any sort. (It’s not really a spoiler that characters die in a book like this, but I know how some people are about spoilers of any kind.) I have no problem with characters dying, but I didn’t like the way a certain character died. It didn’t feel necessary and it was too brutal for me. (Though it was tame compared to a death in the Death Cure. I just know I’m going to have nightmares about that.)


The rest of the trilogy (spoiler free) I haven’t been so disappointed in an author in a long time. These books had such potential! Most of the story is good, but the Scorch Trials and The Death Cure had some serious flaws. (In my opinion) They were too gruesome, (scary doesn’t have to be gross) there was too much pointless action, (it got a bit much after a while) certain parts made no sense, (and I didn’t like them) and the main character kept acting stupid. (After the Maze Runner I expected more out of him, he is supposed to be a genius after all.)


So my recommendation is you should read the Maze Runner, it’s a good, unique book, but skip the the Scorch Trials and The Death Cure. (Though I doubt I’d be able to follow my own advice. I just have a need to find out what happens.)


The Maze Runner: 7/10 Stars

The Scorch Trials: 5/10 Stars

The Death Cure: 4/10 Stars

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review 2011-03-01 00:00
Shuck - Daniel Allen Cox The Book Report: In the late 1990s, hustler/street trash Jaeven Marshall gets rescued by remittance man/blocked perfectionsit artist Derek Brathwaite, who grooves on Jaeven's bruised and abused body. The two begin a peculiar and passionate love affair that never involves sex, but truly touches the heart of any romantic in its deep and vital connection. Jaeven uses Derek as a home base, a touchstone, and a security blanket. He rises (!) in the just-then-efflorescing porn world as a porn performer and a model, taking it as his 22yr-old naif would: His due. What no one but Derek, and the strange photographer/trick Richard, know is that Jaeven is a writer. A real one, one who writes and who sponges up images...the book is littered with lists Jaeven keeps of the "shit and ephemera" that Manhattan excels at putting in the path of the observant, letting the reader in on Jaeven's private coping mechanism for his rampant ADD (and his inability to break past the surface of anything, too)...so while he's using himself to live and eat and keep moving, he's fueling the creative rage inside himself. Derek, blocked because surfaces are all he knows, uses Jaeven's unpublished writing to break through into an actual creative frenzy, painting at last the gaudy and exciting colors that he's seen but never managed to reach inside to create before. Jaeven's downward track is, well, inevitable: He gets into meth, gets meth-mouth, stops getting calls from his various munificent tricks (except the peculiarly loyal Richard), and even manages to make Derek so angry that he gets thrown back onto the streets he's only just clawed his way up from. In the end, though, as is inevitable in a first novel, the redemption occurs and all is well.My Review: It's a first novel, or I would've been more chary with my stars. I think it's a fun ride through a Manhattan that's been sanitized out of existence. I liked that Manhattan, I trolled it, and I felt at home in it; I'm inclined to spot Mr. Cox some points for that. It's reasonably clear to me that it's also a roman a clef, and that also counts in my ratings. I have no way of knowing how much of it is self-referential, but at a guess I'll say a lot. I like a writer whose take on himself isn't in any way reverential. I like reading about the world that my thirties were spent in. I like a lot the amiably nihilistic, irretrievably broken kid comes out (!) with hope, and therefore a future. It's not perfect, but damn it's good. Read it!
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review 2005-10-01 00:00
Marks of the Beast: The Left Behind Novels and the Struggle for Evangelical Identity
Marks of the Beast: The Left Behind Novels and the Struggle for Evangelical Identity - Glenn W. Shuck My species frightens me more than a little, and this book makes me despair of us ever getting anywhere worthwhile.
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