Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

This book is the first in a series, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Thomas emerges from an elevator box and discovers he's in the middle of a camp full of boys. He decides it must be some type of prison, but none of the boys can remember anything about their pasts. The place is surrounded by a wall, and that's in the middle of a huge maze made of ivy. The exits to the walls close each night, because Grievers will kill anyone caught outside the walls. The boys have been trying for two years to find a way to escape through the maze, but a couple of strange things happen once Thomas arrives. Thomas becomes the first person to survive a night outside the walls, and the first girl shows up in the box. There's something deep in Thomas's mind about the whole situation, and he senses the other boys will hate him if they find out about his past. Things start changing quickly, and everyone figures out that they will all die very soon if they can't find a way out of the maze.

I enjoyed this book, but there will probably be some readers who do not. The conflict was imaginative, and action was mixed into the plot. It satisfied my interest in mysteries, because I needed to figure out the solution to the maze and how Thomas's past affected the whole problem. Thomas couldn't remember anything about his own life, but other boys said they had memories of him. Things seemed to start falling apart when Thomas and the girl arrived, so they are blamed. Thomas and the reader were left to figure it all out.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Lorien Legaices #2: The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

This book is the sequel to I Am Number Four, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. The plot opens through the eyes of Marina; she is number seven, hiding in a Spanish convent. Her Cepan, has given up hope, so Marina is left to learn her Legacies alone. She's not sure what she'll do when the Mogadorians finally arrive to kill them. The plot also follows John and Number Six from the first book, as they flee the Mogadorians who have attacked them. They, along with Sam, travel back and forth across the country, trying to stay hidden from their attackers. Number Six laments that she has lost her Chest, the box containing powerful crystals from their home planet, and she also tells John that she knows the location of the Mogadorian base. The one thing that makes sense to them is that they must find a way to get all of the surviving gardes together if they hope to defeat their enemy.

The second half of this book was very similar to the first with a great deal of action, fighting, and suspense. My main criticism was with the way the author switched points of view between John and Number Seven. This technique can be effective, but there were a number of chapters where it took me several paragraphs to realize that the setting and point of view had changed. You'll like this book if you enjoyed the first, and I'm looking forward to reading the third book in the series, The Power of Nine, due out in August of 2012.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

This book is the first in the Percy Jackson series, and I gave it a rating of five out of five. Percy notices some strange things occurring around his school and has one of his teachers attach him. He later discovers that he has some special powers when he gets around water. After nearly being killed, Percy goes to Camp Half-Blood where he discovers that his father is Poseidon. His father is feuding with Zeus, because Zeus believes Percy has stolen his lightning bolt. Percy is given ten days to retrieve the lightning bolt and return it to Mt. Olympus. It is believed that Hades actually stole to bolt, so Percy must travel to the Underworld to find it. The world will go into a monumental war if he fails in his quest.

I thought the plot moved along well, and the character interactions are fun. Percy and his two companions constantly mix their roles as mythical characters with their unique personalities. I also enjoyed the oracle's prophecies. I like reading unclear predictions and then seeing how they actually turn out in the end. It's fun to make predictions as an active reader.