Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Make Love Not War - My Review of The Art of War

I'm really trying to cut down the amount of books left on my 2015 Reading Challenge and I decided to chose one that was a topic on both the PopSugar and Book Riot challenges and that was "a book that was originally written in a different language". The book I chose was one that has been on my owned tbr for a long time and the book was The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

The Art of War was originally written in Chinese and the copy I read was in English. The book took me just over an hour to read and was surprisingly easy to read. I expected a lot more detail and more indepth descriptions. The writing style was almost lyrical or like poetry and so that was how I read it in my mind.

I don't really know how to review this book as it is so different to everything I normally read. Yes I feel it is an important book and I am glad that I read it. As to whether I think it is still relevant, maybe. Some people say that you can relate certain things to your work life instead of war, but I'm not entirely certain that it would be necessary.

I know this is short and sweet but I really don't have a lot to say about this book

I read this book on the 12th of July
I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads

Saturday, 11 July 2015

How Not to End a Trilogy - My Review of The Death Cure (Contains spoilers, many spoilers)

The Death Cure by James Dashner is the third and final book in my 2015 Reading Challenge for the PopSugar topic of a "trilogy" and oh boy was I disappointed.

The first two books in this trilogy, though they had their faults, kept me interested and I liked the characters and I really wanted to know what was going on. I continued reading on the promise that everything would be explained and we would understand what was happening.

I'm annoyed at myself while writing this review as I normally take notes as I read, but for some unknown reason I didn't for this book and so all my thoughts are disjointed and I'm trying to get them straight so I can explain my feelings. I apologise for things being out of order and slightly jumbled.

I'll start with the characters, all of them, yes ALL OF THEM have lost any personality that they had and any character development that had been going on in previous books just comes to a grinding halt from page one of the Death Cure. One of the worst casualties of this is Theresa, in The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials I thought she was very interesting and I was looking forward to learning more about hers and Thomas' relationship. I thought in this book she would be given the chance to redeem herself for the things she had to do in the past and would come out stronger and more badass than before, but no, there was nothing except bits making her sound awful and then she's killed off in one sentence and no one even really cares. She's actually barely in the book at all. I also grow to dislike Brenda and Jorge after liking them before, Brenda is used as a way to progress the plot and Jorge is just a peripheral character all of a sudden, Also I must have been really confused in The Scorch Trials because I thought that Jorge was the same age-ish as the rest of the characters but in this book his relationship with Brenda is described as Uncle and Niece? It could just be me who totally missed something but that was the impression I was under.

Onto Thomas our main protagonist, he has spent the last two books bemoaning the loss of his memory and being determined to get it back no matter what. So when he's offered the chance to get his memory back, what do you think he does, yep he doesn't do it!! And for what reason? Oh because it's a scary looking machine. Seriously after everything they've been through and dealt with, he can't bear two minutes of discomfort to get what he has wanted all this time. This now means that not only does he not get any memories, but we as readers get no answers bar the tiny bits of dream memories that are thrown in every now and again. This made me really angry as this was the great reveal I'd been waiting for and it was taken away from me!

The story in this book also seems all over the place. There is a whole lot of action but nothing really happens. Dashner brings in  this Right Arm movement people and then doesn't really do anything at all with them except use them to create drama in the final scenes. I also wondered why the book became a zombie apocalypse survival story, I understand it was people beyond "the gone" but it just became one fight/escape after another, Oooh and another thing, where was Dashner going with the whole the group being followed in Denver and all the streets being quiet and then,...what? Was he going somewhere with it and then forgot about it? It feels like a whole heap of different ideas he had which he started but then never followed through to completion.

Another part of the story which baffled me was the introduction by Brenda that this Chancellor Paige was super important and we should look out for her, there are posters of her face everywhere etc and then all we get is that she came in while Thomas was unconscious and leaves a note for him. We don't even get to meet her and I was waiting from the moment Brenda mentioned her for her to appear somewhere. And then right at the end we get an email from her explaining the happy ending that we got (yes it was a happily ever after, well for the munies anyway) that it was all WICKED's fault anyway releasing the Flare. This would have made an excellent plot point DURING the story, not as an after thought at the end.

One final piece of the story I want to mention is the storyline with Newt. I feel if Thomas had read the letter at an appropriate point and followed through with Newt's request, then Newt's death would have been a lot more emotional and I would have been genuinely upset as I had previously enjoyed Newt as a character. As it was though, it just felt kind of shoehorned in and like I said, that Dashner had started a plot line and then totally forgotten about it.

Overall this book was extremely frustrating and very unsatisfying. I had enjoyed the trilogy up to this point and then the ending has left me disappointed. I probably will pick up the Kill Order at some point purely because I'm a completionist, but I will get it from the library or something rather than buying it. I would recommend reading The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials and then just making up your own ending as I think you'd probably do a better job yourself.

I started this book on the 4th of July 2015 and I finished it on the 6th of July
I did originally give this book 3 stars on Goodreads, but while writing this review I have amended that to 2 stars

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

June 2015 Book Round Up

I started the beginning of June with a serious case of reading slump and I didn't read for days as I just didn't know what I was in the mood for. I then decided that I really wanted to read some manga but it seems I've exhausted my local libraries supply and there was only one that I hadn't read, so I ended up with a few graphic novels/trade paper backs as an alternative.

Book 1 - The Borrowers by Mary Norton - 3 Stars
Book 2 - Batman: A Death In The Family by Jim Starlin - 5 Stars
Book 3 - X-Men and Power Pack: The Power of X by Marc Sumerak - 3 Stars
Book 4 - Animal Academy: Hakobune Hakusho Volume 1 Moyamu Fujino - 2 Stars
Book 5 - Hunger by Michael Grant - 5 Stars
Book 6 - Lies by Michael Grant - 5 Stars
Book 7 - Captain Atom, Volume 1: Evolution by J.T. Krul - 4 Stars
Book 8 - Justice League Beyond: In Gods we Trust by Derek Fridolfs - 4 Stars
Book 9 - Uncanny X-Men: Sisterhood by Matt Fraction - 3.5 Stars
Book 10 - Batman: Gotham by Gaslight by Brian Augustyn - 5 Stars
Book 11 - Marvel 1602 by Neil Gaiman - 5 Stars
Book 12 - The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - 1 Stars

Not a bad month, though I really need to get back into it as that last book has put me back into a slump! What's everyone else been reading this month?