Book: The 100

"The 100"

Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth’s radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents–considered expendable by society–are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life…or it could be a suicide mission.

Clarke was arrested for treason, though she’s haunted by the memory of what she really did. Wells, the chancellor’s son, came to Earth for the girl he loves–but will she ever forgive him? Reckless Bellamy fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only siblings in the universe. And Glass managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind’s last hope.

It’s not bad… It’s just not very good either.

I picked The 100 up because I thought the premise was interesting. A new take on Lord of the Flies, with juvenile delinquents instead of super powered freaks or super geniuses. A group of one hundred teens given the chance to start their lives anew after leading a ruined one prior to their do over.

Thing is… the premise remained a promise, and not much more.

Kass Morgan’s The 100 is character-oriented. Unfortunately, aside from Bellamy, the characters we are saddled with are as bland as can be. Main protagonist Clarke has an interesting background that is killed by her total lack of personality; love interest Wells is a vanilla version of The Hunger Games‘ Peeta; and Glass, the character whose story is separate from the rest of the group, is a formulaic Juliet.

It’s a good thing that the story is very plot-driven. That’s what will keep you moving from page to page, wanting to know what happens next. The whodunnits, the hows, the whats, the whys… It’s almost a complete package–it really just lacked the ingredient that would make it a powerful book: characters you understand and would want to empathize with.

Now, the driving force between each character are very well-defined. One has no choice, the other is doing it for the girl he loves, another is doing it for his sister, and the last did what she did in the name of love. Unfortunately, the author seems to have stuck to this defining characteristics and doesn’t give much room for other personality traits to come in. It says something when the one character you feel affinity for is the character with the anger management problem.

Again, I would like to reiterate that the novel isn’t bad. It really isn’t. It’s just too colored-by-the-numbers. The 100 is just another dystopian fiction that has riffs of Lord of the Flies. It doesn’t have that special political flavor of The Hunger Games, the heart-wrenching drama of The Maze Runner, or even the attempt at realism in the Gone series. If Kass Morgan wants a hit on her hands, she would need to step up the game in the second book.

And if she has no plans of killing off the characters who are still in the ship? She might want to bring them down soon. The ship story is extremely boring.

Now, let’s find out what other people have said about the book!
A Dream of Books
Proud Book Nerd

Book: The Death Cure

"The Death Cure"

Thomas knows that WICKED can’t be trusted. They stole his memories and locked him inside the Maze. They forced him tot he brink of death by dropping him in the wilds of the Scorch. And htey took the Gladers, his only friends, from him.

Now WICKED says that the time for lies is over. That they’ve collected all the date they can from the Trials and will rely on the Gladers, with full memories restored, to help them with their ultimate mission: to complete the blueprint for the cure for the Flare. But they must undergo one final test.

What WICKED doesn’t know, however, is that Thomas has already remembered far more than they think. And it’s enough to prove that he can’t believe a word of what WICKED says.

The time for lies is over. And the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever have imagined.

And so the Maze Runner trilogy ends. I love endings. Especially when they’re as engaging as The Death Cure. Of course, as you might be used to by now, I still have concerns–but overall, I thought this book was absolutely brilliant.

Let’s begin with what I didn’t like though:

For two books, we’ve been very much in the dark about what’s going on. With this being the last book in the trilogy, and with the wrap-up imminent, I was hoping that author James Dashner would trust us readers with more of the truth. But he doesn’t.

Thing is, unlike The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure doesn’t dwell on Thomas’s hunches and hurt ego. And that’s good. This time, when we do get glimpses of the truth, they’re treated as information-sharing–and Thomas pretty much shares everything he learns with his friends from the get go.

What I really don’t understand though is Thomas’s aversion to the return of his memories.

Before I complete go into this, I must warn you that there will be spoilers.

All right, back. Straight off, Thomas refuses the offer of having his memories returned. At first, I really did think that WICKED has something wicked planned for the Gladers once they allow for their memories to be returned. And I was all right with Thomas’s decision.

The thing is, even before the action really begins, the people who did choose to take their memories back did get their memories back–with no side effect. Thomas’s refusal only served to cut him (and a few others) off from the bigger group.

On the one hand, it maybe the smarter decision as a writer to break a smaller group off for us readers to follow. But I must say, it was very frustrating as a reader to still be kept out of the loop–in the final book of a trilogy that was steeped in conspiracies!

I don’t know if I would have enjoyed the book more had the author been more up front with answers. Maybe it wouldn’t have been as good. But that’s neither here nor there now, isn’t it?

The book is far from perfect: there were questions left unanswered, things that came left off field. There’s even one side story that is completely forgotten until the memo at the end mentions it again. The ending is a little too perfect. But the bottom line is this: The Death Cure delivered a good story.

I just hope The Kill Order, the prequel to the Maze Runner trilogy, delivers good answers.

Now, let’s see what other people have written about The Death Cure:
Dead Trees and Silver Screens
Mundie Moms
Nose in a Book
YouTube Review: megs3493

Book: The Knife of Never Letting Go

"The Knife of Never Letting Go" by Patrick NessTodd Hewitt is the last boy in Pretisstown. But Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.

Or are there?

Just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd unexpectedly stumbles upon a spot of complete silence.

Which is impossible.

Prentisstown has been lying to him.

And now he’s going to have to run…

This is one of those books that everyone keeps recommending, but I never really found the desire to read—much less, buy. But whilst killing time at the mall, I found myself being drawn to the bookstore. And though I still had around a dozen books left to read, and an Ilustrado that’s still waiting for me to finish reading it (and maybe because of this), I decided to give The Knife of Never Letting Go a chance. This time, learning from the Twilight mistake, I only bought the first book from the Chaos Walking trilogy.

After the first couple of chapters, I was happy with my decision not to buy the second and third book—because I found the story absolutely boring. I did not love The Knife of Never Letting Go.

Well, not at the beginning anyway. The author’s choice of storytelling was confusing and infuriating.

And then there was no Noise.

And then there was a girl.

And then, I understood.

The way Patrick Ness, the author, structured the story is for the reader to discover the secrets at the same time as the protagonist. Infuriating, as I said earlier, but it made for compelling storytelling—once we got to the part where something actually starts happening, when Todd first encounters the gap in the Noise. Prior to that though? I was ready to strangle Todd myself.

As the story commences though, it becomes tough to put the book down. You wouldn’t want to. Because the world Patrick Ness creates, a real New World if there ever was one, is so complete, so real that you can’t help but picture yourself in it.

No, it doesn’t have minute descriptions of the moss that grows on the rocks that our protagonists pass by. But the atmosphere created by the way our hero describes how he feels about everything, about the new things he’s seeing, it’s enough to create the world. You fill in the blanks with your own experience of the world we’re in.

And for me, that’s better than describing the texture, the color, and the other what-nots. Because by letting us, the readers, color in the world, we’re giving part of ourselves to the story. We’re becoming part of the story. And that in itself, I think, makes the book engrossing for a reader.

And that feeling of connection, how to book draws you in into its world, is enough for me to recommend this book to anyone looking for anything to read. Seriously.

I’m not going to write about how well-written the story is, or how I’m not a fan of the spelling that Mr. Ness employs for the dialogues. I think that’s been done enough by other people who’ve read the book and written about it before me.

I’m basing my recommendation on the fact that The Knife of Never Letting Go is one of the most engrossing books I’ve ever read.

Still, if you’re the type of person who wants a review, here are some blogs where people actually do a review:
Dodging Commas
District YA
Chachic’s Book Nook

Book: Dollhouse Epitaphs

Joss Whedon's Dollhouse: EpitaphsIn every major city, Dollhouses provided wealthy clients with any kind of companionship they required. For a price, beautiful young men and women opted to have their minds wiped clean, turning themselves into “dolls” who could be imprinted with computer-enhanced personalities and skills—to fit any buyer’s request. Now the Dollhouse technology has gone viral. . .

Dollhouse: Epitaphs is based on the television series created by Joss Whedon for actress Eliza Dushku. What started out as a project to showcase Eliza’s acting abilities quickly became something else, when the genius of Whedon combined elements of scary science-fiction with what is already possible in the real world: and what we have is Epitaphs.

The comic book is just the beginning of a series, if I’m not mistaken. Jed Whedon (brother of aforementioned Joss) and wife Marissa Tancharoen wrote two post-apocalyptic finales for Dollhouse when it was still on air. This time, they’re taking that future into the world of comics with the help of the talented Cliff Richards’ art.

Epitaphs deals with what happens when a powerful technology, like mind-wiping, gets into the wrong hands. The season one finale of Dollhouse dealt with a group of Los Angeles survivors trying to find a safe place away from technology that could mind wipe them, and their eventual escape. Dollhouse: Epitaphs takes us to Day One of the apocalypse.

We don’t get talking heads—characters that explain why what’s happening is happening. Instead we get dropped smack dab into the day of the apocalypse, with the three main characters of Epitaph One and the twist hero of Epitaph Two. We see a semblance of their normal lives before everything gets wrecked—and then we see them band together.

What I liked about Dollhouse: Epitaphs was the little things we learn about the characters; as well as the plot-fill of how the twist hero of Epitaph Two managed to make an army of his own. But as a standalone, I don’t think this particular story works. We only get the beginning. For the rest of the story, you’ll need to watch the Epitaph One episode. And probably grab the next issue: Dollhouse #1 when it does come out.

That’s the thing about comic books, isn’t it? You never get the whole story—unless you buy the next issue. It’s a marketing genius. Except I don’t think I’ll be following the comic series when it does begin this July. Why? Well, for one thing, it took me months to find an issue of Epitaphs. Apparently, our comic book stores rarely buy issues from independent publishers. And even when they do, they only get a few to make sure they don’t lose money.

Good thing for them, bad thing for us fans. But can I blame them? Not really. They’re running a business! But I sure am allowed to be disappointed that some independent titles aren’t getting released here.

book: naermyth

"naermyth" by karen franciscoi found NAERMYTH while i was searching for the filipino horror books that had been recommended a month ago. i don’t actually remember how exactly i came upon it, but i remember being really intrigued with the book’s premise:

what if the mythical creatures we thought weren’t true, were actually true? and what if in the near future, they would’ve taken back the world from us?

this is the world of NAERMYTH; the story is set in an undisclosed time in the near future, where every human is equal–poverty is a thing of the past. or, to be more exact, is a thing of five years ago, before hell came out from down below.

we follow the character of athena, also known as aegis, a soldier tasked with defending and saving refugees and victims of the war between humans and naermyths. a shepherd. during one of her missions, she discovers dorian, a mysterious man who seems to have no recollection of the past five years–whose last memory is of the world before the naermyths revealed themselves to be true.

but what athena doesn’t know is that dorian just maybe the most dangerous creature in the land–but at the same time, he could be their only hope in the losing war they’re fighting against the naermyths.

one of the reasons i was intrigued with the book was its dystopian feel: set in the future, world has gone to hell, and a band of unlikely people leading a pack of survivors to victory or salvation. there are many dystopian novels out there; but this one was set in the philippines–and written by a filipino. so obviously, i was intrigued.

the other reason is because it dealt with the aswang–and not just the usual kind. i’m happy to say that the batibat, the pasatsat, even the bakunawa, among others, were represented here. and, except for the case of the bakunawa, i liked how the author tweaked the creature’s traits to fit the new world she created.

the story itself is solid enough. it has the elements of action, adventure and romance all set in a future world where one of these things is a rarity. it’s also a well-plotted book, as things that were mentioned in passing at the first part of the book, plays a more important role as the book nears it closing chapters.

my only bone of contention with the book was that you can see the twists happening before it actually happens. and the thing with twists is that they’re supposed to catch you by surprise. then again, i am happy that these so-called “twists” have actual basis, and none of them come out of the blue. so this is a tricky thing.

i guess the important thing in the end is that i liked the book enough, and don’t regret purchasing it and reading it.

and also, it’s a good thing i didn’t see the book trailer before i purchased and read the book. otherwise, the only thing running in my head while holding the book is: since when did we have cubones in philippine folklore? also, the book trailer contains a pretty big spoiler.

check out the book’s own website.

and tina of One More Page posted a review of the book at her site.