Fox on Books

Book reviews, opinions, musings and ramblings. General bookish excitement!

Archive for the category “Post-Apocalyptic”

The Maze Runner – by James Dashner

maze runnerI’m going to start providing summaries at the top of my reviews, for those who want the TL:DR version. Behold:

“Oh my god just tell me what is happening!” – my brain the whole way through The Maze Runner.

I defy you to read this book slowly. I couldn’t wait to get to the end, although that was mainly so I could have some idea of what just happened! It’s a great YA adventure story, aimed squarely at teenage boys, and a good read for anyone who wants an unputdownable tale.

I was infuriated by the first few chapters of The Maze Runner. Without ceremony, you’re dropped straight into a confusing world full of teenage boys, living in a place called The Glade in the middle of, apparently, a giant maze. Would you have questions? Because both I and our protagonist, Thomas, had A LOT of questions. Such as:

– WHAT?
– Where is this place? WHAT is this place?
– Why am I here?
– Who am I? How can it be that I know my name and understand concepts but I know nothing about my history?
– WHY ARE WE IN A GIANT MAZE?
– Seriously, WHAT?? Let Me Feet Hit the Ground Running:

Short Stories, or, Review-Palooza!

It’s become clear that I read a lot of books. This year, I’m averaging one book every three days, across all sorts of formats, including manuscript, eBook, audio book and, of course, my true love, the paper book.

In order to keep them fresh in my mind, and to deliver opinions about them in a somewhat timely manner, I’m going to do bite-sized reviews of a recent selection.

Dear reader, dive in:

What Came Before – by Anna George

whatcamebeforeOof. This was a hard read. Following the spiral of a gradually abusive relationship, What Came Before challenges us to look at what we expect – and what we’ll accept – from those we love. Ambitious and confronting, it’s not for everyone, but is a particularly powerful novel.

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Looking for Alaska – by John Green
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John Green’s first novel has all the hallmarks of his later work. Teens who act like teens (bright, loyal, apathetic and often a wee bit pretentious), a simple narrative that allows the beauty and poignancy of his prose to shine, and a quietly wrenching third act make this a must read for older teens and fans of this brand of honest, contemporary YA. (Also, have you read The Fault in Our Stars yet? If not, what are you even doing with your life??)

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Words of Radiance – by Brandon Sanderson

wordsofradianceThe Way of Kings (Parts One and Two) and their sequel The Words of Radiance are perfect examples of high fantasy with truly epic scope and huge payoffs. If you’re a fantasy reader, you’d be foolish to go past Brandon Sanderson. He and Patrick Rothfuss are the best current fantasy writers around. I’m repeating myself and I don’t care: Brandon Sanderson is the real deal. He is astonishing, and if you haven’t read him, you’re missing out.

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Wool and Dust – both by Hugh Howey

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I’m a little late on this bandwagon but Wool and its sequel Dust are something you definitely want to experience. Howey’s exploration of a possible future after the world has been destroyed by nuclear warfare is sophisticated, claustrophobic and nail-bitingly tense. It’s the kind of sci-fi you’ll rant excitedly about in turn. I listened to these as audio books, and the SECOND I finished Wool I had to find out what happened next. four fox

Have you read any of these? I’ve covered a range of genres – what’s your pick of the above?

The Hunger Games – by Suzanne Collins

I read the Hunger Games a few years ago and loved them! But with all the (deserved) movie hype I re-visited the series, here’s my view:

In Panem, the Capitol does not look kindly upon even the thought of rebellion. To remind the 12 Districts under its rule of this, each year 24 youths between the ages of 12 and 18 are taken as tributes to compete for their lives in the Hunger Games. The tributes are trained, rated, and paraded in front of the enthusiastic crowds of the Capitol who gather to cheer for their favourite to live and the others to be killed – because only one tribute leaves the arena alive.

This year, Primrose Everdeen is the chosen female tribute for District 12, until her older sister Katniss volunteers to take her place. Katniss and Peeta Mellark, the District’s male tribute, travel to the Capitol to fight for their lives in every sense of the word. Their relationship both in and out of the arena may be their only hope for survival. And above all else, Katniss Everdeen is a survivor.

This thrilling book is fast paced and tautly written, immediately drawing the reader in. Katniss is not your average heroine, but rather a distinct character: prickly and tough with moments of vulnerability made all the more poignant by the effort she puts into hiding them. The obligatory love triangle is present but is secondary to the narrative, which instead focuses on the tributes and the Games. Not your average book by any measure, The Hunger Games surpasses its designation as YA Fantasy and becomes a topical examination of our society’s potential for corruption and redemption, and the ability of a few individuals to change the Game in which they find themselves.

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C’mon, hands up, who else loves the Hunger Games?

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