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Blood Red Road – Review

Title: Blood Red Road
Author: Moira Young

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Edition: Kindle
Pages: 464
Originally published: 2011

Genre: Dystopia
The dice landed on: 4
Did I finish?: Yes.
Do I like the cover?: It’s OK

Short summary: Saba’s brother Lugh gets kidnapped and Saga, followed by their younger sister, sets out to rescue him.

Saba is an interesting heroine. Brave, strong, short tempered, unfair, infuriating, afraid and crazy determined. Saba and several other people in this book are worth getting to know. The villains are also rather interesting and really, really bad. Jack, the young man Saba meets on her journey, is someone I hope we get to know better as the series move along.

It took a little time getting used to the language in this book. The spelling of some words are changed to make it plausible that Saba is telling the story. There’s also a lot of dialog, but no quotation marks, something that took a little while to get used to. As soon as I got used to it I liked it. It fit the way an uneducated young woman might write.

So, I liked this book, but not as much as I wanted to. Frankly, it reminded me too much of The Hunger Games. The world isn’t the same, but it had some similarities. So does our young heroines. And The Huger Games are better. But, Blood Red Road is the first in a series, and the series might grow to be very good, and a lot different from The Hunger Games, as it goes along.

So, it’s an exciting read. It’s certainly not even close to being bad, and it might be the beginning of an excellent series. We’ll see.

Book Beginnings on Friday – Blood Red Road

Book Beginnings on Friday is a bookish meme sponsored by Katy at A Few More Pages.

Here’s what you do: share the first line (or two) of the book you are currently reading on your blog or in the comments section . Include the title and author so we know what you’re reading. Then, if you are so moved, let us know what your first impressions were based on that first line, and if you liked or did not like that sentence. Link-up each week at Katy’s place.

My beginning this week is from Blood Red Road by Moira Young.

“The day’s hot. So hot an so dry that all I can taste in my mouth is dust. The kinda white heat day when you can hear th’earth crack.

We ain’t had a drop of rain fer near six months now.  Even the springs that feed the lake’s startin to run dry. You gotta walk some ways out not to fill a bucket. Pretty soon, there won’t be no point in callin it by its name.

Silverlake.”

I’m just about half-way through it, and so far it’s very good.

Pastworld – Review

Title: Pastworld
Author: Ian Beck

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 355
First published: 2009

Genre: Science fiction
The dice landed on: 5
Did I finish?: Yes.
Do I like the cover?: Yes.

Short summary: In 2048 London has been transformed into a recreation of itself in the Victorian era. But it’s not all fun and games, a murderer is loose in the theme park. For Eve it’s all real, she doesn’t even know she’s living in a theme park, but she knows that her guardian is afraid for her. When Eve runs away from home a whole chain of dramatic events are set in motion.

I like the setting, a victorian London almost restored to it’s authentic past. The victorian London is so authentic that visitors (gawkers) aren’t allowed to bring anything modern with them and victorian law also apply. While most people living in Pastworld know what it is Eve doesn’t. I also like Eve, the two other young protagonists and the Jack the Ripper idea.

This story is very unpredictable. With many books I can guess what’s going to happen fairly soon, but this one kept me guessing all the way.

My only big complaint is that it’s too short. I wish the story was fleshed out more. I needed more time to get to know both the characters and victorian London.

So far it’s a standalone novel, but the author doesn’t rule out a sequel. I’d like a sequel.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner by James DashnerImagine being a lab rat, constantly being made to run and try to solve a maze with traps that changes on a daily basis, and you will have a fairly good idea what it is like to be one of the boys (and one girl) in The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

It has been sitting in my TBR-pile for a while and I’ve looking forward to reading it. The premise looked great and I loved The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins that it frequently gets compared to. But, I ended up finishing it with mixed feelings.

It starts off great with Thomas waking up in a dark and noisy room. His name is the only thing he can remember about himself.  The mysterious room is moving and soon he finds himself among a bunch of unknown boys in an unknown place.

And this is where I found myself getting frustrated as a reader. The story is dragged through several pages where the boys make Thomas wait for an explanation to what this place is and any information he gets comes in small unsatisfying dribbles. That’s just annoying…  for Thomas and for me as a reader. On general terms I certainly don’t object to an author witholding information to build up the story, but I do object to it seemingly being done to make the book a little bit longer. Maybe the writer and publisher thought that it would prolong and intensify the suspense? I don’t know.

Luckily the pace gets better again. Except for some screeching halts where Thomas laments his lost memory or there are further explanations that has to be hauled out of one of the boys who’s been at the Glade for a while, it’s actually very exciting.

I also wish I could have felt more emotionally connected to the characters. I have a feeling I would have felt more of that connection if I hadn’t been at odds with the book so early on.

As mentioned above, I have mixed feelings. I think that a more tightly edited version of the story in The Maze Runner has everything that is needed for making it a great read and a great first installment in a trilogy. And while I don’t like the way the story limps on in the beginning I have to applaud the way it picks up again as the book goes on.  The cliffhanger ending is a perfect way to make the readers (the ones who didn’t fall off the hook early in the book never to be re-hooked) come back to find on what happens as the story continues in The Scorch Trials.

What could have been a 4+ ends up as a 3+ because of the irksome bits of suspensus interruptus. So there!

Some less irked and more plot spoiling opinions about the book:

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