mazerunner

Book Review: The Maze Runner

mazerunnerThe Maze Runner, by James Dashner
Series: Maze Runner Series
Published: 6th October 2009
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Pages: 384

Summary: The story follows Thomas, who wakes up in a lift with a lost memory of his past and where he came from. He joins several other boys who entered this world the exact same way. 

They are locked into a place called the Glade surrounded by stone walls that open and close at the same time every single day. The walls that surround them form an ever-changing maze, making it impossible to find a way out. 

When Thomas joins, strange things start to happen and others become suspicious of him. But he knows what he wants to do. He wants to be a Runner. To run around every corner of the maze and help them all get out.

 

***

With the movie adaptation out only a couple of months away, I thought it was finally time to run around the ‘maze’.

The idea of the Maze, the Glade and the things that happen within it make for a really good storyline. I have to say that this book is more driven by its plot than its main character. While I like Thomas, I didn’t really feel that much toward him, only that I wanted to know what was going to happen to him next.

As I have started writing a lot more fiction in the past year than previously, the idea of ‘showing – not telling’ is a big deal to me. I read books upon books to explore how writers translate that onto the page. Unfortunately, James Dashner hasn’t really taken that approach in this book. The style is pretty much ‘telling’ but somehow it still didn’t put me off. Like I said, this book is plot-driven to the nth degree – it’s brilliant.

As for the other characters, I really came to like Minho and Newt and Chuck has a little place in my heart too. James did a great job portraying their attitude toward their miserable existence in the Glade and I loved their lingo and mannerisms! Figuring out what they mean by reading on makes you feel like you’re a part of their little community. ‘Shuckface’, ‘good that’ and ‘Greenie’ are my favourites.

The Maze Runner is a page-turner and it keeps you guessing. With the UK movie release on 10th October, I think you should hurry to pick this one up.

The Hidden Complexities

The oscillating wheel that makes the watch tick. The endless components of a motherboard. The copious drafts, deleted work and lost words that finally make the book. The trend is to hide the complexity.

We lock it away, hide it from clear sight. Leaving it only for those intrigued enough once, maybe twice if lucky, to explore and pick apart; to attempt to understand. And they are overwhelmed, unable to expose their also complex brain to decipher; in fear that it itself cannot handle the labyrinth.

When finally enough synthetically-built courage forms to explore and research, their only solution is to simplify. Because the only way to understand is to make it simple. To categorise. To put into context and to make associations with something one can fathom. Something modest. Something artless.

We’re told a body so harmonized, each interaction of protein, receptor or cell perfectly in tune to produce life can only be understood if it was once reduced to a simple being that developed over time.

But complexity is irreducible.

It is always the complex characters that are most interesting. The ones that draw you in at the hint of a reason behind their actions, only to then do something unpredictable; never quite leaving you satiated enough to move on.

A perfectly aligned mechanism holding millions of minute contrivances in a tight space, each with a unique role that detects light, firing electricity to an equally multifarious structure that lets you read these words but also brings you colour, intensity and a picture. A picture that can also be examined, explored and unfolded into its own boundless complexities.

The detail that one might miss, but when caught provides a realised appreciation that stirs emotion and grips your attention. That is complexity in its beautiful form. Its only form.

We are respected with layers upon layers of complex lattices that surround us but sadly we choose to conceal and leave unappreciated due to our fear of complication.

But complexity doesn’t always mean complicated and so it doesn’t always need simplifying.

It is supposed to be convoluted. Elaborate and tortuous. So exceedingly intricate that even masterminds glare with wonder. That is what makes it beautiful.

Complexity is beautiful.

So it is with that in mind that perhaps there is a need to drop the veils and embrace the complex.

The Fault in Our Stars

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Greenfaultinourstarsmovie
Series: Standalone 
Published: January 10th 2012 
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 316 

 

I think I’ll get shot for this, but I’m giving my honest opinion anyway. The Fault in Our Stars is a good book but it doesn’t quite match the hype it has been given. Sorry, don’t shoot! Let me explain.

So I’ve been putting off reading this book; mainly because I wanted to pick it up a mere few weeks before the movie release time so I would be in complete TFIOS-world. And I am glad I did this.

John Green has a poetic manner of writing books, his choice of words can undeniably move mountains and I am already a huge fan of his and Hank’s Youtube channel. However, having now read two of his books (Looking for Alaska and TFIOS), I haven’t felt fully invested in the characters. I feel bad for them from an outsider-looking-in kind of way but not in a KATNISS-OMG-WHAT-ARE-YOU-DOING kind of way. I love that his characters are deep-thinking intellectuals. I can completely understand that given Hazel and Augustus’ situations, they would be the soul-searching types, more so than their healthy teenage counterparts but I still felt it was a tad unrealistic.

Other than that, I fell in love with the couple’s connection and humour. I have no earthly way of describing my appreciation for Gus’ metaphor and having not understood seeing the ‘Okay? Okay’ business everywhere prior to reading the book, I now adore it.

As for the movie trailer – WOW. Full-fledged waterfalls. Especially at the ‘Okay’, my goodness and using OneRepublic’s ‘What You Wanted’, well that sure is one way to win my heart. I have a strong suspicion that this is going to be one of the occasions where I love the movie more than the book. I think it will be after seeing it that I will feel I can relate more to the characters, and feel the story has been brought to life.

Despite my reservations, I thought it was a beautiful book, I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads, I give it 3 on the Crying-Meter and I fully recommend it.

confessionsofagp

Book Review: Confessions of a GP

Firstly – 5 stars on both laughing and Oh-my-God meters!   (key bottom of page)

 

Benjamin Daniels unfolds his experiences as a GP in the UK and his memories while training using a comically written collection of stories.

confessionsofagpWhile I literally had to bite my hand to stop myself from hysterically laughing on the train during my read, I thought this book was also quite enlightening on some of the issues doctors and patients face in the UK. How we can help our health system by understanding what is realistic to expect from GPs. When it is vital to go see one and when not to. And why perhaps they do not appreciate you turning up with an un-requested sample of your urine, and learning that you should refrain from saying “What’s up Doc?” no matter how tempted you are.

As a dentist (in training), I can understand the struggles GPs face, having to listen, sympathise, diagnose and potentially treat a patient all in 10 minutes. But Dr Daniels allows every reader from any walk of life to sympathise with them, as it is very often that we complain about their incompetence and lack of sympathy (though my sister is one, I am still guilty of this, sorry sis, I do defend you too!)

He gives the behind the scenes of a doctor who has faced a range of patients, even a man who had to be surgically removed from his couch. Sheesh! You’re going to want to read it just for that story!

 

Several favourite quotes in this one, but I don’t want to spoil the fantastic tales that they pop up in so here are a random two:

“Until recently I thought the Artic Monkeys were a result of climate change.”

“Don’t ever say What’s up Doc… It’s like saying – I don’t belieeeve it – to the actor of One Foot in the Grave.” (UK readers, please tell me you remember that show!)

 

Overall, a hilarious, light read and though it is based on doctors in the UK, it is still great for absolutely everyone, wherever you are from!

As I was writing this review, I found out there’s a ‘Further Confessions of a GP.’ When it comes to food and books –  I’m an always-go-for-seconds kinda gal.

 

*Rating Meters Key: Laugh and cries are self-explanatory. Oh-my-God meter refers to how many times I read a twist, was surprised, was frustrated at a character or insanely excited to find out what happens next.

Prisoners

Movie Review: Prisoners (2013) – Spoiler-free

Read on, no spoilers whatsoever, amigo.

The Basics:

8.1 on IMDb Prisoners

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Aaron Guzikowski

Main Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, with Melissa Leo, and Paul Dano.

A dramatic thriller about the abduction of two young girls and their pursuit. Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), the father of one of the girls takes things into his own hands when he decides Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhal) isn’t following the right lead.

Review

This movie is simply a masterpiece. I was amazed by the cinematography, the writing and the rising emotion from the characters and range of my own!
The director purposefully unravels the story in increments, steadily turning up the suspense like a slowly dripping tap throughout the entire movie.

I’ve never really been a fan of Jake Gyllenhaal, but in this movie he completely won me over.  His frustration and attitude toward solving the case wasn’t overt, yet his heartfelt investment in it was palpable, making his character feel completely real. still prisoners

As for Hugh Jackman, I don’t think I’ve seen him so emotionally exposed since Les Miserables. You can’t help rooting for him in his quest for answers, even when his methods are somewhat unorthodox.

Answers to Qs you may have:

What mood do I need to be in?

It’s not a movie for when you’re just bored and want something to watch. It’s also not a feel good movie either.

It’s one where you ‘ll be completely sucked in and you need to focus because it may leave you confused as to how it all concludes and you won’t get complete closure (had to give a heads up).

So do I watch this movie or not?

Yes. Please do! It is emotion, distress and suspense beautifully weaved into one piece. It really makes you wonder what lengths you would take if you were in the same position.

Thank you Denis Villeneuve, my nails were fully chomped by the rolling credits.

insurgent

Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth (No Spoilers)

Don’t worry – Spoiler-free – Keep Reading!

Title: Insurgent (Book 2) insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: #1 Divergent, #2 Insurgent, #3 Allegiant
Publisher: Harper Collins
Pages: 525

Release Date: May 01, 2012

Confused? - Read my review on Divergent. Then read Divergent. Then come back =)

What I liked:

I love that it picks up where Divergent left off; not in a well-obviously-it’s-the-second-instalment-of-the-trilogy-so-duh kind of way, but it literally picks up from the scene we left Tris in. Sometimes I need to live through scenes in full and with the way Divergent ended, I absolutely did not want a time lapse so thank you Veronica.

There is definitely some serious character development going on and I felt there was a certain shift in the air. I can’t say what kind without giving something away, but it was one that raised the stakes and got me guessing throughout.

 

What I didn’t like:

I had to keep starting and stopping when I was reading Insurgent so it took me a little while to really get into, but once I was – I was. (a little bit my fault and a little bit the book not quite gripping me completely)

There were many times where Tris’ decisions really annoyed me and I felt like giving her a good slap but it’s okay – I got through it devoid of violence.

Favourite Quote: “Cruelty does not make a person dishonest, the same way bravery does not make a person kind.” – Veronica Roth, Insurgent

Rating Meters*

Laugh-0-meter: 3 out of 5

Cry—meter: 1 out of 5

Oh-my-God- meter: 4 out of 5

Do I recommend?

Do I recommend?

*Rating Meters Key: Laugh and cries are self-explanatory. Oh-my-God meter refers to how many times I read a twist, was surprised, was frustrated at a character or insanely excited to find out what happens next.

liebster award

Thank you for the Liebster Award!

liebster award

Thank you so much Meghan at LittleWords for nominating and presenting me with the Liebster Award. I am beyond honoured, especially when I am only a tiny little speck in the ginormous blogosphere. It’s always nice to be recognised and appreciated so thank you! Here are my As to your Qs:-

1)       Describe your dream vacation.

 Ideally, it would be somewhere that has the beauty of both  beaches (white sand) and a lively city. I like to relax with a book in the sun but also go exploring and seeing the people, the town and the culture of a new place. The food would be divine of course and I’d probably get a villa with a pool up on a hill with a very scenic view with my closest friends and family. We’d go for 3 weeks, long enough that I can fully relax and enjoy it without feeling rushed, but not too long that it loses its flavour.

I have clearly thought hard about this. Moving on.

2)       What does homesickness mean to you, and have you ever felt it?

Boy have I felt it! I’m currently studying in a city four hours away from home (‘where everybody knows my name’ – Picture Joey Tribbiani’s sad face) and so to me that is INSANE. I’m used to it now but when I first moved, I felt alone, stuck and to be honest, quite unhappy. To me, it’s a combination of isolation and the feeling that you’re missing out on everything happening back home. Being homesick is no fun, but I’ve learnt it is something we can all power through somehow.

3)       Why did you decide to start a blog?

I’ve always loved writing. I also like to have deep discussions and so I thought blogging would be the best way to couple the two. As an introvert, it’s the perfect place to talk about important things but without having to be in the spotlight. Also as I hope to be published one day, I thought it would be a sensible idea to write online for my own practice and to see if anyone would actually want to read anything I wrote (yikes).

4)       Who’s your favorite writer?

Don’t think I have one in particular. I enjoy many different styles of writing. Suzanne Collins describes things in a way where I feel I don’t know what hit me and I love that. Khaled Hosseini is so moving with his words. Gai Eaton had a way of writing that’s so profound you have to re-read a thousand times to fully grasp what he’s saying and it’s shockingly beautiful. I guess I like something about every writer.

5)       What work of art, be it a song, poem, painting, or novel, could you not live without?

I feel this changes as it depends on what it means to me at a certain time of my life. At the moment it’s the lyrics of the following songs –

Letters from the Sky by Civil Twilight.
Amen Omen by Ben Harper
and the Weight of us by Sanders Bohlke, in no particular order.

6)       What job would you most like to have?

One that allows me to read freely, write freely, help people and travel the world while still supporting myself financially. Suggestions?

7)       Who would you cast as yourself in a movie or television show?

Nina Dobrev – not sure I can explain why.

8)       If you were a waiter dealing with someone rude, would you spit in his food when no one was looking?

Haha no definitely not. Even if I strongly disliked someone, everyone deserves to have a good meal (an unaltered one!). Wouldn’t want it being done to me, so I certainly wouldn’t be able to do it myself.

9)       What’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done?

As I’m currently reading the Divergent trilogy, I have come to realise I am not that brave at all. So I don’t really know how to answer this. Perhaps deciding to stick it out in a city so far from home for 4 years (in somewhat unfavourable conditions) to finish my degree? Can that count?

10)   Last but not least…cats or dogs?

Definitely both. I can’t be the only one who wants it to literally rain cats and dogs.

Questions for my nominees, should you wish to accept:-

1)      If you could travel for a year, and money was no object, where would you go?

2)      What is your absolute favourite movie and why?

3)      What book has changed the way you think?

4)      What is the best advice you’ve received/found?

5)      What are your main goals in life?

6)      If you could change one thing about the world today, what would it be?

7)      Favourite pastime/entertainment?

8)      Happiest memory?

9)      Chocolate – milk, white or dark?

10)   Who or what is your inspiration?

And my 10 nominees are…..(drumroll):

Embracing Uncertainties

My Endless Rants and Ramblings

Seize the Latte

The InkPire

Vim & Vintage

On the Search for Inspiration

Musings of a Muggle in Converse

PassionArtLove

Write Like Rowling

Love Infusion

The rules for the Liebster Award are as follows:

  • Each nominee must link back the person who nominated them.
  • Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers.
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.