BOOK: The Death Cure (2011)

The Death Cure Year: 2011 Author: James Dashner Length: 535 minutes / 8.91 hours If ever there was proof that not every book should have a trilogy, it’s The Death Cure. Sure, The Maze Runner was an interesting concept, but it brought up a lot of questions. None of these questions were answered by the end of the series since most of the focus was on random action sequences rarely driven by the main characters’ actions. If action wasn’t the focus, then the loose and unbelievable “love triangle” certainly was. In the end, I had no connection to the characters, which was why I was mostly unaffected by some of their deaths. The real problem with The Death Cure (as well as its predecessor, The Scorch Trials), is how much “fluff” is in the story. The Maze Runner worked because there was a concrete objective: escape the maze. In the two books that followed, what was the goal? Was it to defeat WICKED? If it...
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BOOK: Julia Dream (2017)

Julia Dream Year: 2017 Author: Fabia Scali-Warner Length: 280 pages ***THIS BOOK WAS RECEIVED FROM THE AUTHOR*** When I received a request to review Julia Dream, the author told me I might like it because I enjoyed Ender’s Game. This book is no Ender’s Game. While the eponymous character of Julia Dream is a teenager conscripted into military service, much like the titular Ender from Ender’s Game, that’s essentially where the similarities end. Ender endured persecution and harsh realities and learned to work them into a strategic advantage over an alien species. Julia seemed to be picked at random to defend an empire, then promoted with no other reason than she survived easily survivable situations. Part of why I genuinely loved Ender’s Game was because the immersive narrative built upon itself, adding interesting characters who added to a well-rounded cast of compatriots. This is part of why I did not enjoy Julia Dream. As I read, I didn't engage with the main character, who was robotic and...
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BOOK: How Then Shall We Live? (2015)

How Then Shall We Live? Year: 2015 Author: Stephanie Rodda Length: 146 pages The book with a question that’s practically answered from page one is as close as one could ever come to an “apocalyptic utopia” story. As a Christian, I understand the power of what God can do, but I also understand that some things come with His timing. In this book, each time a challenge arises, God seems to step in immediately and solve it, which really detracts from any thematic tension that could be present. Nothing really ever gets to the point where there’s an unbearable hardship because then it would seem like God isn’t instantly answering the characters’ prayers. Then there’s the characters. While I understand from reading the “study questions” at the end that these are based somewhat on real people, I found the characters in this book to be flat, cookie-cutter versions of ideal Christians. They didn’t feel human to me at all. I’d expect people in their situation...
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