Mar 20, 2010

Carrie’s Guest Post – James Dashner and the Male Reader

mazerunner The Maze Runner by James Dashner was one of the first YA ARCs I ever received. hunger-games-198x300I loved the premise, and absolutely devoured the book. In some ways, it reminded me of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, with one major difference: this book is definitely geared more toward male readers.

Because I'm the mother of three boys, I love finding books that I know will appeal to them. Now, my boys aren't quite old enough to read The Maze Runner yet, but I tested my hypothesis that guys would love this book on three of the men in my life, and was I ever right!

1. I passed the book on to my dad. My dad is a fellow science fiction fan, and when I handed it to him, he read it even more quickly than I did. His only complaint was how long we have to wait for book two.

2. Next came the real test - my husband. My husband had never read a science fiction novel. He likes sci-fi movies, but has only become a reader in the past year and a half. Before that, he was lucky to finish one or two books a year. Then he discovered reading e-books on his Palm, and since he's a techy-geek, it just clicked. Last year he read over a dozen books - all westerns. But I knew if he would just give The Maze Runner a try, he would love it. (On a side note, why is it that lots of blog readers willingly take my book recommendations, but getting my husband to read a book I love is like pulling teeth?) After a lot of nagging - and hearing my dad rave about it - he decided to give it a try. He read it faster than he's ever read a book. I will say, though, that he was completely ticked off at me when he realized it ended on a cliff-hanger and book two isn't out until later this year.

3. Test subject three was my best friend's husband. He's a reader, but a picky reader - he only finishes about half of the The_Knife_of_Never_Letting_Gobooks he starts. The Maze Runner didn't let me down - he loved it, and asked for some more recommendations. I loaned him my copy of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness to tide him over while we all wait anxiously for the release of The Scorch Trials, book two in the Maze Runner trilogy.

You can visit Carrie on her blog and follow her on twitter. And you should, cause basically she’s awesome. And she seems to like me. But don’t hold that against her.

Thank you Carrie for working on this post after a special request from me! I love people who bend to my will!

Mar 19, 2010

The Sunday Salon – WOW I Read a Book

The Sunday

Mind you, I didn’t finish it. BUT I READ A BOOK WITH PAGES and not just an audiobook. I don’t know why reading has been so hard for me lately, beside the fact that I have an overwhelming social life. What is up with that?

first of all, I do realize that it is not Sunday. Second of all, I wrote the majority of this on Sunday but I didn’t post it, because I didn’t and I suck.

So, speaking of social…today I went and saw She’s Out of My League. Which I thought was FUNNY. And my date thought was "meh, ok.” Apparently not enough male shenanigans for him. But this post isn’t about movies, this is about me reading a book.

What book did I read? Cell by Stephen King. And why did I read this? Because Sharon recommended it AND did you know that Stephen Kind is one of JAMES DASHNER’S favorite authors? Well, probably, but I am telling you again because I wanted to read an author that has influenced Mr. Dashner.

king I only read about 40 pages in a large print book. I have decided that I LOVE large print books because it makes me feel like I can read really fast. But I am not really far enough into the book to know what it is about. But apparently cell phone use turns us all into zombies and maybe that is too close to reality to actually admit out loud without being personally insulting.

It is interesting to think about people not having cell phones and how much more uncommon that is now than it was 5 years ago.

Are you a zombie?

Mar 18, 2010

Guest Review of The Maze Runner from The Calico Critic

022809_LH_Headshot Greetings, Po(sey) Sessions readers!  My name is Laura Hartness, reviewer over at The Calico Critic. It’s great to be here as a guest blogger.  This post lends itself to those of you who are bookish and geeky like I am.  But this geek is also a fan of all things Maze Runner, so I gotta have a little coolness in there, right?

Last fall I had the exhilaration of discovering the Hunger Games series.  As I awaited Book 3 of that trilogy, I was pleased to stumble upon The Maze Runner by James Dashner.  Hailed as another exciting, Hunger Games-like dystopian novel, Dashner's work seemed like it would be the perfect intermission entertainment for me.  I was thrilled when I won a copy from Alessandra at Out of the Blue Book Reviews
(Thanks, Alessandra!)

mazerunner Not only did The Maze Runner prove to be an worthy diversion from Suzanne Collins' series, it now holds it's own independent position in my mind.  If I never read Collins again, I'm still on board with Dashner's trilogy. His creation is much like the title-- constantly running, and in a maze-like plot.

It came as no surprise to me when James confirmed my suspicions that he's a fan of the television show Lost. This program is known for it's enigmatic characters and multi-layered plot, much like Dashner's work here.  As The Maze Runner begins, everything is a mystery and confusion abounds.  In fact, I had to power through a number of pages, trying to get past my disorientation and lack of comprehension. I was in the same position as the main character Thomas, clueless and wanting to learn about the world I was inhabiting.

Before long answers began to come forth and I was committed to the story.  However, much like Lost, even as answers were given, more perplexing mysteries emerged.  This made the story quite compelling and yet frustrating at the same time. That being said, it was exhilarating to feel that frustration at the end of many of the Cliff-hanging chapters.  Many times I found myself exclaiming in consternation,"I thought I was going to bed!  Now I've got to read another chapter!  Gaaaah!!"

I offer few plot details in this review.  I specifically avoided spoiler information as I pursued my copy of the book, and I'm glad I went into the first reading with little knowledge of the story.  If you're able to do this as well, I'd recommend it.  I'm going to try to do the same for Books 2 & 3.  As I understand it, Book 2 is going to be titled The Scorch Trials and will be released on October 6, 2010.  Book 3 is currently being written.

Beware:  The Maze Runner is an incredibly fun read, but like the season finales of Lost, it concludes with a huge Cliffhanger, leaving many mysterious issues unresolved.  If you can stand the pain of that possibility, I'd encourage you to read the book anytime.  Otherwise, you may want to wait for Scorch Trials before starting Maze Runner.  Of course, I'd be willing to bet that Trials will have it's own tantalizing ending as well, so I'll be in for another test in patient expectation after Book 2 myself.

Bottom line:  A great read.  Have patience with the questions. Be ready for the unexpected.  But don't miss The Maze Runner!

Parental Note:

Headshot2 As this book is technically in the YA category, I keep my boys in mind as I read.  My eldest is only 9 at this time, but he's inches away from reading YA.  Would this be the kind of thing I'd let him read in a few years?  Overall, the content is YA-appropriate..  There's really no sexual content, and while the characters use colorful language, the curse words are ones that Dashner has fabricated. This technique was also used in Battlestar Galactica with the use of the word "frak", only in this world it's "shuck" and other similar terms.  There's also a decent amount of battling going on between various characters, sometimes culminating in much bloodletting. So with these thoughts in mind, I'd recommend this series for teens and above, giving it a soft PG-13 rating.

Again, overall this was a fabulous story.  The climactic ending of The Maze Runner still hangs in my mind, and I'm eager to find out where Dashner is going to take us next.  I'm not sure what to believe, who may be the force for good (W.I.C.K.E.D.??) and what direction this plot is going.  I loved getting lost in the Maze and look forward to another installment this fall. 

Thanks James, for bringing us into this labyrinthian world!

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