So I'm going to give you a wee sample of the stuff I've reviewed. Some of the books were ones that I put off reading for years because I was afraid I'd be disappointed, while others were brand new releases this year that I saved to read while on vacation.
So here you have it. My summer haul. I'll be adding more reviews over the course of the month (both August and September)!
The Death Cure
The time for lies is over. The tagline for this book is said quite well. Thomas and his friends have been in the captivity of WICKED after surviving the brutal Scorch Trials. Just one final test, they are told, and the world will finally have a cure for The Flare, the horrible disease that has killed most of the earth’s population.
Thomas and his friends are through with the trusting, lab-rat crap. They break out of the WICKED facility and hit the airways in an attempt to escape and lead a normal life. But with WICKED on your tail, it isn’t possible. And besides. After Thomas sees what the world outside looks like, he’s not so sure that he wouldn’t mind making more sacrifices to find a cure for the Flare. Because planet earth is little more than a living hell.
The final installment of The Maze Runner trilogy ended on a high note. I adored the first book, devoured the second, then finally got my hands on the last book this summer. I was fascinated by the story world that James Dashner created and the super-high pace and adventurous tone of the novel is what initially kept me reading page after page, and eventually, book after book. I can’t complain about anything. It was a real pleaser from beginning to end. The only thing I was personally disappointed in was A) Thomas’s choice about his memories (I won’t give away any spoilers) and B) Two of the character’s deaths.
The Incredible Journey
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey was my favorite movie growing up. To this day it’s still my fondest childhood film. I loved it so much that I would wake up in the morning humming the theme song, and my dog Jessie and cat Luke would inadvertently become my stand-ins for Shadow and Sassy. So I found an old book in my closet titled, The Incredible Journey, by Sheila Burnford, and I had to read it. The book was penned during the early 60s, and like Born Free, it is almost like reading a book about taking a nature hike. I positively loved the animals; but unlike the Disney film, the dogs’ characters were switched around and the cat was a boy, not a wise-cracking female feline named Sassy. However, even though it was drastically different from the movie that I adore, it was still a wonderful book about the loving loyalty of animals. I nearly started crying in some parts, so strong was the characterization of the pets. A wonderful story with a happy ending – what more could you ask for?
The Lovely Bones
My name is Salmon, like the fish… The first line in Alice Sebold’s literary drama is a great one, and it was actually what prompted me to pick up the book and read it. The story goes like so: Susie Salmon is brutally murdered by a slimeball named Mr. Harvey, who lives in her neighborhood in 1973. Quicker than you can say salmon she pops up in her own personal heaven, where she looks down on earth and watches her family unravel after her murder. And of course, she watches to see if her murderer is ever brought to justice. The result? A mess.
We’ve all heard about this book, some of you have probably read it, and I have put off reading it for several years. I tried watching the movie a couple of years ago and I turned it off as soon as Susie started walking through heaven and saw Mr. Harvey bleeding to death in a bathtub. Seriously. I never wanted to read the book because I thought it was would be just as gory. Turns out I was pretty much right. This book is honestly one of the most depressing pieces of literature I have ever read. Susie dies. Her murderer gets away with his actions (mostly). More women’s murders are recounted. Susie’s mother commits adultery and runs away for no apparent reason. Her sister Lindsay annoyed me. The only normal character was Ray Singh, Susie’s childhood crush, and even that ended up being tainted in the end. In other words, all of the characters washed into one. They were all the same: monotonous, flat, and depressing.
So what am I saying?
This book was a hopeless look on life and loss. Rather than being inspiring, it implies that heaven sucks, because you’re stuck in a snowglobe-like world and you get to watch your family fall apart and everything is so perfect that you’re mired in a state of perpetual boredom. There was no hope for life after death, and no happiness was ever really attained. In the end, everybody settled for living with their grief, which came within them more than it did from Susie’s tragic murder. One poor choice after another was what made up this book. There wasn’t really a plot, just one sad paragraph after another about how miserable life is, how unfair it is that Susie’s poor mother had to take care of 3 kids (the tragedy!), how heaven is something like a black and white picture with glass instead of bars, how adultery is OK as long as it makes you feel happy, and how bad things happen to relatively good people.
I closed the book feeling like an anvil had been dropped on my head. There wasn’t a spark of happiness or optimism to be had. Whereas I had turned off the movie, I tried to plow my way through this “literary masterpiece,” and what I found was just a mush-bowl of hopelessness and mindless sex. Some masterpiece.