Review: The Scorch Trials

Friday, November 28, 2014
Title: The Scorch Trials
Author: James Dashner
Publication Date: 2010
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Synposis from Goodreads:
Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. 

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch. 

There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.

The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them. 

Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off. 

There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.

My Thoughts

After reading The Maze Runner, I felt a bit obligated to continue on with The Scorch Trials. I guess it's a good thing that my experience with the first novel was encouraging enough for me to actually be excited to find out what happens next.

The story picks up with the Gladers in some sort of old building. Thomas wakes up to chaos, and we are given a glimpse of infected humans, or Cranks, as they are called. They are tasked by WICKED to travel through the Scorch, which is more or less a burned out area of land, and they are forced to catch the Flare to motivate them to finish their journey. Thus they find themselves walking through long-deserted lands, trying to find their way to the cure. There find new friendships but uncover betrayals as well, once again begging the question: who can they really trust?

Just like in the previous book, there are a lot of questions being thrown around here. I hoped that I would actually get some answers, but all I got were even more questions, and although I understand that that’s part of the suspense that Dashner wants to build, it could get frustrating to be kept in the dark for so long. I suppose it also had its intended effect, though, because it got me really curious for the next installment. I think what makes the plot different in this one is that instead of the characters having a main goal to achieve (like solving the maze in the first book), they don’t actually have a concrete plan to fulfill, other than that they had to get through the Scorch, supposedly to be cured of Flare. Nevertheless, there is enough action and mystery in it to have had me keep on flipping its pages.

The characters were kind of still the same. I felt bad for Thomas because constantly being controlled by WICKED can’t be easy to deal with. He is not a particularly likeable character because he doesn’t really have any special or fun traits about him, but for some reason that didn’t really bother me. Minho and Newt are as awesome as ever. We are introduced to Brenda, who seems to be a new love interest for Thomas. Until now, I’m still not too sure whether I like her or Teresa for Thomas, but I guess they each have their own good qualities. I finished this book wanting to know more about these characters’ backgrounds, something that I hope will be touched in The Death Cure.

The Scorch Trials is a fairly good novel with its own engaging twists and turns. It left me a bit excited for the next one, if only to finally get answers and find out how the whole thing will turn out. If this review got you even the least bit interested, then I suggest you check this one out!

My Rating

Real Rating: 3.5

Typography Tuesday #3: Divergent

Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Typography Tuesday is a new feature where I will post my lettering works of book quotes. Works will usually be black and white, but there may be at times that colored ones will be posted. All works are scanned but created by hand through markers and fine liners.

This week is from Veronica Roth's Divergent because it's one of the few dystopian books that I really, really, really love. I haven't gotten to read Insurgent and Allegiant yet, but I hope that I'll be able to read them soon!

Review: The Maze Runner

Monday, November 24, 2014
Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Publication Date: 2009
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Synopsis from Goodreads:
If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run.

My Thoughts

The Maze Runner is one of the few books that I bought without consulting Goodreads or asking any of my friends. There’s just something in the synopsis that got me really interested in reading the book, and I can’t say I regret my decision of buying it on the spot.

It starts off with Thomas waking up alone in a cage-like elevator. When it suddenly moves up and is opened from the top, he finds himself with other teenage boys in what is called The Glade—an expanse closed in by four high stone walls. Nobody knows how or why they were sent there. All they know is that they need to find a way out. But after years of finding no answers, it's starting to seem impossible...

The concept of the book is unique and intriguing. Some points were a bit predictable, but for the most part, Dashner did not fail to surprise me. The story is a bit draggy at first (I actually remember reading a bit then only coming back to it after a few weeks), but once things start unfolding, it becomes a real page-turner. It's a plus that they have their own slang like shank, shuck, and greenie; it makes their whole situation seem that much more real.

As for the characters, I rooted for them but I just didn't feel like they were given enough depth. Maybe that's because they don't really remember themselves either, but it would have been nice to see their backgrounds incorporated into the story somehow. There is not much character development through the novel, but I do admire these guys for being able to devise their own system for survival and never giving up despite the odds being stacked against them. They're pretty resourceful and the ideas they come up with to solve the maze are actually cool. I like that they are viewed realistically; it's apparent how being trapped hardened them and constantly put their survival instincts to the test, making them different from how they started out.

Even though I don't really remember specific details about The Maze Runner since I read it quite a while back, I do remember it as a good, entertaining read overall. If you're into mystery or suspense or anything along those lines, then you should give this one a try!

My Rating

{Blog Tour} Review+Giveaway: The Book of Ivy

Thursday, November 20, 2014
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Title: The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1) 
Author: Amy Engel 
Release Date: 11/04/14
Publisher: Entangled Teen

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Summary from Goodreads:
After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.
This year, it is my turn.
My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.
But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.
Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him...

My Thoughts

I rarely read dystopian books, but this one definitely caught my attention. Why? It's not just about the arranged marriage or killings or whatever a dystopian book normally has, but it has a twist in the synopsis that caught my eye. That one time when all the things you thought you knew were wrong, what then would you do? That is exactly what the predicament Ivy is in, and I was excited to read her story.

I was proven right. Warning to those people who want to try reading this book. You better make sure you have lots of time before starting this because The Book of Ivy just kept me in my toes. There was nothing else that I wanted to do except to read, read, and read. I just couldn't the put the book down! I didn't know why, because the plot isn't really very original. But still, it was beautiful.

I love the characters. I just love them all, especially Ivy. She never hesitates to voice out her opinions. Given her personality, it really felt like her mission was going to be hard for her. She is naive, but at the same time, strong and brave. Not only that, but she has common sense, and can think for her own. She wasn't a pushover, and I admire her for that, especially by the ending of the novel. Reading her story got me teary-eyed, not because I pity her. Ivy is not someone whom you give pity to; instead, she is someone you sympathize with. She fully knows the consequences of her choices and decisions, but remains headstrong in fulfilling them anyway. Reading her story makes me hope that someday, I hope I'll be able to find that strength in myself also, (but I'd rather not be in that same situation as her.)

If I loved Ivy, then I absolutely adored Bishop. He isn't someone who will just follow whatever is said to him. In a way, he is a rebel on his own. It is truly admirable on how he refuses to be bound by familial expectations and principles; instead, he gives his all in order to forge his own personality. With this, Bishop is really Bishop because he controls his own thoughts. Moreover, his approach with Ivy was absolutely splendid. It gave way for the both of them to have a relationship that was built on somewhere. It wasn't just insta-love. Their love for each other grew as they spend more time with each other, and it was genuine that way. It also seems that Bishop understands Ivy, and vice versa, so there are a lot of things that are left unspoken but they just know.

I could go on and on and on, but really. I am completely in love with this book. The way the romance was developed between Ivy and Bishop was beautiful. Although, I really don't think that the reason for Ivy's family to start a rebellion is enough. But, I don't know. I haven't experienced that, so I really cannot say anything about it. Also, I just hate Ivy's family. These characters add fuel to the story, but I just hate them. I could just bang my head on the table whenever they appear. (Yes, exaggeration, but yeah.) Ugh.

Overall, I definitely recommend reading The Book of Ivy because it's really one of the few dystopian books that I love. I love it so much that I just crave for the second book. I was throwing tantrums because I just realized how long I still have to wait for the sequel. The mix of romance and action was just perfect for me, and I absolutely cannot wait for the second book! *insert squeals*

My Rating

 Real Rating: 4.5

About the Author

Amy Engel was born in Kansas and after a childhood spent bouncing between countries (Iran, Taiwan) and states (Kansas; California; Missouri; Washington, D.C.), she settled in Kansas City, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and two kids. Before devoting herself full-time to motherhood and writing, she was a criminal defense attorney, which is not quite as exciting as it looks on TV. When she has a free moment, she can usually be found reading, running, or shoe shopping. The Book of Ivy is her debut YA novel. Find her online at or @aengelwrites.


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