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‘The Maze Runner’ Movie- Did the screenwriters read the book?

23 Sep

The day has finally come that The Maze Runner, which I read along with a few friends for my first Read Along, became a film. So, in a sense, this is my last post for that Read Along. And fair warning, there are huge spoilers here if you haven’t read the book and seen the movie. Be warned.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Image via IMDb.com

Image via IMDb.com

Finally seeing the Grievers! Throughout the book, I had trouble picturing what these things would look like. I thought they would roll a little more than they did in the movie, but it really helped to have a visual of the creatures.

Gally. Will Poulter, wow. The only other thing I’ve seen him in is We Are The Millers and I didn’t have high expectations but he was incredible. He struck a really good balance of ‘I care about the Glade!’ and ‘I hate you all!’ Really well done.

Minho’s hair. No more words needed.

The last five minutes. I thought it was really well done and I was glad to see the screenplay kept pretty well to the book. I thought for a minute that the people who died weren’t going to die and they wanted to change that as well, but I was glad to see that the movie stuck to the original story.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me
Seeing the maze move. I actually liked this because it made the maze seem more dynamic and threatening. In the book, it seemed almost static and the Grievers were what was really scary ‘out there.’ By seeing the maze move, and more than just the doors of it, made the whole atmosphere more foreboding.

The serum. Why didn’t they always have the serum instead of Theresa bringing it up with her? It made Theresa a lot more suspect (in my mind) than she needed to be. She was already the only girl and had come at an odd time; why make her seem even more out-of-place? It would have explained why Ben seemed to recover from a sting a lot better as well.

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

The whole code system. The code was Thomas’s contribution to solving the maze and it was taken out. The key was a weird way to have them solve the maze, especially because the Griever hole was completely different as well and they were led to a part of the Maze Minho had conveniently ‘never seen before.’ I thought it was weak.

No telepathy. I was actually glad this came out. It was too much in the book and it probably would have been weird in a movie. No issues with that change.

Taking the boys to a ‘safe house’ at the end. It was just a bit at the end, but it gave the characters a sense of security after their time in the Maze, which we quickly learn will be disrupted soon. I think ending with that sense of security was important and I’m sad it was taken out.

Things That Changed Too Much

Theresa. She went from being a strong female character to a miss-placed female who looks oddly like Kristen Stewart, including the mouth breathing. Instead of liking her, I felt like she was in the way more often than she was helpful. Definite downgrade.

‘The Ending Sequence.’ I was not a fan of this, at all. In the book, Theresa was somehow able to trigger the ending where the door didn’t close and the Grievers came inside. In the movie, now we assume Minho and Thomas are responsible for it and the doors re-open? Add on top of that the sky doesn’t change and the Grivers kill more than one per night. That was just too different to even consider it was related.

Alby’s death. I was furious. Instead of sacrificing himself, he’s taken by the Grivers during the miss-guided ending sequence. The way he died in the book added to his character but this? This did nothing.

Overall Reactions

I was hugely disappointed. I thought the book wasn’t that great but could make a good movie but once I saw it on-screen, it was nothing special. My dad (who hasn’t read the book) didn’t think much of it as a film. “It’s just another action movie.” Which I think is well put. If I hadn’t read the book, I don’t think I would have liked the movie at all. Having read the book, I wonder if the screenwriters read it. Or maybe they disliked it as much as I did and were trying to re-write parts of it. Either way, fail. It’s not as different from the book as Silver Linings Playbook ended up being, but these still have some major differences.

Reader, I’m dying to know what you think. What did you think of the Maze Runner movie? Did it change the book too much for you to enjoy? Do you think the sequels will be made into films? Was there anything else you would add to my lists?

If you’re feeling like we need more of a conversation, click on over to my Facebook fan page where I started this conversation yesterday and see what others are saying.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read Along With Me #1: The Maze Runner by James Dashner Chapters 52- THE END

24 Jul

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It’s over! My first read-along is over and I’m so glad that those who participated had a good time doing it. I’m thinking of starting another one of these in a month or two, so stay tuned if you’re interested in this again. I’ll put up a few choices for books in a poll in the near future so keep a look out for that! And now, time to finish the book! If you haven’t read it, HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD!

Question from Katherine: Do you think this will be an instance where the movie will be better than the book?
Oh my gosh, YES! Dashner wrote a great plot, there’s no denying that, but his characters are seriously lacking. I think any mid-grade or better actor could portray the emotions Thomas and the others go through better than they were conveyed in the book. The plot is sure to be impressive, as we already know, but I see only room for improvement in character development. Plus, we get to see Grievers!

Question from Nicole: Do you think at the end of the book the boys have any idea what’s in store going forward? Do we know if any of their families survived?
I doubt they have a clue. Thomas says he feels safe and I think their sense of safety is going to be very different from a normal humans. They just survived a massive Griever attack; safe is not being in battle! I think the beginning of the second book will have them second guessing their rescuers, but I think they’ll still feel safer with someone telling them what’s going on rather than trying to figure out a maze every day. As far as their families, I’m not sure we’ll ever know if they survived because I’m not sure that the kids would be able to figure out who their birth parents are. If they were taken from their parents at a young age and I’m assuming their names were changed, there’s no easy way to reconnect them with their parents. In my mind, they’re orphans.

Question from Ashlee: It broke my heart when Chuck died. Who were you most surprised to see die?
I was surprised with how quickly and without ceremony Alby died. He was a rather major character in the plot up until the end and he seemed to go quickly. I suspect that it wasn’t a sacrifice like it seems, but that the Creators were controlling his mind and made him run to the Grivers to get the Gladers to attack. It still shocked me.

Question from Lynn: Any guesses about the purpose of this whole experiment?
One of the people on the bus said something about ‘believing the rumors’ from South America. That leads me to believe that there’s not a lot of communication between the two continents and they’re looking for a way to reach those in South America. I wonder if the Maze was designed to test the boys and see if they have what it takes to cross the Scorch and reach those on the other side. Thomas and Minho can obviously run all day, they know how to fight large monsters, and they’ve shown their cunning and bravery. I think they’re going to be sent across the ‘no man’s land’ and try to establish contact with another group of civilization.

I want to thank all the wonderful ladies who participated in this read along with me! I had so much fun in my first digital book club and I hope they all did as well! I’m thinking of starting this up again in a month or so, when the hectic part of summer is over and I’ll have to time to pick some titles. Look for a poll in another few weeks if you want to participate.

For a link to all the posts about this book, visit the hub page.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read Along With Me #1: The Maze Runner by James Dashner Chapters 39-51

10 Jul

ReadAlong1Maze

This is the second to last installment. Can you believe it?! I’m still trying to get over the fact some crazies joined me in reading this book. Thank you to all of you who are reading along, you’ve made this so much fun!

Question from Nicole: I wondered towards the end of this section if the Creators were aware of the boys and what they were on too. And if they did know what was happening, why didn’t they try to stop it or was this part of the “plan”?
There weren’t any mentions of Beetle Blades in these last chapters, so I’m not sure. I feel like the blades are spies for the creators so if they’re not around like they were when Thomas first arrived, maybe the Creators aren’t as aware. If they did know about the plan, their next step would probably depend on what the purpose of the experiment is.

Question from Ashlee: Do you think Theresa was the only girl who went through the special training? Or why weren’t more females thrown into the Maze?
They talk so much about variables, I wonder if all men was a way of removing the romantic variable. No women, no distractions. Kind of like Catholic high-schools. As far as Teresa showing up, I think that the part of the ending sequence she triggered threw a lot of variables to the wind. The doors weren’t supposed to stay open either.

Question from Sultana: Just one last chunk of reading left! General predictions, anyone?
As of writing this, I’ve finished it, but my prediction going into the last section was that Minho would die. He’s my favorite character and my disappointment in this book so far dictated that he would have to die.

Question from Barb: Why is Newt so negative to Thomas’s code breaking? There is no better option so why does Newt resist so much?
I think Newt was so new to being in control that he didn’t know how to act. He wanted to stay in control and be leading the boys, but Thomas had a monopoly on that for the time being. I think he resented Thomas more than he resented the idea of breaking the code.

Question from Lynn: Also, the people who have been through the changing – some of them don’t want to leave the maze as a result as they think the world out there will be much worse – how come Thomas isn’t feeling that?
I think Thomas somehow was raised apart from the rest of the boys. His memories are different, he has a different connection with Teresa, and he feels familiar in the maze. To me, all of these point to having been there before and having been involved somehow in design, which it seems obvious the remaining boys were not.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read Along With Me #1: The Maze Runner by James Dashner Chapters 30-38

26 Jun

ReadAlong1Maze

Hello again, all! We’re getting close to the end of The Maze Runner and we’re finally getting some answers. Thank God! If you haven’t read the book before, know that this will likely ruin it for you. Sorry.

Question from Barb: On page 200 the Gladers ponder that the sun has “disappeared”.  Thomas understands that there never was a sun and “Everything about this place was fake.”  All I could think of was the movie The Truman Show when Jim Carey sails to the edge of his world.  The Truman Show was reality TV taken to extremes.  Do you think this situation in the Glade is just for some demented group’s pleasure?
I sure hope not! I had flashbacks to The Truman Show as well when I read that part of the book. It doesn’t seem like a Hunger Games twister pleasure game to me, especially in light of the words Thomas found on the wall of the maze. It could still be the case, but I think we’re chasing a more Divergent-like plot than anything right now. We’ll see how this goes.

Also from Barb: The signs in the maze that declare it part of the Killzone Experiment Department seem so ominous yet Minho dismisses them.  What obvious signs of disaster do we dismiss in our lives?  Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” and Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” are some classic examples.
I think there are a lot of things we walk past and dismiss which should actually scare the pants off of us. The rising cost of gasoline; consistently bad weather patterns; rising water levels, high pollution levels; I could go on for a while. I wrote a post (which you will see tomorrow) about how we ignore a lot of little things in our lives like piles of laundry, loud neighbors, or a co-worker’s inappropriate clothes. It’s almost too easy to look past these things.

Question from Nicole: When they come to the writing in the maze that says, “World in Catastrophe,” I think of it as a message from the others to the boys about the previous world they lived in. What else could this mean? Why do you think it’s written on the walls in the maze? Do you think that it’s a message about the Maze rather than about their previous world?
Hm, I hadn’t considered that. Maybe ‘World in Catastrophe’ is the name of the Maze experiment (I still think it’s an experiment). I hope their future world isn’t falling apart!

Question from Sultana: How do you feel about the book overall so far? What do you enjoy, and what do you think could’ve been improved? Feel free to elaborate on anything, possibly including plot, character development, writing style, setting, etcetera.
I like how fast paced the book is. I’m never bored reading it because something is always happening. I think Dashner does that well. However, I’m not a huge fan of his writing in general. I think his sentences structure is repetitive and dry and the characters don’t have a lot of feeling to them. He makes up for that with a unique setting and story, but I think the books could have used a bit more umph

Question from Ashlee: It’s evident now that this is an experiment of some kind, so why do you think the Creators choose teenagers as their subjects instead of adults? Are there benefits to this?
Especially in male adolescence, their brain is still developing and will continue to into their twenties. If this is some sort of Divergent-esque experiment, this fact might be why young boys were chosen

Question from Katherine: Alby runs off in the middle of the night to look at the maps. When he was going through the Changing, he said “Protect the maps”… but he also tried to strangle himself. Clearly there were warring forces at work in his mind. I can’t help but think his weird dash into the night means that he’s going to destroy the maps, not study them…but would that be Alby-Alby at work? Or Creator-controlled/changed- Alby? In other words, whose agenda is whose?
If we’re going off the assumption that he’s going out to destroy them, I would think that’s Creator-Alby. I can’t see a reason Alby would think the Griever would want their map information. The Grievers don’t seem like intelligent beings who could steal information. I think at worse they would destroy the maps themselves. I guess Creator-Alby could destroy the maps and blame it on the Grievers, but I don’t think Alby-Alby would have a reason to do this.

Question from Lynn: Do you have any more insight into what role Thomas and Theresa have in this experiment?
I have a feeling they have some kind of decision making roll but I can’t put my finger on what I think it is. Maybe they chose the people to go into the maze or have some sort of say in what the Grievers do. Whatever it is, it seems that it’s something Gally’s not a fan of so I feel like they’ve contributed to something Gally considers to be suffering. Maybe the death of a friend or the pain of the Changing.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read Along With Me #1: The Maze Runner by James Dashner Chapters 20-29

12 Jun

ReadAlong1MazeI’m having so much fun with this Read-Along! The participating bloggers have been so great and those of you casually reading our blogs (I know you’re out there!) have been very encouraging. If you’re interested in joining, it’s not too late yet. You can still hop aboard. Check out the Read-Along page for some more information and send me an email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com if you’re interested in joining. On with the questions!

Question from Sultana: What level of control do you think the Creators have over the minds of those in the Maze? I ask not only because of the memory wipe on them, but also because of Alby’s incident where he choked himself but felt like somebody else was choking him so as not to reveal information about the Changing.
I had similar thoughts on that section. It seemed like creator-control that Alby was unable to speak about what he remembered. I don’t know how I would describe the control, but there seems to be a high level of it in this world. I’m not sure if I think it’s mind control or some high technology level, but I think there’s something. We could even take this a step further and say that the creators controlled Alby when he shot Ben. Who knows?

Question from Ashlee: Chuck made a comment to Thomas that he needs to quit acting weird so the others will stop taking notice of him. Do you think Thomas has a big target on his back in a good way or a bad way? The Keepers seemed to be split about if he’s there to help them or to destroy them, but what do you think the other boys in the Glade are wanting to do with this new kid who’s breaking the rules and showing everyone up?
I think initially, the target on his back was a bad thing, but I believe that’s starting to change. When weird things started happening after Thomas arrived, I think the others were weary of him and thought he brought bad luck. Now, after he’s proven himself int he maze, I think the target has turned to a good thing. I think the leadership is a bit more accepting of him than the average Glader, but I hope that will soon change

Question from Barb: It bothers me that the author states the characters’ emotions rather than describe how they feel.  Is this typical of Young Adult Fiction?  I haven’t read much Young Adult Fiction in a very long time (besides Harry Potter of course).  I feel like Thomas’s emotions are very sudden because there is no build up to the author’s statements. At the end of Chapter 30, “Thomas stood up to pace around the little room, fuming with an intense desire to keep his promise.”  The page before that he “hated with a passion he didn’t know a human could feel.”  Maybe adolescents just change emotions that quickly so the author has no time to build up to the shift. Does this bother you too?
I’ve noticed this in some Young Adult fiction but I hadn’t seen it yet in this one. I think sudden emotional change is normally characteristic of poor writers more than of YA novelists and I’m not sure how I feel about Dashner’s writing just yet. With my writing friends, we refer to the journey from one emotion to another as ’emotional blocking.’ I don’t think Dashner does emotional blocking particularly well but I’d hesitate to say that that’s characteristic of YA novels and more an author’s trait. It’s important to make your character’s reactions seem believable and it reflects negatively on Dashner that his readers don’t see this.

Question from Nicole: On page 175, Alby tells them to “protect the maps.” Maps of the maze? But I thought that the maze changed every single day?
I wonder if the Runners are looking for a pattern, whether one exists or not, and plot the maze each day. If there are things that change about it consistently, maybe they can plan on certain changes. Maybe the outer bounds of the maze don’t change so they believe the exit doesn’t move, only the path to the exit. I think there’s a lot of reasons they would want to map the maze each day and I hope we get to see those maps soon.

Question from Katherine: It seems pretty clear that weird stuff is going on in the outside world if somebody bothered to create the Glade/Maze, engineer Grievers, ship people and supplies… etc. I mean, people generally don’t do that stuff if everything’s hunky dory. But Thomas’s memories all seem pretty normal (movie theaters, farms, marathons). Are they fake? Implanted? Thomas himself mentions that maybe the memories revealed by the Changing are actually too horrible to think about…
I think I said in an earlier post that I feel like Thomas’s memories are almost too cookie-cutter. They’re very typical and free of emotion, which makes me think they’re implanted. I think there’s something really terrible going on in the outside world that these boys are hoping to find a cure for. I only hope they succeed

Question from Claudia (a new member of our little party): Let’s say, you were given the opportunity to question one character from this story with guaranteed honest answers, what character would you choose and what questions would you ask?
Gally. I feel like his Changing was particularly eventful and he remembers a lot that he’s not saying. Another caveat of the situation would have to be that the Creators can’t stop him from telling me anything!

Question from Lynn: Why can the girl speak to Thomas and nobody else can hear?
I don’t think she’s really unconscious. I think her inability to speak and talk is a result of the Creators putting her in such a state. I feel like mind-to-mind communication must be a thin in the world these boys come from and part of their forgetting is how to use this skill. I think Teresa is in a semi-unconscious state that makes it so she cannot communicate verbally but she’s still in enough control of her body to talk to Thomas in this way.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think about the book so far. Check out the other blogs here and on the hub page to see what others are saying.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read Along With Me #1: The Maze Runner by James Dashner Chapters 10-19

29 May

ReadAlong1Maze

It’s time for Part 2 of my Read Along with James Dashner. If you still want to join us, it’s not too late! There are details on my Read-Along page and you can see a list of participants on the hub page along with links to their posts. This section was Chapters 10-19 so if you haven’t read the book, beware of spoilers!

Question from Barb: Thomas has seen two Beetle Blades with the word “Wicked” written on the side. One was in the forest right before Ben tries to kill him and one was while he and Alby are hiding in the vines of the wall. Thomas thinks the Beetle Blades are wicked, but perhaps the Beetle Blades are warning Thomas of impending evil (Ben and the Griever). Do you think the Beetle Blades are trying to help Thomas?
I love this thought. It seems strange that they seem to come in time to warn him of impending danger and I suspect this will be cleared up for us in the coming chapters, but for now I do think they are trying to warn Thomas of impending evil. I feel like he’s somehow chosen by the Creators and the Beetle Blades might be their way of communicating with him to try to keep him safe while in the maze.

Question from Ashlee: Did the Creators throw a girl into the mix just to see how the boys would respond? Or do you think she has another purpose for being there?
I suspect that the girl was sent there to communicate a message. I wonder if she got in a fight with the Creators and put herself in the box, which could be against protocol because of her gender and explain why she remembers Thomas. There might be some sort of war going on that she escaped or there might be some ‘memory wiping’ portion of the box that brings her in which caused her unconsciousness. I think it’s a coincidence she’s a girl and the message she has to communicate is more important.

Question from Nicole: On page 85, they discover the dead Griever. What importance is the death of the Griever? They seem to make it a huge deal and I’m not sure why. They stay outside of the Glades, so I’m not entirely sure what the big fuss is about. Also… what significance is their name to the story or to the maze?
I suspect the boys would like to be able to study the Griever’s body and perhaps find a way to defeat them. The best way to defeat your enemy is to study him. I think the Grievers are seen as an enemy because they prevent the boys from finding the exit to the maze that they are so certain is there. They’re someone to be conquered to insure the boys own freedom. I think the name comes from the fact that the boys ‘grieve’ the deaths of the Runners trying to beat them. It seems a stretch, but it’s all I can come up with.

Question from Katherine: Ben’s rants against Thomas were pretty interesting. I expected him to be worried that Thomas would destroy them or betray them or something — but instead he was upset that “He’ll wanna take us home…He’ll wanna get us out of the Maze.” All Thomas’s memories of the outside world seem to be “normal” memories…but could there be something terrible (personal or widespread) that would keep the boys from WANTING to ever get out of the Maze? Or did the Changing just poison Ben’s mind to think that?
Wow. Never thought of that. Yay virtual book clubs for making me think more. This is taking me back to my Allegiant comparison and makes me think the boys are trying to figure out some part of humanity that has been lost, like genetic impurity. It’s possible that ‘home is so messed up that these boys have to figure out a way to overcome the difficulty that’s been created. Now I’m really curious to find out the ending!

Question from Lynn: So far I can’t say that I’m really attached to any of the characters. I don’t particularly dislike them but neither do I think I would be greatly impacted upon if one of them left the story. I am however curious about Chuck – I’m not altogether sure that I trust him yet. What are your feelings on the characters so far?
The only character I was growing attached to in any way was Alby, and it’s not looking too good for him! I feel like Chuck is trying too hard to act older than he is. We’re told that he’s young and I think he wants so badly to be Thomas’s age and feel important that he’s acting out to try to make himself seem important. I don’t know if I trust him because his whole personality seems like a facade. We’ll have to see going forward.

Question from Sultana: On page 102, Newt talks to Thomas about the importance of order in the Gladers’ society, saying ” ‘Reason we’re all sane around here is ’cause we work our butts off and maintain order. Order’s the reason we put Ben out–can’t very well have loonies runnin’ around tryin’ to kill people, now can we? Order.’ ” The Gladers are willing to go to extreme lengths to keep order in their society, so much that they would rather follow the rules and banish Ben to the Maze and Grievers then jail him and treat him for his lunacy. Discuss why you think that order is so important to the Gladers, and if you think that order and relative normalcy will last for them throughout the book.
I think that in a primitive society, there’s not enough resources to secure a jail system. It requires more resources to keep someone jailed and threat them for a chronic illness, so it’s easier for the boys to banish him and free those resources to search farm or look for an escape from the maze. I don’t think they’ve considered it much beyond this. I think order is important because they have no way to control their fates outside the maze so they want to control them inside as much as possible. In the small society, they need to make sure everyone is pulling his own weight to continue surviving. I’m not sure the order will last for them because I think for there to be a plot, there needs to be some disturbance in the story. I’m curious to see how much it’s disrupted.

Please send me an email if you’re interested in joining us. The hub page will have links to all the other posts.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read Along With Me #1: The Maze Runner by James Dashner Chapters 1-9

15 May

ReadAlong1MazeIt’s here! The first round of Read Along posts about The Maze Runner is upon us! If you haven’t read about this yet, you can check out my Read Along page and the hub page for Read Along #1. If you want to join in, you’re not that far behind. The way this works is that we will read the assigned chapters and then pose questions about what we read to the other participants. If you haven’t read the book, beware of spoilers!

  1. Question submitted by Katherine: Do you care about Thomas yet? Have you gotten a read on him? And is 66 pages too long or too short to really establish your character?
    I really don’t care about him yet and I didn’t realize this until Katherine asked. I think he’s too confused to really project much of a personality. He seems lost but I don’t think he’ll have a ‘lost’ personality. I think it’s because of the confusing situation he’s in. In most books, I think the protagonist needs to be pretty well established in the first 50 or so pages, but this book seems to be an exception. Dashner wants us to be just as lost as Thomas is and experience this with him and from that perspective, he’s doing a great job.
  2. Question submitted by Ashlee: I’m really distracted by their unique language – shuck face, good that, shank. Is it driving you nuts too?
    Yes! Very much so. I put something into my own questions that language is part of what defines a unique culture and I think Dashner was trying to establish that these boys are a shut-off and unique set of people. However, it’s at a point where as a reader, I’m too distracted by the words to enjoy the story 100% of the time. I understand his tool, but I think it’s too forced here.
  3. Question submitted by Lynn: Why do you think the boys are there?  What are your guesses about what the place really is?
    This guess is going to come from reading Allegiant so I’m sorry to Dashner for not giving him any points for originality. I think the boys are being tested in some way. I think the designers are trying to find a trait in them that can’t be tested in any other way. Maybe bravery, athleticism, intelligence, survival instinct, or something I’m not thinking of yet.  I think the boys were selected based on some quality to be entered into this experiment. The Glade has an almost Hunger Games arena feel to me and the most intriguing thing is how far above the launch point it is. A half hour ride in the box? That’s crazy deep in the world.
  4. Question submitted by Barb: Is the amnesia which Thomas is experiencing the result of a “mind wipe” or is it an on-going effect of the Glade?  Thomas has intermittent memory flashes in the first day he’s in Glade.  He has general impressions of a past life but no concrete memories.  I have experienced traumatic amnesia and there is no middle ground to remembering; it was a complete blank.  The symptoms which Thomas experiences seem to be a temporary condition which allows him to begin assimilation into the Glade.  As he falls asleep the first night he feels an unexpected calm which Chuck foreshadows in some of his statements about things getting easier.
    I think the memory loss the boys experience is some sort of futuristic technology that allows a person to erase memories of a period of time. Maybe their memories are stored somewhere, either on a computer or in a part of their memory that can be accessed by a ‘trigger word’ or something. I made the note while reading that the memories they do have seem very emotionally detached. He remembers people walking in a city, but not being there or why he was there or who he was with. They’re very detached memories. I think that once the mystery of the book is solved, Thomas will somehow remember who he was before. It also seems that the girl has not lost her memory completely so we might get a lot of answers in our next set of chapters.
  5. Question submitted by Nicole: I remember an older movie called The Village. I can’t help but compare the two plots. What are some similarities and differences? In the movie, the main motive was to keep the people safe, so they scared them into thinking that they had no choice or options outside of the village. Do you think that this could be happening in the book as well? What is outside and why were they placed here with wiped memories?
    It’s been a while since I saw The Village but I remember the premise. There was a monster that kept the people in their village, much like the Grievers keeping the Gladers in their walls. I don’t think I can think of any differences yet, having seen the end of the movie and being just into this book. In the film, there was a larger almost government-like force keeping them in the village and I suspect we have something similar in the Glade. In the film, there was someone on the inside who was helping to keep the order and I think some of my fellow readers think Alby is doing something similar. It will be interesting to see if these plots are parallel as we read on.
  6. Question submitted by MovieGeek: Do you think the narrator should have only focus on Thomas because I would have love to know what Chuck, Alby, Gally and Newt felt.
    So far I’m a fan of the third person limited point of view. It’s a breath of fresh air from all the first person narrations I’ve read in YA books lately. After this question, I’m thinking about hearing from the other boys. I actually think I prefer following Thomas because I’m just as confused as he is. Maybe if he understood as well as the other boys I would want to hear from them all but right now I relate to Thomas because of this confusion so I like sticking to his head.
  7. Question submitted by Sultana: Environment plays a huge role in shaping a person. By removing the boys from their past environments (family, friends, society, etc.) and by removing their memories, does this fundamentally change the boys? If so, how? If not, do you think that the nature of who they are is innate and wins out over environmental factors? By having these boys “start fresh” in the Maze, is Dashner exploring how a person becomes who he/she is?
    This reminds me of Thomas’s suspicion that they’re in a prison. If their memories are erased, are they still criminals? I read on a bit and he suspects the boy who slaughters the animals of being a serial killer. I think it changes them because they don’t have a frame of reference to judge decisions and people. The Glade is their new frame of reference. I believe that who we are is a mix of nature and nurture and I’ll go back to my Divergent-esque assumption that the ‘Big Brother’ in this book is searching for some type of innate trait that these boys might have.

Yay, that was fun! If you’re interested in joining us, it’s not too late! Send me an email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com and tell me you’re interested.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Read Along With Me #1- The Maze Runner by James Dashner

17 Apr

ReadAlong1Maze

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Book Review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (5/5)

18 Oct

I somehow missed the hype of this book when it came out. I knew it got some good reviews but it was never on my radar. Man, do I regret that. This book blew me away. I’m so glad my book club picked it. I must have missed it due to a class in one book club because they were all shocked I was just getting to it. I’m so glad I’m in two!

Cover image via Goodreads

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Summary from Goodreads:

“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

At first, I didn’t like this book. I was having flashbacks to The Maze Runner and the frustration I felt when the main character had no idea what was going on and he was getting no answers. But as soon as Jason figured out what was going on, I was in. I finished this book in three days and that’s no easy feat for me now with how busy my life is. I stayed in bed a lot on my days off, napping and reading this book. It blew me away. It was very original and yet it used something familiar enough that I could understand it. I wish I was still reading it. Fair warning, it’s hard to not have spoilers in this review so continue reading at your own risk.

I loved Jason. He was very realistic and yet he was so smart that it was unimaginable. I loved the relationship with him and Daniela. I thought he was really resourceful. Overall, it was really great. The ‘other Jasons’ were fun, too. I wish that had some more screen time.

Daniela was my favorite character. I loved her as a wife and mother and I loved the other versions of her we met. She was creative and fun and still very much the same person. I thought the way she acted at the end was believable and it showed how strong her relationship with Jason was.

While none of the things in this book have happened to me, I understand Jason’s’ dedication to his wife. I love my husband with an odd ferocity and I can understand why he was willing to go to such extreme circumstances to make sure she was safe. I’m not sure I understood the lottery he was willing to set up. I’ll never be in that circumstance so I guess I never have to.

Blake Crouch
Image via Twitter

I liked Amanda and Jason trying to navigate the box best. It was fun to see the strange worlds they ended up in and how the navigated them and got out. It was a fun adventure and it led well to the final adventures of the book. I understand why it was necessary, too, but the fun was the best part.

I didn’t like being kept in the dark for the first 100 pages. I was frustrated and might have put the book down. Crouch’s writing was quick and easy to read, which kept me going forward, but I hate not knowing something critical when the narrator also doesn’t know. It seems like the writer isn’t sure what he’s doing yet but in this case, Crouch had a very good idea!

Jason’s love for Daniela obviously drove the book. If he hadn’t been so driven and dedicated to getting back to Daniela and Charlie, he might have stayed in the other world. Success, riches, and intelligence didn’t mean anything if he didn’t have Daniela and Charlie to share it with. Even successful Jason wanted the happy family.

Writer’s Takeaway: Crouch’s short sentences kept me reading fast. The long chapters and short chapter interchanged kept me guessing. I loved the way he paced this novel, though I wish it had been a little faster earlier on. It was a really fun and quick read, something I haven’t enjoyed in a while.

Really run and enjoyable, Five out of Five Stars

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

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#BookReview – Dark Matter by Blake Crouch #BuddyRead | Secret Library Book Blog
Dark Matter | Bookstooge’s Reviews on the Road
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch | For Winter Nights

Things My Textbook Does a Fiction Book Should Never Do

23 Mar

I’ve been talking a lot about my recent reading slump. I think a lot of it is because I’m reading so much for school that reading for fun seems weird. I’m reading at least one 50+ page chapter per week on top of what I read for fun. And my textbook is awful. I read the first chapter and thought it was a little weak, but the second and third chapters were worse. One of my classmates even asked me if I thought the textbook was terrible, which I said “YES” to a bit too loud for how quiet everyone was before class. Be warned, if you have to read Purchasing and Supply Chain Management 6th edition, you’re in for a treat. Here are some things the book does that a fiction writer would never get past an editor.

Repeating something multiple times and reacting like it’s new information. If I read the definition of a preferred supplier one more time, I swear this thing is going across the room. I think this term has been defined in 7 of the 9 chapters I’ve read so far. In Chapter 7, its defined twice. This is the equivalent of Hagrid telling Harry he’s a wizard in the fourth book, and Harry freaking out again. Not cool.

Repeating large passages, slightly reworded. I read chapters 7 and 9 pretty close to each other, and both have 2-3 pages devoted to sustainable supply chains. No language referring to, “As discussed in chapter 7…” Nope, none of that. Same wording, same vocab words, another three pages. Imagine if John Green had two scenes of Hazel describing her lung cancer. Same information, no recognition that we already knew this, just coming at us again. Like we forgot. Honestly.

Citing wrong page numbers or nonexistent figures. I wish I was kidding on this. I wrote in the right page number for one of them because the page it was referencing was in the previous chapter. This kind of inconsistency is an early catch for a fiction writer. Did Frodo have brown hair or blonde hair? Tolkien got it right and referenced the same color each time. Technology should make this easier.

Non-parallel formatting. The decision between main headers, section headers, and subheaders seems to have been decided by a coin flip. A paragraph introducing the next section will have a main header. So will each part of that section. Then in the middle of a bunch of subsections, we’ll jump to a section header and back like it was no big deal. Imagine an epic fantasy that was broken down into books and chapters at will with no logical reason for when it was changed. So confusing!

 Not defining terms. There are bolded vocab terms that are not defined. And there’s no glossary! I read the paragraph the word appears in and no clues! Vague context, but that’s not much to go off of. I remember reading The Maze Runner and being annoyed at all the slag. I’d be more annoyed if it was never defined!

Not highlighting key terms. Some rather important-seeming terms are not bolded but are defined. Honestly, it’s like the authors are trying to sneak something in on me. Like the clue in Dark Places that I totally caught onto, but with knowledge. The authors are trying to sneak knowledge in and pretend it’s no big deal.

Too much foreshadowing to content in future chapters. Kind of like my second point up there, the book will have a short paragraph about something that’s not-really-but-kinda-related to what it’s talking about. And then say we’ll read more about it in four chapters. Oh, but the term is bolded and is a vocab word for this chapter. With no definition. Like when you were reading Perks of Being a Wallflower and wanted to know about Charlie’s aunt and you knew it was important, but you had to wait till the right time to find out why it was so important. But instead of being heartbreaking and having Emma Watson and Ezra Miller in it, it’s about what conflict minerals Intel avoids purchasing. Not the same.

I hope to have actual content next week. I hope this is OK for now. Love you all for reading. Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!