Death Cure Book Review

The Death Cure by James Dashner

Thomas is tired of the lies from Wicked, so when the opportunity for the Gladers to get their memories back arises, he knows there is a catch. Escaping to Denver, Thomas must finally face the reality of the Flare, the disease that is ravaging strangers and friends alike. With the clock ticking and the world dying, Thomas must finally face Wicked and the lies.

After reading Mockingjay, I'll admit I am a little jaded on these sci-fi dystopian trilogies. Never mind that everything is a trilogy these days and endings are already a difficult thing to write. Even so, I had high hopes for this series, confident that Dashner knew where he was going.

I will do my best not to ruin the ending, but I can't promise anything, therefore, read on at your own risk.

The ending was quite satisfying. As is traditional with young adult literature, Dashner offers hope, a chance for a future despite the bleakness and death that proceeded it. Unlike Mockingjay, Death Cure didn't end with a happily ever after or a marriage or a ridiculous epilogue. There was too much pain and death and suffering for that to happen though and Dashner didn't fall prey to that overused literary device.

As usual there were a few elements that I wish had been explained more fully. For example: Thomas never gets his memories back, which was fine, but it also meant that we never learn of his past. Worse, although some of the other Gladers do get theirs back, we still don't learn much about the past. Perhaps this would have slowed down the pacing of the plot which was rolling and quick, but on the other hand, I desperately wanted to know more. Also, I wanted to understand the motivations of Wicked, Thomas included. What led them to believe that torture was the way to cure a disease? It was the one thing that made no sense to me. Lastly, how is the rest of the world dealing with The Flare. Are there true disease free places or is it everywhere?

It was nice to see more of this unraveling world, to glimpse firsthand how The Flare affects the mind and soul. Although the goals are still the same, find a cure, defeat wicked, the adventure felt new. Better yet, Dashner is not afraid to get his character's hands dirty. There is no end to the death and destruction and let me warn you, if you haven't read it already, no character is safe. This is probably my favorite part in regards to this book, the complete understanding that not everyone can survive such chaos and a good author knows when to let their characters go.

The Project Book Review

The Project by Brian Falkner

It was an innocent prank involving a toilet seat and the most boring book in the world, The Last of the Mohicans. For punishment, Luke and Tommy have to write a paper and during their research they stumble across a book that makes The Last of the Mohicans look really exciting. But it's not what the book is about but rather what secrets it contains. Luke and Tommy may have just stumbled across a secret that is centuries in the making and could very well change the course of history.

In the same vein as Brain Jack and Tomorrow Code, Falkner weaves together a story that is a bit science fiction, a little bromance, and a lot action adventure. Faulkner has a real knack for plot, weaving together one adventure after another and taking turns that you never saw coming. The Project goes from a sleepy Iowa town to a terrible flood to a kidnapping and then to Germany--during World War II. The constant movement makes the book a quick read despite its 288 pages.

Because Falkner cannot let go of his roots, Luke is of course, a Kiwi (New Zealander for those not familiar). However, this story felt more honest and true than Brain Jack did in that regard. Now, I don't know where all Falkner has lived in the US, but it is obvious that he Iowa really made an impact on him when he was living there and the insertion of the floods was clever.

One of my criticisms would have to be that Tommy and Luke were far too much alike. I often forgot which of the characters was supposed to be the "smart" one. Which one was the gadget guru. Especially since once kid would pull something out of his backpack and then the other one would use it and it was occasionally confusing. Also, I'm just wondering if there really are kids out there using the phrase "Sweet as"? It isn't a big deal except I thought it sounded goofy and I really hope that the author made it up because I don't know how I feel about living in a world where "Sweet as" as an actual sentence.

Falkner's biggest strength though is his endings. A lot of authors, like Suzanne Collins, have disappointed me time and again with their too-good-to-be-true endings or just an inability to bring the story home. Falkner has never had this problem and The Project is no exception. I still say Tomorrow Code is his best book thus far, but The Project is better than a lot of books out there.

Yet again, I prefer the international cover to the boring US cover.