Saturday, December 26, 2009

Knife of Dreams

This was the last book written by Robert Jordan before his untimely death, and the 11th book in the aforementioned Wheel of Time series. I consumed several intervening books but did not mention them here, as I am pretty certain most of my readers aren't too into them. But this book is too excellent to be ignored.

The main accomplishment of this book is that Perrin's awful four-book quest to secure his wife's freedom was successful. Now we can hopefully get some worthwhile stories about him. Also excellent are Mat's adventures and ongoing courtship of Tuon. Mat has been my favorite character of the series since book 3, and he is especially awesome in the one.

Now I really want to move on to the latest book, but I am currently engrossed in the exceedingly lengthy Anna Karenina, which will take quite some time to wrap up. So you may not get another post for a little while....

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Maze Runner

I had sort of forgotten about this book by James Dashner, which is unfortunate because it is excellent. The conflict here involves 50-odd teenage boys who have been placed with no memories in the middle of an unsolvable maze. And it turns out that the walls move every night, so they can't ever be sure exactly what the state of the maze is. Oh, and there are ravenous beasts who roam around at night and try to eat kids.

The maze is really an elaborate scheme to test the mettle of these folks. When the maze ups the ante after two years of no success, though, the kids do likewise and force a solution to the maze. The Maze Runner is an excellent book, filled with quality action and suspense. The only downside was that I had thought it was a standalone novel, but when I reached the last 15 pages with no real resolution in sight, I figured out that no real resolution is even planned for several more books!

There was one other downside: It may be a sign of good writing that effectively mimics how kids in stressful situations would actually act, but the constant flux of the narrator's emotions sort of got on my nerves. I felt the same way with Harry Potter, too. This probably is unreasonable of me.