The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner, #2) by James Dashner
Published: October 12th 2010 by Delacorte Press
Pages: 360
Rating: 2 stars

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.

"The betrayal meant he couldn't trust her anymore, and his heart told him he couldn't forgive her."
-- James Dashner, The Scorch Trials

Without trying to turn this review into a rant, I would like to express my feelings about what a downfall this book was. I wasn't expecting much of the follow-up to James Dashner's The Maze Runner. As stated in my review about it, I'm not a fan of the characters - with a few exceptions -, and the writing isn't my cup of tea. The plot of that book is, however, something original and action-packed. It stands out in the dystopian genre. Besides the fact that it still had this fascinating plot, there was almost nothing in The Scorch Trials I really enjoyed.

When there were still very likable characters in The Maze Runner, this one had none. Thomas's Gary Stue-ness became more and more obvious with every page I read. How he's so special, and how the rules were broken for him to survive. They can put the group through everything, have a million deaths, and Thomas will be the one to survive. It's not that I had many Gary Stues to compare the character with, but it's so obvious here and I absolutely hate it. I still don't get what Teresa's deal is. Maybe she does have that split personality Thomas mentioned, but it seems most unlikely after the ending. Her character was so unstable and hard for me to follow. One time she's in love with Thomas and a chapter later she's out to kill the guy. In the end I didn't know what to think anymore, because there was so much confusion I really didn't like them more than I did in the first book. Both Minho and Newt had very little importance, which is sad. I just got used to like them. Minho was supposed to be the leader, and I was really okay with that. It wouldn't be all about Thomas for a chance. But then something happened, and Thomas became the centre of attention again. After a while I lost interest because I wasn't particularly interested in reading about a perfect and special boy.

The new characters were in my opinion not very likable either. Jorge is okay, so is Aris. Brenda, on the other hand, is someone I felt this special connection with: hate at first sight. I don't get what importance this character has to the trilogy. The chemistry she and Thomas had can be compared to a broken light bulb. What the author created here felt so unnecessary to me. Teresa and Thomas could have had such an amazing relationship, because I really did like the two in The Maze Runner. It's like the author decided he was tired of Teresa after one book, and introduced Brenda as a supposed replacement. What we have here, is a special love triangle I wish didn't happen.

There's no denying that The Maze Runner had an awesome plot. It was intriguing, and brought up lots of questions I would have preferred to receive answers to. I can be honest and say that the answers in here are so little it's almost unbelievable. Questions kept piling up. I had expected to have some answers to come soon, yet they never did. I'm not even bothering to read another four hundred pages from the last book, because I know that would be a waste of time. Instead, I searched for everything I needed to know on The Maze Runner wikia, and even that brought me very little satisfaction. The plot itself in The Scorch Trials was everywhere. I usually do enjoy suspense and action, but not when the suspense is built up by the so many questions, and the action were basically tons of disconnected events in order to keep the novel going. When I looked at the actual plot itself, it was just teens given the task to cross a desert in two weeks. There's nothing special about it, and I'm really sad because with a little more originality it could have been so much better. It was literally all over the place, with unnecessary and confusing twists at every corner.

The Scorch Trials wasn't the sequel I expected it to be, despite the negative reviews. There wasn't any improvement on the writing, nor the characters. The plot took a not-so-interesting turn I would have rather avoided. The only reason I'm giving this two stars, is because it was still action-packed and the need for answers kept me going. Instead of dystopia, confusion seemed to be the main theme of the book. There was nothing that really made any sense, and for me a perfect excuse to stop right here instead of reading the third book.
Two (The Sometimes Time-Travelling Twins, #1) by Karl Alexander
Published: May 6th by Rainy May Books
Pages: 241 pages

Emerson and Parker Leigh, wonderful girl twins, are battling with reigning prep school queen, Portia Flowers, over the right to be themselves and Parker's "thing" for Randall Hamner-by day, a tennis star, by night, a car thief. Enter, Tim Raines, a handsome young write with a Harley who interviews the twins for his first novel. Sparks fly between Tim and Emerson, but Portia hooks up with Randall, momentarily wrecking Parker's life, but Portia's video gets her tossed out of school.

In Tim's book, the twins time-travel to Edwardian England and befriend H.G. Wells, but Til does them no favors by bringing Portia and Randall along as adversaries. Alas, the time machine stops working, and at a young Fabians weekend in the country, Emerson is murdered. 

Back in present-day Calabasas, Portia seeks revenge. She frames the twins and Tim for kidnapping. With high-powered attorneys as parents, Emerson and Parker stay out of jail, but not Tim. So, the book remains unfinished. As Emerson tries to solve the kidnapping, Parker tries to finish writing the book., solve her sister's murder in the past-with a little help from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle-and bring them both back home.

Not that the twins were unpopular. Au contraire, they were special-they knew it-everybody know it-they'd been special since their first day on the Point of View School campus way back in the 7th grade. 
- Karl Alexander, Two

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm not proud to present to you: my first ever DNF. I'm really not proud because the book is only 241 pages, but when I got halfway, I already eye-rolled way too much and sighed loudly more than I wanted to. The premise wasn't really something I was interested in reading in the first place. Maybe it's a personal matter, but I'm still very disappointed with what I've read.

When it came to the characters, there were absolutely none that could hold my interest. The twins were both the most egocentric and stereotypical blondes. It felt like the author had a bit too much fun with the twins and decided to take it always a little too far. Common examples in here are the finishing of each other's sentences, to know exactly what one another is thinking and their bond of let's be best friends forever. Tim came over as creepy, nothing else. All the characters had something in common: undeveloped and therefore incredibly flat. Their actions were predictable and so another reason why I couldn't bear to finish it. Because this book is basically two stories put together, there was an abundance of characters which was all too confusing in the end.

To say the least, this book contains no plot. Save yourself from reading the entire thing when the summary offers you literally, everything there is to know. Throughout the thing, all I kept thinking was how the author managed to write it. Because to me, it felt like he had watched way too much high school drama and girly tv-shows. Just like the characters, the plot is filled with clichés and boring events happening without a single high-light. In combination with the pace, still nothing interesting. Again, the fact that this book was a combination of two could have been way better if it was actually woven together with a decent flow. It made everything way more confusing for me than it already was.

In the end, Two was just the kind of book I regret trying to read. Do not let the pretty cover fool you, because all pleasure I had from it was when I closed it and decided to stop continuing.

18844839The Deep End of the Sea by Heather Lyons
Published February 5th 2014 by Cerulean Books
Pages: 288 pages

What if all the legends you've learned were wrong?

Brutally attacked by one god and unfairly cursed by another she faithfully served, Medusa has spent the last two thousand years living out her punishment on an enchanted isle in the Aegean Sea. A far cry from the monster legends depict, she's spent her time educating herself, gardening, and desperately trying to frighten away adventure seekers who occasionally end up, much to her dismay, as statues when they manage to catch her off guard. As time marches on without her, Medusa wishes for nothing more than to be given a second chance at a life stolen away at far too young an age.

But then comes a day when Hermes, one of the few friends she still has and the only deity she trusts, petitions the rest of the gods and goddesses to reverse the curse.Thus begins a journey toward healing and redemption, of reclaiming a life after tragedy, and of just how powerful friendship and love can be-- because sometimes, you have to sink in the deep end of the sea before you can rise back up again.

"I am a monster. The worst kind of monster. The kind that people have told stories about for thousands of years. I am the Gorgon Medusa. And my eyes can turn anything living to stone."  
- Heather Lyons, The Deep end of the Sea

Actual rating: 3.5 stars

The Deep end of The Sea
was definitely a special read for me. It's extraordinary in various ways and deals with darker themes one normally wouldn't read about. The Greek myths are handled in a very different way than in the books I normally read, and it was very entertaining to read about it. However, due to a pile of little issues, I eventually enjoyed it as a whole less than I wanted to.

For starters, I'm not saying this book is a disappointment and bad. Quite on the contrary, there definitely are elements of this book that are just excellent. The characters, for example, were all so wonderful. Every one of them is introduced at the right time so it was very easy for me to get a grasp on them. Thanks to the Percy Jackson series, I already was familiar with every god and goddess. What changed, were the personalities of everyone. The gods in here don't behave so superior and they care for little things. While there still are stereotypes when it came to Aphrodite and Demeter, everyone else is so different. They all have their flaws, and above all: wonderful character development. She managed to create beautiful characters out of stereotypes. All of them felt so human, and that is something I applaud the author for.

Besides the characters, there are two more things I loved even more. One of them was the writing. Oh, how beautiful the writing is in this book. I usually don't have much to say when it comes to the style of writing in a book, but when it is so wonderful I feel like I have to. The writing here managed the explain Medusa's situation very well. The anger she feels, how lonely she is, it made me compassionate with her at the very beginning already. It's clear that the author has experience with writing, because she knows how to show and don't tell. Even when something isn't made clear or actually said in the book, it makes you wonder and you know what's going on without a confirmation. Let's just come to the conclusion and say the writing was fantastic.

Moving onto the romance, I want to go onto my roof and scream how perfection and the romance in this book went hand in hand, from beginning until the end. No signs of insta-love, a smooth evolution from best friends to lovers and passionate scenes. That is the summary of this romance. It is absolutely beautiful. Both characters in the relationship had already grown to love each other but were both too shy to admit it. Skinny love which evolved in something beautiful. In my opinion, the best kind of love there is. It's rare when the romance makes the book, but in this case it definitely is. Without the passionate relationship of Hermes and Medusa, I would have liked this book way less. They both bring forth the best in each other, and more isn't needed. The writing went in a beautiful harmony with the romance, especially during the intimate scenes. It made me swoon and want a boyfriend like Hermes more than anything else.

The way The Deep End of the Sea handled the Greek mythology. It's so different from anything I've ever read, because mostly the darker elements of the myths are usually glossed over. The author wasn't afraid to take risks, and it worked out very well. Rape is a very central aspect of the plot, and it was very refreshing for me to read about something like this. It's a change of decor, and a very good one too.  Medusa's evolution from being a scared girl to a fierce woman had to do a lot with how she managed to deal with her trauma. Lyons was capable of creating a realistic situation, even though it has been more than two thousand years. It was something completely out of my element, yet it still is something I learned from and I don't have any issues regarding that.

What my actual issues are, made me think about the plot and pace in general. At times I didn't knew where the plot was actually heading. To me, it seemed like a combination of events that weren't tied together very well. Everything happened because of something, but it didn't gave me a very satisfying feeling. The plot seemed to have ended around page fifty, while there were two hundred pages left. As I got closer and closer to the end, there wasn't really anything happening. Medusa was just kind of waiting around and that waiting seemed to take forever. The plot twist at the end was brilliant, but in another way kind of rushed. The information gets thrown at you as if you understand it completely, and then it just ends. There was lack of plot and suspense for the second half of the book, and the pace didn't do much good.

The summary implied that this would be a special novel and hopefully a read to remember, and it is. The good reviews just made me a little bit too excited and I expected a perfect novel. I was certain I would be head over heels about it. There are great elements to this book that can't be ignored, but that doesn't leave out the issues I had, and they couldn't be ignored. The romance, the beautiful characters and the gorgeous writing made The Deep End of the Sea beautiful. It's just such a shame that it got less and less interesting near the end.

8755785City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare
Published May 27th 2014 by McElderry Books
Pages: 725 pages

Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the Nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary's own brother. Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell. Nothing in the world can defeat Sebestian; but if they journey to the realm of demon, they just might have a chance.

Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change. Who will survive the explosive sixth and final installment of the Mortal Instruments series?

"That's what happens when you fall. Everything that was bright about you becomes dark. As brilliant as you once were, that's how evil you become. It's a long way to fall." 
- Cassandra Clare, City of Heavenly Fire

I have no words. I have no words to describe this book. If I have to use one, it would be perfection. I laughed, I cried. I was anxious throughout the 725 pages, hoping no one I loved would die. City of Heavenly Fire lived up to all my expectations, with a few exceptions. It is the perfect conclusion to a thrill ride of a series I'll never forget.

When it comes to discuss a book by Cassandra Clare, I always like to make up lists of what I think is going to happen and when I've actually read the book, compare my list to what has been written. There are times when most of my expectations resemble to the final outcome. Never has it been that I only got one thing right. You can say Cassie has managed to surprise me in various ways. One was to believe everything everyone said about what might happen, and I certainly did when it came to this book. The theories of Camille being still alive, of Magnus's father being Lucifer, that Jace would die, they always put me in such a state of shock. All these and countless others sounded so logical in some ways, it just couldn't be that it won't happen. I won't be a spoilsport and say if some of these are actually right, but in the end, it was still me and my list with one right guess. Let's just say, everything you think will happen won't, and there are always surprising twists and turns you would never have expected.

The plot is outstanding when you compare it to the books, but reminded me a lot of City of Glass. One was supposed to be the end of a trilogy, and I do think it was hard to come up with a book as perfect, especially when it all comes down to this one. However, I wasn't surprised when I got everything I wanted. Maybe I had these crazy theories I wanted to be true, yet if that was the case this book probably wouldn't have been less than a thousand pages. Because City of Heavenly Fire is in fact the last book of this series, it all eventually came down to the final scene. Slowly, but not that it caused any struggles with the pacing, it build the climax. Even after I surpassed it, realising the great danger was over, I was so pleased to notice the amount of pages I had left. It didn't leave me hanging and certainly managed to give me the wonderful feeling of satisfaction. The same way it build up, after the climax Cassie took her time to take things easy. After all, what happened at what I thought was the end, was something I cried about. Just when I thought it was over and there was nothing that needed to be done, I was surprised for one last time, and enjoyed it to the fullest.

I don't know if you've read The Infernal Devices, the prequel trilogy to The Mortal Instruments. If you did, go ahead and agree with me when I say that the references in City of Heavenly fire were undeniable. They were there, at every corner, and it just made me so happy. To see old characters return or hear them talk about what they've been through. I was smiling throughout it all. As a reader, I obviously knew what happened and I did found myself screaming sometimes, in the hope they will say something or make some things clear, because they have to. So yes, the prologue was the best thing ever. I found myself crying with joy way too many times for a human to be normal. Everything seemed to be tied together so well in the end, I wouldn't dare to wish for an even better ending, for it doesn't exist.

City of Heavenly Fire may be the last book in the Mortal Instruments series, but I'm not saying goodbye to the Shadowhunter world yet. Planning on three more series, it's clear that the author has many things in store for us. I can't wait to see and explore other sides of this world I've never seen before. It's always hard to say goodbye to a book I adored, but not when it's actually not over, not yet. The characters we got introduced to will have their roles to play out in the future, and I know that each of them will earn a special place in my heart. Little Emma Castairs and Julian Blackthorn, I'm looking at you. They honestly, had the perfect and adorable relationship that certainly managed to create some light-hearted moments in times of war and darkness. I can't remember how I've been when I was twelve, but I know for sure it didn't even come close to Emma's badass and commited character. Always out there, looking for ways to prove herself at such a young age. I absolutely adored her addition to the book, and I'm looking forward to see her more grown up in Lady Midnight. Not only did I love her character, her quotes are worth to remember.

"Heroes aren't always the ones who win," she said. "They're the ones who lose, sometimes. But they keep fighting, they keep coming back. They don't give up. That's what makes them heroes."

The characters we now have known for such a long time all have developed in their own way, and it was beautiful to watch. They have matured, and still were never out of the original character they had in City of Bones. Seeing them go was a hard thing to do, especially after reading six books full of them. Isabelle was fierce but let people see her soft side, Clary reckless but will do anything to keep the ones she loves safe, Alec serious but heartwarming and Jace still has his snarky comments. The dreams they had in the realm were on one hand painful to read, but on the other so wonderful. They had their dreams of the futures they wanted. Their wishes that would never be. It really was the one thing that made the characters even more lovable and understanding. They aren't perfect. They all have their flaws and that's what makes them perfect. I hated to say goodbye to these wonderful characters, but I didn't think I could have been better in any other way.

Such as all of Cassandra Clare's other books, City of Heavenly Fire was not an exception when it came to romance. This book was full of it. Every romantic scene made me swoon and think about a perfect Shadowhunter boyfriend I'll never have. The author promised us make-out scenes for every couple, and she kept her promise. When reading a scene like that, it made me forget about all the misery and the war. I was focused on two people who love each other, and I couldn't have wished for anything more than that.

I may got introduced to a new, lovely crew of characters for the upcoming The Dark Artifices, but the characters who I left yesterday will be in my heart forever. Thank you, Cassandra Clare, for a book equally fantastic to Clockwork Princess.

Ave atque vale.
Hail and farewell.

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