Thursday, 2 August 2012

2012 Reading Challenge: Seventeen Books Down!

reading challenge
Books purchsed from amazon.co.uk, The Works & Oxfam

The first book in this roundup is Drive by James Sallis which was adapted into the 2011 film of the same name. As a huge fan of the film I enjoyed seeing how the story had been reworked, which parts were included or missed out completely and how the characters were altered. If you've seen the film too you'll know that the plot was full and flowing whereas in the book it was a little harder to follow the events. This is mainly down to the fact that it isn't written in chronological order which seems to be a big complaint amongst readers. Whilst I can definitely understand why people wouldn't like the style, I didn't personally have a big problem with it and still found it an interesting read. My favourite part was definitely the ending, it fitted the story perfectly and I'd actually quite like to read the sequel, Driven, at some point too.

Book thirteen was The Maze Runner by James Dashner, the first in a series I'd been keen to read for a while. The boys who live in the Glade, or the 'Gladers' as they call themselves, have their own language which I found difficult to get used to and to be honest still do three books later. Once I put that annoyance aside as much as possible I really started to enjoy the book, particularly the last third as the concept just became more and more intriguing. Overall I really liked the ideas in the book and quickly became pretty addicted to reading it. I also read Thomas' First Memory of the Flare a three page long piece which sits between this and the second book but I didn't enjoy it as much.  If you are interested you can read it for free on Goodreads.

At this point I increased my challenge to 30 books instead of the original 20 because I've been getting through them pretty quickly!

Never Let Me Go became book fourteen as after I reviewed the film here I really wanted to read the original text and see where the ideas came from. I've heard from a lot of people that they really disliked the film, but I really quite liked it. As I said at the time what I enjoyed most about it was the concept of the story and the casting. After reading the book I would love to watch the film again as I imagine this time I'd see it from quite a different perspective.  Like the previous two books I read I enjoyed the later part of the book best. Part three was probably my favourite section, I thought it had a great ending and the story felt very complete.

Next I went back to the Maze Runner series and picked up the second book; The Scorch Trials. I really enjoyed this one and right from the start I just could not put this book down. I ended up reading a quarter of it on the first evening, picking it up again the next morning and finishing it that same day because it really was that addictive. What I loved most was the new setting and introduction of new characters to learn about (even though I actually wasn't keen on all of them). I have seen a lot of negative reviews from disappointed readers who loved the structure of the first book and were expecting something similar with the second but personally I found it well-paced, exciting and as I said before, very addictive.

I then moved straight onto the last book in the series; The Death Cure  because I couldn't wait to see how it was all going to end. If I'm being completely honest I struggled with this one, I didn't dislike it but I found it disappointing after being so enthusiastic about the previous book. Right from the beginning I found it trickier to get into the story and it didn't exactly go in the direction I was expecting. I found the first two thirds quite repetitive and whilst there was a lot going on it somehow still managed to feel like it was dragging a little. Similarly to The Maze Runner the last third was pretty action-packed and much more interesting however it did feel slightly rushed. When I reached the end I felt disappointed that I didn't get to learn as much about Thomas and Teresa's lives before the Maze as I'd hoped. I don't want to compare it to The Hunger Games too much as it already seems to get that a lot (it even says it on the front cover!) but I can definitely liken the way I felt when reading this book to when I read Mockingjay for the first time. Despite all that I'm still eager to read The Kill Order (Maze Runner prequel) when it's released next month.

After hearing so many good reviews and recommendations I was very surprised when I found my seventeenth book The Time Traveler's Wife quite difficult to get into and generally not very enjoyable. I did persevere in the hope it would get better and I would start to enjoy it but I'm sad to say it just didn't happen. It ended up taking me ten days to finish it which has put me a little behind in my challenge. I have no real explanation for why I didn't like it but I should say that I did really enjoy the film. Am I the only one who didn't love this book?!

 I'm considering continuing to write these book posts after the challenge has finished, possibly as a monthly thing similar to my film roundups. Let me know if you'd be interested in that and leave me your book recommendations in the comments too.

You can find books 7-11 here.

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