Book Review: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

While Perfect Ruin is very much like Lois Lowry’s The Giver in many ways, it has a lot of unique elements to it that makes it special. With colorful poetry in each word, DeStefano paints a world accessible only through a dream. You will wonder how it will be to be living a simple life afloat in the sky. You will find yourself jealous of what innocence those characters who haven’t been to the “edge” exude, while deeply feeling the quiet bitterness of “jumpers”, through Lex, whose ability to see life from a positive direction was disabled just by being curious and called by something hypnotically wondrous. You will hope that betrothals exist in our world and wish to experience that young, untraceable fondness for someone that can eventually turn into true love.

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I recommend this book to those who would like to dream, daydream, experience love, loss, and utter curiosity about things that are beyond wonder, and most of all, to those who dare to “jump” into adventures, even when everyone disapproves.


Book Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner is promising and has a very intriguing foundation. I feel intimidated by the plot, scared for the boys and what awaits them,  and the more I learned about what happens in the Maze and the Glade, the more thrilled I have become to get out and see what is outside.

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Having finished reading the book, I can say that I truly liked the plot, but on the other hand, I fell that the story-telling could use a little fine-tuning. The beginning is dark and foreboding, and has sent trickles down my spine which I loved. Compared with other stories I’ve read in the Dystopian genre, the book has a something special to offer although it could do better with simplicity and less details that do not support the story very strongly.

The protagonist (Thomas) has a mysterious persona, which has kept me awake up until the middle, but the twist in his real personality is not as grand and it has had me expecting. His confusion does not seem to match his actions. There is no very distinct characterization. Save from their individual slangs and speech mannerisms, it often feels like every character is the same – who they are, how they act at certain situations, what makes them motivated or mad. The likeness in their characters makes them shallow and predictable. The boys who turn out to be antagonists do not seem to have deep and relatable causes to justify the course of the actions they took, even looking from the younger minds’ perspective. 

Furthermore, what I do not like so much is that the humor is often off and out of timing. There are times when a serious situation is being portrayed but then one of the characters would throw in sarcasm and it ruins the mood, makes supposedly substantial events look trivial. I find the reveal of the big plot contrived and a little too drastic compared to how delicately the pace has run from its onset. I enjoyed the shroud of darkness and uncertainty covering the story at the beginning up to the the 3rd quarter of the story but my amusement was somehow disrupted by the unraveling of the truth behind the boys’ predicament that can be more subtle.

Overall, in spite of the few imperfections I found, The Maze Runner is a decent young adult novel, in my opinion. It is remarkable to me how pictures of the claustrophobic Glade, the Grievers and their unique mechanical monstrosity, the eerie Box where kids are transported into the Glade, the devilish Maze and its snaking ropes of ivy, and other elements of the setting were painted vividly in my imagination. The author is successful in his imagery. He gave the world he created some realness to it. It gives me chills remembering how the walls move nightly, their screeching sound against the floor echoing in my ears. I cringed at how excruciating Changing is, and felt nauseous about how deep a jump the Cliff might have been.

The story might not be perfect for my taste but it aptly got me interested. I am certainly buying the next book to find out what happens next.

If you have read the book, feel free to share your thoughts.

Book Review: Inferno by Dan Brown

Inferno has just taken me to an incredible journey. If you’re a Dan Brown fan, you can, as usual, expect twists in almost every chapter.  And it’s present on this new masterpiece – when you’d think you’ve guessed the riddles right, no, you didn’t – there’s always going to be something to figure out until the very end. The startling revelations compel you to read a few chapters back to make sure your mind was not deceiving you.

If you’re planning a trip to Florence and Venice, try reading the book and see if it saves you the trouble. It sure can make you feel like you’ve been to these great places Robert and Sienna have been to in search for clues that lead to an impending catastrophe. The references to great places and artists of the world are strikingly vibrant.

But the picturesque, cleverly-structured, fast-paced adventure is just icing on the cake. Dan Brown once again shakes its readers’ moral compass, tackling yet another issue involving everyone on this planet. The possibilities in real life are frightening. The story makes its readers realize that the choices we make will define each other’s future.

This novel has made me regret that I didn’t pay so much attention on my high school English when we tackled Dante’s The Divine Comedy, in terms of its lyrical beauty. However, I’m glad it captured the great poem’s true meaning – that there is hope for mankind if everyone summoned the courage to go down and through the pits of hell in order to climb up to paradise. In this world, we all must make a choice and inaction constitutes consequences catastrophic to humanity.

Since I wouldn’t want to spoil your own journey reading the book (those who haven’t), I’m not giving out any more details save for this quote from Dante Alighieri’s Inferno that best summarizes the Dan Brown’s Inferno: “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.”

"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."
“The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis.”
Chapter 79 is one of the chapters I really liked.
Chapter 79 is one of the chapters I really liked.
"The truth can be glimpsed only through the eyes of death."
“The truth can be glimpsed only through the eyes of death.”

This book was actually a birthday gift from my girl friend. Best gift so far.
This book was actually a birthday gift from my girl friend. Best gift so far.