Book Review: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Science-Fiction

Publishing Info: August 1st 2011 by Chicken House (first published 2010)

Pages: 359

Star Rating: 3/5

Back Cover Summary:
The Scorch Trials picks up where The Maze Runner left off. The Gladers have escaped the Maze, but now they face an even more treacherous challenge on the open roads of a devastated planet. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them. Can Thomas survive in such a violent world?

The Scorch Trials is the second book in The Maze Runner series and carries straight on from where the first book left off. The back cover summary is rather vague so I didn’t really know what to expect. I shan’t say too much as I don’t want to spoil it! Although I enjoyed the book and found it gripping I didn’t like it as much as the first book. I’m not sure why I just liked the first book much better.

 The plot is basically a repetition of The Maze Runner but in a different setting. The characters are still being watched by WICKED and have to do some stuff to survive. Essentially it’s like they’re in the next level. It is very different to the first book though and the characters have different dilemmas and enemies. Dashner does suspense very well and I found myself keeping turning the pages. The pacing was good, there were some slow moments but it always kept me hooked.

 The characters from the first book were good. But the new characters weren’t so good. Like I found with the first book whenever a character was introduced they were just a name and their personalities didn’t really show until far into the book. I understand that you have to get to know characters but I should still have a sense of what they are like from the beginning through their body language, how they talk and the decisions they make.

 In terms of the characters that carried over from the first book I would have liked to have seen them developed more. I didn’t really get a feel of how everything they had been through impacted on them as people. I guess they don’t have much time for reflection as once again they’re running for their lives but I would have expected some change in them after having been through all that.

 I guess there’s not much I can say without giving spoilers for the first book and this one as well. There’s so many twists and things that I don’t want to spoil anything as the suspense and mystery of wanting to know what is going on is the best aspect of these books. Overall I enjoyed it and will keep reading the series but it wasn’t as good as the first one. I really liked how it kept me guessing and I never knew what was going to happen next.

 Click here to read my review of book 1, The Maze Runner.

Film Review: Spy

Release date: 5th June 2015

Director: Paul Feig

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Jude Law

Runtime: 120 minutes

Genre: Comedy, Action

Watched in: 2D

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I wasn’t sure if this film would be my sort of thing as I wasn’t a fan of McCarthy’s Bridesmaids (though I haven’t seen any of her other films) but being a massive Miranda fan thought I would check it out if only to see Miranda Hart on the big screen. In Spy McCarthy’s character, the deskbound CIA analyst, has to head out into the field when their field agents covers are blown and prevent the sale of a nuclear weapon.

A lot of the time comedy films are chuckle-worthy but not laugh-out-loud-worthy. This film was absolutely hilarious though and at times I couldn’t stop laughing. It was thoroughly entertaining but it also had a great plot to carry it as well. It was pretty fast paced and there wasn’t a dull moment at all. It was so packed full of action and laughs that I want to see it again! The digs at classic spy films such as James Bond are great too.

The acting was excellent. McCarthy was very funny obviously and Miranda Hart was great too. At times I thought Melissa McCarthy was a bit over the top though in the delivery of a couple of her funny lines and the use of the f word was a bit over the top too which is why I docked a 0.5 off my rating but for the most part it was very funny. From the sounds of it she plays a pretty similar role to previous things she has done but I haven’t really seen any of her other films so I can’t judge on that. The big surprise though was Jason Statham who was amazing. Typically I associate him with action films in which he plays a serious/dark character so I was quite surprised to find he would be in a comedy film. He was great at it though, his character was so funny and possibly my favourite character of the lot.

This is another short review as I can’t think what else to say because I loved it so much! It really was excellent and full of laughs. Highly recommended!

Taking Part in #PitMad

I took part in my first #PitMad yesterday and thought I’d talk a bit about it! For those who don’t know, #PitMad is a twitter contest which runs for 12 hours in which you tweet 140 character pitches for your novel in the hopes of attracting an agent or editor.

How it Works:

(full set of rules and explanation:

You can post twice an hour per project and must include the tag #PitMad and genre/age tags such as #YA.

If an agent or editor likes your pitch then they will favourite it, meaning they are requesting a submission from you. You then just have to follow their guidelines and submit however much of your manuscript they have requested.

Research any agents before sending to them to make sure they are legit and that they are what you’re looking for.

Remember only take part if you have a completed manuscript!

You can retweet other writer’s pitches if you like them but don’t favourite any as that is only for agents/editors!

Stuff I learnt from doing it / Advice:

Have a prepared load of tweets that you have planned in advanced. Then you won’t be sat there trying to come up with them on the spot. Make sure you have plenty because twitter doesn’t always let you post the same tweets.

Don’t be worried you’re spamming. I was worried at first about tweeting my pitches twice an hour but it is genuinely advisable and everyone does it. Hundreds of pitches are tweeted every minute so the more you tweet the more likely an agent/editor is going to see and favourite you.

Summing up your book in 140 characters is super hard, and making it sound interesting is even harder. Even if you don’t get any favourites it is good practice. As I went along I found looking at other peoples pitches gave me ideas and I think I got better at it.

Upcoming PitMad contests:

September 10th 2015

December 4th 2015

I’ll definitely participate again next time around. I think it’s really worthwhile doing if you’re looking to publish. Lots of people get picked up through it including someone I know and even if you aren’t successful it is a fun experience.

Exciting news is that I got one favourite on one of my tweets and have sent my synopsis and first two chapters of The Water That Sings. Fingers crossed!