June 2010 archive

Short Reviews: #s 20, 21, 22

The Maze Runner by James DashnerI have been reading a lot lately! This is good! But none of the most recent books I’ve tackled have left me with much to say.

#20: The Maze Runner by James Dashner: it’s YA scifi, so my review is over at AV. But even that’s pretty short, because I just didn’t have much to say about this one. Which I know is odd, because I’m generally supremely long-winded.

The Five Fists of Science by Matt Fraction and Steven SandersThe Five Fists of Science by Matt Fraction and Steven Sanders. A rather steampunky graphic novel in which Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla and others team up to use science! to fight Thomas Edison and some demons. I really love the concept of this, and wish I had any clue what happened in the last third. Someday I could write a very long post about how the comic/graphic novel format doesn’t really work for me as a reader, through no fault or weakness of its own. But that was in full force here: when 95% of the cast is middle-aged white guys in tweed suits, I can’t tell who’s who. The climax was done in very dark, low-contrast colors and I couldn’t figure out what was happening. But with that said, I was entertained. I’ve always been a Tesla fan, and loved seeing his quirks, and basically all of Twain’s dialogue made me laugh.

Jurassic Park by Michael CrichtonJurassic Park by Michael Chrichton. Maybe I’m skewed because I knew this is a movie long before picking up the book (though not a movie I know well, I’ve only seen it once, many years ago), but this read to me like a book written specifically to be adapted into a movie. Which is fine! It was incredibly readable and I mostly enjoyed it, with the note that, while it seems kind of silly to complain about gender roles in a book that’s more than 20 years old now, there were only two female characters who appeared in more than one scene. One was the botanist, who seemed to know her stuff, but who didn’t do anything for the plot except look sexy and act as the make-shift nurse because… I guess none of the guys could do that? The other was Lex, the little girl, who was horrible. The boy was smart and inquisitive, loved dinosaurs, and was able to get them all out of trouble, or at least hold things steady, when necessary; Lex was obnoxious, threw tantrums, got them further into trouble, and even after seeing people get mauled and killed and having been almost killed herself she never seemed to realize that maybe being quiet was important. Aside from hating her as a character, I was pretty annoyed by the gender roles, and put off by the overwrought, “Look what your science has wrought!” moral. But on the plus side: dinosaurs, yay!