Book vs Movie: The Maze Runner

Book vs Movie: The Maze Runner

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The movie is much better than the book and I loved the book.  It did a great job of moving through the plot quickly and answering questions at a good pace.  There were a couple funny moments that weren’t in the book that I really enjoyed in the movie – especially the scene with Teresa.  I thought the Grievers were much scarier in the movie than they seemed in the book.  It was like a cross of aliens and a big metal spider.  I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.  There isn’t a lot of music so I felt like something was going to jump out at any minute.  The visuals of the moving maze were just stunning and so cool to watch.

In short, you should go see it.

Teresa_Character_StillThe movie did a great job of bringing out the theme of insanity that was so prevalent in the book.  I think it was even easier to see in the movie.  Which is more insane: to keep trying to solve a maze that you haven’t been able to solve for years OR to just give up? It’s such an interesting question.  Sitting here typing this review I would say that of course I would keep trying to get out.  But I felt like by the time Thomas showed up in the maze that the Gladers kind of had given up.  They still ran the maze looking for a way out but when Thomas was asking Newt if they had tried this or that Newt impatiently told him that they had tried everything.  Thomas was curious and questioning things while everyone else had stopped and just focused on getting through the day and following the rules.  One of the themes about insanity that was missing from the movie was the voices in Thomas’ head that he later found out was a telepathic connection with Teresa.  I could just see the scientists looking at Thomas’ brain and studying what happens when he hears voices in his head and thinking “What is insanity?  WHERE IS IT?”

The-Maze-Runner-posterThe scientists at the end were so interesting.  You could tell they were desperate about the disease that slowly makes you insane.  They took people that were immune and wanted to study their brains to find out “Why aren’t you insane? What’s different about you?” The maze felt like a play on the idea of the traditional science experiment of a mouse looking for cheese.  The idea of experimenting on humans isn’t a new one.  I thought it was interesting that the scientists seem to justify what they are doing because it’s an extreme case – they are trying to save the whole human race.  So is WCKD good or not?  Does the end justify the means?  Is it okay to stick these kids in a maze with machines designed to kill them if it could save everyone? I don’t know that it is.  I do wonder that if I was slowly going to go insane without a cure if I would go to the extremes that WCKD did.

When Gally and Thomas come to an ultimatum I wondered what “team” I would choose. Gally’s team stays behind because they don’t think life is that bad or that it needs to change.  They also don’t seem convinced that life is necessarily better on the outside.  They are fine with the status quo.  Thomas’ team is curious and sees the maze as a trap and a loss of freedom but it takes a huge amount of risk to try and get out.  I’d like to think I would choose Thomas’s team, but in real life I make more decisions similar to Gally.  It also made me wonder what I would do if I knew I was being experimented on.  What would you do if you were experimented on?

One of the biggest things I missed from the book that didn’t show up as much in the movie was the lingo.  The lingo makes them feel like an isolated community but had the feel of how teenage boys would talk to each other.  The lingo was still there, just not as much as it was in the book.

mazerunnerpointSince I’m LDS (which is short for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints aka Mormons) I noticed a few things that maybe only a Mormon person would.  I’m not saying this is a religious book in any way or that it is an allegory.  But terms like “greenie” which is used to describe a new missionary and the idea of being surrounded only by boys for two years kind of remind me of an LDS mission.  I also thought it was interesting that Thomas wakes up with no memory of his previous life and goes through the difficult process of figuring out the maze.  That idea is kind of similar to the Mormon doctrine called the plan of salvation which is the belief that we lived before we were born on Earth and we are here to be tested before we return to heaven.  That’s the very short version and you can read more about the plan of salavation here.

James Dashner talked about how The Maze Runner was inspired by Ender’s Game and Lord of the Flies.  James Dashner talked about how he felt like the Gladers were the opposite from the chaos in Lord of the Flies with their focus on order and how they treated Teresa.

Overall, this was a great, action-packed movie that gave me so much to think about and I can’t wait to see it again.

4 Stars

Movie Trailer

Top 100 Favorite Books

Top 100 Favorite Books

I love lists. I love books. OMG I love lists of books.

When I saw this list on Jenni Elyse’s blog I had to do it too.  Facebook released an analysis of the “10 books that have stayed with you” meme and listed the top 100 books that people chose.  So of course I had to write a post and see how many I’ve read.  The percentages are how many people mentioned these books out of the 130,000+ people that participated.

Bolded titles are the ones I’ve read.

  1. The Harry Potter series—J.K. Rowling (21.08%)
  2. To Kill a Mockingbird—Harper Lee (14.48%)
  3. The Lord of the Rings—JRR Tolkien (13.86%)
  4. The Hobbit—JRR Tolkien (7.48%)
  5. Pride and Prejudice—Jane Austen (7.28%)
  6. The Holy Bible (7.21%)
  7. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—Douglas Adams (5.97%)
  8. The Hunger Games trilogy—Suzanne Collins (5.82%)
  9. The Catcher in the Rye—J.D. Salinger (5.70%)
  10. The Chronicles of Narnia—C.S. Lewis (5.63%)
  11. The Great Gatsby—F. Scott Fitzgerald (5.61%)
  12. 1984—George Orwell (5.37%)
  13. Little Women—Louisa May Alcott (5.26%)
  14. Jane Eyre—Charlotte Bronte (5.23%)
  15. The Stand—Stephen King (5.11%)
  16. Gone with the Wind—Margaret Mitchell (4.95%)
  17. A Wrinkle in Time—Madeleine L’Engle (4.38%)
  18. The Handmaid’s Tale—Margaret Atwood (4.27%)
  19. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe—C.S. Lewis (4.05%)
  20. The Alchemist—Paulo Coelho (4.01%)
  21. Anne of Green Gables—L.M. Montgomery (3.95%)
  22. The Giver—Lois Lowry (3.53%)
  23. The Kite Runner—Khaled Hosseini (3.67%)
  24. Ender’s Game—Orson Scott Card (3.53%)
  25. The Poisonwood Bible—Barbara Kingsolver (3.39%)
  26. Lord of the Flies—William Golding (3.38%)
  27. The Eye of the World—Robert Jordan (3.38%)
  28. The Book Thief—Markus Zusak (3.32%)
  29. Wuthering Heights—Emily Bronte (3.26%)
  30. Hamlet—William Shakespeare (3.22%)
  31. The Little Prince—Antoine de Saint-Exupery (3.21%)
  32. Sherlock Holmes—Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (3.15%)
  33. Fahrenheit 451—Ray Bradbury (3.15%)
  34. Animal Farm—George Orwell (3.12%)
  35. The Book of Mormon (3.08%)
  36. The Diary of Anne Frank—Anne Frank (3.05%)
  37. Dune—Frank Herbert (3.02%)
  38. One Hundred Years of Solitude—Gabriel Garcia Marquez (2.98%)
  39. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (2.83%)
  40. Of Mice and Men—John Steinbeck (2.78%)
  41. The Giving Tree—Shel Silverstein (2.72%)
  42. The Fault in Our Stars—John Green (2.68%)
  43. On the Road—Jack Kerouac (2.68%)
  44. Lamb—Christopher Moore (2.58%)
  45. Slaughterhouse-Five—Kurt Vonnegut (2.54%)
  46. A Prayer for Owen Meany—John Irving (2.53%)
  47. Good Omens—Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (2.52%)
  48. The Help—Kathryn Stockett (2.45%)
  49. The Outsiders—S.E. Hinton (2.44%)
  50. American Gods—Neil Gaiman (2.42%)
  51. Where the Red Fern Grows—Wilson Rawls (2.41%)
  52. Stranger in a Strange Land—Robert Heinlein (2.39%)
  53. The Secret Garden—Frances Hodgson Burnett (2.38%)
  54. Little House on the Prairie—Laura Ingalls Wilder (2.35%)
  55. The Count of Monte Cristo—Alexandre Dumas (2.31%)
  56. The Pillars of the Earth—Ken Follett (2.31%)
  57. The Da Vinci Code—Dan Brown (2.29%)
  58. Brave New World—Aldous Huxley (2.24%)
  59. A Tale of Two Cities—Charles Dickens (2.21%)
  60. Les Miserables—Victor Hugo (2.21%)
  61. Great Expectations—Charles Dickens (2.16%)
  62. Night—Elie Wiesel (2.12%)
  63. The Dark Tower series—Stephen King (2.12%)
  64. Outlander—Diana Gabaldon (2.07%)
  65. The Color Purple—Alice Walker (1.92%)
  66. A Thousand Splendid Suns—Khaled Hosseini (1.89%)
  67. The Art of War—Sun Tzu (1.88%)
  68. Catch-22—Joseph Heller (1.85%)
  69. The Bell Jar—Sylvia Plath (1.85%)
  70. The Perks of Being a Wallflower—Stephen Chbosky (1.83%)
  71. The Old Man and the Sea—Ernest Hemingway (1.78%)
  72. Memoirs of a Geisha—Arthur Golden (1.76%)
  73. Tuesdays with Morrie—Mitch Albom (1.75%)
  74. The Road—Cormac McCarthy (1.73%)
  75. Watership Down—Richard Adams (1.72%)
  76. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn—Betty Smith (1.72%)
  77. Where the Sidewalk Ends—Shel Silverstein (1.68%)
  78. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo—Stieg Larsson (1.65%)
  79. A Song of Ice and Fire—George R. R. Martin (1.65%)
  80. Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret—Judy Blume (1.65%)
  81. Charlotte’s Web—E.B. White (1.64%)
  82. The Time Traveler’s Wife—Audrey Niffenegger (1.63%)
  83. Anna Karenina—Leo Tolstoy (1.62%)
  84. Crime and Punishment—Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1.62%)
  85. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—Mark Twain (1.61%)
  86. The Shack—William P. Young (1.58%)
  87. Watchmen—Alan Moore (1.56%)
  88. Interview with the Vampire—Anne Rice (1.55%)
  89. The Odyssey—Homer (1.54%)
  90. The House of the Spirits—Isabel Allende (1.54%)
  91. The Stranger—Albert Camus (1.63%)
  92. The Call of the Wild—Jack London (1.63%)
  93. The Five People You Meet in Heaven—Mitch Albom (1.63%)
  94. Siddhartha—Herman Hesse (1.63%)
  95. East of Eden—John Steinbeck (1.50%)
  96. Matilda—Roald Dahl (1.50%)
  97. The Picture of Dorian Gray—Oscar Wilde (1.49%)
  98. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance—Robert Pirsig (1.47%)
  99. Love in the Time of Cholera—Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1.45%)
  100. Where the Wild Things Are—Maurice Sendak (1.45%)

TOTAL: 40

I was tagged for this meme and here’s the list that I wrote.  I bolded the ones that made the top 100 list.

My Top 10 Books that Have Stuck With Me

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  • Xenocide by Orson Scott Card
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
  • A Lasting Peace by Carol Lynn Pearson
  • Power of Habit by Charles Duhig
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • Quiet by Susan Cain

If you did these meme on Facebook, your blog or anywhere leave me the link or the list.  I love seeing the books that have stuck with people.

My Google Diary for Dreams of Gods & Monsters

My Google Diary for Dreams of Gods & Monsters

My Google Diary for Dreams of Gods & MonstersDreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

 

When I read, I ask a LOT of questions. Here’s some stuff I searched or wondered about while reading Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor.

From my Review:

Dreams of Gods & Monsters was an epic and beautiful finale to one of my new favorite fantasy series.  The romance made my heart melt.  There was a Star Wars joke about using a Tauntaun to keep warm which I loved.  There was more of the blunt, honest humor that I laugh out loud at. Read more…

 

The Plaza of St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome (pg 66)

They were over the plaza, Michelangelo’s colonnades curving beneath them like outstretched arms.

– Laini Taylor,  Dreams of Gods & Monsters (pg 475)

Image Credit: "Vatican StPeter Square" by François Malan - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vatican_StPeter_Square.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Vatican_StPeter_Square.jpg.

Image Credit: “Vatican StPeter Square” by François Malan – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

 

Tattooine?

By the time the plane’s wheels touched down on a desolate stretch of desert runway, the sun had cleared a ridge of mountains and revealed a land the color of dust. The single building that served as a terminal was squat and fashioned seemingly of the same dust.

The Middle East? Eliza wondered. Tattooine? A sign, hand-painted, was illegible in exotic, curling letters. Arabic, at a guess. That probably eliminated Tattooine.

-Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters  (p. 238).

tatooine

Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not on Tattooine any more.

Is it Gollum??

Razgut crooning over his pain like a baby just makes this image of Gollum pop in my head.  And once it did, it never went away every time he showed up in the book.

He could kick him, oh yes, and Razgut would croon to the pain all night long and comfort it like an armful of babies, and in the morning he would count his bruises, and number his spites and miseries, and go on smiling, and go on knowing all the things that no one remembered, the things that should never have been forgotten, and the reason— oh godstars, the most excellent and terrible reason— that Jael should leave the Stelians alone.

-Laini Taylor,  Dreams of Gods & Monsters  (pg 259).

 

gollum

World Religions

A big theme in this book was religion.  I really liked this quote because even though it is fiction I think it highlights really well the dynamic of world religions.

“Are you beginning to understand what this means?” Dr. Amhali asked, very intense. “Do you see how the world will interpret it? The angels flew to Rome; it’s all very nice for Christians, yes? Angels in Rome, warning of beasts and wars, while here, in a Muslim country, we unearth… demons. What do you think the response will be?”

– Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters (pg 248).

Nephilim

Even though I wasn’t a fan of all the back story, I did like the references to the Nephilim. And since Hieronymus Bosch was mentioned in Daughter of Smoke & Bone, I had to include one of his painting here that was based on one of the biblical references to Nephilim (Genesis 6:1-4).

Hieronymus Bosch - The Fall of the Rebel Angels

Hieronymus Bosch – The Fall of the Rebel Angels

It was the term, in ancient texts, for the offspring of the better-known “Nephilim,” who were the first fruit of angels’ congress with humans.

– Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) (pg 352).

Nephilim scripture, both biblical and apocryphal, all the angels were male. The Book of Enoch— a text that was canon to no group except the Ethiopian Jews— tells of the leader of the fallen angels, Samyaza, ordering his hundred and ninety-nine fallen brethren to, essentially, get busy.

– Laini Taylor, Dreams of Gods & Monsters  (pg 352).

 

 

About Laini Taylor

Laini Taylor

Hi there! I'm a writer of fantasy books for young people, but my books can be enjoyed by adults as well. My 'Dreamdark' books, Blackbringer (2007) and Silksinger (2009) are about faeries -- not dainty little flowery things, but warrior-faeries who battle devils. My first young adult book, Lips Touch, is a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award! It's creepy, sensual supernatural romance. . . about kissing. I am also an artist with a licensed gift product line called "Laini's Ladies."

How Do You Deal with Racism in Classic Novels?

How Do You Deal with Racism in Classic Novels?

I like to read classic novels.  Anything that’s 100 years old that is still being read is a classic in my mind but I know not everyone labels books that way.  I was reading The Scarlet Pimpernel a few months ago and I came across some blatant racism against Jews that made me very uncomfortable.  A better description would be disturbed and deeply sad.  I know this is me reading it from a modern perspective since I know how history has treated Jews and many other minorities.  It’s still kind of shocking to come across any racism or discrimination and have it be presented as normal.  I almost wanted to put the book down.  Here’s my dilemma and I wanted to know what you thought.

  • Is it fair to judge this old novel by my modern standards?
  • If I just let it slide because it’s old, is there a point where the discrimination in classic novels has passed the point of teaching me something and is just disturbing to me and therefore not worth reading?
  • Is reading about racism in older books a teaching tool for me or my kids to not think that way about people?  Or am I just justifying reading something I don’t agree with?

I posted this discussion mostly because I don’t know for sure how I feel about all those questions yet.  I don’t know that it’s fair to judge a classic by my modern standards but I am concerned about reading classics that are discriminatory, especially if it’s not blatant like in The Scarlet Pimpernel.  I think reading affects who we are and how we think.  Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I think reading enough books that had racism in it would eventually desensitize me to it.  But maybe I could learn something from these old novels about how not to be racist.  I don’t know!!

How do you react when you come across discrimination, sexism, racissm etc in classic or old novels? Have you ever read a classic novel that was so racist/sexist/discriminatory that you couldn’t finish it?

 

Book vs. Movie: Flipped

Book vs. Movie: Flipped

flipped-movie-posterOn April 18, my friend Karena from Discovery Writer wanted to watch Flipped and I hadn’t read the book yet.  I had it sitting on my kindle waiting to be read – I just hadn’t gotten around to it.  So I was faced with the dilemma that all book lovers have – book or movie first??  I still had about 4 hours before we would get together…and the book was only 200 pages long…so I told Karena that I would read it before coming to her house that night.  She didn’t quite believe that I could start and finish a book in that time (and make dinner for my kids, too).  And I was all: Is that a challenge?

I finished Flipped right before going to her house.  You can read my book review of Flipped here.  I really liked the themes in the book of valuing what’s on the inside instead of on the outside.  We had a lot of fun chatting about the movie while we watched it and here’s what we thought.

flipped movieFlipped was such a cute movie.  Like most adorable romantic comedies,  I thought the music in the movie was very cheesy.  Karena didn’t notice the music much, but it bugged me.  Melodramatic is a good word for the score.  The setting, characters, and dialogue were very similar to the book.  There were small inconsistencies in the plot but overall it was extremely close to the book.  It was so close to the book and had so much voiceover that Karena said, “That’s the greatest movie I’ve ever seen on audiobook.”  Haha that totally made me laugh.  It really was like watching an audiobook version of the book since they were almost exactly the same.  I noticed the very small differences only because I literally had just barely read the book. If I had read the book even a week earlier I don’t think I would have noticed hardly any differences.

flipped movie 1That being said there is one major difference between the book and the movie.  The book has a contemporary, early 2000s setting while the movie has a 1950s setting.  The movie also highlighted some things that I didn’t get from the book.  It wasn’t so gross just reading about snakes eating eggs, but watching it? Definitely gross.  I also got the feeling from the movie that when Bryce’s dad accuses Juli’s brothers of doing drugs that it was because he had done drugs as a teen.  It’s just a theory, but the way he looked ashamed in the movie and then how in the book it talked about him getting very quiet after that made me think that he probably did.

The ending was much better in the book. View Spoiler »

Overall, despite the fact that the plot of the movie and book are virtually the same (as well as a lot of the dialogue and characters even), I would still pick the book over the movie because the book just went into more detail and made me more emotionally invested in the characters than the movie was able to.

3 Stars

Movie Trailer