Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Blade of Shattered Hope, by James Dashner

I was really excited to pick up the Blade of Shattered Hope from the bookstore about a week ago. This is the 3rd book in Dashner's 5-part series, The 13th Reality. Here are my reviews for Books 1 and 2 of this series. They are awesome. Having said that, I believe that I liked the first and second books much better than the third. Without giving away too many spoilers (I hope), here are a few reasons why I had a less than stellar reading experience:
  • It was pretty dark compared to the others.
Granted, I understand why it's a lot darker: Mistress Jane is upping her game, Tick's trying to control his newfound power, and in the meantime, his own family is being attacked and mixed up in this whole Reality mess. But James, if I were humbly able to suggest anything to you, since it's the 3rd in a 5 part series, maybe you could have saved the darkness for the last 2 books? Then again, from the ending, I have no idea where you plan to go with this series, so I'll just leave the writing to you.
  • Very few entertaining riddles for Tick to solve, which I really loved in Book 1, the Journal of Curious Letters.
In fact, there was only one riddle, near the end, which wasn't that hard. Maybe that was because I decided to flip through the book to see the pictures ahead (correct me if I'm wrong, but there seem to be fewer illustrations in this volume than the others), and I accidentally saw the solution before I got to that part. So I ruined that for myself. ~,~
  • Tick has so much mood switches about his feelings about Mistress Jane, which had me utterly confused.
Jane is evil and twisted, yes, everyone knows that. But first he feels pity for her and what he's accidentally done to her (See The Hunt for Dark Infinity), then he hates her guts for doing stuff to his family and friends. Then he feels there might be a glimmer of hope for her yet, and then he goes insane and tries to kill her with his wild Chi-karda powers, without thinking about any consequences. Yeah. For some reason, I don't feel like I recognize Tick anymore. He used to use his head, but now he just goes with his gut.

Besides pointing these things out, I do have some good things to say about Shattered Hope. I learned more stuff about the supporting characters, like Tick's mom and his sister Lisa, both of whom haven't gotten a lot of coverage until now (Dad and Kayla had great roles in Book 1, I thought. I wish there was more of them here, though). Also Sofia gets more backstory, and Sato becomes a very key player in this adventure. I think I'm warming up to Sato now. He was a real jerk in Curious Letters, but now I see that he's quite loyal and brave and has lots of other good qualities. He makes a great leader, I'll tell you that.

This book isn't my favorite in the series thus far, but the ending will really surprise you. Trust me. I'm not that sure exactly how it happened, even though I read it, but it's still a great cliff-hanger and makes me curious about what happens next.

As a side note, and another suggestion to James Dashner, I read the index of important people and terms at the end of the book. My suggestion is that maybe you should have all the terms we've just learned from this book separate, from all the other terms that we learned in past books, because it makes it confusing when they're all bunched up together. I was reminded of Billy "the Goat" Cooper and the Barf Scarf and the Tingle Wraith and all these things that weren't important to Shattered Hope. To tell the truth, looking back on those story elements made me wonder... why are those things so important to the story? Why should they all be in an index? And I still don't know what the ugly birthmark on Tick's neck looks like! ~,~

Here's a link to my friend Graham's opinions of this same book. I think he shares my sentiments almost exactly.

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