Escaping Peril–Tui T Sutherland

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This is the eighth book in the “Wings of Fire” series. These are YA books about dragons, and they are well done and fun to read. I read these with my daughter and it’s not a hardship.

That said, this isn’t the book to start with. Start with “Dragonet Prophecy” which is the first in the series. Otherwise you’ll be hopelessly lost.

This particular entry in the series does NOT depend heavily on a prophecy of some sort, which I very much appreciate because I’m so over prophecies as a plot device in YA books. Just stop with the prophecies, authors. It’s been done to death.

In this book, we focus on a dragon named Peril, first encountered in the first book in the series. She has a special power, firescales, which are exactly what they sound like. She burns whatever she touches. So…forests aren’t her thing. She was raised to be her queen’s personal champion and assassin, and not surprisingly was banished from her kingdom when that queen was overthrown.

She’s trying to make friends with other dragons and build a new life, but it’s not easy when you’re well known as the most dangerous creature in the world.

Then the deposed queen comes back full of threats and clearly in possession of a magic-using dragon, which is 1) very rare and 2) notoriously dangerous. Peril gets the idea that the best way to impress the other dragons and make friends is to go after the queen herself and kill her. She goes off into the wild, accompanied by another dragon who is looking for some friends who were also tracking the old queen.

From there, of course, things get nasty.

These are fun books and if you like YA books, I recommend the series. Start at the beginning, though.

The Maze Runner-James Dashner

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This is a famous book–they’ve made a movie about it, which I haven’t seen. And I think there are sequels and perhaps a second movie. I knew that it was out there in the world and basically that it was yet another YA dystopian world book. But that was all I knew.

I was completely surprised by the way the book unfolded. It is not what I expected. At all. Which is not to say it wasn’t good, just that it took me a bit of time to acclimate my inherent assumptions about style and concept from the title and genre to what was really happening.

In this book, there’s a big open area with a couple of buildings, fields, farmland, and a wooded area. This area is bordered on all four sides by huge concrete walls with openings into a maze that surrounds the open area. These walls move to close overnight. There are monsters in the maze, monsters that are at least partially man-made. They can sting you and you need a shot of medicine to survive that. If you can’t get the shot, you can’t survive. The monsters are mostly out at night, and since the doors close at night, no one goes out into the maze at night.

Everyone there is a teenaged boy and they are all delivered to the grove by an underground elevator which also brings supplies, with no memory of anything from before they arrived. The goal is to survive and find the path out of the maze. This is tricky because the walls of the maze move overnight, so they have to start fresh each day.

Then one day a child comes at a unexpected time, and it’s a girl, and she has a note that says, “She is the last, ever.” And then the doors stop closing at night and the monsters come into the grove and start taking children from the group.

Obviously, they need to pick up their urgency on solving the maze.

It’s a good book. It’s compelling and fast-paced. It’s easy to read and intriguing and I might even read the sequel.

City of Bones–Cassandra Clare

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This is the first of the mortal instruments series, which I understand has been made into a movie that I haven’t seen yet.

In this book, we meet Clary, who follows some strangers into a back room at a bar and gets involved in a massive fight and murder.

This is how she discovers that all the stories you hear are true. There are vampires, werewolves, elves and warlocks. And her new friends are shadowhunters, which means they protect the mortals of this world.

She goes home to find her apartment destroyed, her mom missing, and her apartment infested with demons. She goes with the shadowhunters and discovers that her mom was a shadowhunter and she should have been one too.

Her mom’s been hiding her from her dad, who had started an ultimately unsuccessful rebellion. He was supposed to have died in the course of it, along with her older brother.

But as it turns out, he didn’t die and now he’s trying again.

There’s not really a lot that I can say beyond that without spoiling the plot completely. It’s fun and fast paced and worth a read.