Quote of the week

"All our dreams can come true; if we have the courage to pursue them" - Walt Disney

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Dog Eared YAs: Full Tilt

Hello there :)

Im back again after a long two week break from blogging and after the Deepavali Public Holiday, I went to the library to pick up yet another one of Neal Shusterman's paranormal thrillers! Presenting to you....

FULL TILT by Neal Shusterman

Look at those demonic eyes... *shivers*


Sixteen-year-old Blake has always been the responsible one in his dysfunctional family -- the one who drives safely, gets good grades, and looks after his wild younger brother, Quinn. Quinn is his brother's opposite -- a thrill-seeker who's always chasing the next scary rush, no matter what the cost. But Quinn and Blake are in for the surprise of their lives when they're thrust into the world of a bizarre phantom carnival -- and their souls are the price of admission.

In order to save his brother, and himself, Blake must survive seven different carnival rides before dawn. Seven rides...it sounds easy. But each ride is full of unexpected dangers, because each ride is a reflection of one of Blake's deepest fears. And the last ride is the worst one of all. Because that's the one that confronts Blake with a terrifying secret from his past -- a secret he's been running from for years.

Full of roller-coaster twists and turns, Neal Shusterman's latest page-turner is an Orpheus-like adventure into one boy's psyche.


Overall, FULL TILT was an exciting read, but I felt that the book cover was rather gaudy and inappropriate. At first look, I thought the book was about demons possessing people in an amusement park (however strange it might seem). Also, the book cover looks like its been randomly splashed with acrylic red paint, making it eye-catching, yet displeasing to the eye.

Cover aside, the plot got off to a slow and draggy start, but it eventually accelerated towards the later chapters when Blake and his companions finally entered the theme park. The back story and transition into the main crux of the plot was pretty average but things became more exciting later on. After they entered the park, the three friends accidentally split up and they were left to face each ride alone. Each of the rides were uniquely crafted and involved the main characters in different ways and roles. In some rides, there were animals, cars and boats; in other rides, there were pyramids, mirrors and giant whales. 

Either way, each ride offered a refreshing new challenge that seemed to bring the suspense up a notch.

The symbols were clear-cut and repetitive, making it easier for me to understand its significance and predict where it would next appear. For example, the turnstile had a large role throughout the entire book as it represented the entrance in the physical theme park, the pathway between two rides and eventually, the nebula exit the final ride.

The turnstile nebula at the final ride!
Finally, the theme of the book was pretty unique for the YA genre which earned it a big thumbs up! It focused on how the main protagonist was the "balance" while the main antagonist was the "imbalance". The evil antagonist was never able to triumph over Blake because he had an innate sense of balance. As long as he remained true to himself and accepted his tragic past, he would never succumb to the evil deeds and tricks of the antagonist. Such well-integrated and unique themes are rare gems in the YA genre and I would gladly choose them over any other love-revolution-dystopian themes any day!

To conclude, while FULL TILT is not the most outstanding book I have read so far, it still has its merits and is worth a read if you are interested in paranormal plot lines.

Till next time!