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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-12-08 22:18
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Divergent (Divergent Series) - Veronica Roth

In a dystopian Chicago, cut off from the rest of the country, the people are divided into 5 factions depending on their most prominent trait, which is found out through a process of simulations when they're 16. But Tris's simulation is inconclusive, she's what's called divergent and urged to keep that her secret because, as she finds out later, divergents are being hunted and killed. Tris decides to leave her home faction, Abnegation (selflessness is their motto, governing their part in society), for the Dauntless (the brave ones who function as society's security forces within and without), and is soon immersed in a brutal battle for initiation because whoever fails ends up being factionless, without purpose, without means depending wholly on the goodwill of others, i.e. Abnegation. But it turns out initiation isn't the only thing Tris has to worry about. There is her romance with her instructor Four, and there's trouble on the horizon for the whole society as the Erudite (who seek knowledge, but apparently also ambition and power) start to question Abnegation's role. But mere words don't seem enough in that battle, and maybe being a divergent is more important than Tris thought.

 

Well, another trilogy about a dystopian future, another society on the brink of extinction thinking of ways to divide and control its people, another first-person account of a 16-year old girl who finds herself inadvertently being different, being a leader, and being the hope of her people. Sounds familiar?

 

Still, the story in itself is interesting enough with the initiation ritual, the whole mindset of the 5 factions (just think about the whole population being divided in just 5 groups... is there nothing more than friendship, candor, knowledge, selflessness and bravery in the world?) and the way it's determined in which section you belong - because apparently, a youth chooses his or her faction, and can choose any faction even if the simulation points to another. So what's the point of the simulation before the choosing-ceremony? And what exactly is brave about attacking your opponents in their sleep or trying to kill them? The factions are meant to reduce crime, but apparently that only goes for inter-factional crime, because what happens within a faction stays within, and the rules for getting rid of opponents seem pretty flexible. That's one point that wasn't really fleshed out all that well.

 

As is the case with Four: He's Tris's instructor, and becomes her protector, so that she falls in love with him isn't that much of a leap. But what exactly makes him fall for her? He says it's because she's brave... well, but that's the character trait of all dauntless, isn't it?

 

Overall, the characters, except for maybe Tris herself, remain rather bland and 2-dimensional, so I'm not too invested in them. The novel itself is well written, the plot reasonably interesting (even though it could have used some tightening up in the middle), but I'm not sure if that's enough for me to pick up the other parts soon. I just have the feeling I've read it all already; there simply is a distinct lack of originality beyond the dystopian vision and of characterization which keeps me from yearning for more.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-03-13 00:25
TheeStoryTeller Speaks on...Allegiant
Allegiant - Veronica Roth

When I first read Divergent I thought,"YES! Something that's completely original! Something I've never read before!" 

 

I loved the characters, I loved the world, I loved the idea of the factions even though I knew that was just asking for trouble. But thats the point of every novel right? To ask for trouble for it's characters? Speaking of characters, I loved the fact that the side characters like Peter, Christina, and Caleb, were people. Not fillers. That is until Insurgent and Allegiant.

 

Imagine my dismay as I watched this series begin to crumble. As I watched Roth struggle to keep the originality of her story. Insurgent I felt was just an unnecessary filler book that completely dismantled everything I thought about the characters, but Allegiant takes that even a step further.

 

Okay, enough about the previous books. I have reviews on Goodreads if you wanna know how I felt about that. Lets get into Allegiant.

 

 

The only reason why I gave this a 3 out of 5 is because I actually do like the story.

 

I mean sure the plot didn't make sense at times. Especially with the whole, genetically damaged genes eventually making genetically pure genes if you procreate enough. If that were the case well then maybe my great great great grandchildren will have the cure for sickle cell disease swimming around in their veins. Anyway, so Veronica wasn't paying attention in Bio, I can relate. But research is always good for plots that have anything to do with Science. But regardless, I give her brownie points for at least trying to be different.

 

Characters

 

Most people felt like Tobias in Allegiant is to Tris in Insurgent. But I honestly don't think it was that bad. I completely understand Four's reaction to certain things, like being genetically damaged. That would make anyone feel insecure, especially if they have had that feeling for a while anyway. Bottom line is, no matter how tough Tobias appears, he's still a guy who was abused by his father as a kid and constantly felt or was told that he was worthless. Yes, he is insecure, and that makes him honest in my eyes. BUT, the whole not thinking things through situation is new to me. He was the one that always went off on Tris when she went on her little I'll sacrifice myself for everyone rampages 

More on that later.

 

But for him to just say okay to the chick he barely knows, while brushing off his girlfriend's warnings as jealousy, was so not Tobias in my opinion. You know what else was so not Tobias, that epilogue zip line scene. He sounded like Caleb, practically sniveling about how he didn't want to do it. I remember being like WTF, this doesn't sound like Tobias. Two years later or no, Tobias, who first of all overcame all of his fear landscapes, would not still be terrified of zip lining. And even if he was, he wouldn't show it. He would grit his teeth and get on the damn thing. I was so disgusted by him saying "Please. I don't want to do this." Did you somehow lose your balls during the two years that passed? Even the way he was talking to his mother and everyone else, it didn't even sound like his voice. I wasn't sure who it was and I think Roth might have noticed that too, hence all the clues she was dropping until she finally just blatantly had Tobias say "well I am your son Evelyn."

 

Sidenote: Roth does a lot of that. Telling instead of showing.  Instead of us just seeing something happen between two characters, somebody explains why they did what they did or how they're feeling. That is a storytelling no no.

 

Anyway..

 

Tris on the other hand, was way better than she was in Insurgent. Her confidence was back and she didn't turn into butter every time a gun was put in her hand. She had attitude, she was defiant, and she reminded me of why I liked her in Divergent. Even with her going in Caleb's place, I knew that was something Tris would do. But her death was not necessary. More on that later.

 

The sad part was watching characters that I really liked becoming flat fillers. Christina is only around when Tris needs someone other than Tobias to talk to. Same goes for Cara and Tobias. Caleb does nothing but mope around feeling miserable for what he's done. Uriah is the occasional "comedic relief" that is until he's... you know... blown up for no apparent reason other than it was about time for somebody else to die. Peter, who I liked for being proud of how much of an asshole he was, turns out to actually hate being an asshole. He wants to forget who he is and start over. Last time I checked, the memory serum takes away your memories, not your personality. Which is made even more apparent when it's stated later that the more "sharper" aspects of his personality came back.  I'm not even sure what the point of that was. Maybe if it had been made clear that Peter had some sort of inner struggle all along about the type of person he was, this would have worked. Instead it just comes off as random and pointless. I guess she realized that nothing had really happened with Peter lately, so she made something up.

 

Plot

 

So the genetically pure and the genetically damaged story has some kinks to be worked out, that is what it is. My problem is, why introduce a whole new conflict when the previous conflict has yet to be resolved. If we were going to go outside to the world beyond the gate and get some new crap shoved in our face, then the whole faction vs factionless dilemma should have ended in the second book. Or rather, it shouldn't have started in the 3rd book. Or it should have started and shutdown quickly. Anything to not have the plot so convoluted. Maybe she could have saved the whole GP and GD thing for a prequel series or something, I don't know. It's just too much going on in one book. It's to the point where we barely even know what's going on with the factions. They've been reduced to here and there snippets on the control room screens. I think I would have actually been okay with the 3rd book still focusing on the factions and factionless, and then ending with a group of people leaving the compound. Then we can have a few more books exploring the GP and GD conflict. Funny because in Insurgent, I was saying it should have been a two book series, but since she dropped this stuff on us, I'm thinking 2 more books could cover this new plot nicely. It's almost like halfway through writing the series she came up with another idea and felt like she just had to squeeze it in somehow. That was one of her biggest mistakes with this book.

 

The other was Evelyn throwing away years worth of work and determination just because Tobias asked her to. Its even more ridiculous to me because right before the scene Peter reminds Tobias that Evelyn almost got him killed by sending a group of people with guns after them when they were leaving the city, knowing that her son was among the people leaving. We also know that Evelyn doesn't take too kindly to betrayal. But low and behold Tobias says choose me or the city and it doesn't even take a second for her to choose him. You know I actually thought it was a trick. I'm reading and in my mind I'm like OMG, she's so faking it, something is going to happen, that was too easy! But no, nothing happened. She really was surrendering. And Marcus, Mr. Big Bad Wolf, was shut down by Johanna before he could even really begin to start a ruckus. And he actually gave up. Just like that. You mean that this conflict could have ended a long time ago if Evelyn had just surrendered? Then explain to me what the point of all this was? If all it took was for Tobias to say, "Hey mom, choose me," then why didn't they have that conversation when he was working side by side with her. Evelyn faked her own death for goodness sakes! You would think that having a family again is not exactly high on her priorities list. I literally pictured them fighting and Tobias force feeding her the memory serum. But it's almost like Roth is afraid of having completely evil characters. It seems like she tries to give all her bad guys some sort of redeeming quality, but it's really not necessary. Let a bad guy be a bad guy. That's their job. But since Roth apparently wants everybody to just forgive each other, we end up with a very anticlimactic end to that conflict. 

 

Now for that finale. That moment my friend told me is going to make my jaw drop. Honestly, it didn't. As soon as my friend told me I might not like the ending, I knew what was coming. I figured it would either be Tris or Tobias. And you know what, I would have been fine with it. It's realistic enough. I'm not the one to always want a happy ending anyway. But the way this ending happened was so forced, it's insulting. I can't help but feel like she, her publisher, somebody wanted this "shock factor". Cause lets face it, Tris's death was so unnecessary. It took away the chance for Caleb, the only person who actually did need redeeming, to prove that he wasn't a bad guy after all, just misled. I was completely okay with him sacrificing himself because it just made sense. But I just knew that Tris would steal the moment. But I didn't expect her to die because of it. I was expecting the whole she has more of a chance to survive the death serum thing. But David waiting with a gun? We don't even know what tipped him off. He just had a feeling because she had been running around with GD people all week? Thats complete bullshit. First of all, who else is she going to run around with? Those people are her friends and she's not going to cut them off just because you say they're damaged. Oh, and let's not forget that she saw him early in the day at a meeting! Don't you think if he suspected anything he would have brought it up then? But no, instead we get a random security lockdown that ruins the whole plan. If we had some clue or inkling that David was on to them, this might have worked. But instead she forces a situation that would allow Tris to die. And then we're supposed to be heartbroken for Tobias. First of all, it took pages for them to get back to the Bureau to learn what happened, by then I was just over it. The mini chapters of Tobias in his feelings didn't even move me because I was just pissed the whole time that Tris died is such a dumb way. I mean she had a whole conversation with David and was taking steps BACK. She could have dived behind some cover, grabbed her gun, shot David from around the corner and Initiate the memory serum and that would have been that. Hell maybe she could have took some shots too, but survivable ones.

 

I think in Roth's quest to be different, she threw logic out the window. But I'm sorry, to successfully kill off a main character, you better have a damn good reason to. That's why it's very rare, not only in books but in films. Roth could have gone so many ways with that ending. But she chose the wrong path for the sake of controversy, and that is the biggest disappointment about this series. 

 

You know what, that 3 out of 5 is more for the series as a whole. I would give this book more of a 2 out of 5.

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review 2016-01-19 06:21
Divergent - Veronica Roth

 

Reading a book like “Divergent” reminds me what I missed out on during my teen years.

 

I don’t mean wishing to live in Roth’s faction society. The majority of my reading as a younger person was garbage. I should give myself more credit, but it is hard not to laugh when I remember all the junk I devoured.

 

I wonder what group I would have fallen into it if I lived in Beatrice’s world. As a teenager I think I would have chosen Amity (with a shade of Erudite). Dauntless would have no appeal to me. I also would not have made it past their first day of initiation.


On to the book.

 

I love how Beatrice's personality is ambiguous. We don’t know it, nor does she. (yet). 

I love how Roth praises and criticizes each individual faction.

I love how Four isn't always likable.

I love the fear simulations.

I love that Beatrice's biggest conflict is with herself. 

I love how Roth shows us that conflicts with authority, insecurity, and isolation will emerge anywhere; even if you live in a weird, dystopian faction-led society.

I love what Roth tells us about Divergents.

 

Everyone is a Divergent, because no one can fit purely into one category. Four aesthetically depicts this when he shows Beatrice all the faction tattoos on his back. “I’d like to think I am one of each ,” he tells her.

 

And lastly.

 

These thoughts had been culminating in my head for this character as I turned the last pages. Four's background. Four's personality. Four's relationship with Beatrice. Four's relationship with Dauntless.

 

"Divergent" is Four’s story as much as Beatrice’s.

 

 

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text 2015-10-09 15:51
Bookhaul #18

I got some new books this month! One of them I got free from the author in return for an honest review, two of them are ones I really, really want to read and the other one is one I've already read, but the collector's edition came out this month so I got that one to complete my collection of this series.

New World Ashes by Jennifer Wilson is the second book in the New World trilogy and this one came out in September. I've already read the first book of this series this month and I'm going to read New World Ashes this weekend. I have also awesome news: Jennifer would like to give away her two books to one of my readers! So stay tuned because I think the giveaway will be up in the upcoming week!

 

Far From The Madding Crows by Thomas Hardy is a classic that has been really hyped up lately and the story sounds so damn interesting that I just picked it up. I cannot wait to read it!

 

Same thing goes for To Kill A Mockingbird. It's a shame I still haven't read it so I picked it up. Online there are only 50th anniversary editions of this book (and no you can't get that off, so annoying!) so when I saw this in the bookstore that's nearby the new school I go to (yay!) I just bought it because I. Have. To. Read. It. Lol.

 

The last book I bought is the Allegiant collector's edition which came out on October 6th. Yes that date was something! There were so many books coming out and big booknews that day but the one that I really wanted was this one. I've already read it the day it was released (so back then I read it on my e-reader), but I'm excited to re-read it at some point.

 

I'm quite happy with this haul. Not too many books and that's how I like it! The only book I will be getting for the rest of the month is an other edition of Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins, because the edition I had didn't match the other two in that series so I sold that one to a friend.

 

I also really like it how this pictured turned out. It's really autumnal haha!

 

What is the latest book you've bought?

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review 2015-08-16 18:36
Divergent Series, Books 1-3
Divergent Series Complete Box Set - Veronica Roth

This is probably the only time that I will say that the films were better than the books. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the series. The characters were painfully real and made their strange, dystopian world more believable. I’m definitely the type of reader that finds character development to be my make-or-break aspect of a book. With that said, I would recommend this series to anyone and everyone. Even people that don’t like YA Dystopian novels.

 

The main character, Tris is not a typical teenage girl. She’s quiet, temperamental and has a hero-complex. And to my surprise (no doubt to the surprise of all YA fans), the heroine is NOT beautiful. OK, so she’s not a stinker either, but she’s not one of those female leads that has glowing skin and flowing locks that make all the boys weak in the knees. She draws attention by her actions and bravery, an important trait for any lead to have. Her love interest, Four, also possesses enough strength and mystery to keep the reader interested. Together, these two characters make this book series great.

 

Now to the plot…

 

I’ll try and explain without any spoilers. Essentially, Tris and Four live in Chicago several generations after the fall out of a devastating World War. Their city is walled-off to the outside world, so they believe that they are the only people left. No one is allowed to leave. Inside the city, the people have been separated into groups—called Factions—based on their strongest character trait. Tris and Four have chosen Dauntless, a Faction that advocates bravery and strength. There, they learn that the leaders of another Faction is hunting Divergents, people who have tested positive for more than one faction.

 

Confused?

 

Don’t worry, it makes a lot more sense when you start reading. However, the complexity of their world is made even more complex when it comes to the testing done within each Faction. This is where the film takes the cake. In the book, the testing done for Dauntless initiates just doesn’t make much sense. In it, Tris is given a serum that allows her to live out her worst fears. While in her dream landscape, she is given the opportunity to conquer her fears. Here’s where we get to the stumbling block. In it, all she has to do is lower her heart rate and the simulation adjusts, moving onto another fear. So, for example, when she and Four are in his landscape, on top of a tall building, all they have to do is jump to move onto the next fear. Huh? So wait, is this book telling me that in order to conquer my fear of heights, all I have to do is plummet to my death? Yeah, I don’t get it either. Luckily, neither did the filmmakers, so they did away with this snag in the plot.

 

There were two more books in the series which I can’t go into without spoiling EVERYTHING. But I can say that more devious characters are revealed, mainly in the form of power-hungry adults that use the naivety of the young heroes to their benefit. But this story isn’t about young-versus-old. Rather it touches on a human tendency to create enemies out of strangers for being different—a topic that gets everyone’s backs up. The main characters fight for equality, for freedom, so of course the reader roots for them until the very end. There’s plenty of action and violence that will keep you reading and the complicated love story between Tris and Four compliments the rest of the plot, never overshadowing the bigger picture. The language of the text itself is straight-forward, like the characters, so it’s easy to read. Don’t expect any poetic prose or preaching—something that most will appreciate.  It's also a story that has plenty of quotable lines like, 'Faction before blood,' or 'Be brave.'

 

I would recommend this series to anyone, so long as you haven’t seen the films first. If you have, don’t expect to read the books and gain more insight, except when it comes to the more minor characters.

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