Monday, May 19, 2014

{Review} Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent
by Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #1
 Pages: 525
Release Date: May 1, 2012
by Katherine Tegen ( an imprint of Harper)

Goodreads / Purchase
Fighting for survival in a shattered world… the truth is her only hope.

The thrillingly dark sequel to No. 1 New York Times bestseller, DIVERGENT.

I have done bad things. I can’t take them back, and they are part of who I am.

Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. But she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future.

Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she must be stronger than ever… because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.

 
**SPOILERS**
 
I can't really put into words what I'm feeling right now.  This book was something, let me tell you.  So much better than the first book.
There is just something about this book and series that demands to be read.  You are sucked into the world and you don't want to leave.  This book was miles better than Divergent.  The first thing is the story line.  So much more happened in this book than in the first book.  There was a purpose to this book, whereas I felt like Divergent was kind of pointless.  But this story was fast-paced, complex, and interesting.  That being said...there were still some issues.
Something that can be easily messed up in a book with such a fast story and many escapes is the escapes are too easy.  I did find that that happened a few times in the book [SPOILER: most noticeably when Tris is captured by Eric and she's with a group of other Divergent next to an elevator block (pg 193) and Tris stabs Eric then starts to try to escape.  There are traitor Duantless around and they hold guns that shoot a gas that knocks out everyone but Divergent.  So Tris stabs Eric and LUCKILY the only guns the traitor Dauntless have is the ones that have the knock-out gas...which is stupid because obviously that won't work on any enemy in the room because Tris and co are Divergent.  SO WHY THE HELL WOULND'T THE TRAITOR DAUNTLESS HAVE REAL GUNS?!  Because they didn't have real guns Tris and the other Divergents were able to escape ] but other than that one event and a few others I felt like the escapes were very well done and well-staged as well.
However I felt like Veronica Roth treated the reader like a child.  I consider myself to be pretty smart and quick to catch on, so when a big thing happens in this book I think it through and figure out what it means and what impact it has.  But Roth has to write this huge revelation scene then later go back and explain it.  Readers are pretty good at figuring out things and don't need to be babied with information and have it explained to them.  This happened at least twice and just kind of annoyed me.  One example:[SPOILER: when Tris and Four and company are all with the Dauntless and they're taunting Four because he's “scared” of his father.  So Four is like “This has got to stop” then he goes and punches his dad.  Now I figured out immediately why he did this, but for some reason Roth felt the need to spell it out like her readers could never figure it out. ]
Other than that, pretty much everything else about this book was awesome.  It was a very addictive, enjoyable book, which is why I gave it 4 stars.  As said in my review of Divergent, I was not very impressed with how Roth [SPOILER: slipped in the war in the last 50 pages of the book.  But she developed the war very well in this book and I was very impressed with her comeback.  She kind of did the same kind of bad staging for the next book in this book but she developed it more before the ending so it worked out. ] I still would really like the action scenes to be explained better because from her mediocre descriptions I can't picture a scene.
There were several twists in this book that were like WHERE THE HECK DID THAT COME FROM?!  I have to give Veronica Roth credit for staging things in such a way that later events made perfect sense.  Some things I guessed [SPOILER: like Peter helping Tris escape when she gives herself to Jeneanne ] but other I didn't see coming at all [SPOILER: LIKE CALEB FREAKING BETRAYING HER! ]
 Also, that ending was absolutely crazy.  There was so much going on in that ending and it was so thrilling and crazy.  And OMG THAT CLIFFHANGER!
Now let's talk about the characters.  If you guys remember, I wasn't a huge fan of Tris (actually I hated her) in the first book.  But in this book I grew to like and respect her.  She is super messed up after what happened in the first book and she is much more vulnerable.  But in this book she is emotionally and mentally damaged and she becomes a much deeper, darker character.  I liked that we got to see the vulnerable side of her and it made her seem more human and definitely made her a more likable character.  Plus there wasn't all this shit about how she has to pretend to be weak like there was in the first book, so that helped.
However, I hated Four.  I never really liked him in the first place.  Unlike in the first book, I didn't imagine him as Theo James.  Four is just a very boring, underdeveloped character, even though we learned a bit more about him in this book.  But he was so annoying!  He wants Tris to tell him everything but doesn’t want to tell her anything.  That's not how a relationship works, man!  He shunned her and even when she was hurting and crying and crushed he just assumed “she was fine.”  Come on man, “find your humanity!” (OH YEAH TANGLED QUOTE!  I watch that movie way too much).  So I didn't enjoy the romance at all.
Honestly I'm scared for this next book.  [SPOILER: Roth killed off a few more loved characters in this book (Marlene and Lynn, and of course Jenneane even though I hate her) ] so I'm scared to see what she does in the final book *bites nails*.
 
 


4 stars

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

{Review} Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent
by Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #1
Pages: 487
Release Date: April 25, 2011
by Katherine Tegen Books (an imprint of Harper)

Goodreads / Purchase
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series--dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.


**MAJOR SPOILERS THROUGHOUT!**

Even though I started re-reading this book with the specific goal to love it as much as everyone else on this planet, I just couldn't.  I'm sorry, but I just couldn't.  I liked it better on the second read than on the first read, but still.

Mostly my problem is Fourtris.  But I'll get to that later.  I liked the writing, and I liked the idea.  It was the execution that was lacking.  A long initiation into a faction and oh yeah there's going to be a war that will be sneaked in during the last 50 pages or so.  Sounds good.  There was no build, no complex staging of any kind for the attack.  It was mostly Tris getting her ass kicked, acting like a child, and Four prancing around with Tris following him.  Plus the staging was really poor.  I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of this book when I thought the story line was very good and fast paced.  A lot happened.  It was during the second half that everything went to shit.  I think that it would also be nice to have the action scenes described a little better.  They were very hard to follow and imagine in my head and that really bugged me.
 
Just so many things didn't add up in the ending.  Why on earth would Tris shoot Eric in the foot and leg but not kill him? I'm sorry but what was she thinking?  And it was never explained how Four snapped out of it when he was about to shoot Tris because of the serum.  He “just heard her voice”?  Bullshit.  She had been talking to him for like 5 minutes before it got to the “I'm gonna shoot you” part.
 
But I was impressed with how courageous Veronica Roth was when it came to killing characters.  She doesn't care about your feels, she'll kill who she wants.  She killed off Will, Tris' mom and dad.  I couldn't believe it, so I definitely have to give her credit for that.

The characters were a problem.  I knew I hated Tris when I read this book for the first time so I tried REALLY HARD to love her this time round.  I'm sorry but I just can't.  She's so freaking annoying!  She's weak, no she's strong, actually she's emotional, nope she's a rock.  Back and forth.  I've figured it out.  Veronica Roth over-developed Tris.  She stuffed so many different personalities into one character that it just didn't work.  In the beginning I liked Tris...up until the first night after transferring when Al is crying and Tris is angry about it even though she was crying a second ago and she calls him weak.  From then on, I hated her.

Now I enjoyed Four's character a LOT more this time round.  Not because I suddenly felt a connection to his character, but because I imaged him as Theo James.  It made the experience of reading this book again much more pleasurable.  But if I wasn't imagining Four as Theo I would hate him because I just feel like we don't get a description of him.  We don't know what he looks like.  Okay, he has blue eyes and long fingers.  That's it!  So I didn't feel like I couldn't connect with him that way.  Plus his character is extremely underdeveloped and just like a piece of wood.  Also, that one scene where Tris says she's not pretty...HELL TO THE NO!  Here's a direct quote:

*looks for 20 minutes for the page because for some reason I didn't think to mark it when I read it I am an idiot*

“I just don't get it.  I'm younger.  I'm not pretty. I--”
He laughs, yadayadayada
“Don't pretend,” I say breathily.  “You know I'm not.  I'm not ugly, but I'm certainly not pretty.”
“Fine.  You're not pretty. So?”

 Acca-scuse me.  What did I just read?!  Okay yes I realize that saying “You're perfect just the way you are” or “You're beautiful to me” is cheesy, but you DO NOT tell a girl she isn't pretty and then make out with her.  What kind of sick man are you, Four?!  That's just not okay!!

Rant over.  Off to read Insurgent then Allegiant before I get spoiled.

I increased my rating by a half star because I liked the first part of the book.  You're welcome ;P


2 stars

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