Skill and Slavery || Gilded Cage Review

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Initial Thoughts:

Hot damn, but this was a very good book. It was DARK by the end, and now I’m bummed because I have to wait for the second book, but omg, that ending though. I can’t trust anyone in this book! And I definitely should have told myself not to get attached to people. TOO LATE DAMMIT.


GILDED CAGE

by Vic James
Del Rey, February 2017
YA fantasy, dystopia
Rated: 4 / 5 cookies
provided by NetGalley (thank you!)

gildedcageOur world belongs to the Equals — aristocrats with magical gifts — and all commoners must serve them for ten years. But behind the gates of England’s grandest estate lies a power that could break the world.

A girl thirsts for love and knowledge.

Abi is a servant to England’s most powerful family, but her spirit is free. So when she falls for one of the noble-born sons, Abi faces a terrible choice. Uncovering the family’s secrets might win her liberty, but will her heart pay the price?

A boy dreams of revolution.

Abi’s brother, Luke, is enslaved in a brutal factory town. Far from his family and cruelly oppressed, he makes friends whose ideals could cost him everything. Now Luke has discovered there may be a power even greater than magic: revolution.

And an aristocrat will remake the world with his dark gifts.

He is a shadow in the glittering world of the Equals, with mysterious powers no one else understands. But will he liberate—or destroy?

Down with the Monarchy, Down with Equality

This book took me a bit by surprise. Not so much because I’d expected it to be bad, but that I’d expected something as heady as slavery and politics to be a slow read and not at all the fast-paced narration I’d encountered in Gilded Cage. So when I started reading, there were many things that I had to soak in and think about, things that I didn’t really see coming, and characters that definitely made me go “OMG X IS REALLY Y HOW CAN I TRUST THIS LITTLE SHIT EVER AGAIN?” by the end of the book.

Luke’s little sis and her friends were careering round behind the house shrieking at the tops of their voices, while some unforgivably awful C-pop boy band blared through the living room window.

The time of the Equals. First off, I did want to point out that one of the most interesting things for me is that this particular England mirrors more of a modern England than any other time period. There are cars and magazines and TV and technology. Heck, the opening scene follows Luke and his family during his sister Daisy’s 10th birthday, and already from the first few paragraphs we are shown that the Hadleys seem to be a regular family living a routine, regular life. Luke is attempting to study for his exams, his older sister Abi is reading a smutty romance novel, and his sister Daisy is partying with her friends. Nothing out of the ordinary, right?

Until, of course, we are told a page or two later that this seemingly ordinary English life is fitted within a city drenched in a history of slavery. And it is still happening as of the beginning of Gilded Cage. Instead of open rebellion against such injustice, Luke takes it in stride and mostly for granted up until his parents sign the entire family up into ten years of enslavement. Then things begin to change for the Hadley family.

Let me tell you, those first few pages in Chapter 1 were already a doozy. Imagine an England where citizenship is not allowed to non-Equals unless they consign themselves into a decade-long servitude. Imagine these non-Equals taking it for what it is and not opposing the government, because what can the Skilless really do against the Skilled Equals, whose mysterious powers are beyond their understanding. It’s pretty heavy stuff, and right then and there I was already on the mindset that things were about to get pretty dark, pretty damn fast.

“Oh, shit” indeed, Varric.

The book largely tells the story of Luke and Abi, brother and sister whose parents decided to take their entire family into the slavedays, where they and their family enter into a period of slavery in order to fulfill their citizenship obligations. Abi, evidently the smartest of the three siblings, has managed to sign her entire family up into servitude at Kynestone, the household of one of the most powerful Equal families in England. It looked like a cushy 10-year position for everyone, except for one thing. By some stroke of misfortune, Luke is separated from his family and taken to Millmoor–a town where slaves are treated like animals. Working conditions are poor, difficult, and very long at Millmoor, and to Luke, it’s only the start of what looks like the most miserable ten years of his life.

Enter the various points of view that really helped with the pacing. I had initially thought the main POVs would be that of Luke and Abi (and quite possibly Daisy, because many reviews mention her a lot), but the book itself had many more characters that were given chapter POVs. It really added a more in-depth look of the inner workings of the Skill and the characters who wield them. It also gave a more in-depth look at some of the character motivations on both sides. After all, it isn’t just Luke and Abi roaming the pages, there’s also Silyen, Euterpe, Gavar, and Bouda. At first I thought this would become problematic, considering a lot of these secondary character POVs only showed up once or twice, but honestly, their chapters helped to form the bigger picture of the world of the Equals.

Beside him, her own exams long since completed, Abi was lost in one of her favorite trashy novels. Luke gave it the side-eye and cringed at the title: Her Master’s Slave. She was nearly finished, and had another pastel-covered horror lined up. The Heir’s Temptation. How someone as smart as his big sister could read such rubbish was beyond him.

And on a related note, I totally related to Abi. Completely and utterly.

“It’s an ability, origin unknown, manifesting in a very small fraction of the population and passed down through our bloodlines. Some talents are universal, such as restoration–that is, healing. Others, such as alteration, persuasion, perception, and infliction, manifest in different degrees from person to person.”

“Magic, you could say?” Silyen offered.

Then there’s the Skill itself. As of Gilded Cage, not much is known about how it manifests in a few people, and what the limits of the Skill are. Some Skilled people are clearly kill-able, yet the how is still a little vague. In some cases, the plot conveniently kills off Skilled people in a fire. Yet others are burned and mutilated, yet somehow within minutes and quite possibly seconds, they are right as rain. There was a bit of explanation about why some siblings had a great deal of Skill while others didn’t, but it was only briefly touched upon, and not altogether fully developed. It will be interesting to see how the Skill continues to be unraveled within the later books.

In the Philippines, Skilled priests regularly repelled dangerous weather systems that threatened their islands. What were Britain’s Equals capable of? Abi wasn’t sure.

The fact that the Skill manifested within the rest of the world makes this magical system even more interesting!

…word must have gone round the whole of Zone D.

And Luke had talked it into existence.

Thinking about that made his head spin. It was almost like Skill–conjuring up something out of nothing.

“There no magic more powerful than the human spirit,” Jackson had said at the third and final club meeting. Luke was beginning to dare to hope that was true.

I couldn’t say which place had been the most interesting part of the book. On the one hand, I thought Luke was getting more action within the story, having been mistakenly thrown into Millmoor as opposed as being stuck in the Jardine household. On the other hand, a lot of political bullshittery hit the fan within the Jardine household that I almost wished Abi had taken some sort of initiative and went out of her way to find out more about the household she served. I mean, there were parts where Abi did do something, but I thought she’d been sidelined as a character who pined for someone unattainable and slaved away as a secretary. She’s much more than that, and I really hope she gets a bit more into the plot in the next book (and from the look of things, it sounds like she will be!).

Be warned: This book ends in a cliffhanger ending. And you might want to cry just a bit if you get attached to certain characters. Because OMG HEARTBREAKING THINGS HAPPEN.

You tell ’em, Meredith!

4 out of 5 cookies! Did I think the pacing work for the book? Yes, I did! Did I enjoy the politics behind it? Surprisingly, I did! Honestly, I thought Bouda Matravers played a great game, though she wasn’t the only one with far-reaching ambitions. Do I want the next book now? Ugh. Don’t talk to me about another trilogy. Because of course I want the next book now.

This book counts as #5 of the Flights of Fantasy Challenge.


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Did you read this book? What did you think?

A Hierarchy of Sixth Senses || The Bone Season Review

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Initial Response: 

Hngrrsrrdhhhggghgh. Okay, Ms. Shannon. You win. I laughed and rolled my eyes and everything, but that didn’t seem to stop me from going “WAIT NO. DON’T STOP THE STORY NOW.” Damn this series.

THE BONE SEASON

by Samantha Shannon
Bloomsbury, August 2013
YA science fiction, fantasy, dystopia
Rated: 4 / 5 cookies

boneseasonThe year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

First let me tell you about how I had avoided this book for a good few years because reasons.

A) It was overhyped. I’d heard about this book from so many sources, yet when I started browsing the reviews, there were some pretty scathing reviews that practically tore the material apart. Not that this would have stopped me from reading anything (critics should never really be the deciding matter if the book itself interests you), but it certainly gave me pause, because hype-fail, you guys.

B) I wasn’t really feeling like reading another UK-based book. At the time, I’d already read the first book of Shades of LondonThe Friday Society, several of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and The Golden Compass, which practically was a book based in Oxford. Not to mention the television shows I’ve been following that’s based in the UK. So as an Anglophile, I was pretty Anglo-tired.

THAT SAID, I saw this on one of my TBTBSantee’s wishlists, and decided if I was going to read at least one book that I’d send to my TBTBSantee, it was going to be The Bone Season.

This was a good decision on my part.

What I Loved

clairvoyance

The order of unnaturalness. The first thing I saw when I opened the book was a two-page categorization of voyants. Look at all those fancy names for divining! There were so many “mancies” that I was slightly surprised “somnomancer” wasn’t on the list. I mean, it makes absolute sense to be able to tap into the aether through the process of sleeping and dreaming, right? If there’s a dreamwalker, there has to be a dreamgiver. THERE HAS TO BE.

(Oh boy, did I just call a part of the plot? I’m letting y’all know that I totally did.)

But seriously, you guys. I love it when magical systems are charted out. I appreciate how much work authors put into doing it, and let me tell you right now, it’s a general bitch to do. I should know, I’ve tried it many times, and for the most part, I’m still trying. Is hard work.

The key was in the door when I arrived. I turned it and stepped quietly onto the flagstones.

Not quietly enough. The second I crossed the threshold, my keeper was on his feet. His eyes blazed.

“Where have you been?”

I kept a tenuous mental guard up. “Outside.”

“You were told to return here if the siren sounded.”

“I thought you meant to Magdalen, not this exact room. You should be more specific.”

Paige, you sassy Irish girl, you. Never mind that Paige has been enslaved, put under the scrutiny of super-powered non-human entities, and given the limited option of dancing to the Rephaim’s grueling, tortuous tune or dying gruesomely in the hands of the Emim. She still has time to be insolent to her own effing keeper. I mean, how much more sassy can you get?

“I’m sure the angels are sorry.”

“They despise her.”

“You don’t say.”

“I do.” He was clearly amused by my disdain. “We have only been speaking for two minutes, Paige. Try not to waste all your sarcasm in one breath.”

I wanted to kill him. As it happened, I couldn’t.

The fact that Warden can sass back is just as fantastic. Actually, Warden reminds me of a few characters I ended up liking at the end of the story, albeit he keeps the feisty female a captive in his home. Don’t be surprised that this pretty Rephaim man with yellow eyes (OH COME ON, GUYS. YOU KNOW I LIKE GOLDEN-EYED MALES) turns out to be a not-so-evil-guy.

Welcome to No Man’s Land. Your test is simple, return to Sheol I in as little time as possible. You have no food, no water, and no map. Use your gift. Trust your instincts.

And do me this honor: survive the night. I’m sure you would rather not be rescued.

Good luck.

Alright, okay, maybe that was pretty diabolical on his part. But considering the other Rephaim, Warden’s the best support system Paige can have in Sheol I. (Not to mention, at least he’s not a jackass like Jax…).

Anyway, if I was going to put Arcturus Mesarthim in my boy-crushometer (I really should have one of those…just saying), I’d put him somewhere above Sarkan from Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and a great deal below Valek from Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study.

Very little hijinks happens. But it so happens, yes it do. Honestly, Warden’s interactions with Paige are some of my favorite dialogues in the book, so again, don’t be surprised if hijinks happen. Don’t, however, hold your breath, because for the most part, the book doesn’t focus on any romance. Most of it was pretty subtle up until a certain point, where the way was made pretty clear who Paige was holding a candle for. I thought this was a good move. I liked that the romance doesn’t overpower the rest of the book, and that it gradually got built up to a somewhat steamy, um, okay, so no explosions just yet. But I’m expecting one in the later books, yes I am!

“The mind of an amaurotic is like water…But a clairvoyant mind is more like oil, richer in every way. And like oil and water, they can never truly mix…”

Something occurred to me. “If voyant minds are like oil”–I weighed my words–“what are your minds like?”…

“Fire.”

IF THAT IS NOT INDICATION OF HIJINKS, I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS. *cough*

Love/Hate Relationships

“We all know their false names.”

“And what might those be?”

“The White Binder, the Red Vision, the Black Diamond, the Pale Dreamer, the Martyred Muse, the Chained Fury, and the Silent Bell.”

The Seven Seals and Jaxon Hall. I admit, I didn’t see the particular appeal of being a part of this crew. I know the gangs are pretty much where clairvoyants go to hide from the government, but I always thought Jax took his mime-lording too far. Paige has this hero-worship complex with Jax–and in some ways, with Nick–that I wasn’t a big fan of. I hope at some point she eventually does make a break from the gang, though I will say that I’m fascinated by what each of the Seven Seals can do. The little that I’d seen in the book piqued my interest in that matter. And I will say this about Jax, he does have a flair about him.

What I Didn’t Like

A lot of the story revolves around two things: Paige’s involvement with the Seven Seals and her present situation in Sheol I. There’s a lot of back-and-forth from present and past in the narrative, and I admit at times it got cumbersome. There was already too much information being thrown at the reader, so I could have done with a little less of that and more of the actual plot.

Overall info-dumping and worldbuilding. Occasionally I did feel that Paige was unnecessarily “derped” out for the benefit of the reader. The first few chapters certainly lent to that belief, because there was just so much information being thrown in. There was the whole mess with the Scion conglomeration, then there was the deal with the voyants and oxygen bars and mime-lords. That was just the first few chapters, too, because soon after, BAM, we get hit with even more terms and politics, what with the Rephaim and Emim and Sheol I being thrown into the picture.

That silly glossary. On top of that, there were several words used for the same type of voyant that were explained within the parameters of the novel, so I didn’t see why there was a need for a list at the back. I’ve never been a big fan of glossaries at the end of the books; I rarely turn to them to look up a word, considering this just distracts me from the story. Then, of course, none of the terms for the different types of voyants are defined in the back, which I thought would have been the more important appendix to have. Personally, I thought it was much more important to know what the hell an extispicist or a macharomancer is than to know what a Buzzer or dollymop was (I swear dollymop was used only once and somehow it made its way to the back of the book…WHY?!).

4 out of 5 cookies! I will have to pick up the next book, though I do understand this is to be a seven-book series. I’m still not sure why, unless Ms. Shannon is going to drag out the conflict and romance (oh god, I really hope not…I really, really hope not).

This book counts as #1 for the Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge and #1 for the Food and Fiction Reading Challenge (which I will make a separate post about once I actually put pictures up…the snowstorm I got this weekend kind of made it impossible to go out and get ingredients, lol!).


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Have you read this book? What did you think?

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I dreaded writing this review not because I hated the book, but because of the emotional wreck the book left me in right after I finished it. And before that, I was mostly wanting to throw the book out the window. But that wasn’t happening because my window has screens and I actually like my Kindle.

Warning: Since this is undoubtedly the third–and FINAL–book of the Divergent trilogy, there are bound to be spoilerish things from the previous two books. I will try to minimize these, though.


ALLEGIANT

by Veronica Roth
Katherine Tegen Books, 2013
YA dystopian
Rated: cookieratingcookieratingcookierating / 5 cookies

allegiantThe faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningliess. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend to complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

(And I think I’m going to revert back to my usual review format, because jumbly thoughts on this is going to end up with me getting all frustrated and teary-eyed again.)

What I Loved

The dual perspectives. I was pleasantly surprised by Tobias’ perspective, and I took to it rather quickly. Of course, this made me suspicious about how the ending was going to go, but that suspicion pretty much got pushed to the back of my mind because reading Tobias’ thought process was kind of refreshing. Not that I minded Tris’ perspective for three books. I think she gets better developmentally throughout.

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Obligatory Tris/Four picture. Obviously. Ahem.

Tris. If she wasn’t already the main character of the trilogy, I’d totally Limelight Lady her. By book 3, I’m normally irritated by the YA heroine (yes, this includes Katniss), but I actually still liked Tris, even during thought processes that led her to some of the silliest decisions ever. I think the dual perspectives truly did help, because then it was easier to detach myself as a reader when it was Tobias looking at Tris through a different set of eyes.

The bromance is real. Can I just say that I like it when guys do their guy-hugs in books? I think it’s cute. I also like that there are relationships blossoming outside of the norm, and I found it kind of sad that this whole GD vs. GP thing is now going to get in the way of meaningful romance between certain characters. Anyway, this is getting away from my point. The point is, Zeke and Tobias as besties are much <3.

Who run the world? Girls! By the end of this book, it’s pretty apparent that many of the leading figures throughout the story were females. Jeanine practically began a war. Amanda Ritter was pretty much a founder of the faction system. Tori and Johanna led their respective factions for some time, and Evelyn became the leader of the factionless. True, many of these women get carried away and make numerous mistakes, but the fact that they’ve risen so high is something worth admiring. Also, need I mention the awesomeness that is Tris, Christina, and Cara? Yeah. Badass.

Love/Hate Relationships

Tobias. I both want to hug Tobias and kick him off the top of a building. I’m still mad at how things ended with Uriah, for one, and even madder when Tobias continued to make every other stupid decision available to man. One of the saving graces about Tobias, though, is that he eventually owns up to his mistakes and sooner or later, he does something grandly right. His final confrontation with Evelyn was pretty much the cream of his decision-making in Allegiant, so much so that I may or may not have teared by the end of it.

Heartbreaking deaths. I’ve read quite a bit of G.R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, so I’m supposed to learn well enough that GETTING ATTACHED TO CHARACTERS IS A BAD IDEA. But what decent book out there refuses to try to engage the reader with the characters on the page? I can’t help getting attached. So when characters started dying off–particularly the named ones–I was clearly going to be upset. And as I said in my Insurgent review, Roth has a way with dealing with grief that’s super-genuine. I’m not even going to talk about the irony in the Tori-George situation. Ugh. I cannot.

The romance. I found the random bouts of romantic gestures amusing. Sometimes I thought Tris/Tobias snogged way too much. Sometimes I thought they didn’t snog enough. Most of the time I just kept muttering at the book because I was wondering why they haven’t just gotten the sex over with. Lord, me reading books with adult romances doesn’t help. Yes, I know it’s a YA, keep your britches together, people. I’m just saying, I could have done with more on some parts, and much less on others.

What I Didn’t Like

I have been a part of too many uprisings in my short life. The factionless, and now this GD one, apparently. – Tobias Eaton

The constant barrage of uprisings and revolutions. I was not happy about where the story went outside of Chicago. You’d think the researchers would learn from their observations and know NOT to start one uprising after another. But no. Nope nope nope. Honestly, I thought Evelyn turning into Jeanine was a decent segue into the third book, and I liked how that plotline ended. The addition of a third and maybe fourth revolution (GD vs. GP) within the compound was excessive. By that point I just wanted the damn story to end, enough that I was not against someone releasing airborne death serum everywhere.

‘I’m not saying your genes aren’t different,’ I say. ‘I’m just saying that doesn’t mean one set is damaged and one set isn’t. The genes for blue eyes and brown eyes are different too, but are blue eyes ‘damaged’? It’s like they just arbitrarily decided that one kind of DNA was bad and the other was good.’ – Tris Prior

Wisdom from the mouth of babes. How are you going to tell me that Tris is one of the few people with this clear an insight into a person’s genetics? The girl has been in one faction environment after the other, and yes, she’s found her footing, but gods, shame on everyone else–especially the higher authorities–for creating such a division amongst GD and GP in the first place. I was so annoyed by this thinking, and I’m surprised Tris hasn’t gone crazy over this herself.

Some characters not getting their comeuppance. Yeah. I’m a vengeful lady. I wasn’t exactly happy about how a number of characters got away with the shit they did throughout the books. And yes, that’s nice, people in Roth’s post-apocalyptic world rose above their primal need to shank some bitches. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.

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Okay, I think I’m going to stop there.

3 out of 5 cookies!


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Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

This is probably the second YA dystopian where I liked the sequel better than the first book. Not by much, but definitely enough to garner an enjoyable factor of five Goodreads stars. Not that the book was perfect (really, it’s probably closer to 4.5 stars, but Goodreads doesn’t let me rate in decimals!), but I certainly found it riveting enough that I immediately picked up Allegiant soon after.

Warning: As this is the second book of the Divergent series, it will not be a completely spoiler-free review (though I try not to give too much away).


INSURGENT

by Veronica Roth
Katherine Tegen Books, May 2012
YA dystopia
Rated: cookieratingcookieratingcookieratingcookieratingcookiehalfrating / 5 cookies

insurgentOne choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Gifly Thoughts

So this book pretty much starts where Divergent left off: mainly that shmat hit the fan within the Dauntless, Erudite, and Abnegation factions. Candor and Amity are hardly untouched by the problems faced in the previous book, and it is in Insurgent where we see how all five factions work with respect to the greater world at hand. Oh, and lots of guilt-ridden angst.

Frankly, the angst alone could have driven anyone up the wall and back and this book could easily be ripped to shreds over how annoyingly gloomy characters are. The mushy mushiness of the main characters in the beginning of the book could have further broken the book for me, too.

I CAN’T HELP SHIP THEM THOUGH.

But the angst and romance worked in this situation. Tris went through a lot of identity crises moments during Divergent, and in the end of that book, she finds herself shooting one of her best friends (MY HEART IS STILL BROKEN BY THIS BY THE WAY). This sends her on the most epic guilt trip ever. I say epic because throughout Insurgent Tris is suffering the consequences of her Dauntless-perpetuated actions of shooting first and asking questions later, which further sends her spiraling downward in her search for faction identity and self-worth. It doesn’t help that the people she’s consorting with consist of Divergents, those who’ve betrayed their factions but remain loyal to faction standards, and those factionless looking to overthrow a faction-driven government. If I were in her shoes, I’d go out of my mind with angst, too.

Then there’s Four to deal with on a regular basis, and a lot of the romance they’d developed in the first book are shaken by trust issues in the sequel. This will-they-won’t-they attitude would have sent me down the eye-rolling path had it not been for their constant discussions about their damn feelings. Admittedly, the banter was fun in that respect (drugged-out Tris was pretty damn hilarious), and some of their arguments were much needed considering the shmat they went through in Divergent and the shmat they went through in Insurgent. I mean, Tris has a lot of issues about her having killed someone she cared about, and Four himself is having a hard time coming to terms with the possibility of losing people he cares about. Which is probably why I still ship them, and why I still adore Four. Also, I actually appreciated much of the snogging going on here. No shame.

Burning and boiling inside me is the desire to live. I don’t want to die I don’t want to die I don’t want to!

Which brings me to my favorite part of Insurgent: character development. There was a lot of that happening here, even amongst the action and downtime exposition. I saw recurring characters get more limelight, found many of them so endearing that their tragedies became as heartbreaking as Tris’ predicament. The book handled grief and guilt really well, and the factions were fleshed out in their ways of living. Tris, in my opinion, had the best development of them all. She’d seriously gone from that girl with no sense of self, that girl with no regard for her life, to a girl who eventually finds her footing, enough that she begins to value her own survival. I admire that change, and it’s probably why I have such high regard for Tris by the end of book 2.

There’s a scene in the book that made me think of Nico Robin’s exclamation in One Piece. I found the scene captured Tris’ own desires of survival perfectly. And it’s frelling EPIC.

4.5 out of 5 cookies! I couldn’t help knock down half a cookie because of the darn cliffhanger ending. They’re the worst.

Extra note: Because I loved this book quite a bit, I don’t think I can bring myself to watch the movie. From what I heard, there is a lot of glossing over on the angst, and there’s no Uriah!


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25 Reads: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Better late to the party than never having arrived, am I right?

I meant to write an overall review of the entire trilogy, but I realized I wasn’t going to be doing the series justice, considering I’ll probably be rating each book differently. Already Insurgent is feeling a bit more epic than Divergent as far as my enjoyment factor goes, so I’ll do separate reviews for each.


DIVERGENT

by Veronica Roth
Katherine Tegen Books, 2012
YA dystopian
Rated: cookieratingcookieratingcookieratingcookierating / 5 cookies

divergentIn Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Gifly Thoughts

I don’t know why it took me this long to start this series. I’d been contemplating reading this book since the hype for it began, and thought: “Oh, this might fill the void that Uglies and The Hunger Games trilogies left me with!” Years later and two movies down, I finally decided to get myself in gear and finally read up on what the hype was about.

Of course, this didn’t stop me from watching parts of the movie before I’d read the book. I blame my cousin for that. And Maggie Q. Not that it matters because I pretty much wasn’t paying attention to the movie anyway. Now that I’ve read the book, though…I might just have to watch it fully.

toridivergent

I was a little underwhelmed that they cast Maggie Q into such a tiny tiny role as Tori. Well, I suppose she’s not too tiny, considering what happens in Insurgent but that’s much later.

I probably won’t get as much kick at watching the movie than I did about reading the book, because then I can imagine Four the way I like. Not that movie-Four strays too far from imagination, mind. That being said, I loved the characters. They felt “real” in a “they all have feeeeeeeelings” kind of way, and every single one of them had some sort of physical and personality trait that told them apart from the others. Will and Christina and Al, Uriah and Zeke and Marlene, Eric and Edward and Peter even. I much appreciated the characters because even the most annoying ones are not completely two-dimensional. Unless, of course, you’re Jeanine, but that’s a different story.

This basic bitch though. (I LOVE YOU KATE WINSLET!)

Tris beats herself down a lot, which did get ingratiatingly annoying, since some of the smallest fictional females I know pack the biggest punch. At this point, I wasn’t sure I was loving Tris at all. Then, of course, the fear simulations began and I admit I gained a growing admiration for this tiny girl with many flaws. Things moved slowly with her as far as making friends and gaining ground within Dauntless went, but somewhere in the book shit happens and things escalate in a manner that made me go: “WAIT. WHAT’S HAPPENING. OMG MUST KEEP READING.”

Or maybe that was lack of sleep talking, who knows.

The romance I liked. I’d say more on the matter, but there really isn’t much else to say other than that I actually see myself shipping it. I like Four. I like Tris. Together they make me giggle a bit because their conversations tended to blow hot and cold and yikes that boy knows how to save and sweep a girl off her Dauntless feet. Not that Tris needs much help on the saving department, though I’m sure she appreciates not having to do everything herself once in a while.

Yes. I’ll admit it. They both have major swag. That’s why they should be together. LOL.

The only thing that bummed me about this book was that I got a bit attached to characters that died. Boo, Roth, BOO.

4 out of 5 cookies!


christinadivergent