Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Book Review: Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth

Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth
Release Date: 23rd October 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 536
Rating: 3.5/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 ODY and 2013 BSR

Summary from Goodreads:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"The 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 meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love."

** Spoiler Alert: Read at your own risk**
**Like seriously, SPOILERS**

I don't really know where to start with this one. Because, whilst this was a good wrap up to the series and explained everything well, there were some glaring problems.

Let's start with the characters. The character's are the same character's you still know and love. With the dual perspective split between Tris and Tobias, we get a new insight into Tobias, even if he sounds exactly the same as Tris. There's problem number one - when reading Tobias' chapters, I usually forgot it wasn't Tris, then got super confused and had to refer back to the beginning of the chapter to see that I wasn't actually reading from Tris' perspective. I understand why the dual perspective is there, but I think it could have been done better. Back to the characters - what I appreciate is that Tris stays true to herself, to her character that has been established in the previous books. Roth was very brave to write the ending as she did, and I appreciate the guts it took to go through with that, even though it was obvious that some people would be annoyed. But, honestly, that ending couldn't have gone any other way. Tris is the brave, self sacrificing girl who would die for her loved ones - she would not let her brother Caleb, no matter what he did to her, do to his death - she just wouldn't. So props to Roth for staying true to the characters and writing the ending the way you did. However, I didn't like how Tris' big plan to save everyone was to wipe everyone's memories - Tris is supposed to be the moral compass, I don't see her ever thinking that this is a good idea. 

Moving on, something that obviously needed to be addressed in this novel was all the mysteries surrounding Divergence, and the factions system, and Edith Prior's video at the end of Insurgent. And, we did get those answers, although they were a bit lacklustre. The whole explanation and reasoning made sense, but I think we were all hoping that it was going to be something more, something less obvious maybe? I'm not entirely sure, I just know that when I read the explanation, I was like..Yeah no that makes sense. I wasn't like...OH MY LORD THAT'S WHY!?! Which is kinda how I wanted to be. Also, something else that irked me...we never got a full, detailed explanation as to why Caleb sold Tris out to Jeanine. I was so pumped for a explanation for that, and I read in an article that Roth said we'd be getting some answers, but we actually didn't get anything. I wanted that explained, and considering how long the novel was, a paragraph or two to explain Caleb's actions could have been thrown in (of could have even replaced something else).

Now let's get to the plot and the writing. This is where the most glaring issues were. The timing of this novel wasn't right. We begin quite strong, our little group ventures out beyond the fence, they reach their destination quite quickly, and then we get an info dump. The explanation for pretty much everything (Divergence, the factions set-up, what it's aiming to correct, etc etc) is thrown at us in one big dump, and within the space of a chapter or two. And then, for about 300 pages or so, next to nothing happens. Between the first couple of chapters and the big finale, it's just dead space. There are scenes in there that serve no purpose, and the action that's been present in Divergent and Insurgent is lacking. People are making stupid decisions and doing things that serve no purpose to the main plot. And then, at around the 400 page mark, with Tris' declaration to erase everyone's memories, everything picks up. We get the action, we get some movement, things are happening, and then Tris dies, we slow down a bit, everything gets resolved, and the book is over. And then we have the beautiful epilogue that makes you wonder if it can save the entire book. But it can't, it just can't.

That 300 page dead space could have been condensed to under 100 pages and then the book would have been the perfect length, and the story would be progressing along at pretty much the perfect speed. Considering that Roth has had the book planned since the very beginning, I'm surprised that she wasn't able to completely pull it off. However, it did give me the answers that I wanted, and beginning and ending of the book were strong. So, should you read this? If you've been reading the series, then how could you not give this a go after the ending of Insurgent? If you're wondering whether to start the series, I'm almost tempted to tell you not to, but if you think you can push through some bad writing in the final book, then give it a go. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Booking by Number's Q&A

In my transversing of the blogosphere recently, I've seen a few people doing this. Jess Hearts Books thought up this great little bookish Q&A about our bookshelves, and I thought I'd give it a go!

The idea is to find a random number generator and enter the number of books you have on your bookshelf Then, for each question, draw a number and find that book on your bookshelf. So without further ado...

Book Number: 26 Book: Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging by Lousie Rennison
Q1) Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it?
I don't know If I've said it enough, but I'm a big fan of Louise Rennison's books. This one was the first novel of her's I read, and I couldn't stop laughing through the entire Georgia Nicholson series.

Book Number: 85 Book: Wither by Lauren Destefano 
Q2) Why did you purchase this book? Were you recommended it? Was it a random purpose?
I'd heard a lot about this series via the blogosphere and had it on my wishlist for a while before I decided to buy it with Christmas money one year.

Book Number: 40 Book: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
Q3) Based on what you know about this book which other book blogger would you recommend it to?
I really enjoy this series, but Deja Dead was a dense start. I guess anyone who enjoys crime novels would enjoy this one.

Book Number: 39 Book: The Deathly Hallows by J.K Rowling
Q4) Who's this books bookshelf neighbour?
TDH sits nicely between Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Twilight.

Book Number: 59 b The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Q5) How many books have you read by this book's author?
I don't think it's any surprise that my answer is zero for this one.

Book Number: 20 Book: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Q6) Do you have any special memories attached to this book?
Sort-of. This is one of the first books I ever read as part of a challenge. I wasn't sure if challenges were something I could stick to when I started (as it turns out, that year I was pretty dismal at reading at all), but I like to think I'm pretty good with them now.

Book Number: 57 Book: Beautiful Days by Anna Godbersen
Q7) If this book part of a series? If it is are you up to date with the series?
Yep it is, and nope I'm not, although I do have the final book in the trilogy and plan to read it soon.

Book Number: 71 Book: Time Stops for No Mouse by Michael Hoeye
Q8) Is this book something you'd typically read or is it out of your comfort zone?
This is something I'd typically read. Maybe not so much now-a-days, since all our characters are mice, but its still a mystery book, and I do enjoy a good mystery or two.

Book Number: 17 Book: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Q9) Have you reviewed this book? If yes then share a link to it.
My fangirling in gifs review 

Book Number: 101 Book: Once by Anna Carey
Q10) Where did you buy this book from?
A little stall in my local shopping centre that was selling books for only $10 (sadly it's gone now)

Book Number: 3 Book: Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes
Q11) Roughly how long have you owned this book for?
Years. I think this may have been given to me as a gift when I was in Year 8, so I would have been 15 - so roughly 5 years.

Book Number: 91 Book: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
Q12) Share the first sentence of this book.
"I bear a deep red stain that runs from my left shoulder down to my right hip, a trail left by the herbwitch's poison that my mother used to try to expel me from her womb"
Well, that's definitely not what I thought the opening sentence would be - I really should read this soon!

Book Number: 41 Book: New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Q13) What's your opinion on the book's cover?
Ehh. White flower with red highlights. Doesn't really do anything for me. 

Book Number: 63 Book: Splintered by A.G Howard
Q14) In a few sentences, describe this book in your own words.
Pure genius. A completely original and enthralling retelling of Alice in Wonderland. Just...so good!

And that's it! I enjoyed exploring my bookshelf - you should give it a go too!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday (26)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted at Pen to Paper

I'm late!!! What with the lead up to finals, this week has been hectic. Luckily this was only a day late. 

This week I'm wishing for...

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Summary from Goodreads:
"St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever."

Why I'm Wishing for It:
I hear so much about this series. I seems that everyone has read this series, and loved it, but I've been on the fence about this series for a while now. I think I want to take the plunge, give it a go. At least borrow it from my library, I don't even have to commit to buying it. But, this is officially near the top of my wishlist. 

What about you? What are you wishing for this week?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Book Review: Ruby Red (Precious Stone Trilogy #1) by Kerstin Gier

Ruby Red (Precious Stone Trilogy #1) by Kerstin Gier
Release Date: 10th May 2011
Publisher: Henry Holt 
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 322
Rating: 4.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 ODY and 2013 BSR

Summary from Goodreads:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust."

This was a quick, fun read for someone looking just for that. Not sure if time travel is your thing - then I suggest you give this one a go.

Ruby Red is a quick, addictive read, about a 16 year old girl named Gwyn who's just discovered she can time travel. With zero preparation, she's inducted into this secret society, travels back in time, and unearths mystery after mystery. I loved how engrossed in this book I was - I didn't think I would be! In the first couple of chapters, possibly even the second, we're thrown into the time travel aspect. There's no slow build up - it's literally just, Yeah so there's this random time travel gene in my family. Holy crap, I can time travel! And I loved that - I enjoy being thrown right into the story.

And the mysteries - there were a lot of mystery's established, revolving around Gwyn, her family, and almost everyone in the secret time travel society (I forget what they're actual name is). I like that these are set up here, ready to be solved in the following books. And that twist at the end, that we only get to see in the epilogue - well done Gier, you kept me busy with all the other mysteries that I didn't even think about that one.

I loved a lot of the aspects in this novel - the plot, as i've established, was written well, there was a mix of characters you love (Gwyn, Lesley) and those you don't (Charlotte, Creepy Saint-Germain), but the main problem I had with this book was that it felt too short. Now, I'm not sitting here complaining that a book I loved was over too soon, what I'm getting at is that the pacing just... wasn't quite right. We get thrown into the action, introduced to this new world, establish some relationships, get to a scene that feels super important, and then BAM, book ends. I just don't think it ended properly.

Regardless, I'm definitely going to read the sequels, hopefully soon since I'm sure they'll be so easy to just fly through.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Let's Talk: Authors I Have To Read

Let's Talk is a weekly meme hosted by Melissa at i swim for oceans. Each week, there's a new topic to discuss. 

This week, let's talk about Authors You Can't Help But Be Loyal To.

Do you ever read books simply because they're from an author you love, rather than because of the book itself?  

Oh yes, yes indeed. There are a couple of authors who I can't help but buy their books, but the number of those are very few, and lucky I'm always interested in the book. For example, I read everything Marian Keyes publishes, and I own most of her books. I've been reading her novels since I was in 7th grade. So, every time I hear/see that a new Marian Keyes novel is being released, I know I have to buy it. It has to sit on my bookshelf with the rest of my collection. Luckily, I'm always interested in the book.

Another good example is Louise Rennison. I read her Georgia Nicholson series when I was younger and absolutely loved it. So when I discovered her latest series, Misadventures of Tallulah Casey, I had to buy it. I even went so far as to buy the second and third novel before I'd even read the first one, because they were by Louise Rennison. I don't think this series is as good as the Georgia Nicholson series, but I'll read it all.

There are a couple of authors who I've only discovered in the past couple of years who I know I'll read again. Michelle Hodkin, Laini Taylor, Marissa Meyer, Veronica Roth, A.G Howard are some, just to name a few. I might not be completely sold on the book, but since I've already read novels by them and thought they were amazing, it's pretty darn likely that I'll read and enjoy whatever they write. 

So in answer to the question, yes, I read book purely because of the author, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. If you've had a good experience with their novels in the past, it's almost always a safe bet that you'll enjoy their next book.
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