It was well-written enough that I wanted to keep reading it, despite that fact that it had serious (and I do meI have mixed feelings about this book.
It was well-written enough that I wanted to keep reading it, despite that fact that it had serious (and I do mean serious) flaws. YA dystopias in general are all about suspending belief, and this was no exception. It takes place in the not so distant future, after World War Three has wiped out all of humanity except for those living in North America, because we have the most modern technology. (really?) Those people that are left have somehow managed to find a cure for cancer and pretty much anything else that can kill people. As a side effect of that, they are having children that aren't living very long. A mysterious illness kills girls at the age of 20 and boys at the age of 25. No idea why boys fare slightly better than girls, since it's not explained in this book.
All of that is pretty ridiculous, but it gets weirder. It's common practice for girls of child bearing age to be kidnapped from the streets or even their homes and forced to become brides of wealthy young men. The hope is they will reproduce and scientists can use their babies to find an antidote to the virus. This is what happens to the main character, Rhine. It is also apparently common practice for these young men to have more than one wife, and Rhine is just one of three wives. There are other aspects of the story that are pretty ridiculous, (what we would consider to be statutory rape) that other reviewers called "squicky". Yeah, I would consider most of what goes on in this book to be squicky, but it is supposed to be relatively commonplace in this society. Wealthy young men who can afford to buy wives often buy more than one, and since women don't live past the age of 20, any girl who is of child bearing age is considered fair game.
Once I was able to get past those things, I could enjoy this book. Pretty much every chapter ended with a cliffhanger, so I just had to find out what happened next. I expect that with the other two books in this trilogy, I'm going to have to suspend belief just as much, but the story was compelling enough that I want to read them....more
Review to follow maybe at some point when I can form coherent thoughts about what I just went through.
OK. I think I'm ready. Maybe. Perhaps.
When AllegReview to follow maybe at some point when I can form coherent thoughts about what I just went through.
OK. I think I'm ready. Maybe. Perhaps.
When Allegiant begins, the society that was portrayed in the first book is about to self destruct. The factionless are planning to take over and do away with factions altogether. There are those who would like to see the factions stay in place, and those are the Allegiant. In order to help the Allegiant cause, Tris and some of the others travel outside the city to seek assistance, if there is, in fact, anyone even left alive outside the city.
They end up in a government compound, and pretty much every question that is raised in the first two books is answered, and all loose ends are tied up. (view spoiler)[ It turns out that the whole society was an experiment, and the factions were a way of correcting undesirable behavior. Everything worked like gangbusters for about seven generations, until the events at the end of Divergent. The experiment was created because it was figured out that there were people with "healed genes" (the genetically pure or GP, or Divergent) and people with "damaged genes" (genetically damaged or GD). There's nothing wrong with the GD, per se, but the GP are genetically superior. They are held in higher esteem in society and given more important jobs, whereas the GD are given menial tasks and can rarely rise in the ranks. The hope was that one day eventually those with damaged genes would be weeded out, in a sort of "survival of the fittest."
Needless to say, the uprising of the factionless and the ensuing war that was about to go down between them and the Allegiant was going to put a serious damper on the experiment. But rather than call it a day, as they did in some other cities, the government was going to "reset" the citizens of Chicago so they wouldn't remember what the hell happened and the experiment could go on. This did raise some interesting questions about free will and how much the government has a right to do. So of course, Tris and the others decide that it's their responsibility to save the city from being reset. Tris, in typical Tris fashion, has to be the hero.
That is where I really wanted to throw my iPad at the wall. I was wondering why the book was written from the point of view of both Tris and Tobias, when the previous two books were written from only the point of view of Tris. Uh, yeah, it's really hard to have a narrator who is not alive. In other words, the author not only killed off a main character, she killed off THE main character, and for no damn good reason that I could figure out. I do think it wouldn't have been as impactful to kill off the character that I thought was going to die (Caleb), but the ending that we were stuck with was equivalent to if Katniss had died at the end of Mockingjay. Just no. Pretty much anything that happened after that, I didn't give a shit about. Luckily, there was really hardly anything left to the story after that.
For me, everything was a little bit too clean. There is something to be said for leaving something to the imagination. Yeah, I'm a picky bitch. If things are left too up in the air, I'm unhappy. Here, everything was tied neatly up with a bow and I'm still unhappy. There has to be some kind of middle ground. Everything was explained too much. I like the aura of mystery. I hate to bring up The Hunger Games again (actually, no, I don't), but Suzanne Collins left just enough to the imagination, as far as what takes place before the books actually start. We are told only what we need to know. We have to wonder about the rest. Veronica Roth spells out everything for us and doesn't leave us to fill in the blanks. That, ultimately, is what I had the most issue with. I don't think this is effective storytelling. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
After reading this, I'm really glad that Augusten Burroughs keeps mainly to non-fiction, and I sincerely hope he will never write fiction again. I lovAfter reading this, I'm really glad that Augusten Burroughs keeps mainly to non-fiction, and I sincerely hope he will never write fiction again. I love pretty much every book he's ever written, except this one. I will try not to hold it against him, since it's not his usual genre, but still.
A lot of people who reviewed this book said that they hated the character because they were shallow and vapid. I felt like that was the entire point, since this book was obviously a satire. But the whole thing wore thin after a while, and I just lost interest. I'm reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Mr. Burroughs: "I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions." That, I think, is where he missed the boat. The characters were definitely flawed, but for the most part, they weren't stitched together with good intentions. It's OK to have flawed characters, but when they have no redeeming qualities, it gets boring. That's one of the reasons I haven't enjoyed Chuck Palahniuk books for the past few years.
I will definitely read the next Augusten Burroughs memoir or book of essays, but if he ever writes another work of fiction, I will be hesitant....more
I feel the need to preface this by saying that while I am excited for the movie release of Divergent, I am having a little bit of a hard time with theI feel the need to preface this by saying that while I am excited for the movie release of Divergent, I am having a little bit of a hard time with the casting of Four/Tobias. I am aware that the actors who play teenagers are rarely teenagers themselves, but holy shit. On what planet could that actor pass for 18? And upon further review, he is 28 years old. Apparently there was no one closer to the age of 18 who could play that role. Yep. OK, rant over.
After reading Insurgent, I am starting to understand the purpose of factions a little bit more, but still having a hard time completely buying the premise. But something that Tris says when she meets the factionless for the first time does help. She says that without factions, people wouldn't know where they fit in society, which makes sense to a point, I guess.
This books suffers from a lot of the same problems that second books in a trilogy suffer from. Just enough is revealed to make the reader want more, and there is just enough action to keep it interesting. Certainly not all of the secrets are revealed, and the action is nothing compared to what will happen in book 3. All in all, it was a worthy successor to Divergent, and left enough of a cliffhanger to make me excited for Allegiant. ...more
I read The Giver when I was a kid, and it's one of my favorite books to this day. I liked that the ending was pretty up in the air. Some people thoughI read The Giver when I was a kid, and it's one of my favorite books to this day. I liked that the ending was pretty up in the air. Some people thought that Jonas and Gabriel died trying to make it out of their community, but I liked to think that they made it out and lived their lives Elsewhere. Then I found out about Gathering Blue, which I read, and which raised a whole new series of questions. Messenger answered a lot of those questions, and sealed Jonas and Gabriel's fate, which I found somewhat disappointing, because I had liked the ambiguity of The Giver's ending. Messenger didn't really scream out to me as needing another book after it. Matty had to be the sacrificial lamb of the village so it didn't get corrupted by evil, blah blah blah. Actually, come to think of it, none of these books screamed out to me as needing a conclusion. They ended on somewhat of an ambiguous note, but in a satisfying way that didn't leave you wanting to throw your book at a wall.
And that will bring us to Son, the last and final word in The Giver quartet. It is comprised of three books: Before, Between, and Beyond. Before takes place in the original community of The Giver, shortly before, during, and after the events in that book take place, and from a completely different point of view. I liked being able to see that world from the perspective of another character. It helped to fill in the gaps and answer some questions about Jonas' community. Between is pretty much exactly how it sounds, and for me it just served as a stark contrast to the world in Before and the one that exists in Between. Beyond picks up where Messenger left off, somewhat, and takes place in the community that Jonas and Gabriel escape to in The Giver.
After finishing Son, I don't exactly feel a deep sense of satisfaction. I gave it four stars because it was an incredibly gripping read, and it did answer some leftover questions, but I still have some questions, namely, did Trademaster represent all evil in the world, and if so, what does that mean for the other communities depicted in the series (the original one that Jonas and Claire came from, the one Kira came from, and the one where Claire ended up in Between). Also, why was Mentor no longer under Trademaster's power even before he was defeated by Gabriel?
I'm glad that I read this, but still think The Giver is the best book in the series and really can stand alone without the help of this book. Still, I would recommend it for people who felt dissatisfied with the way The Giver or Messenger ended. ...more
After extensively reading reviews of Reached, which is the third book in this trilogy, I've decided that this is the one and only book I will be readiAfter extensively reading reviews of Reached, which is the third book in this trilogy, I've decided that this is the one and only book I will be reading by Ally Condie. I wanted to see if it would even be worth it to read the other two books, but apparently, it's not. Apparently, it's all downhill from here.
This book reminded me a lot of The Giver, with a little Fahrenheit 451 thrown in for good measure. Both The Giver and Matched take place in societies where pretty much all free will is taken away. There is no choice in who you marry, what you eat, what your career is, how you spend your leisure time. But there is also little to no crime, no hunger, and terminal illnesses have been all but eradicated. Which begs the question, would you choose to live in such a society? Ultimately, the main characters in both books decide that they cannot, although for completely different reasons. In The Giver, Jonas chooses to rebel because he can no longer tolerate living in a world without love and emotions, even if it means living in a world that is not necessarily safe. Cassia decides to leave her community because she wants to be with a guy but can't be with him.
And on that note, I pretty much guessed all along that (view spoiler)[Cassia and Ky would end up together. You can't really call it a love triangle when it's obvious from the beginning who is going to end up together. (hide spoiler)]
In the end, I was left with many questions, but I simply didn't care enough to spend the time reading the other two books to find the answers (and according to the reviews of Reached, the author doesn't seem to be all that forthcoming with the answers anyway).["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I finally gave in and decided to read this. I wish Goodreads allowed half stars, because this was definitely not a three star book, but I'm not sure iI finally gave in and decided to read this. I wish Goodreads allowed half stars, because this was definitely not a three star book, but I'm not sure it was a four star one, either.
Divergent takes place in what used to be Chicago, where society is divided into five factions. Each faction upholds specific virtues. There's Candor (truth), Amity (kindness), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery) and Erudite (intelligence). The members of that faction are sworn to uphold that faction's virtue. Members of Candor can't lie, Abnegation must always think of others before themselves, etc. It was explained why society split off into these factions, but I still didn't entirely understand it. I suppose it's no more unbelievable than the idea that a government would send 24 children between the ages of 12 and 18 off to kill each other off in a fight to the death that is supposed to stop a rebellion from happening. And yet, I had an easier time accepting that.
But this is not The Hunger Games. Unfortunately. That said, I did enjoy it. I found the premise thought provoking. Imagine living in a society where you had to uphold only one virtue and forgo all others. Seems pretty boring to me. I also liked the idea of nature over nurture. When every citizen turns 16, they go through a choosing ceremony, where they can choose to stay with their faction, or turn their back on it. Once they turn their back on it, they can never go back. "Faction before blood."
I definitely want to read Insurgent, and then apparently I have to wait until October for Allegiant. I have lucked out in the past in that I didn't start reading trilogies or series until all of the books were out, so I didn't have to wait for the next one. Unfortunately for this one and the final Mortal Instruments book, I will have to wait....more