I enjoyed this book more than the previous one as with all the major players either back in Society or working for The Rising, there was a lot more ac...moreI enjoyed this book more than the previous one as with all the major players either back in Society or working for The Rising, there was a lot more action happening. Also, I enjoyed getting Xander’s POV in this book as his job as a medic fighting the Plague was a really interesting one as were his internal thoughts about Cassia. Still, this book failed to excite me. The storyline didn’t throw up anything that surprised me and it ended in a rather predictable way, which will please fans who get upset when authors try to do anything unpredictable with their major characters(less)
Unlike the first book in the series, Matched which is told from Cassia’s point of view, Crossed is told from the point of view of both Cassia and Ky....moreUnlike the first book in the series, Matched which is told from Cassia’s point of view, Crossed is told from the point of view of both Cassia and Ky. Whilst initially, I did enjoy getting into the head of the mysterious Ky, I found that having two POVs did slow the pace of the book down. Unfortunately, the book did not benefit from this slower pace. Crossed is a ultimately book about a journey and getting the characters to where they need to be for the events of final book to be played out. Therefore, not an awful lot happens, especially when comparing it to everything that happened in Matched. There are some really nice moments and some interesting reveals, but all in all it is not that exciting. I did enjoy the introduction of the characters Indie and Eli both who gave the plot a good nudge along when it needed it the most. Also, like Matched, I enjoyed the focus on the importance of literature and art on humanity.(less)
I was a little nervous about this book going in. Whilst I like a little romance in my books, I don’t enjoy books where the romance is the main focus....moreI was a little nervous about this book going in. Whilst I like a little romance in my books, I don’t enjoy books where the romance is the main focus. Matched could have gone down the path of being a romance novel, but it didn’t and I was extremely grateful for that. In fact, the romance in Matched is just a little detour from the main action. The main focus of the book is Cassia’s journey from being a good citizen to starting to overthrow the system. It is a brilliant glimpse into the mind of someone who is witnessing their whole world collapse around them – and there isn’t much time to be focusing on romance when that is going on. I also love the importance that poetry has in this book and the effect it has on Cassia. Condie could have used anything ‘forbidden’ to drive her protagonist, but the fact she used poetry and the one poem she chose in particular was inspired and thought provoking.
If you are a seasoned reader of Dystopian novels, the world in which this book is set is nothing new. It has all the Dystopian stables – controlling ‘benevolent’ government, mysterious pills, uniformed clothing, controlled leisure activities etc. However, it is what the author does within this world that is interesting and the way she ‘cracks’ her main character from within her bubble.
I devoured this book in a single sitting. I think I got up once to replenish my drink, that is how tightly this book gripped me. I love books like this. The fact that a day after completing this novel I find my mind wandering back to it along with the urge to leave work early so I can devour the sequel is a sign of how much I enjoyed this book.(less)
I really enjoyed this book as it allowed us to explore more of the Uglies universe but without focusing on Tally and her journey. This book follows th...moreI really enjoyed this book as it allowed us to explore more of the Uglies universe but without focusing on Tally and her journey. This book follows the story of a Aya, a young girl who just wants to be famous. In her world, fame is everything and determines everything from who your friends are to where you live. If you are famous, you have it made and if you aren’t, well then, you are an extra. It was a fascinating look at the Twitter/Facebook mentality taken to the extreme. I found the character of Aya very relatable. Who doesn’t, in some corner of their mind, want to be famous? Who has not thought, at some stage, that being popular will solve all their problems? This book explores all of these questions and more but not in a way that is preachy or talks down to its audience. For those of you who are Tally fans, she does make an appearance and it is interesting to get an outsider’s view of her and the way she treats other people. Hint: she really isn’t a nice person. Most of all I enjoyed the fact that the star of this book is someone who is not special in any way, except for the choices that she makes.
This book left me cold and I was quite thankful when it ended. It is not that it is badly written or has massive plot holes. It is just that I no long...moreThis book left me cold and I was quite thankful when it ended. It is not that it is badly written or has massive plot holes. It is just that I no longer cared about the characters or what happens to them. This was because that once again, Tally starts the book being ‘re-booted’ and therefore disconnected from the events of the previous books. This plot device worked in Pretties when Tally went undercover to see if the cure would work. However, doing it again and for no compelling reason made me as a reader disconnect. If Tally doesn’t really care about the issues that were important to her in Uglies and Pretties, then why should the reader? The reader has gone on this journey of discovery and growth during the past 2 books, but Tally has not gone there with us. Therefore the character felt to me as someone I used to be friends with and whilst I have a passing interest in what happens to her, I am just no longer emotionally involved. The parts of the book that should have delivered an emotional punch, just didn’t. It’s a shame really as I enjoyed the world in which this series was set and I would have loved to remained emotionally connected to the story the whole way through.
I didn’t enjoy Pretties as much as I did Uglies and I’m having a hard time trying to articulate why, perhaps it is due to Second Book Syndrome. But fo...moreI didn’t enjoy Pretties as much as I did Uglies and I’m having a hard time trying to articulate why, perhaps it is due to Second Book Syndrome. But for whatever reason Pretties didn’t captivate me as much as Uglies did.
In Uglies, whilst Tally was forced initially to go to The Smoke, what she did there and the choices she made were of her own doing, but in Pretties, everything happens to Tally and she rarely takes an active part in determining her own fate. She is just swept up in the tide of change that other people have initiated. This irritated me and probably lead to me not enjoying the book as much as I did the first one.
However, that is not to say that Pretties is a bad book. It isn’t. We are still on the path of discovery about this new world and some of the things we discover along the way are rather shocking. I’m just hoping that this book was the lead-up to something good. A slightly tricky path the reader needs to navigate to reach the pay-off.
This book was published in 2005, so I’m a little slow in discovering it, but I’m really glad I did. This book is a fantastic mix of dystopia and sci-f...moreThis book was published in 2005, so I’m a little slow in discovering it, but I’m really glad I did. This book is a fantastic mix of dystopia and sci-fi. The world as we know it is no more and Tally’s world has taken over – a world in which they think jealousy and wars can be prevented if everyone was gorgeous. Let’s face it, we have all wanted to wake up one morning and find ourselves beautiful, thinking that will solve all of our problems. This book takes that yearning to the extreme and shows us that even if the exterior looks pretty, it doesn’t mean the interior is. And the interior here is frightening.
I really liked the main character of Tally. She is like the vast majority of us, growing up in our tiny bubbles and it is only when she is forced to look beneath the exterior that she starts to question things and by questioning things, she grows as a person.
I also really loved the digs at our current culture, what the people in Tally’s world call Rusties. She is appalled at our indiscriminate use of natural resources and has been taught to believe that we were all crazy (she may have a point there). However, it is in our world that her world got its start – our focus on pretty things and people and our ever-growing reliance on disposable items. Tally’s world is our world taken to its most superficial extreme and it is both frightening and intriguing.
I'm really nervous about final books of series as they can either finish the series perfectly or destroy the whole thing, and you don't know which the...moreI'm really nervous about final books of series as they can either finish the series perfectly or destroy the whole thing, and you don't know which the book is going to be until you are almost halfway through. Thankfully, this book is one of those wonderful final books that leaves you satisfied rather than in despair.
In Outpost, we learn more about the world of Razorland, the different type of settlements that arose and some more answers about what exactly happened. What I really liked about the book is that the author didn't make things easy for Deuce. What annoys me in books is when the protagonist has a revolutionary, never-tried-before idea which she then goes off and achieves without any problems whatsoever. Not so for Deuce, she really fights to get any traction for her 'crazy' scheme and I appreciated this reality. It is a good lesson for life, especially in this instant gratification world. Nothing comes easy or quickly for any characters in this book. In fact, things are quite brutal.
The book neatly wraps up all of its threads and leaves the vast majority of characters exactly where you want them to be left. However there is action, adventure and heatbreak along the way which means that even though you think you know how this is all going to be played out, you are going to end up with quite a few surprises. Just like a good book should do.
Every now and again, I like to take a break from the sci-fi/fantasy genre and I have to admit I do enjoy a little foray into historical fiction, espec...moreEvery now and again, I like to take a break from the sci-fi/fantasy genre and I have to admit I do enjoy a little foray into historical fiction, especially LGBT historical fiction.
This book was an easy read and I enjoyed that the events of the present were broken up by chapters exploring the past. It was a really good format for this kind of book. The premise was interesting enough to grab my attention and the events in the book were enough to keep it. The book felt very much like a first novel, which it was, and that lack of skill was noticeable in parts. However, for young LGBT readers, who are not old enough for Sarah Waters but love historical fiction, I think this is a great book for them to read.
Wow, this book blew me away. I had heard good things about it, but I have heard good things about books I didn’t enjoy, so I went into this book not k...moreWow, this book blew me away. I had heard good things about it, but I have heard good things about books I didn’t enjoy, so I went into this book not knowing if I was going to like it or be disappointed. I fell in love with it partway through the first chapter. This book was a lovely mixture of The Night Circus and a depression-era American circus - a compelling combination of wonderous fantasy and brutal reality.
What I loved most about the book is that it features an intersexed main character. In fact, I think that this is the first intersexed main character in a fantasy book ever. It was a character that was so well written and researched that this character never felt like it was a coarse stereotype. Micah/Gene was so wonderfully brought to life that I have nothing but praise for Lam. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Also, the cast of other characters featured characters that were gay, bisexual and straight – all of them being more than their sexual orientation.
Also, I liked that the book didn’t have a big GAY CHARACTERS WITHIN blurb. I have nothing against that, but I want unsuspecting straight readers to pick up books that have LGBT characters and not purposely avoid them. I think, well okay, I hope that we are beyond a time when readers need to be warned that they may be exposed to the GAY. However, I do agree with the criticisms about the blurb that make it sound like it romance between Gene & Micah.
However, the blurb isn’t the book and the book is wonderous and rich and should be pressed into the hands of everyone who loves a great fantasy novel. If these people are part of your family, this would make an excellent Xmas gift, especially when the sequel Shadowplay is being released in January. Speaking of the sequel, who do I need to beg for an advanced copy as I’m not sure I can wait until January.
tl:dr summary: If you love great fantasy and intriguing characters, read this book now!
**spoiler alert** Once again this book suffered from what the other two books in this series suffered from – great ideas that are poorly executed. It’...more**spoiler alert** Once again this book suffered from what the other two books in this series suffered from – great ideas that are poorly executed. It’s a shame really because this book, as well of the rest of the series, had the ability to be really compelling, but it just doesn’t live up to the hype.
In this book, the story is told from the perspective of both Tris and Tobias and this fact gives away right from the beginning that one of them isn’t going to survive until the end. I was looking forward to getting inside Tobias’ head, but unfortunately, unless I took careful note of whose name was at the beginning of the chapter I had no idea whose head I was in until a character specific reference was made. The style of writing for both Tris and Tobias was exactly the same and this made it impossible to tell them apart. It takes a talented writer to be able to write in two completely different styles within the same book, but if you are going to have two characters telling the story, this needs to happen unless you want to totally confuse the reader. I admit I was confused most of the time about whose POV I was reading.
Another thing which disappointed me about this book was the reason why Tris and Tobias didn’t have sex. Now, I don’t think that sex needs to happen between characters that are romatically involved, but if you keep taking them to the brink of having sex like Roth did repeatedly during this book, they need to have a pretty damn compelling reason not to go through with it when the time presents itself. With Tris and Tobias both growing up Abnegation and hints being dropped throughout the book about the strict rules they have about sex before marriage, given that hand holding is as far as things get between unmarried couples, I was expecting that even though Tris and Tobias had both left their faction that this would be the reason why they couldn’t bring themselves to sleep together. I was hoping for some interesting internal struggles against what they had been brought up to believe and what they may or may not believe now, but that didn’t happen. Instead Tris put the brakes on things because she was embarassed to even take her shirt off because she felt she was too pale and her breasts were too small. I believe my reaction to that being the only reason given was ‘Are you f*cking kidding me?’. It was at this point, I stopped giving a shit about either of them because I had given up hope that they were going to develop into fully-formed characters. I know most of you gave up hope of that in the first book, but I was really hoping that as Roth gained more experience as a writer that her characters would become more real and well written, but they never did.
I was really disppointed in this series. It had so much potential, but it fell completely short of the mark.
**spoiler alert** After being slightly disappointed by the first book of the series Divergent, I really wanted to like this book, but unfotunately it...more**spoiler alert** After being slightly disappointed by the first book of the series Divergent, I really wanted to like this book, but unfotunately it suffers from the same thing that Divegent did – great ideas that are poorly executed. It is extremely frustrating to see hints of brillance that are buried under awkward character development and plot developments that don’t seem well thought out.
I still really dislike the relationship between Tris and Four. It still feels incredibly forced, especially now that the characters have different motives. What could have been a really interesting exploration of what happens to new love when the characters don’t agree about how to resolve the current conflict between the factions instead becomes superficial. The interactions between Tris and Four just don’t ring true and since this forms a large part of the plot, it brings the whole book down.
Anothing thing in the book which left me really annoyed was Lynn or more accurately Lynn suddenly coming out as she dies from a fatal gunshot wound. Now gay characters coming out of the closet right before they died was a popular thing back in the 80s and 90s when authors were scared about writing LGBT characters, but I honestly thought we had moved past that. We have no idea how LGBT people are regarded in the Divergent universe. Either they are accepted, which means Lynn should have been out and proud throughout both books or they are vilified, which means the other characters should have reacted when Lynn declared her love for Marlene, who died earlier on in the book. Instead Lynn’s declaration of love for Marlene is ignored by all the characters making Lynn’s disclosure pretty much irrelevent. I felt that Lynn only came out so that Roth could claim that the series had an LGBT character. It was a token move and therefore is extremely insulting to LGBT readers.
This is one book I feel will make a far better film then it does a book. There are lot of great ideas that a good scriptwriter can bring to life giving us the great story Insurgent really should be.