I know this book has been around for a while but I finally just got the chance to read it. I see it as one of those titles that kind of started the whI know this book has been around for a while but I finally just got the chance to read it. I see it as one of those titles that kind of started the whole dystopian craze in YA fiction.
This is the story of Tally, an "ugly" who is weeks away from her 16th birthday, the monumental date when all uglies recieve their transformative surgeries that turn them into "pretties." Tally lives with all of the other uglies, away from all of the pretties. Children born to pretties stay with them until they are 12 and are then sent to dorms in Uglyville to live with other uglies until they are 16. During these last few weeks of ugliness, Tally befriends Shay, a rebel who plans to escape to "The Smoke" to avoid the pretty surgery and live out her life like an ugly. She wants Tally to go with her but Tally, her heart set on being pretty, refuses. On the day of her surgery, Tally is told that she must help the "Specials" (special circumstances) find Shay and the others who ran away in the past or she will be forcer to live her life out as an ugly. Tally agrees to look for her friend and is able to find her and her enclave in "The Smoke" after a dangerous journey. Hiding the fact that she is a spy sent to turn in the rebels, Tally finds her place amongst the Smokies, falls in love and is determined to stay with them and forget her mission. Her plan, however, backfires.
When I first started reading this book I thought it was a little silly . . . the whole idea of "Pretties" and "Uglies" and "littlies." However, the story line quickly grew on me. I appreciated Westerfeld's development of deeper themes such as our obsession with appearance and the references to the "Rusties," people who lived generations ago who messed up the environment through their overconsumption and greed. Good discussion points here. I am never thrilled when books end with complete cliffhangers. I like neat little packages. You HAVE to read the sequel to find out what happens to Tally and the rest of the rebels . .. ...more
**spoiler alert** I know I am late to the game with this series but I finally had a chance to read City of Bones and for the most part I liked it. Thi**spoiler alert** I know I am late to the game with this series but I finally had a chance to read City of Bones and for the most part I liked it. This is the story of Clary, a teenaged girl who finds herself able to see demons and Shadowhunters (demon killers) while at a club one night with her friend, Simon. Returning home that night, she finds her mother missing and finds herself thrown into the Shadowhunter world. As the mystery of what has happened to her mother unfolds, Clary discovers much about her own mysterious past, including the truth about her supposedly dead father. Clary is introduced to a cast of characters, most of them Shadowhunters, who help her find her mother and shed light on Shadowhunter lore.
There is lots of paranormal "fun" in this book . . . werewolves, vampires, demons and mentions of faeries and such. I think I am realizing that I am not really into the paranormal genre and most of these books fall a bit flat for me, but maybe I have not found the right one yet. This book was OK and, as I said, I liked it for the most part. I thought the characters were a little dry . . . there was nothing really standoutish about any of them, and they all kind of had the same voice and blended together a bit too much for me. I really wanted Clary and Jace to hook up and, well, if you read the book you know that they obviously can't in the end. If they could have gotten together that might have driven me right into the next book immediately, but I am going to keep it in my "to read" list and wait awhile, I think. Maybe I need romance with my paranormal to make it palatable . . . I am not sure.
Clare's writing is OK. I have read a lot of criticism of her because she "stole" ideas from Star Wars and Harry Potter. I don't think there is really such a thing as an original idea anymore, so that is not that big of a deal to me. However, I did see a lot of similarities to HP, "mundanes" vs. "muggles," retrieving a very powerful object that has gotten into the wrong hands, etc. Hodge, until he turned "bad" reminded me a lot of Professor Dumbledore. But that could just be coincidental.
So this book was OK. I will definitely talk it up to all of the paranormal-loving teens I serve because they will eat it up!...more
I had heard wonderful things about this book and thought I would give it a chance. I was not blown away by it but it held my interest and, despite itsI had heard wonderful things about this book and thought I would give it a chance. I was not blown away by it but it held my interest and, despite its 471 pages, it read very quickly.
Katsa (sounds so much like Katniss I couldn't stop thinking about the Hunter Games) is a Graceling, a "special" person who has an unusual, extreme skill that often makes them feared by "normal" people. Katsa's grace, so she believes, is her ability to kill, a skill that has made her a valuable member of her uncle, King Randa's, court. As the story unfolds, we learn that Katsa is not a heartless killer and grows weary of being her uncle's tool. She wants more from her life and says as much and ventures out to find herself. She is joined by Prince Po of Lienid, another Graceling who is determined to find out the mystery behind his grandfather's kidnapping. Together, Katsa and Po tread dangerous waters as they uncover a mystery that shakes up the entire "Seven Kingdoms."
There is a bit of love, adventure/action and intrigue here but just not quite enough for me. I liked the general gist of the story but felt that it dragged at times. I felt like Katsa was kind of a hollow, flat character. I really wanted to like her but she was kind of cold and as so manly and independent that it was kind of over-the-top. I had a heard time feeling connected to her relationship with Po. I kind of liked him but, again, felt like his character could have been better developed. I also thought there could have been a bit more action in this book - it tended to plod along at times and finally picked up at the end.
Overall, however, I liked the story and the premise and would recommend this as a light fantasy read, especially for girls. Boys too might like the fighting and the love scenes are pretty sparse and not a major part of the story. ...more
This book was fantastic. Reading it gave me the same adrenaline rush as reading The Hunger Games and not many books (if any) since The Hunger Games haThis book was fantastic. Reading it gave me the same adrenaline rush as reading The Hunger Games and not many books (if any) since The Hunger Games have done that for me.
Divergent takes plays in dystopian Chicago where society is divided into "factions" which each focus on a particular virtue: honesty, selflessness, peacefulness, intelligence and bravery. Beatrice, or Tris, as she is later called, is a member of the selfless Abnegation. When faction members turn 16, they undergo an analysis to see which faction they should choose to live in their adulthood. Tris realizes she is able to manipulate the testing and her results are inconclusive. Against her family's wishes, she decides to join the Dauntless (the brave) faction. As a new Dauntless initiate, she must undergo extensive training to prove she is strong enough for this tough faction. Tris grows up virtually overnight, discovering a dangerous secret about herself and learning about the roots of a revolution that will turn her seemingly peaceful society upside down.
I really like Tris. She reminds me a lot of Katniss in the way she uses her wits to get herself out of very tricky situations, yet all the while questioning her actions and weighing them against her morals. The supporting cast of characters is equally strong and complex, particularly Four, whose past emerges in bits and pieces throughout the book. The ending had me on the edge of my seat and I can't wait to read number two in the series - lots of loose ends to tie up. I haven't been this excited or driven to read the second book in any series in a very long time!
I would have given this book 4.5 stars if I could have. ...more
I am a teen librarian and one of my patrons recommended this book to me. She told me if I like The Hunger Games I would like this book as well. The stI am a teen librarian and one of my patrons recommended this book to me. She told me if I like The Hunger Games I would like this book as well. The story is darker than the Hunger Games and left me feeling uncomfortable at times, especially during scenes involving the "Grievers," robotic blubbery, slug like creatures the size of cows that pursue Thomas and the other characters sent to a mysterious maze that appears to have no end. I know there is a sequel to this book and I was on the fence about reading it but now feel I have to. The Maze Runner does not have closure even though conflict was solved and the main characters appear to be out of harm's way for the moment. The epilogue completely ruined the end for me. Dashner should have made it the prologue for The Scorch Trials, the second book in the series. I feel like it was just a ploy to get readers sucked in to reading the next book, which, of course I feel like I have to do now.
I will recommend this book as I do feel it is has some good elements and would be an especially good dystopian fiction choice for a boy. I wouldn't say it is one of my favorites though - just OK....more
I listened to the audio of this book and it took me a while to get through it but I am glad I finished. I am not a huge action/adventure fan but thisI listened to the audio of this book and it took me a while to get through it but I am glad I finished. I am not a huge action/adventure fan but this book had such an interesting premise that I vowed to finish it. The story is raw and gritty and Bacigalupi does a noble job of creating a believable setting with very strong characters. I cared enough about the characters that I wouldn't mind reading a sequel, if that is in the works.
What struck me about this and most other teen dystopian fiction is the difference between the haves and have nots. It seems as if there is no middle class in any of these books which I guess is a statement by the author about what might be around the corner for mankind. Bacigalupi has created a world where some are barely scraping by while others live in opulence. I really liked the stark contrasts in this book between Nailer and Nita and how despite their differences, they are able to come together on a lot of issues and realize that they are not so different after all. They both have prejudices towards one another but when it comes down to it, they are both just trying to survive. I also appreciated that Nita is a strong female who can hold her own despite the initial image she projects.
Overall, a thumbs up - a little long in some parts and some things seemed repetitive but I really liked the overall feel, themes and execution of this book....more
H.I.V.E, or the Higher Institute of Villainous Education, is a top-secret facility nestled in abandoned caverns on a remote island. It is here where tH.I.V.E, or the Higher Institute of Villainous Education, is a top-secret facility nestled in abandoned caverns on a remote island. It is here where the world's future villains receive their training and here where Otto Malpense unexpectedly finds himself. New students to H.I.V.E have no idea they are being brought there and once they are there they must stay for the next 6 years to receive their villainous training. Parents, if there are any, are aware of where their children are being taken and support it usually because their kids have committed some sort of high-tech crime that would otherwise land them in prison. Otto and three other new students quickly feel imprisoned at H.I.V.E. and vow to find a way to escape. As they work to carry out their plan they soon realize that running away will not be as easy as it initially appears.
The whole idea of a villainous institute is pretty intriguing. Although the descriptions of the school's gadgets and general layout were fun, I wished for a bit more detail in describing what makes H.I.V.E tick and the general day-to-day experiences of the students. Instead, the book dove right away into the action sequences and left little character development. However, this was a very fun, easy read that I will definitely be recommending to any middle grade boys who come my way. The book ends with little resolution and a hint of things to come which will make readers quickly reach for the sequel. ...more
I loved this goofy take on superheros and villains. Scott Hutchinson, aka "Bright Boy," is growing up fast and is not so sure about his continued roleI loved this goofy take on superheros and villains. Scott Hutchinson, aka "Bright Boy," is growing up fast and is not so sure about his continued role as Phantom Justice's sidekick. To make matters worse, he has a horrible costume that seems to draw attention to certain, ahem, body parts, causing him to be a laughingstock amongst the media and everyone else watching his attempts to save the world. To make matters worse, Scott soon realizes that Phantom Menace's arch nemesis, Dr. Chaotic's sidekick Monkeywrench happens to be Allison, a very hot girl from Scott's school whom he has been crushing on for the last several years. As the two get to know one another they begin to question their place in the whole superhero/villain world and realize things are not really how they appear to be.
This book had me laughing out loud in some parts. Scott's character is very self-deprecating and the book makes fun of itself in a lot of parts. This is a great read for upper middle school/high school boys looking for something action packed and funny. Loved it!...more