I only read this book because I don't like leaving trilogies unfinished, and because there are movies coming. I'd already heard that (view spoiler)[ T...moreI only read this book because I don't like leaving trilogies unfinished, and because there are movies coming. I'd already heard that (view spoiler)[ Tris dies at the end (hide spoiler)], so that wasn't a surprise. And it didn't upset me at all, because (view spoiler)[ I didn't like her anyway. It was badly executed though. The government wasn't going to drop a bomb on the city and kill everyone. They were going to wipe the memories of those inside, so they didn't all kill each other. I'm not sure how the second option is the better one. If Four hadn't managed to convince his mommy that she loved him more than power, lots of people would have died as a result of Tris's actions. The whole plan is ridiculous and her sacrifice is contrived. (hide spoiler)]
As I put in one of my status updates, one of my big qualms of the series was addressed by explaining more about why there were factions. They never made any sense to me. In the real world, everyone would be divergent, because no one is just one thing. Unfortunately, the explanation caused more problems than it solved. There's a vague, supposedly scientific explanation to do with genetics that was obviously written by someone who's not a biologist. If you have a science background, stay far away from this book. (view spoiler)[ Also, where is the rest of the world when these human rights violations are going on? It sounded like this was a USA only thing. No one noticed that the US government was wiping citizens memories and basically putting them in breeding programs? (hide spoiler)]
Fans of this series will probably like (most of) this book. For those who came to the series hoping for the next Hunger Games and finding something that pales in comparison, this book definitely does not redeem the series. Two stars, because I was able to make it to the end.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
After struggling through Frankenstein and Dracula back in the day, I was pleasantly surprised at how readable this book was. Of course, it's one of th...moreAfter struggling through Frankenstein and Dracula back in the day, I was pleasantly surprised at how readable this book was. Of course, it's one of the most important and ground-breaking works of horror ever written. It's exploration of the dual natures of man is fascinating and well executed. But on top of that, it's engaging and easy to read, even today. Definitely recommended for anyone who's interested in horror.(less)
Sad. I wrote a good review for this book, but goodreads ate it, and I'm too tired to write it again. To sum up, I really enjoyed it and if you enjoy w...moreSad. I wrote a good review for this book, but goodreads ate it, and I'm too tired to write it again. To sum up, I really enjoyed it and if you enjoy well written, entertaining stories of investigative journalism, you will too.(less)
I'm not surprised I didn't like this book very much. I really only read it because I hate leaving series unfinished, and it's a quick and easy read. A...moreI'm not surprised I didn't like this book very much. I really only read it because I hate leaving series unfinished, and it's a quick and easy read. All the problems I had with the first one are still here, with the addition of Tris being more annoying and having a death wish. Will I read the third one? If it was out today, I probably would. Since it's not coming out for awhile, I don't know if I'll care at all by the time it comes out. There is a possibility that the ending could be good, but I don't have high hopes.(less)
"Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well."
I really didn't know what this book was about when I picked it up. I sorte...more"Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well."
I really didn't know what this book was about when I picked it up. I sorted my To-Reads list by rating, and this floated to the top, so I put in on hold at the library. And everyone who's raving about it is right. This is a great book. It's about a teenager named Karou who goes to art school in Prague, has a best friend named Zuzana who is a puppeteer, and spends her time avoiding her ex-boyfriend and hanging out at the Poison Kitchen. Oh, and she also has a secret life running errands through a portal in Elsewhere for her foster father, Brimstone, a chimaera who trades wishes for teeth. And then everything changes when she meets Akiva, an angel, and learns about the never-ending war between the seraphim and chimaera.
My favorite thing about the book was the writing. Taylor has a command of language rarely seen in a young adult novel. It was poetic and descriptive, without devolving into purple prose. She gave enough details to set the scene without slowing down the plot. From the first sentence, I knew I was in for a treat:
"Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonitions about the day. It seemed like just another Monday, innocent but for its essential Mondayness, not to mention its Januaryness."
Here are some of my other favorites:
"It is a condition of monsters that they do not perceive themselves as such. The dragon, you know, hunkered in the village devouring maidens, heard the townsfolk cry 'Monster!' and looked behind him."
"It was what she had always wanted and thought that she'd found: someone who was for her, as she was for him, whose blood and butterflies sang to hers and answered them, note for note."
I could go on and on. The world building was great. She threw in a lot of little details that made the world feel authentic:
"The Art Lyceum of Bohemia was a private high school housed in a pink Baroque palace where famously, during the Nazi occupation, two young Czech nationalists had slit the throat of a Gestapo commander and scrawled liberty with his blood. A brief, brave rebellion before they were captured and impaled upon the finials of the courtyard gate."
Just a little detail. Has nothing to do with the plot. But it makes the world feel richer and fuller, like this school really does exist in Prague (it doesn't).
I didn't want this book to end, and I can't wait to get the second one.(less)
This is definitely book two of a trilogy. Don't try to read this one without reading The Name of the Wind or you will be confused. This book was hard...moreThis is definitely book two of a trilogy. Don't try to read this one without reading The Name of the Wind or you will be confused. This book was hard to rate. On one hand, it took me over two months to read it, because I kept putting it down for long stretches. On the other hand, I did keep picking it back up, which says a lot. For such a long book, remarkably little of substance happened. But I really enjoyed reading it. I'm really hopeful that book three will be an amazing end to the trilogy. There are a lot of interesting questions that could be answered in the next book, particularly regarding the discrepancies between Kvothe-that-was and Kvothe-that-is. What happened to him? Is any of his story really true or is he just adding to his own legend? If the ending isn't great, I might have to revise this down to three stars. Even though I enjoyed reading this book, it's an awful lot to wade through if the payoff isn't worth it.(less)
I thought this was a great followup to Angelfall. The story follows Penryn as she continues to fight for herself and her family in the aftermath of th...moreI thought this was a great followup to Angelfall. The story follows Penryn as she continues to fight for herself and her family in the aftermath of the angel invasion. I really like Penryn as a main character. She's a survivor, she doesn't wait around to be rescued, and she's dedicated to her family. I also really like that there is no love triangle. It's so common to include one in YA books these days, and it gets old very fast. I'm really enjoying this series. It's definitely a different take on angels. I only wish I had found it after the whole series was written. It's going to be quite a wait for book 3!(less)
After I saw all the great reviews for this book, I had to see what it was all about, and it did not disappoint. Susan Ee is a strong new voice in ya l...moreAfter I saw all the great reviews for this book, I had to see what it was all about, and it did not disappoint. Susan Ee is a strong new voice in ya literature, and I think she has a long career ahead of her. The world made sense, the characters were well formed, the plot moved forward quickly with a lot of action, and it wasn't too long. The one downside to the book, however, is that it's definitely the first book of a series, and not everything is wrapped up at the end. It left me with a lot of questions (but they are I-want-to-know-more questions, not wtf questions), and now I have to wait for book two!(less)
I read this book in 3 days. I could not put it down. It was engrossing, easy to read, and really good. This is a futuristic retelling of Cinderella. C...moreI read this book in 3 days. I could not put it down. It was engrossing, easy to read, and really good. This is a futuristic retelling of Cinderella. Cinder is a cyborg, which makes her a second class citizen. She's stuck living with a woman who hates her, making money for the family as a mechanic. And then she meets the prince.
Meyer did a great job with this retelling. It's very strong for a debut novel. The world-building (which is always important to me) was pretty good. It's set in New Beijing, which I think is on the site of current Beijing. There have been 2 more world wars, and the world is a very different place because of it. However, I hesitate to label this as a dystopian novel, because every day life doesn't seem that much different than it is today. It really doesn't seem like a terrible place to live, except for cyborgs, who are basically slaves. That was the one part of the world I didn't really understand. It was never fully explained why cyborgs were treated so badly, except that they have been altered by science. It would be interesting to get more background on the development of cyborg technology and the creation of the laws that govern them.
The characters were also well done. Cinder was very likeable and had a good head on her shoulders. Her house android, Iko, was hilarious and very entertaining. Prince Kai was charming and intelligent, if a little bland.
The ending just left me wanting more. It ends at a satisfying spot, but it doesn't wrap up in a neat little bow. I can't wait to read the second one.(less)
This is the best book I have read in quite awhile. I really didn't know much about it when I picked it up. I just knew it was about a kid who was visi...moreThis is the best book I have read in quite awhile. I really didn't know much about it when I picked it up. I just knew it was about a kid who was visited by a monster and that it was one of the highest rated books on my "to read" shelf. I didn't even remember why I added it. It turned out to be one of the most heart wrenching books I've ever read. Now, it's possible that's because I tend to stick to lighthearted fare with magic and dragons rather than books set in the here and now with real people and real problems. But I don't think so. It's a good story. It's engaging and well written. And it will break your heart.(less)
I don't even know where to begin about this book. In some ways, it drove me crazy. The "dystopian" society didn't make much sense. The world is divide...moreI don't even know where to begin about this book. In some ways, it drove me crazy. The "dystopian" society didn't make much sense. The world is divided into factions that are based on one quality, and once you pick your faction, that is the only quality you're allowed to have. Abnegation is selfless. Candor is honest. Amity is... friendly? Erudite is knowledge. And Dauntless is brave. And that is about all we learn about the world. Why is it this way? What happened to make them think that these qualities were worthwhile? No idea. Probably some kind of war? It takes place in Chicago, and Lake Michigan is now a marsh, but it's never explained why. And is Chicago all that's left? Are there other communities out there? Do they have factions as well? Is this small group of what seems to be a few thousand people all that's left? No clue.
And the factions themselves don't make much sense. The Dauntless definition of bravery is basically "let's see how many ways we can be reckless and maybe kill each other before lunch." They had 16 year olds fighting each other without any rules or training or regard for weight class. They basically paired them off and said "now beat the crap out of each other." They don't have any railings on their walkways that are suspended above a pit. At one point, some random drunk guy falls off and breaks his leg. How is that showing bravery?
These are just the questions I'm coming up with off the top of my head. If I wanted to sit here and keep going, I could.
But once I got past the first 25% or so, I couldn't put it down. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. So even though I thought the world building (which is one of the most important parts of a dystopian novel) was weak, the plot was enough to keep me engaged. So 3 stars? I'd do 3.5 if I could.(less)