**spoiler alert** What started out as a strong premise with lots of potential soon devolved into mediocre, stereotypical YA mess. Jenna was a strong,**spoiler alert** What started out as a strong premise with lots of potential soon devolved into mediocre, stereotypical YA mess. Jenna was a strong, take no prisoners, tell you to go to hell female main character. She had a brain, thought for herself, and didn't make excuses or spend hours crying into her hoodie. Yay! A character I could love. And then...then a sweet fluffy puppy boy was introduced. Yeah, sure the boy had his own angsty issues, but really he was there for one reason and one reason only. To allow Jenna to descend into a gooey puddle of I must save the boy emotion. Literally everything she thought and did became all about Max, the boy she's known for all of 5 minutes. When they're on the run from ACID and Max is suffering with whatever illness/withdrawal, all she thinks about is finding something to help him. When she's being handcuffed and led back to prison all she wonders about is how Max is doing, how he's being treated. I was almost thankful that ACID wiped her memories away again because it meant I didn't have to listen to Jenna whimper about Max for a few pages. Of course then she gets her memories back and it starts all over again. When she finds out that her mother wasn't her biological mother and in the process meets her bio mom? Jenna is all oh, ok that may take some getting used too but what if Max is being tortured in prison?
So with all of this naturally Jenna decides she must be a part of the final, "climatic" mission by the resistance. Right? I mean of course she has to be. Because not only must she save the boy (again), but she is the only one who could possible figure out ACID's plan and warn everyone and bring down the General. How the resistance movement ever survived without her is a wonder.
The ending is a pretty much a series of cute little tied bows. Big Bad ACID is brought to its knees. The leaders are imprisoned. Life is slowly getting better. And of course Jenna got her boy and lived happily ever after.
**spoiler alert** It's been almost a week since I finished this and I still can't decide how to define this book. I can't even bring myself to call it**spoiler alert** It's been almost a week since I finished this and I still can't decide how to define this book. I can't even bring myself to call it a good read. Easy? Yes. Decent? Maybe. But good? No. Unlike with the first two books in the series (there were a couple of slow points in Catching Fire), I found myself suffering from shiny object syndrome. I'd slog through a couple of pages and suddenly remember something I wanted to google or need to check to see if I already had another book on my shelves or go make a peanut butter sandwich.
Full of stupidity and contrived events. Not sure if I was more annoyed or disappointed. Katniss, our once strong, plucky, determined heroine spent the vast majority of this book either sitting in a closet whimpering and sniffling or being unconscious. Because of this choice by the author, she is informed later, along with the reader, of everything that happened. Talk about passive story telling. When something did happen - and rarely did it actually happen to Katniss - she followed it up with another round of guilt and self pity (sob.I'm just a pawn.sob.) I so wanted Haymitch to dump a pitcher of water on her head multiple times.
Contrived scenarios abounded throughout those almost 400 pages. District 13 is entirely on their own. No Allies. No nothing. They barely have enough people to be considered a District (why didn't they change their name like every other newly formed country on the planet does). Did a meteor hit the other side of planet earth? Completely wiping out Europe? Africa? Asia? Even the original 13 colonies had France. Whatever. Supposedly Coin in all her wisdom and none of the friends she needs wanted to save Peeta not Katniss? Huh? Peeta was never, ever the one the hoards followed. Then you have an elite group of soldiers (Think Seal Team) sent on a very specific mission and you send in an unknown, self destructive person to join them. Someone who has the severe potential of getting the whole group captured or killed. I don't care how much you hate one particular soldier, no commander risks the whole elite team like that. It was simply Collins' contrived way of bringing Peeta back to the A story. All so we could overhear the Peeta/Gale late night chat. And don't even get me started on that conversation. How are either of those two even slightly ok with being the equivalent of Katniss deciding whether she wants Lucky Charms or Fruit Loops for breakfast.
Normally I can deal with character deaths. I may not like them, but I deal. I mean this is supposed to be dystopian. They're involved in a war. People will die. It's to be expected. But because this is a story, those deaths need to be important. They need to move the plot in some way, shape or form (unless of course they're the never met them before red shirt characters). I still can't figure out what purpose Finnick's death served story wise. Other than to give Katniss yet another opportunity to beat herself up. Would it really have been a bad thing to give one character an actual happy ending? Heck once again we don't even get to "see" something happen - we're just told. Prim's death was ridiculous. What type of leader sends in the medical/humanitarian aide into what is an active firefight, especially without first making sure the area is secure? And then intentionally drop bombs on that very spot. I thought 13 was a little short on population. The only thing her death allowed for was a reason for the author to shove Gale out of the way. It wasn't like Gale took himself out of the running on his own. No, it was based on the idea that maybe, possibly, Gale might have had the idea that eventually led to 13 bombing the hell out of their own soldiers, thus causing the death of a member of Katniss's family (never mind that he didn't put Prim there). That's nothing at all like Katniss and her actions causing the other districts to rise up and try to rest control from the Capitol which in turn led to the bombing of 12 and the deaths of Peeta's entire family. (Insert Eye Roll HERE)
In case you couldn't tell, I was Team Gale, even though I knew he probably didn't have a chance. However, I wish Katniss had stuck with one of her early statements about not picking either of them and being on her own. That I could have respected. Choosing Peeta because in essence he was the only one left wasn't her making a choice at all.
The one part of the book that got to me? In the last few pages when Katniss finds Buttercup. Not really surprising - I nearly burst into tears during those sappy Sarah McLachlin voice over ASPCA commercials. The idea of Buttercup finding his way home to District 12 through the barren landscapes and past the freaky predators out there...well...just...sniff.
If you've read the first two book in the series, then this one is probably worth reading to. Just don't expect to like it. ...more
**spoiler alert** Catching Fire is pretty much a mixed bag for me. In some ways I liked it better than The Hunger Games but in others it didn't measur**spoiler alert** Catching Fire is pretty much a mixed bag for me. In some ways I liked it better than The Hunger Games but in others it didn't measure up. I appreciated that the characters were better drawn, had more depth. And not just those we've known for awhile (Katniss, Peeta, Haymitch, etc), but also the previous victors, Gale's family, etc. I could see where the emotional stakes were high. And the last 10 pages were great action-wise (view spoiler)[HA. I knew 13 still existed. Now if I could just figure out where 13 is supposedly located, because the details we know DO NOT work together (hide spoiler)]
The thing is, there was this over all been there, done that, bought the t-shirt feeling that hung over three quarters of the book. Basically from the party at the end of the victory tour on. Oh look. Another round of the games.Cinna creating another set of brilliant costumes. The prep team fawning all over Katniss. Katniss whining. Peeta being the gallant, stage present hero (so, so, so annoyed with the whole baby thing). Haymitch snarking. Ok, this wasn't a bad thing - I like Haymitch's drunken snark but anyway.... Katniss sniffling. And sniffling some more. Seriously at one point I wanted someone to kill Peeta just so she'd find some tree to go sob in and we could get a new narrator. And I realize that Katniss is a somewhat "innocent" 17 year old but boy is she dense. I knew the moment Plutarch thumbed the watch face showing the mockingjay that he was working against the Capitol.
So while I liked parts of this installment, the sum of the whole didn't quite measure up.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Fast paced, exciting plot, strong heroine. I was honestly surprised at how fast of a read it was. There were often moments where I told myself just onFast paced, exciting plot, strong heroine. I was honestly surprised at how fast of a read it was. There were often moments where I told myself just one more page - so that I'd know what happened. There were moments that brought me near tears. Always give credit when an author gets me to care about characters enough to make me emotional over what happens to them. So in that sense, this book was excellent.
So why not 5 stars? Well...because. Because Collins has a way of telegraphing when the big "moments" are going to happen. You can see when the action and/or emotion starts to increase story-wise in preparation for that event that is supposed to make you gasp.
Because most of the minor characters were so shallowly drawn that they might as well have been posters tacked to the walls of the Hob or trees in the arena. Would it have harmed the story to know Foxface's real name? We know more about Buttercup the Cat than we do about most everyone else.
And because of the world building. Really, I need to learn that when my brain starts nagging me to look up something, I need to tell it to hush. I try, but then my mind picks up on some small-ish detail that I already know to be not quite right and it's off to figure out why. So Panem is supposedly what was once North America? That's a pretty big place. Canada is the second largest country by area in the world. The US is 4th. Mexico is top 20. District 12 is in what was referred to as Appalachia, an area that stretches from southwestern New York to northern Alabama. And yet, there's only like 8,000 people there. Now I'm assuming from the coal mine descriptions and the seasons, Collins is referring to somewhere in Kentucky, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Still a big area, and yet there's only 8,000 people. Really? That's less than the small town I work in. And all of that supplies enough coal for everyone, everywhere? mmkay. Sure. And I have a bridge in District 13 that I'd like to sell (probably either the Mackinac or the Ambassador. I figure both are the closest to Canada where graphite is mined and the large amount of water needed for anything nuclear, putting them in what is probably 13). Yes, the map of Panem that I was trying to visualize was driving me nuts.
Lots and lots of cliches. From the ridiculous love triangle to the clueless teen who finds out she has a mysterious family/past to the underdevelopedLots and lots of cliches. From the ridiculous love triangle to the clueless teen who finds out she has a mysterious family/past to the underdeveloped stereotypical cast of supporting characters. On top of that our heroine, Lexi has some sort of massive guilt complex that causes her to blame herself for everything that happens to every other person out there.
At times the writing was ok and even flowed fairly well, but those times only showed up in small amounts. Otherwise, there was too much exposition (remember it's always better to show not tell), too much repetition (does anyone actually say his/her eye color is aquamarine?) and too much silly, stilted dialogue (no one talks like that).
Gave it 2 stars because oddly - and I can't believe I'm saying this - there's a tiny part of me that wants to read book 2. Not sure if it's because the sarcastic portion of my brain wants to come out and play some more or if it's because I want to see if the author can pull off the big confrontation between Lexi and one of her potential love interests that should have appeared near the end of book 1....more
Found this book thanks to the ginormous amount of hype surrounding it. "Thrilling" the reviews said. Smart. Riveting. Stunning ending. Adding to thatFound this book thanks to the ginormous amount of hype surrounding it. "Thrilling" the reviews said. Smart. Riveting. Stunning ending. Adding to that - it's a stand alone. No series; no 2 more parts of trilogy to get through. It's less than 250 pages, so why not.
I liked it. It's a decent coming of age story. Mostly. I should have warned myself after seeing the dust jacket that warned the reader not tell anyone the ending. Seriously? That alone got me thinking there was no way the end was going to be that shocking. None whatsoever. (Little Bee did the same thing and I was even less impressed with that book) Unless all the characters turn out to be aliens living in Jersey. Or the main character is really a patient at a mental institution and has created this whole other identity that the doctors use to try to bring him/her back to reality (oh wait...I already read that book and saw the movie).
I was right. I figured out the big shocking truth (view spoiler)[hmm. The only place the teens ever go is Cuddledown. The only person who ever talks to/sees them in present tense is Cadence. What teen alive doesn't even send a text in response to something sent to them? Bet they're ghosts/part of her subconscious. (hide spoiler)] Granted I wasn't sure of the circumstances, but still. Sure there was the 2 second feeling of "HA! I figured it out!" but that almost instantly changed to "huh. I figured it out." Disappointing.
The other thing that drove me crazy was the writing style. Oddly worded phrases. Cut up sentences like someone was playing with one of those magnetic poetry kits you have on your fridge, punctuation optional.
So much in love that equally desperate measures must be taken.
Apparently putting all those words on one line would have changed the story. There is also a fair amount of purple prose. Some of it is understandable as our rich and privileged narrator definitely has a flair for the dramatic. But even for her it's often over the top. There's a scene near the beginning that I had to read 3 times before I grasped that she hadn't actually been injured; that it was Cadence expressing her feelings in the most gruesome, theatrical way possible.
So putting aside the twist I figured out and the choppy structure and the screaming neon violet descriptions, what was there to like? I did say 3 stars after all. The details of what actually happened the night of the accident. I had come up with numerous theories - none of which were anywhere near happy and some were out in left field - so it was nice to have ends tied into fraying knots (fraying because there were some parts that were a bit implausible). I'd rather have that than a bunch of loose ends. Teens even if they weren't likable (this is goes for all of them, including Gat) trying to be adults, thinking they were doing the right thing, the best thing to bring back what they cherished the most. The family politics with its King Lear references was closer to reality than many want to think about. The almost discussions of race, money, love, kindness, faith, and seeing the world for what it really is. Sure it would have been nice if those themes had been really talked about instead of just touched upon, but that would have been too much to squeeze into so few pages.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Some day Meg Cabot will write a teenage female main character who is not a)ridiculously naive b)emotionally stunted and/or c)romantically oblivious. ISome day Meg Cabot will write a teenage female main character who is not a)ridiculously naive b)emotionally stunted and/or c)romantically oblivious. I'll take any or all of the above - though a Meg Cabot book that contained all of those requirements would probably cause me drop said book on my foot in utter shock. Since my foot is doing ok, this book obviously treads the same path as other books by this author.
Leaving the above request aside, it's not a bad book. The basic plot idea has lots of potential and it has it's cute moments. It's just that somewhere along the way all of that basically gets lost. Jean's my life sucks lamentations and complete cluelessness in regards to Zach left me rolling my eyes more often than not. While I figured out the why behind Jean's move to New York pretty early on, it took almost the entire book to get the actual explanation. All things that will make me thinking twice before picking up the author's next book. ...more
Liked it, but I'm starting to sense a pattern...Emma starts at square 1. Then the hints start in and Sutton starts having only partial memories. EveryLiked it, but I'm starting to sense a pattern...Emma starts at square 1. Then the hints start in and Sutton starts having only partial memories. Everything points to a particular character being guilty. There's a possible motive and plenty of opportunity - at least as far as Emma knows. And then we get to the end and it was all a big red herring. And we're back at square 1, ready for the next book. If this continues, I'll stop thinking this series is a fun diversion....more
I'd actually give this 1.5 stars but only because about 2/3 of the way through there's a part where I was honestly drawn into the story and wanted toI'd actually give this 1.5 stars but only because about 2/3 of the way through there's a part where I was honestly drawn into the story and wanted to know what happened next. It lasted less than 10 pages, but those pages were fairly decent. Not earth shattering or anything but at least showed some possible potential. Quickly though it went back to ridiculous, silly, un-funny and eye roll worthy (you could injure yourself while reading this book if you're not careful). Horizon was head shakingly bad - hokey, cheesy bad dream like descriptions. And don't get me started on the idiotic talking, elevator controlling monkeys. Weak plot, shallow characters who believed everything they were spoon fed and clunky transitions. Thankfully I picked this one up as a freebie....more
Needed something short and easy in order to meet my book goal for 2014...went through my Nook and this was sitting there waiting (forgot that I'd pre-Needed something short and easy in order to meet my book goal for 2014...went through my Nook and this was sitting there waiting (forgot that I'd pre-ordered it way back when). Four is by far my favorite character in DiverentLand, so to learn more about his background and see that world through his eyes is fantastic. With this second prequel, we get to learn a little more about some of the other Dauntless - Zeke and Shauna mostly but others make appearances. Enjoyable, fast, and sticks to character....more
The first of four (yep, four stories about Four)new short stories that will lead up to the movie preHow can you not love anything that involves Four?
The first of four (yep, four stories about Four)new short stories that will lead up to the movie premier. This story doesn't introduce any thing new to the Divergent Universe, but it does give the reader more insight to Four and why he does and believes what he does. At only 35 pages, there isn't a mountain range of depth or explanation, but there is enough there for small little moments that add to the character. The glass statue and all the other things he collected because of his mother, his short coversation with one of the factionless, his want to punish Marcus turning into a realization that his decision gave him a clean slate to start over.
Highly recommended reading for anyone who has read the novels in this series....more
Overall, better than I thought it would be, even if the ending was rather abrupt. I would have been annoyed if I had read this back when it originallyOverall, better than I thought it would be, even if the ending was rather abrupt. I would have been annoyed if I had read this back when it originally was published and not known it was the first of a series. The characters were mostly likable (Angel was a little bratty, but expected because of her age). Only real issue was at times the dialogue and character thoughts felt a bit cheesy and dated. ...more
Oh how I had high hopes for this one. It actually started out pretty good. I was thinking teen psycological thriller but as it went along, it quicklyOh how I had high hopes for this one. It actually started out pretty good. I was thinking teen psycological thriller but as it went along, it quickly became obvious that it was aimed more at the tween segment. Ok, I could live with that. It had some little moments/hints of Dorian Gray so I thought there was still some kind of possibility of good story. And then the story fell off the cliff, tumbled through some undergrowth, rolled past some tumbleweeds and lay in a heaping mess at the bottom of a canyon of vampire-ness. Ugh. I have no issues with ya books containing vampires; some are actually pretty good (no, not the sparkly ones). But to suddenly take a story that is supposedly about phobias and fear and make it all about an immortal being? I didn't know whether to laugh or throw the book across the room.
Speaking of phobias. How about our illustrious, super smart, main character/supposed hero, Will Besting. When we finally find out his fear, what is it? People. More specifically crowds, but the author apparently doesn't see much difference. So looking back, how in the world did Will ever manage to get in that van with 7 other humans he didn't physically know, drive for hours and yet not have even 1 small panic attack? Um. yeah. Ok. Since his fear is apparently more of a relapsing-remitting type fear rather than a crippling one, perhaps the adults in his life should have been more concerned about his stalker like tendencies. (view spoiler)[Perhaps if the author has given more info about how Will's little brother died, like if he was involved or if it was a horrific accident, this would have made more sense (hide spoiler)]
On top of all that the author apparently felt the need to have Will explain why the author made some of the writing choices he made. Not once. Not twice. But THREE times. Who writes what basically amounts to 3 epilogues? Why encourge ya readers to read The Pearl for themselves, when you can just explain it all in an epilogue. Want to appear oh so smart to your readers, bring up Edgar Allen Poe and then explain why you decided to bring him up after the story was done. Apparently the author was following a mantra of why have less, when you can have more. Kinda like those AT&T commercials with the little kids. In this case, less is more would have been a better way to go.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more