I enjoyed this book. It was nice to read something different than my normal reads (although that's admittedly a varied selection already). It was defi...moreI enjoyed this book. It was nice to read something different than my normal reads (although that's admittedly a varied selection already). It was definitely interesting to think about what our civilization would like like to another civilization, particularly if it is in ruins. I liked the characters, though I would have liked most (or all) of them to have more depth. And ultimately I wasn't blown away because despite deaths in the company and some confusion about "ancient" technology, they ultimately had way too many convenient aha moments and lucky breaks to get to their destination.(less)
This book was a HUGE struggle for me. It took me so long to read that my checkout expired and I had to wait to check it out again. I think the premise...moreThis book was a HUGE struggle for me. It took me so long to read that my checkout expired and I had to wait to check it out again. I think the premise was awesome, and I really enjoyed the first few and last few chapters. However, I found it very difficult to keep up with the politics in the middle section and was just thinking too hard to enjoy it. Also, military operations and intelligence strategy just aren't areas of interest for me, and probably 80% of the book revolved around just that. Don't get me wrong, it was well written, and if I hadn't recognized the merits I probably wouldn't have finished it or given it more than 1 star. I think it would be the perfect book for a certain kind of reader; I was just disappointed that reader isn't me.(less)
I really wanted to like this, but there was just too much man-hating and unexplained science and unremarked incest. I liked the premise and some of th...moreI really wanted to like this, but there was just too much man-hating and unexplained science and unremarked incest. I liked the premise and some of the plot, but those other elements were just too much for me. The story had serious potential, with the traveling and the new planet and the new civilization, but alas, too much hair fetish and mentioning of Mother's "melons." Yeah.(less)
I so wanted to give this one a 5, but I couldn't quite do it. Mostly, that's because the big "cliffhanger" that everyone keeps referring to was so obv...moreI so wanted to give this one a 5, but I couldn't quite do it. Mostly, that's because the big "cliffhanger" that everyone keeps referring to was so obvious from close to the beginning of the book, which was frustrating. I mean, on one hand cliffhangers are annoying because you want to know what happens, but on the other hand, the anticipation makes the next book so much better! I'm still looking forward to see where the story is going, but it's not quite the same.
Anyway, that being said, this was a fantastic book. It was shockingly original even as it relied on very old material. (That would be Cinderella, in case that's not clear.) Except instead of a glass slipper, we have a cyborg foot. And a futuristic "New Bejing," where a bubonic/choleric type plague is killing citizens and royalty alike. The city was well written, the culture was interesting and easy to fall into, the characters (particularly Cinder and her android sidekick) were easy to get to know. The story was engaging, and even though I saw the big twist from a mile away, it still tells me that book two is going to go in very interesting directions. I liked how she roughly followed the Cinderella plot of stepsisters and "shoes" and princes and balls enough to make it recognizable, comfortable, and familiar, and yet also changed it to make it her own (aside from the whole cyborg/futuristic story, Cinder is actually friends with one of her stepsisters).
This book was so great. Unique, refreshing, and practically un-put-downable. (I read it in two sittings, which probably would have been one sitting if I hadn't had to go to book club the first evening!) I've been looking for some good YAF sci-fi for awhile, and this definitely gets top billing on the list. Yay!(less)
This book was excruciating to finish. I would have quit after about 50 pages (or maybe less), but all the good reviews from trade journals and YA-read...moreThis book was excruciating to finish. I would have quit after about 50 pages (or maybe less), but all the good reviews from trade journals and YA-reading friends made me want to stick with it and see what all the fuss was about. Everyone raves about Mafi's beautiful writing, but to me it was too disjointed, too flowery, too forced, too much in general. I liked the idea of a stream-of-conscious journal, complete with our narrator striking through words and phrases she changed her mind about, but it quickly became tiresome. And the sentence fragments. Painful. Like this. I wanted to yell "Shut UP already!" at our rambling heroine. It wasn't just the inner thoughts that were annoying, either. A lot of the dialogue was surprisingly bad, especially between Adam/Kenji and Juliette/Warner.
If the writing style had been a world apart, I think this could have been a good book. The relationship between the leads could make sense. Juliette's "powers," while never explained, were unique. (Unfortunately, a lot of plot elements, including several surrounding her powers, are way too convenient.) The ending headed in a very interesting direction, which almost makes me want to read the next one to see where things go. Unfortunately, I just don't think I can stand any more of the writing for the sake of the story. Sad.
For a more descriptively mean review that says what I was thinking better than I can, try this:
I'm giving this the benefit of the doubt and going for 3 stars. I really liked the concept. It was definitely more of a plot-driven book than a charac...moreI'm giving this the benefit of the doubt and going for 3 stars. I really liked the concept. It was definitely more of a plot-driven book than a character-driven one. (In fact, if you stop to think about it, the characters are awfully flat.) Still, it's not really a hindrance because it's a plot and issues book rather than a people book. As I told Joan, "I'm just so happy to be in deep space again!" There's just something about all that emptiness out there that adds a greater element of suspense to the story. I don't want to give anything of the plot away, but I will say that I liked the (critical) look at religion and fertility (for lack of a better descriptor). What made me suddenly want to knock this good book down to a 2 was the unexpected character development in the last 10% that made for a seemingly pro-religious tone. I will say to each his own, but I don't want to read Christian fiction and I feel like I should be warned. (Incidentally, the three-way romance implied in the cover blurb hardly even seems to be a two-way romance, much less a love triangle.) Of course the story's not over yet, so perhaps I should wait and see where it goes in the next book. Hence my suspension of judgement.(less)
My first thought upon finishing this book was, "Well, I liked it okay." So at first I leaned toward 3 stars, but the more I thought about it, the more...moreMy first thought upon finishing this book was, "Well, I liked it okay." So at first I leaned toward 3 stars, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to go back to 2.
The concept was interesting, but from the very beginning I just didn't believe the factions. The traits that they valued just didn't make as much sense, for example, as the House traits in Harry Potter. (Also, the fact that some faction names were nouns and some were verbs was reeeeeeally irritating to me. What can I say, I'm a grammar nazi!) I would have liked to know more about the other factions, because the Dauntless bored me to death.
The characters were okay. I've read a lot of reviews saying that they were so complex, real, yadda yadda yadda, but they didn't feel that way to me at all. They all felt flat, one defining trait per character, not awesome. Tris was a little more fleshed out, probably because we were hearing the story from her perspective, but even though there was more to her she still didn't seem like a real person to me.
I think Roth's biggest mistake was that she had an awesome setting picked out, and she didn't exploit it as much as she could have. The marsh, the Hub, the trains, one visit each to Navy Pier and the Bean. It was pretty cool for someone who's been to Chicago, but more description would have been much appreciated and would have added a lot, in my opinion.
I actually liked this book more than the review implies. I liked it enough to read the second one when it comes out, for example. The story just didn't mesh for me. It's hard to explain, but character motivations, societal motivations... none of it clicked at all. The story had great potential, but somehow felt hollow. Like I said, hard to explain. Maybe it's because I've had so many friends read it and love it that I was expecting more. Maybe it's because after Daughter of Smoke and Bone I'm spoiled for other YA for awhile. (Although I did read Crossed and thought it was decent... Though it didn't have to be as good since I was already invested in the series, I guess.) Anyway, I think the direction that Insurgent is heading in looks a lot more promising, so we will see.(less)