I really enjoyed this book. It's certainly a page-turner, which is a plus.
However, I just couldn't give this book 5 stars, no matter how much I enjoye...moreI really enjoyed this book. It's certainly a page-turner, which is a plus.
However, I just couldn't give this book 5 stars, no matter how much I enjoyed reading it. Yes, it's a fun read. I actually liked Tris, even though it seems like most people who have problems with this book list her as the first main fault. But there were some parts, some elements, that left me unable to suspend my disbelief. Most of that is centered around the Dauntless faction. Apparently in this world, "bravery" is equivalent to reckless idiocy and violence.
I'm going to put the rest of this behind a spoiler tag, just in case.
(view spoiler)[When you're 16, you take an aptitude test and it tells you what faction you're suited for. Apparently it's perfectly normal to be entirely one faction (which are represented by different qualities of character - Abnegation/selflessness, Dauntless/bravery, Candor/honesty, Erudite/intelligence, and Amity/peacefulenss), and no other. Now, I don't know if you've ever taken a personality test, but from what I know, it's pretty normal for human beings to bring a mix of personality qualities to the table. In Divergent-world terms, I feel like I'd fit in quite well with both the Erudite and the Amity. But apparently this is bad, and would make me Divergent. If you're not entirely one thing (which might not be the faction you were raised in), you're a freak and will probably be killed. Or you'll be the protagonist.
Tris, raised Abnegation, was told that her aptitude test results were "inconclusive." Sure, fine. Whatever. She scored equally high in 2 or 3 different factions (sorry, I don't remember what the third one was if there was a third).
After taking this test, all the 16-year-olds in the city participate in a ceremony where they choose their faction. It coudl be the one they have been the first 16 years of their lives, or it could be something new. Tris chose Dauntless. You know. For reasons.
The Dauntless are pretty silly. They have tattoos and piercings because they're so brave. They take the train around the city, but apparently the train just runs on a loop and doesn't actually stop, and the doors are just open all the time. So the Dauntless jump in and out of a moving train on a regular basis. This is how they get to school. After the Choosing Ceremony, this is how they get back to their headquarters. Not all of the "transfers" make it to the Dauntless compound. Either they died or they were too scared to jump onto the train (these people are now considered "factionless" - they cannot become Dauntless but they have left their previous factions and cannot return - you know, for reasons). After these people have jumped off a moving train onto the roof of a building, they then have to jump off that building into a pit. Don't worry, though! There's a net at the bottom of the pit! Not that they tell you. You're supposed to be brave now that you're Dauntless.
I had a very difficult time judging population size of this city. There isn't a lot of worldbuilding, so you don't really know how big it is. It takes place in Chicago, but most of the buildings are abandoned. But Chicago is pretty big. But all of the kids went to the same school? From all 5 factions? So not a huge population? From what I understand, the Dauntless faction is hundreds of people. Few of them are old. We learn that during initiation, only 10 of the 16-year-olds (both transfers and Dauntless-born) become full-fledged members. The rest are thrown out to become factionless.
So where do all these Dauntless people come from? You only get 10 new Dauntless every year. The book shows many times how dangerous the life of a Dauntless is, so you know that people die. Based on the age of the Dauntless population, they tend to die young. The leaders of the faction are just a few years older than the new initiates.
Maybe I'm mistaken about the size of the faction, but it seems a little fishy to me. I didn't buy it.
Dauntless aside, there's still a bit that bugs me about how this city works. Abnegation runs the government - supposedly because their selflessness makes them immune to corruption. Sure. Are they elected officials? If so, are they elected by the entire city or just the Abnegation? If it's the entire city, shouldn't there be at least representatives from each faction to speak for the people?
The Dauntless serve as security. Security from what? Why is there a fence around the city? Hopefully this will be explained in future books. (hide spoiler)]
I'm probably overreacting. Reading too much into it. I did like the book. I will read the next one. I just hope it answers some of my questions.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I was able to finish it. It wasn't as bad, emotionally, as I was expecting. But I did wait until I got home and was by myself so that I could cry. Lov...moreI was able to finish it. It wasn't as bad, emotionally, as I was expecting. But I did wait until I got home and was by myself so that I could cry. Loved this book.(less)
There's a lot of truth in fiction. Parts of this book felt a very true-to-life, especially considering recent events in the news. An American governme...moreThere's a lot of truth in fiction. Parts of this book felt a very true-to-life, especially considering recent events in the news. An American government spying on its own citizens. But other things seemed a bit too... well, dated, I suppose. This book was written in 2006, and it's now 2013. I was a little foggy on when this book was supposed to take place, and I determined that it must be the "not-too-distant future." But the not-too-distant future of 2006 is still the past to 2013. After a bit of research, I see that the iPhone was originally announced in 2007. If the characters in this book had smartphones the way we have them today, I think many of the events may have played out differently. It's interesting to think about, but it's not something I want to get into in a review.
I almost gave this book 3 stars, but the ending was great and bumped it up to 4.
I like the way Doctorow writes, for the most part, but I feel this book was hindered by its first-person point of view. The storytelling got clunky at times when Marcus stopped to tell us how crypto worked, or the history of activism in San Francisco. I think it would have worked a lot better to convey that information in a third-person format. It felt forced. Those random info-dumps just killed the momentum of the book. That's why I only wanted to give this one 3 stars.(less)
I would give this 3.5 stars if I could. It isn't bad. I did like it. I will probably continue reading the series. I picked it up because I'm a fan of...moreI would give this 3.5 stars if I could. It isn't bad. I did like it. I will probably continue reading the series. I picked it up because I'm a fan of the TV show, which is quite a bit farther along than just this book. It's interesting to see what has changed from book to TV. I don't think any of the main 4 characters look how they're described in the book, except for maybe Hanna. They toned down Aria's quirkiness, changed Emily's race (she's a freckly Irish girl in the books), and darkened Spencer's hair (I think she was a blonde in the book, but I've already forgotten). The characters also have more siblings in the books. Who knew that Emily had a sister who was also a swimmer? I kind of want to keep reading the series just so I can see what else has changed.
Of course, the biggest change is when Ali's disappearance happened. In the TV show, it had only been a year since she went missing. In the book, it's been 4 years. They were just out of 7th grade when it happened. It really makes the distance between the 4 girls make more sense if it happened over the course of 4 years instead of just one year.
Now, I know this is a young adult book. Target demographic is teenage girls. Clearly. But while I normally like YA literature, this one felt a bit... fake, or too commercial, or something. Commercial in that not a page went by without some sort of brand mention. It was a clothing label, or the kind of water they were drinking, or the car they were driving. It got tiring after a while. I can tell that I'm not used to reading books that rely so heavily on brand recognition for description. I know that part of it is to show how affulent these characters' families are, and to emphasise the wealthy neighborhood where they live. But I get it. It was just too much.(less)
I accidentally saw a spoiler for this book when I was about halfway through it. At first I was upset about it, then I realized that I didn't care. I w...moreI accidentally saw a spoiler for this book when I was about halfway through it. At first I was upset about it, then I realized that I didn't care. I wanted to see it through to the end. Why? Because I was totally sucked in, living under the dome like the inhabitants of Chester's Mills. I didn't want to stop reading.
It's a Stephen King book, so part of me was tempted when I hit the climax of the story to just put it down and walk away, making up my own ending. It was sure to be better than what I heard was a classic Stephen King ending. But the end was better than I expected. I'm glad I read it. Yes, it was rushed. It was abrupt. I wanted another chapter or 4 of conclusion. But it was actually quite good the way it was.
After finishing the Mistborn trilogy, I was thrilled to see that there's another book set in the Mistborn world.
This book takes place quite some time...moreAfter finishing the Mistborn trilogy, I was thrilled to see that there's another book set in the Mistborn world.
This book takes place quite some time after the events of the Mistborn trilogy. The world has changed quite a bit. What used to be a rather primitive land with minimal technological advancement is now a world not unlike the Old West. Lawmen, outlaws, train robbers, revolvers - and Allomancy. It ends up being a world with a strong steampunk feel to it.
Since we have a new time period and a completely different version of the world, we have a brand new cast of characters. Wax is cool, but Wayne steals the show more often than not. (Also, I wish Sanderson had just called Wax "Wax" for the whole book. "Waxillium" is a stupid name.) Together they were like Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, solving mysteries and getting the bad guys.
Overall, it was a fun continuation of the Mistborn universe. Highly recommended if you liked the Mistborn trilogy.(less)
Not really the best vampire novel I've read. The story was nice, but it read like I was reading a draft. It needed work. Perspective would shift withi...moreNot really the best vampire novel I've read. The story was nice, but it read like I was reading a draft. It needed work. Perspective would shift within chapters - sometimes within the same paragraph. But the story was ok, and I felt compelled to finish it.(less)
I haven't read a lot of King's books yet, but what I've learned is that he's not so great at writing endings. But this one is different. Great book, i...moreI haven't read a lot of King's books yet, but what I've learned is that he's not so great at writing endings. But this one is different. Great book, including the ending. Full review forthcoming.(less)
If I could give it three and a half stars, I would, because this book deserves more than three but less than four.
I don't have time to write an entire...moreIf I could give it three and a half stars, I would, because this book deserves more than three but less than four.
I don't have time to write an entire review now, and I just finished the book two hours ago, and I need some time to process my feelings before reviewing. But for now, i'm just going to say that I think I actually preferred the movie over the book, which rarely happens.(less)
I'm having a hard time dealing with the style of writing. The first section is told from the point of view of a middle-aged retired professor of Engli...moreI'm having a hard time dealing with the style of writing. The first section is told from the point of view of a middle-aged retired professor of English literature (I believe that's what he taught, based on the comments he made). It bothers me that an educated individual, in a position of imparting his knowledge onto others, would write down his thoughts using an ampersand instead of the word "and." He also uses the letter "O" instead of the word "oh," which isn't quite so annoying, as it has been seen many times throughout the history of literature - it's just not conventional in today's literature. There's just something about the voice of this character that doesn't seem to fit with the idea I have in my head of a professor's voice.
Other parts of the novel are written from the point of view of an 18-year-old boy, and he uses the word "and," even though I feel he would be the more likely choice to use an ampersand instead, especially in this age of text-speak and internet shorthand. But his voice, while simple, actually fits the character in question, unlike the voice of the professor.
All that being said, I did enjoy the book. I got used to the voices of the characters. The story was a study in loneliness, sad, real.(less)