**spoiler alert** I honestly can't decide if I should give this 3 stars or 4. I'm still thinking about it. It's been 24 hours since I finished the boo**spoiler alert** I honestly can't decide if I should give this 3 stars or 4. I'm still thinking about it. It's been 24 hours since I finished the book, and I'm still thinking about it. That says something, right? But what I'm thinking about is whether or not I actually liked it. I couldn't stop reading it. It was gripping.
But, come on. These characters were horrible people. I did not really like the experience of being inside the minds of these two clearly mentally unstable people. Amy had obvious psychotic issues, but Nick had his own host of issues as well. I think the only characters I liked in the whole book were Boney and Go. And I think I only liked Go because she was essentially the inverse of Nick. Also, her name was Go. I liked that. So maybe Boney was the only character I truly liked in the whole damn book.
And the ending. Oh, man, that ending was horrible, too. That poor kid. How much you want to bet that kid grows up to be a serial killer or something? With parents like that?
I liked The Maze Runner. I liked it a lot. I didn't really care for the Scorch Trials. I had high hopes for this one because I**spoiler alert** Sigh.
I liked The Maze Runner. I liked it a lot. I didn't really care for the Scorch Trials. I had high hopes for this one because I thought it would finish out the story on a high note. But it fell flat. It was disappointing. It had none of the magic that made Maze Runner good. The plot seemed to take unnecessary twists that just confused things. (view spoiler)[Like how did Brenda know that only Chancellor what's-her-face could be trusted? Oh, let's team up with this conveniently placed anti-WICKED group (starring our biggest enemy from the Glade) who is prepared to do exactly what we need to do to advance the plot. Wait a minute, we don't need the Right Arm any more and they're not good for us because they're just going to start blowing things up. Let's do our own thing. By the way, whatever happened to "WICKED is good"? Why plant something like that in the first book to never have it pay off in the end? Oh, and the whole thing with Newt and the letter. Thomas, think about it. If the roles were reversed, wouldn't you want him to kill you? Just shoot him already. We didn't need multiple chapters devoted to this. Jesus. (hide spoiler)]
I forgot to mention - there are still next to no women in this series. Theresa, Brenda... that's about it. A Chancellor Paige is mentioned, but we never actually see her.
I was at the movies last week, and before the previews during the "pre-show entertainment" (read: adsI don't read fast, but I read this book in a day.
I was at the movies last week, and before the previews during the "pre-show entertainment" (read: ads), there was a little spot about the movie version of The Giver. The actor who plays Jonas said that this is an incredible story, and everyone should read the book, then go see the movie.
That's usually my instinct, but to hear it voiced out loud by one of the stars of the movie, that seems significant to me. It worked. On Wednesday I had some time to kill and found myself at a book store. I saw The Giver on a shelf and picked it up, read a few paragraphs of the introduction (not even the actual book! just the introduction!) and knew that I had to read the book.
I bought it. I read it. I loved it.
I bought it on Wednesday and by Thursday night I was done reading.
That's unheard of for me.
A few thoughts on the book itself:
- What a depressing place to live. No real fun, no adventure, no diversity. Of course, they don't have any idea what they're missing out on. Even so, I don't know how any of them can actually be happy. (view spoiler)[Though, really, this is what Jonas discovers when he starts receiving memories. He wants his friends to see what they've been lacking in their lives so far. (hide spoiler)] - I very much liked the community's emphasis on precision of language. As an aspiring writer, that was very interesting to me. I think that of all the things this strange community does, that's one of the most interesting. We could use that in our community. Sometimes our hyperbole gets to be a bit much. -(view spoiler)[Leading up to the end of the book seemed a bit rushed to me. It seemed so sudden that Jonas and the Giver decided that things had to change, that Jonas had to run away. I felt there could have been more leading up to that. (hide spoiler)]
It's going to be very interesting to see how the movie adapts the story. I know that Taylor Swift plays a character named Rosemary (view spoiler)[who is long gone by the time the events in the book take place (hide spoiler)], for example. I have hope, though. At least they aren't trying to fit an epic into 3 hours....more
Still reading this one. I really enjoyed The Maze Runner, but this one I'm struggling with. It was like the author knew he had something good with theStill reading this one. I really enjoyed The Maze Runner, but this one I'm struggling with. It was like the author knew he had something good with the first book and tried to do the same thing only better for the sequel. But so far it seems like he failed. It is far, far worse. I'm going to keep reading in hopes that it gets better, but I don't even care about these kids. The concept is so ridiculous that I'm not even really wondering how they got there anymore. I really liked Minho in the first book, but here he's just an impulsive machine who doesn't ever seem to use his brain. So disappointing.
Ok, now I'm finished. It got better, but it still had considerably more issues than The Maze Runner did. But I liked it enough that I picked up the next book. I want to find out how the story ends....more
I don't really know what I was expecting going into this. Some sort of Star Trek parody, I guess. And, sure, it fits that description. But it's also sI don't really know what I was expecting going into this. Some sort of Star Trek parody, I guess. And, sure, it fits that description. But it's also so much more than that. I wasn't expecting the meta business. I didn't know that it was ultimately a book about writing. And I certainly wasn't thinking that it would make me cry, but it did. That third coda. Feels. So many feels.
It's been a long time since I read something that I wanted to read outside of my usual times (on the bus and on my lunch break), but I really didn't want to stop reading this. I read it whenever I could. It's an engaging story with likeable characters and genuine humor....more
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 enjoyeI 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....more
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. LovI 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....more
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 governmeThere'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....more
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 ofI 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....more