**spoiler alert** The more I think about this book, the more disappointed I am in it. I had heard it was amazing. I had been told I had to read it bec...more**spoiler alert** The more I think about this book, the more disappointed I am in it. I had heard it was amazing. I had been told I had to read it because it was better than anything I'll ever read again. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, but I was definitely told that it was at least good.
Instead, I found this book filled with nonsense.
1. I'm brave. I'll prove it to you by killing my friends, doing stupid (idiotic) acts, and by losing all sense of shame and honesty.
2. I'm an immature brat, who only does things for her own sake and then blames other people. I'm a silly, little girl who thinks she's a big shot. Of course, I must be. I'm brave.
3. Divergent. We were never truly explained what a Divergent is or why they aren't affected by the mind control.
4. "Don't manipulate the simulators. They will know who you are." In the last test, she manipulates EVERY SINGLE ONE! Hello? This is a big plot discrepancy.
5. The mind control. Not only has this been done millions of times before, it just didn't work. It wasn't well explained and the way Tris acted... I can't kill my enemy because I'm sensitive, but I can kill the boy who was my friend by shooting him in the head.
6. "My parents just died... Have I ever told you I love you?" Really, Tris? RIGHT after BOTH your parents die, you make your confession. Really?
And I could go on. I obviously hated this book. (less)
EDIT So, now I've re-read it. Again. (How many times have I read this book? I don't even know.) While I may never be able to recapture the feeling of...moreEDIT So, now I've re-read it. Again. (How many times have I read this book? I don't even know.) While I may never be able to recapture the feeling of reading this book for the first time and completely surprised by the twists, I can definitely still be blown away by the brilliance.
Because this book is nothing, if not brilliant.
Everything that I wrote in the past still applies to this book.
Oh? And I think I love Hayden even more now. Best character ever.
And I could go on, believe me. I could list whole amounts of adjectives to describe this wonderful, amazing, superb book. After being nagged to read this book, I remembered that it was on my shelf after some random library sale. I was going camping so, why not? I brought it along and read it in a little more than one day. Even read it while my Mom took pictures of this adorable little bear cub. Which was pretty cute, but one glance was enough. Unwind was simply my first priority til it was finished.
Uh, maybe I should try some actual review speech... It was a riveting character driven plot? It was.
Okay, can the review speech. I'm going to use typical gushing for this one.
From the moment I started reading, I already could tell that Shusterman knew his characters inside out, even the minor ones who just got one random chapter; like the juvey-police, or Mai, or Blaike. All the characters were so rounded and whole, I felt like I could touch them. Not just the three main characters of Connor, Risa, Lev, but Roland, the Admiral, CyFi, Pastor Dan, and Hayden too. And that's just the beginning, I could start listing random Unwinds at the graveyard who impacted me.
This book was just so fulfilling on all levels. It was philosophical (honestly, I stayed up all night pondering things from it,) it was an adventure that was so exciting my heart raced, it was tragic, it was disturbing, and it flowed just perfectly.
This book is kind of my favourite of the month. (less)
**spoiler alert** Edit Reread. Same opinion. I'm marrying Hayden when he becomes a real person. ------------------------------------------ Ach, four or...more**spoiler alert** Edit Reread. Same opinion. I'm marrying Hayden when he becomes a real person. ------------------------------------------ Ach, four or five stars? Which one to choose?
As one should do when in doubt, I shall consult logic and weigh both the positive and the negative of this book. Because I'm nothing, if not logical. I'm also uncertain whether I meant that statement, or if it was sarcastic. I suppose I'll have to consult some inner workings of my mind to figure that out.
Before I jump into the Heartland war of Pro vs. Con, allow me to make this simple fact known:
I am an idiot, or dull-witted, or dung-brained. It doesn't matter which synonym you choose. I am stupid for reading this book when I did. Now, because of my impatience, I will have to wait at least a year- probably more- to figure out what happens. Of course, when UnBroken, or whatever it's called, comes out, I'll just reread the other two. Shouldn't be hard, seeing as how I own them. Still, my shortsightedness is going to cause me quite a lot of pain as I writhe in agony from not knowing how it'll turn out. This I can say with utter certainty: I do not like not knowing things. I promise you, that was a full and honest truth.
This might be the biggest Con. The cliffhanger ending that almost destroyed me. At least Unwind had a bit of closure, but this had nothing! (Of course, Unwind was probably meant to be a standalone book, but the story just crept up on him and had to be told. I get that.) It ended on the semi-positive note of Lev and Connor heading off to "save a world that was ripe for the saving." (Or something; not sure of the exact wording.) But this is after Risa finally breaks free of her bondage, Starkey takes the storks to some island, Hayden gets arrested, the whole Graveyard is being unwound for gooseness sakes! And I'm supposed to sit by calmly for a year, and not pull out the whole abundance of my curly hair? I'm sorry, but I don't really do patient.
That's a pretty stupid Con, isn't it? Oof, and now the organized, logical approach I was gonna take is pretty much dead. Caput. Out of the question. Singing "A Trillion Bottles of Beer on the Wall," at the center of the earth. Bye-bye.
No! I can get this train back on the tracks. I can!
1. The immediate introduction of new characters. The first chapter is narrated by Starkey- an Unwind that we haven't even met. In fact, the first few chapters are all narrated by new characters. There was a bit of a disconnect in my mind because of this. I wanted the old ones! And that did come. In fact, I'm not really as annoyed by that as it sounds. The new characters were pretty cool, and the first chapter did grab at me, so I shouldn't complain. Still, it was a tad bit disappointing and I'm sure some readers would have been turned off.
2. The lull in action. Okay, it doesn't seem like there's much lull in action, I know. However, if you've read Unwind (which you most definitely should have if you're reading UnWholly) then you remember the way that there the tension was practically non-stop. While this still had tension, it wasn't as packed. Of course, it might be a case of "Middlebookitis." The sad state of a middle book in a trilogy; it has a bit less action. Still, for a middle book, it is good.
3. The cliffhanger ending. We've already gone over this, so I won't put you through that again. Aren't I nice? I should be a tithe, I'm so nice.
Okay, I think that wraps up the Contrary side.
1. The action. Okay, okay, I know I sound like I'm contradicting myself here. I just complained about a lack of action a few seconds ago and there was some of that. In the beginning, things were a bit slow. However, towards the end? Oh. My. Goose. The whole juvie raid and Starkey stealing the plane? And Hayden and his computer people in the jet? I repeat: Oh my goose. I came very close to cry when Hayden's in a half lucid state, remembering his parents and the divorce. Then when they got arrested? So good. So good.
2. Hayden in general. He could easily be my favorite character.
3. The characters. They're so good! Shusterman really puts soul into his characters (hmmm, I wonder if he steals unwinds' souls and puts them in books? That'd explain why he's so good at writing good characters.) They all make sense, every single one of them. Starkey, Trace, Cam, Nelson, and Miracolina. Of course, there are the good old faithfuls that I love. Hayden, Risa, Connor, Lev. What I loved about them, was that they were still them. So many times, in a sequel- especially after having been written quite a while since the first book- forgets the true essence of the characters. UnWholly did not do this, and for that I am thankful.
4. Cam. I didn't like him as a character a whole lot, but he made me think. Can he really have a soul? Is it possible that a person made entirely of other parts can be a person of his own right? I'm still not sure. It puzzles me and I find it fascinating. A question to lull over during my sleepless nights.
5. The writing. It's plain, old, fantastic writing. Shusterman is an artist and a master. I'd read this book just for the writing.
You know? I think I've come to a decision. Four stars. It was good (great,) but not quite as good as it could have been.
I've come to a decision. Any genre that spikes an excess of that type of book should not be trusted. In that genre, you should go for the books that w...moreI've come to a decision. Any genre that spikes an excess of that type of book should not be trusted. In that genre, you should go for the books that were published before the phase really took off.
Variant is one of the newer books that was written in the Aftertime. (Before I wrote that, I wrote Afterlight and that made me bounce in my seat and giggle. Neal Shusterman, you may take that as a compliment of the highest form.)
Where was I? Oh, right, Variant. Honestly, I'm still not sure what the point of this book was. From what I could see, the antagonists didn't have much of a reason for what they were doing. Somethin' about androids. One could argue that it will all become clear in the next book. Judging by the slowness of the beginning and the huge lack of closure at the end, I'm not too sure about that. I wouldn't put it past Wells to drag things out for the second book, make things more confusing, and then dump a huge cliff-hanger at the end. Just like he did with this one.
The ending was probably the most annoying aspect of the book, but the stupidity of everyone is a close second.
The whole time, I was thinking what Benson was. "Come on you stupid heads! If we all ran for it, we could escape." Course, this was before a bunch of them turned out to be robots, but still... they could have done something. The whole thing never needed to have happened.
The twist in the end was decent, but left me frustrated. Not because it was bad, but because it made me sad, and a lot of my favourite characters... well, they weren't my favourite characters anymore.
I'll probably still read the next one, just cause I have a hunch that Lily might have survived and I really liked her. That would be a very redeeming act of kindness. (less)