This was possibly the shortest, fastest and most engaging sequel I've read in ages. Infuriatingly so. At first I was a little lost, because clearly aThis was possibly the shortest, fastest and most engaging sequel I've read in ages. Infuriatingly so. At first I was a little lost, because clearly a year between translations was not good for my memory. But after a couple of chapters I recalled, somewhat, the happenings of the last book.
The last book was good, but a set up for some goddamn twisty time-travelling conspiracy shit. And I must say...geronimo.
I love this because the characters are all very independent of each other despite being so intertwined. And I don't simply mean their personalities, which is definitely part of it. I mostly mean that they do things you hate, love or are indifferent about and it doesn't matter because they are who they are. These characters do not play for the audience, but for themselves. It's kinda magical, except I've been gritting my teeth for two hours straight. :|
Despite the few obvious copyediting misses/typos, this story is superbly translated. I think even the humour translated over properly. :) I do warn readers that Sapphire Blue is an extremely quick read and hard to put down once you get into it. Something strange happens EVERY chapters, which causes you to cast doubts on your preconceived notions about various characters. This Gideon is a jerk. No, he isn't. He's allowed to have bad days. The Count is evil...or IS HE?
And what's up with Paul and Lucy? Whose side are they on anyway?
And yes, many of these dated characters they visit are absurdly sexist (and Gwen is rightly furious, but not entirely reckless to risk exposing herself), but Gier presents this sexism in a way that makes me question today's version of "equality" and if it really lives up to its label (my answer will always resolutely be no).
“Women are the only oppressed group in our society that lives in intimate association with their oppressors.” — Evelyn Cunningham...more
This was an extremely pleasant surprise. I had to skim through the bits I found a little too dull, but you know, it is just the beginning. Actual ratiThis was an extremely pleasant surprise. I had to skim through the bits I found a little too dull, but you know, it is just the beginning. Actual rating would be 3.5, but I bumped it up 'cause GR doesn't understand how the world works. And it works in halves....more
Sentence: I sentence Ally Condie to the same mundane existence as the Pilot.
I can’t say I disliked this book, but I also cannot say I liked it. While I had high hopes after the first installment, I came to realize very soon after that the books are drier than a pile of old bones…in a desert. There’s no humour in times of disease; no light at the end of this transition; no passion, though there’s art, its creation and appreciation.
I can’t feel for the characters because I barely like them. Xander and Indie might be the only two characters I felt comfortable enough to feel for. Everything about this book is nostalgic and annoyingly stuck on how people have failed.
So the Society is the Rising? Isn’t that the story with any extreme forms of government? They are both the same, even if they try not to be. (Although in this case the Society actually literally inserts itself into the Rising so it seems like a different government, but it isn’t.)
The sad part is that Condie has so much to say that I can really appreciate. Choices; good, bad and the grey bits in between; rebellion, but also knowing when it should be about people rather than the war. It’s great in that sense, but things are not laid out completely. These are all half-baked ideas that could’ve been so much more passionate.
On top of all that, the reader will remember bits and pieces of what Cassia has lost and can already conclude things for her even before she has, which is super annoying. Even without the full story, it’s easy to see that Cassia is focused on the wrong questions, and when she does get the answers, how do they help anything?
And I have to complain, how is Cassia not pissed at being used so much? She seems indifferent to me, and I don’t trust that. I do not trust a head Archivist that punishes their own trader for stealing, but gets away with it herself. I don’t trust a pilot that is not the Pilot everyone needs.
I liked the introduction of voting and Anna being a person for the people. But there was not much expansion. I think I’d be more interested in an expanded story/look at the people struggling to the Otherlands. I want to see the Otherlands. I want to read about the vanishings. I want more from Indie’s perspective. And Caleb. And the Pilot (as annoyingly unimportant as he was, in the end). These seem like interesting stories, while Cassia’s is all about her curing Ky and remembering.
The author’s words felt as empty as Xander, when he as faced by the judgement of Oker’s people. It feels like she was tired and so over this. But at least it’s sort of over. It was like the biggest okay guy moment ever.
Saw a lot of this coming, but it was done very well and had an extremely satisfying ending. I was kinda annoyed Brick was left out of the action, butSaw a lot of this coming, but it was done very well and had an extremely satisfying ending. I was kinda annoyed Brick was left out of the action, but I just really like Brick. All in all, a decent dystopian trilogy. If Hermione wrote teen books, this would probably be it. ;) ...more
This is like reading a mash-up of Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games, Lost, The Matrix and flag football or someshit.
Stasse's writing is actually reaThis is like reading a mash-up of Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games, Lost, The Matrix and flag football or someshit.
Stasse's writing is actually really good and easy to follow, so the book seemed deceivingly good, but I didn't get what I wanted from it. In fact, the entire focus is on this goddamn island and all the weird crap that is happening, including the existence of one really old ass Monk, who you can identify from the very beginning despite the mask (view spoiler)[(there were too many references to the President of the UNA looking the same age for years) (hide spoiler)].
This was one of those books that doesn't give you enough information about anything beyond the scope of the main character, which is one of the reasons first person perspectives are annoying. You do not learn anything about the UNA (not anything legitimate beyond some economic downfall and a united government by decision of some dude). Then you are expected to believe the officials running the UNA are (view spoiler)[so corrupt they all got rid of their "leader" and replaced him with doubles (hide spoiler)].
Oh, also, apparently the MC and her LAFSBF (love at first sight boyfriend)have been (view spoiler)[taken in by some Australians rebel camp, where her mother happens to be, in time for their next move against the UNA (hide spoiler)]. Everything before that was kinda meh. Very Lord of the Flies and building on the MC's strength. Personally, I find her kind of boring. You know those friends whose stories are always super pointless and yawn-worthy? I was basically nodding absentmindedly at the MC's day-to-day activities, much like I do in person.
The author has an awesome imagination, but not enough content to support her world-building. The content she does provide makes me think she doesn't really care to elaborate properly.
Bore me with your explanations, for realsies.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
VERY lengthy review to follow. If there is one thing I find icky, it's any form of propaganda. Kill as many characters as you like, but stop trying toVERY lengthy review to follow. If there is one thing I find icky, it's any form of propaganda. Kill as many characters as you like, but stop trying to win me over with your allegories.
This book is like reading the Disney version of The Beauty and the Beast (to the point where you're quoting "you will join me for dinner. That's not aThis book is like reading the Disney version of The Beauty and the Beast (to the point where you're quoting "you will join me for dinner. That's not a request!"), but without all the Stockholm Syndrome BS. Paige is repulsed by her lack of freedom. She doesn't find the her lack of power and abundant helplessness (at first) even remotely sexy.
This is what I love about this influenced work (oh, come on! The flower in the bell jar was a dead giveaway, and as many have argued this story is hardly original).
I wouldn't say this is the next Harry Potter (it's more adult). I wouldn't even compare the author with Rowling. They're not even writing about the same thing or setting or theme. But Shannon knows her way around words beautifully, and these days a mark of good writing is not how much are "original" ideas, it's about how you present a retelling. It's about how you let other work influence your writing in all the right ways. And it's about what you bring to what you've borrowed.
Instead, if you liked the Disney version of The Beauty and the Beast; Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle; Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone; and Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, you will probably find yourself in their displaced and bleak future London with throwbacks to the 19th century. By the way, this whole history of Ireland bit is wonderful. It feels legitimate.
There are very few insignificant and predictable elements, and an abundance of complex relationships (Nick, David, Liss, Carl, Seb, Jax, Warden, Didion...). There is no insta-love or false emotional need for someone else. In fact, at the end, (view spoiler)[they part ways because they have different goals and duties to themselves and others. (hide spoiler)] And this is what I love about this book. Everything feels like it has history; like there is something beyond what you are first introduced to. And that is the greatest advantage Samantha Shannon has honed within her writing. She has played the info dump card so sneakily, it's easier just to assume we'll come back to so-and-so's history at a later point.
That being said, I'm annoyed I have to wait for the next 6 books. I'll be nearly middle aged by the time they're all out. Ugh.
Also, anyone reminded of Gaston whenever they read about Jaxon? Except Jax is clever and is not afraid of thinking ("A dangerous pastime—" "I know. But that whacky old coot is Belle's father, and his sanity's only so-so.")["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Note: I tried to keep spoilers to a minimum. I only reveal the ending (just a brief point about something that is not really important for the plot...Note: I tried to keep spoilers to a minimum. I only reveal the ending (just a brief point about something that is not really important for the plot...yet), so I still feel pretty evil about it. :D
Sentence: I sentence S. J. Kincaid to an across-the-US-road-trip (or across the UK would be ten times better) where all we listen to is the Harry Potter audio books, as read by the brilliant Stephen Fry. It's only torture if you let it be. We can even stop for bathroom breaks and food, but I'll be blasting the speakers, I swear it on my first edition UK copy of Howl's Moving Castle.
Review: If I could love this book more I would [Note: I initially gave this book four plums before I had read the ending]. There was just something so fantastic about the entire premise, plot and even info-dumping. Those who read and loved Dan Wells' Partials will recognize this form of info-dumping and explanation as a valuable introduction to what appears to be a totally new world (but not quite). Kincaid gives it to us easy in the form of education through the classroom.
At first the thought about having to read about how these countries (corporations) formed alliances and the entire globalization process made me want to sleep. But once I started reading about this fictional future of our world I just couldn't seem to get enough of it.
This entire dystopian-esque setting revolves around one of my favourite and most feared possibilities in the future of this planet, after zombies and the earth being destroyed by some space-shit of course: corporations taking over the government completely. We are an economy-driven world and power now lies in the politics of the economy.
I do not want to reveal much about the book, except that the little blurb on the jacket does not do it justice at all. In fact, I put off reading it because it didn't sound like something I'd want to read. I am so glad I decided to pick it up anyway. This is a soft version of science fiction, for sure, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it lacks the intense cheesiness of much of SFF. This leaves room to appreciate Kincaid's actual humour and some of her more serious topics and themes in the book.
So, if you're like me and all you got from the jacket blurb was BAD FATHER and GAMBLING, I am here to tell you ignore all that crap. Instead take this away from the book: CHIPS IN YOUR BRAINS, VIRUSES MAKING PEOPLE ACT LIKE DOGS, GAMING IN MYTHOLOGY, and JACKASS COVERED IN SEWAGE. And if you began this book thinking it was like The Hunger Games due to representation of certain companies/countries through these teens, you are sorely mistaken (and I am glad for it).
I'll be honest though, I couldn't give Kincaid a full five stars out of hesitation (at first). The feel of the book was like a really elaborate fan-fiction sometimes, because of the eerie similarities I could draw to some Harry Potter characters (and situations). But that is my own feeling about it and I may just be in an HP frame of mind right now.
If Kincaid did borrow some things from pop culture today (who doesn't?), she sure is goddamn classy about it. My only concerns with the borrowing, really, were some of the character developments and personalities (I love HP characters, even evil, so I am biased to begin with). Beamer resembles Ron Weasley (and sometimes Marvin the Paranoid Android) a little, especially being a ginger and having a younger sister that reminded me of Ginny from the first book. Tom and his sadly unstable home life resembles Harry Potter and his non-home-home situation, including that feeling of sympathy when it's the day that parents come to visit their kids and all he's [Tom] got is an asshole company man representing his absent mother. Blackburn is like a weird hybrid of Moody and Snape (keen on torturing Potter Tom, but in a way that'll help him defend himself against the unforgiveable curses and legilimency neural viruses). Elliot is a dead ringer for Gilderoy Lockhart, in my opinion, except somehow Elliot comes off more legitimate if that's possible. And also likeable.
It left me with a bit of a hollow feeling at first, because I didn't see any parallels to the Weasley twins or Dumbledore (my favourites). Kincaid, WHERE IS DUMBLEDORE?! It certainly is not Marsh. I refuse to believe it! Okay, so I should probably just feed my need for HP through fan-fiction, but alternate universe versions of it. Like HP Arthurian Legend or HP Nancy Drew
I really loved this book because I couldn't always see where it was going. Much of the characters' actions were a surprise for me and I appreciated it. (view spoiler)[In fact, when Tom was asking about seeing what Medusa looked like physically, I felt a heavy burden that comes with disappointment. This had happened before, after all, in books like Ready Player One, where the main love interest turns out to be normal looking or absolutely gorgeous (although Cline countered that with his unexpected best friend IRL being a robust black chick in an RV--AMAZING). As soon as Tom said something about girls being prettier IRL when they say they aren't, I was in agreement with him, thinking "this is so typical". And then Kincaid hits you with the big one.
Medusa is not pretty at all. Well, she might be pretty under all the burns or whatever is going on, on her face, but Tom still really likes her even though his expectations have been shattered. And that is the main reason I changed my mind about this book. I will give it 4.5 for giving the middle finger to conventional expectations of what the main love interest should look like. This is something, I hope, cannot be fixed. (hide spoiler)] It's not that I want her to suffer from the judgment of society and perhaps Tom (we shall have to see in the next book); I want her to rise above that. And Tom too.
This was like reading The Da Vinci Code if teens could be brilliant Latin-reading, code-cracking explorers. And also if there were many arguments abouThis was like reading The Da Vinci Code if teens could be brilliant Latin-reading, code-cracking explorers. And also if there were many arguments about god this and god that and whether god exists. It was just a little too much when, you know, they should be concerned with more urgent things like how to save their own lives.
I'm also feeling like they should've been pretty unmotivated to find the Lumen Dei or whatever. I mean did they really think it was going to destroy the world? I would've given Hledaci a few pints of my blood, safely, and went home. Who cares? Why create more problems for yourself by chasing something that is DEFINITELY putting you in harms way? These are probably the stupidest teens I've ever encountered (on paper, because IRL they wouldn't really be expert code breakers running off to Prague).
I could understand when it was a mature, grown up man whose entire career and life is practically code-breaking. But this? This was like a childish game of Finders Keepers.
I basically finished this because I thought the plot would be more interesting, but really I was more interested in the development of her relationship with this Eli guy. But then you get nada, except for an admission of loving Chris who I liked and is (view spoiler)[dead (hide spoiler)]. So fuck it. Not even my guilty pleasure vein can be stroked into liking it.
But hey, the writing wasn't cringe-inducing and was easy to get through. So I'll give Wasserman that much; she is well practiced in her art.
Edit: It occurred to me in the shower, as often things I contemplate do, that if the Hledaci knew about the vyvolena and they knew it connected directly to Elizabeth Weston, why were her documents/letters not monitored? They had to know they existed in the hands of the Professor McPhlegm (The Hoff), so they should have assigned someone to the letters and Nora. Or if it is just a spiritual bond why didn't they find a girl that could translate Latin and had a dead sibling? Or someone that could potentially connect emotionally with Weston? Or just take Nora ahead of time and force her to figure out the rest for them? I am really annoyed that the Hledaci apparently cannot even remember their own history and learn from their mistakes.
What kind of bad guy super-secret-operation is this?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This title seems to be contrary to what I'm expecting.
Well, (view spoiler)[Uriah happened to be the only character I liked (hide spoiler)], so I loThis title seems to be contrary to what I'm expecting.
Well, (view spoiler)[Uriah happened to be the only character I liked (hide spoiler)], so I lost interest pretty quickly. The ending did little to make up for it.
I have very little to say about this book, so I'll make my review a quick one.
Sentence: I sentence Veronica Roth to some time in what feels like an isolated/biodomed society where no one has a sense of humour.
Review: This book was meant to make or break this trilogy, really. I know that the majority of readers enjoyed the first book and were iffy, bored or disliked the second book. I despised the first book and was pleasantly surprised by the second book. I'm not sure who this third book will appeal to, but it certainly was not me.
What was the point? That's the question you continuously ask yourself as you are reading this book. Because, honestly, I couldn't find anything that appealed to some greater story. There was some (obvious) betrayal, some obvious regrets, some obvious plans to escape, and some less obvious confessions on both Tris' and Four's parts (they finally hashed out what these shortcomings were and why they're both douches).
I could see how this book was not supposed to be about relationships, but I can also see how it failed. It was all about relationships. Everything was a relationship. Four and the hot Damaged Genes rebel (Nita, I think)? Relationship of curiosity and mutual respect/cause. Uriah and Christina? Relationship of possible adoration, possible lust, friendship. Uriah and Four? Relationship of negligence. Caleb and Tris? Relationship of distrust and love. David and Tris? Relationship of respect, loyalty and betrayal. Christina and Tris? Relationship of friendship, renewed loyalty, and guilt. Four and Amar? Relationship of loyalty, friendship, mentorship, love, and a subtle rift. Amar and George? Relationship of love, secrecy and purpose. Tris and Cara? Relationship of distrust and eventual mutual respect. Peter and Tris? Relationship of distrust and disrespect. Peter and Four? Relationship of distrust, and mutual understanding. Peter and Caleb? Relationship of mutual respect and understanding, and possible friendship.
I can keep going with this, but this is what I gathered from this book. I was able to categorize their relationships. It felt like it took most of the book for these things to be established and less than a quarter for an actual story to formulate.
Unsurprisingly, someone betrayed someone else and things were not as they seemed outside of Chicago. Government is doing things wrong, so let's just rebel.
(view spoiler)[What about the people in the fringes? What about the factionless cities beyond Chicago? What about the other programs in place? Is it really a good idea to remain in factions? Not just that, now Roth introduced the concept of damaged genes versus divergent (pure) genes. Isn't this just another confusing categorization that will divide the human populace?
And you know what? In the end, it's all for nothing (or so it seems to the audience). After Uriah died I had already lost interest in the story, because Uriah was freaking awesome and hilarious. I sort of imagined a futuristic Fresh Prince.
And then after Tris' really anti-climactic death (I even think Katniss should have died at the end of Mockingjay, but nothing so lame as being shot several times. Come on, if 50 Cent could've survived it...), everything seemed even more grim. What's Tobias going to do? We already cannot trust his judgment and usually Tris did all the work. (hide spoiler)]
Future Earth is screwed, but it's okay, because most of us stopped caring through Tris and Tobias' twentieth almost-break up. Also, as mentioned by someone else's review I had the pleasure of reading, the science just doesn't make sense, but that was clear from the get-go since Roth seemed to be confusing behavioral modifications with gene therapy.
Roth got in too deep and was all like:
And at the end of pointless deaths and small rebellions, it seems like everyone else is left standing asking themselves, "now what?"
The story was going nowhere and that's just how it ended. Perfectly nowhere.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more