Wow, just wow! I don't want to go into details because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. I'll just say if you haven't started this series go and fi...more Wow, just wow! I don't want to go into details because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. I'll just say if you haven't started this series go and find a copy of Divergent now.
I will go into a few reasons why I LOVE this series. Mind you If you haven't read Divergent there may be some minor spoilers.
First, the world building in this series is very strong. The Faction systemVeronica Roth has created is very intriguing and a true dystopian society. The world also feels very real to me, that might have something to do with it being set in Chicago, and being a Chicago area native I have real life experience in this city so when the author (also a Chicago area native) mentions Millennium Park, Lower Wacker, the Handcock, or the Sears Tower instantly know what those places look like. In some instances my familiarity with area was more of a distraction, for example when Tris mentions the Amity compound is an hour drive from the city I find myself wondering exactly where that could be, or where exactly the abnegation and dauntless compounds are located (North and South Side respectively but no set location according to Ms. Roth via an interview on Windy City Live)
I also really enjoy the characters in this series both Tris and Four are fully developed characters. Tris is strong and independent (although she doesn't always see herself that way) and in Insurgent she has some really difficult things to deal with emotionally that threaten to break that strength. There were a few times I felt my self thinking "No Tris why are you doing that" but it's the mistakes Tris makes and the secrets she keeps that make her real. As a reader who is looking down on the situation I can see Tris isn't making the right choice by keeping things from people, but honestly if it was me living through this experience I can't say I wouldn't have done the same thing. The way Tris rings so true is the reason I love her.
Unlike a lot of "dystopian" novels out right now their relationship isn't the driving force of the novel. It's the threat of war among the factions and although this threat clearly effects Tris and Four's relationship it isn't the all consuming plot of the novel. As for their relationship it isn't perfect, and what relationship is? Tris has some major trust issues, and Four isn't entirely honest with her either. It will be interesting to see how the relationship continues to develop in the 3rd book.
Over all I really enjoyed Insurgent, maybe more than Divergent. One thing I know for sure I will be anxiously awaiting the final installment of this series!
Now Matched may not be as action packed as some of the other popular dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, or Divergent but even...moreNow Matched may not be as action packed as some of the other popular dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, or Divergent but even though it lacks in action the world matched is set in is in some ways scarier. (Now I’m not saying a world where 24 kids are forced in to a battle to the death isn’t down right terrifying because it is.) What I find scary about the world of match is that the people are so compliant with the Society and no one sees how oppressive the Society is.
First is the Matching Ceremony for which the book is named for. Based on data that the Society has collected and keeps on EVERYONE (including information that is gather when you sleep) your ideal spouse or match is chosen for you. Ideal is based primarily on genetics and insuring the next generation is as able as possible and less on compatibility, so it’s basically genetic profiling. The Society also selects your diet, what leisure activities you can partake in and when, chooses your ideal job, dictates when couples can have children, and even tells you when you are going to die. What is most frightening is that everyone simply accepts this. It’s how things are done and only the oldest people (those nearing their 80th birthday) remember a time before the society.
One concept in the book I found particularly disturbing was the concept of 100 things. "[The Society] created commissions to choose the hundred best of everything: Hundred Songs,..Paintings, .. Stories, ..Poems. The Rest were eliminated. Gone forever. For the best the Society said...How we can appreciate anything fully when overwhelmed with too much." (pg 29) I can't fathom having to do this. How could a society narrow everything down to the 100 best, and who gets to pick what is best.
I enjoyed Matched, I wouldn’t recommend this one if you are looking for something action packed, but it’s worth the read. The setting is thought provoking and had me pondering it a long time after I put the book down. I haven’t had a chance to pick up the 2nd book Crossed, but I’m looking forward to reading more about the Society. (less)
Many visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. I...moreMany visitors to Yellowstone National Park don’t realize that the boiling hot springs and spraying geysers are caused by an underlying supervolcano. It has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years, and it will erupt again, changing the earth forever.
Fifteen-year-old Alex is home alone when Yellowstone erupts. His town collapses into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence, forcing him to flee. He begins a harrowing trek in search of his parents and sister, who were visiting relatives 140 miles away.
Along the way, Alex struggles through a landscape transformed by more than a foot of ash. The disaster brings out the best and worst in people desperate for food, clean water, and shelter. When an escaped convict injures Alex, he searches for a sheltered place where he can wait—to heal or to die. Instead, he finds Darla. Together, they fight to achieve a nearly impossible goal: surviving the supervolcano.
(Above text from ashfallbook.com)
If the above text doesn’t make you want to read this book, I’m not sure what will…but if you need a little more persuasion here is my humble review of this amazing book.
I don't want to go into too much detail and spoil the story, but the whole story is very realistic. The premises of the supervolcano, obviously since there hasn't been a supervolcanic eruption in human history we don't know exactly what will happen. There is plenty of speculation and scientific researcher as to what could happen if a volcano of that size were to erupt, and the author has done his research on that part.
The characters are very believable. Alex is just your average 15 year old who is thrown in to this devastating situation, and his emotional and physical journey as he tries to make his way to his family is very moving. In addition to Alex’s true to life partial the way the satellite characters react to the eruption and to Alex is very realistic. Some of the people he encounters are very giving despite the hardships they are forced to endure others are far from generous. Over all I think Mike Mullin’s portrayal of a society in crises is very accurate.
Unlike other dystopian novels that are set in the distant future with a society that is hardly a shadow of our world now Ashfall happens in our world in our not too distant future. On the first page of the book Alex says he will always remember where he was the day the volcano erupted just like his parents will always remember where they were on September 11th so at its earliest this story could be set in 2016 (I’m assuming Alex was not born until sometime after 2011) but no later than 2030. We can only hope something like this doesn’t happen in our lifetime.
For more information about the book and supervolcanos make sure you check out the books website (ashfallbook.com) and if you get a chance to read this book don’t pass it up it is well worth the read. I’m anxiously awaiting the sequel Ashen Winter which is set to come out October 8, 2012. (less)