Viola and her parents have been chosen to be the landing party for the new world, the first people of the convoy to set foot on a planet.
What once see...moreViola and her parents have been chosen to be the landing party for the new world, the first people of the convoy to set foot on a planet.
What once seemed like an amazing opportunity becomes a horrifying reality at the prospect of leaving everyone and everything she has ever known behind.
Only the descent into the new world doesn’t go as planned, and none of Viola's hopes and fears can prepare her.
I had heard nothing but good things about Patrick Ness’ books in passing, though I had no real clue what any of them were about. When I discovered that there was a free prequel to The Chaos Walking trilogy, I snatched it up.
The story followed the moment Viola first discovers her family has been selected, through to her arrival in the new world. However, it is not narrated in chronological order. Back story can be a tricky thing but the small fragments of the present and the past were spliced together in such a way that the story was fast-paced and constantly held my attention.
Viola is a compelling protagonist and narrator. She is full of fear and wonder and her voice enveloped me and drew me into her journey, as though I were adrift in the universe heading for the unknown. It was a fascinating feeling and made for a riveting narrative.
In such a short period of time Ness made me attached to Viola and her journey. However, the little I know of the first novel in the trilogy – ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ – is that it has a male protagonist. I know little of what to expect, other than more of Ness’ captivating writing style.
I listened to ‘The New World’ on audio, beautifully narrated by Angela Dawe. She voiced Viola’s insecurities and emotions perfectly and had such a brilliant hold on the tension of the story. I will definitely be checking to see what other titles she has narrated.
I would recommend ‘The New World’ to anyone who is curious about Patrick Ness’ writing, particularly his Chaos Walking trilogy. Whether you choose to read or listen to it – I was able to acquire both for free on Kindle and Audible – you won’t be disappointed.
Katniss has been the Capitol's pawn in the Games. Now she has been claimed by the rebels and District 13 to be their face for the revolution - the Mockingjay. What is she willing to risk?
'Mockingjay' is the stunning conclusion to The Hunger Games trilogy. I was nervous up until the last moment as to whether I would find the ending satisfactory but I did. It just proves the extent to which I connected with the story and character that I was concerned it would prove to be underwhelming. While I do not think the trilogy is perfect, I am impressed by how the emotional tension is sustained throughout and the stakes continue to escalate until the very end.
This novel allows readers to further see the dynamic between Katniss and Gale. There is something of a splice of the relationship they once had and the events that have torn them in different directions. Gale has never been more prominent than in 'Mockingjay.' While it was interestiong to see more of him, it was too little too late for me to develop any attachment to his character.
Peeta is my favourite character in the trilogy, alongside Katniss.* The stakes escalated for his character - both emotionally and physically - and my hands were shaking in anticipation and nervousness of what was to be his fate.
Johanna and Finnick were hinted in 'Catching Fire' to be more than they originally appeared. There was further insight into their characters in 'Mockingjay.' I particularly felt drawn to Finnick, whose first appearance in the series made him seem egotistic and shallow. He is quite contrary to that original depiction.
We get to see more of Katniss' sister, Prim, in this book. While there is still much of the young girl we have known, there is also the juxtaposition of a new maturity she has. Things have taken their toll on her and she has found strength in her fragility, a strength she can bring out when even her sister looks like she might crumble.
One thing that didn't really hit home for me until 'Mockingjay' was the twisted look at reality television. Strange, since the Games are all about prompting children to kill each other and broadcasting it live but I found the way in which media was used for propaganda by District 13 to be quite startling. Katniss is dolled up and dolled down and given scripts and scenarios to act out - something she isn't cut out for. However, even through all this forced reality, it is only when Katniss speaks her mind and is herself that there is a power behind what she does.
I'm not a sucker for happily ever afters, I prefer satisfying endings. What that means will always differ but I personally found the end of The Hunger Games trilogy to be satisfactory. I can now readily recommend the series as a whole and look forward to reading Suzanne Collins' 'Gregor the Overlander' series.
What was once Chicago is now divided into five factions: Amity - the peaceful, Dauntless - the brave, Candor - the truthful, Erudite - the intelligent...moreWhat was once Chicago is now divided into five factions: Amity - the peaceful, Dauntless - the brave, Candor - the truthful, Erudite - the intelligent and Abnegation - the selfless.
Every individual of the age of sixteen must take an aptitude test, which will show to which faction they most belong...but the choice lies with them. Beatrice has to choose whether she will stay with her family or leave them forever.
Before Beatrice can officially join her chosen faction, she and her peers must earn their place. Some will stay. Others will be outcast to become what most dread above death - factionless. Can Beatrice prove herself worthy?
Above all the tests and choices is something Beatrice must hide: a truth that isn't appointed or chosen. The very utterance of the word could have her killed. She is, above all else, Divergent.
With all the hype around the upcoming release of the sequel, ‘Insurgent,’ I felt compelled to read 'Divergent', especially since I owned a copy of the book. It’s quite a solid hard-back book and I’m known for my reluctance to commit to obese novels. Slow reader that I may be, I was third of the way through the book on my first day reading it.
I was fascinated by the idea of the factions. Each of them embraces certain qualities and priorities and once you choose one, those things define who you are. You are enveloped by them and live by their laws. All five are very interesting but each seems to constricting to have to live in.
There is Abnegation, whose selflessness can be viewed as admirable to the point of being masochistic. Candor’s honesty is commendable but crude. Amity seems fun and creative but also a little too mellow. Dauntless breeds heroes and bullies. Erudite values reading and knowledge but is chained down by an air of constant study and a smug cloud of self-righteousness.
When I was reading about the process of choosing a faction, I contemplated which I would be best suited to. Would I be Divergent…or factionless?
There was actually an aptitude test you can take on facebook, just like in the book. However, just like the book, it is ultimately up to you which faction you choose. My test’s result was Candor…but I didn’t think it suited me at all. I chose Amity.
Remember when I said I made it a third of the way through the book on the first day? That was because in my copy of the book, pages 187-218 were bound upside-down. I would have to turn the book upside-down, search for page 187, read until I was back at page 186, turn the book the right-side up and then flip forward to page 219. So, I stopped reading part-way through a chapter (which I prefer not to do) and left it for the day.
Despite that aggravating unfortunate snag, I picked up the book the next day, turned it upside down, read, turned it right side up, read and kept on reading. I was addicted. My hands were shaking by the end.
Beatrice or "Tris" is a spectacular protagonist. She is strong in herself because of the way she handles the situations around her and faces her weaknesses. She is also a very flawed character and does not always take the high ground, although she is self-aware.
I was wary about the prospect of her romantic love interest with Four, a mysterious older member who runs the initiation of her faction. I was more than pleasantly surprised. While Tris has her weaknesses, Four also has plenty of vulnerabilities. He isn't a typical wounded hero in a hard shell.
Tris was the true hero of the novel. Not because she never needed help but because of the way she overcame obstacles. There are other characters in the book who have their own bands of heroism, however. I particularly loved Tris' mother and how she was strong in ways that might not seem so obvious to others.
'Divergent' is not the world of clean-cut factions it would appear to be. Morals waver and characters take action and make choices that in a perfect world they wouldn't. Of course, who wants to read about a perfect world? That would be boring. Instead, the book is riddled with tension and adrenaline. It's not something for the faint of heart or those who need happily ever after endings. It is a book I would recommend to anyone looking for a good dystopian thriller with romantic elements.
I look forward to reading the sequel, ‘Insurgent,’ although I might make sure I flip through the book to see that all the pages are the right way up. In fact, I might be doing that with all books in future.
The 74th Hunger Games have concluded but the dangers are far from over. The Capitol is angry in the face of d...moreWarning: Spoilers for 'The Hunger Games.'
The 74th Hunger Games have concluded but the dangers are far from over. The Capitol is angry in the face of defiance and they seek to calm the districts...but what was once a spark has now become a flame, spreading throughout Panem.
Katniss is being paraded throughout the districts in hopes that she will bring calm to the people once again. However, it may already be too late to extinguish the the rebellion she has inspired. With the Quarter Quell approaching, Katniss may be pulled back into the world of the Hunger Games as a mentor. Can she bring herself to face the horrors of the arena once more?
Her entire family and district is at risk. Will she choose to remain subdued or fight and risk everything she loves?
I'd heard from plenty of people that they weren't that impressed by Catching Fire but I loved it. While the book might seem to some like something of a lull in comparison to 'The Hunger Games' it is coursed with a powerful but subtle emotion that is not pushed onto the reader.
Before I started the sequel, I wondered if I would be pulled into the Team Peeta/Team Gale issue but I'm still Team Katniss. If I had to choose, I'll admit that I fail to see the appeal of Gale as a character, let alone a love interest. Peeta is clever and charismatic. Gale is something of a downer.
I was a bit underwhelmed by the title 'Catching Fire' when I first discovered it. All I could think of was someone trying to catch something intangible. I didn't give it much thought, I just found it a lot less striking than the other titles in the trilogy. I feel differently now. It captures the change in Panem so well - a glint of hope igniting into an unstoppable fire, symbolising the passionate movement of the people.
It might be easy to claim that 'The Hunger Games' used high death stakes as an easy out for tension and conflict to provoke a reaction from the reader but 'Catching Fire' is proof that if it weren't for the emotional stakes and the excellent character dynamics, it would have been a shallow failing of a novel.
My favourite moment in 'Catching Fire' is when Katniss visits District 11. I won't try to describe how well it was written or how it affected me as a reader. It is something you must read and experience for yourself.
One thing I can say for sure is that Suzanne Collins proves in 'Catching Fire' that she certainly knows how to work the midpoint of a novel. I've bought my copy of 'Mockingjay' and am intrigued to see how the trilogy ends.
Each year in Panem, children between the ages of twelve and eighteen are selected to fight in The Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death where t...moreEach year in Panem, children between the ages of twelve and eighteen are selected to fight in The Hunger Games, a televised fight to the death where there can only be one victor. Each of the twelve districts must draw the names of Tributes - a boy and girl - to fight in the games. When Katniss' younger sister is chosen, she steps forth to take her place.
Katniss knows how to hunt and survive but the Games will test her strength and stamina in ways far beyond what she knows. Can Katniss survive The Hunger Games, even if it means killing Rue, a girl the same age as her sister or Peeta, the boy Tribute from Katniss' district?
I've had a copy of this book since June '10. I read the first five chapters before it was packed up for NYC and after that it just remained on my book shelf. With the film release only a few days away, I decided to get stuck in from the beginning.
I was pessimistic about 'The Hunger Games' because of all the hype and the fact that the beginning was slow in pace and included plenty of back story. Regardless, it was undeniable from the start that Collins is a skilled wordsmith.
The novel progresses from compelling to riveting. I was engrossed in the concept of the Games and Katniss' endeavour to survive. The way in which the Games are presented is fascinating, with the Tributes flounced about like celebrities and sponsored and bet on like race horses...or more accurately, a dog fight.
The nail which Collins hit on the head was the development of Katniss' character and the dynamics between her and the fellow Tributes, particularly Peeta and Rue. These three characters are the strongest in the novel. Rue captured my heart, Peeta made me smile...but Katniss' strength was something I admired above all.
Katniss is not a perfect character. She is not without flaws or misgivings. She is strong in the way she faces the world and strives to survive, both before and during the Games. It is not easy to find a female protagonist who is sympathetic without being pathetic. It's a harsh fact but I find that it's true. Katniss deserves the title of "heroine" without being an archetypal hero.
Once I was finished reading 'The Hunger Games,' I set out to my local book store to pick up the sequel, 'Catching Fire.' It won't be long until I'm devoured by it, I'm sure.
I look forward to seeing the film adaptation of 'The Hunger Games,' curious as to what it will be like. I'm uncertain as to whether I should read the remainder of the trilogy before I do so.
My advice is not to be smothered by the hype of 'The Hunger Games' but to let curiosity get the best of you and read the book for yourself. You might find yourself just as enticed as I was.
In accordance with the FTC, I would like to disclose that I received this book as a gift. The opinions expressed are mine an...more(From my blog: Quill Café)
In accordance with the FTC, I would like to disclose that I received this book as a gift. The opinions expressed are mine and no monetary compensation was offered to me by the author or publisher.
In the land of Quill, at the age of thirteen, children are sorted into categories: Wanteds, Necessaries and...the Unwanteds. Quill only wants the best and the strongest in its midst. Creativity is forbidden. Those who show signs of it are marked as Unwanted and sent to their deaths.
Alex and Aaron Stowe are identical twins. While Aaron is proud to become a Wanted, Alex knows his fate. He is an Unwanted and is headed for the Death Farm.
However, when the sentenced children arrive there, what they discover is something quite different. A hidden magical world called Artimé, created and protected by a man called Mr. Today. Artimé is the refuge for the condemned people of Quill, where all are free to express their creativity and live as they wish to.
All seems well in the land of Artimé but Alex can't forget his twin and the harsh, controlled world he has left him in. Artimé is a haven but it is still at risk. The Unwanteds of Artimé must prepare themselves for the time when they are discovered.
Can creativity win over oppression in the end?
I learned of this book from the author herself, at the Book Blogger Convention here in New York City, in May of this year. I'd heard Lisa's name mentioned by many excited book reviewers but I didn't know anything about her or her books. Hearing about her new novel from her was exciting enough but it was the premise that had me hooked.
Two worlds, one where children are punished for being creative and another where it is the most revered of strengths? Not to mention one of these lands was called 'Quill.' I had to read it. Therefore, when Sydnee sent me a copy of the book, I was ecstatic.
I was not disappointed in 'The Unwanteds' at all. Alex is a marvelous protagonist, easy to sympathise with, whom you just can't help rooting for. I was fascinated to see how these children, so stunted from their time in Quill, had to learn what things like "music" and "jokes" were and how to express themselves without fearing what might happen to them if they did.
Creativity may have been a death sentence in Quill but in Artimé it could even be used as as an evasive strategy, a weapon and more. I have read plenty of books that incorporate magic but none quite in the same way as 'The Unwanteds.' Creativity is power, where you can use words to make the mundane magnificent, song and dance to defend yourself and paintbrushes to render yourself invisible or construct a doorway to another world.
I found 'The Unwanteds' to be an enticing read that was hard to put down. There was always something interesting happening, never a dull moment or a lull. I was constantly curious as to what would happen next and things never seemed to unravel in quite the way I would have expected.
The characters are wonderfully written. I liked that Alex was still a flawed character with his own aggravations and insecurities. I was also captivated by the way in which the people of Quill lived. It was interesting to see how Alex's brother, Aaron, was trained to do nothing but succeed and help strengthen Quill. It was amazing to think that in the confined way that the people of Quill lived, they thought they were doing the right thing to purge Quill of all creative individuals.
'The Unwanteds' isn't just a light fantasy. It is full of conflict and conundrums that will twist your gut and keep you thinking, well after the last page is turned. What I liked most about 'The Unwanteds' is that there is no neat ribbon, cookie-cutter resolution. That doesn't mean it's spilling over with loose ends but it doesn't give the façade of "happily ever after."
I recommend 'The Unwanteds' to those looking to be swept up in a fantastical story and to anyone who has ever felt like an Unwanted.(less)
In accordance with the FTC, I would like to disclose that I received this boom from St. Martin's Griffin at Book Expo Americ...more(From my blog: Quill Café)
In accordance with the FTC, I would like to disclose that I received this boom from St. Martin's Griffin at Book Expo America. The opinions expressed are mine and no monetary compensation was offered to me by the author or publisher.
With Earth deteriorated, humanity has sent forth two chosen ships to journey to and terraform a new planet, so that they can colonise and start again.
Kieran and Waverly are two of the oldest children on the Empyrean. They are destined to share a life together, working on the ship and breeding children to keep the reproduction of the species going until they reach New Earth.
Everything is going smoothly until the Empyrean is intercepted by the other ship, the New Horizon. Now, Kieran and Waverly find themselves separated across the vastness of space, struggling to fight for their survival. Will they ever be reunited?
‘Glow’ is by far one of the most compelling books I have read this year. I was captivated by the way in which these humans live their lives on a ship, travelling through space on a decades-long journey. It seemed like such a compact and co-dependent existence, so different from life on Earth. I was fascinated by the way in which everything on the ship operated. It was all described in such a realistic way that I thought, This could be the future.
Waverly and Kieran are such well-written protagonists. They have faults but they manage to pull all their emotions together to face up to the awful situations they find themselves in. I was impressed by just how much I liked both of the protagonists, since a failing in either of them could have meant a weakness in the book.
One thing I liked is that even though there are plenty of emotional aspects in the novel and it deals with relationships, it is not plagued by romance. The story is about the characters and their situation and the strength and weaknesses that Waverly and Kieran had were not stemmed in entirety for their feelings for one another, something I find so often in other young adult novels.
‘Glow’ deals with religion in an interesting and thought-provoking light. It does not lean in any huge way to the positive or negative aspects of faith or a belief in a god but it does give an insight into how some people use religion.
The characters in the novel are never predictable and do not fit into categories of “good” and “evil” which is one of the most superb traits of ‘Glow.’ There is such an insight into what different characters feel is “right” and “wrong” and the reader is allowed to deduce for themselves what, under the circumstances, they would agree with. It is never easy.
While Kieran is a strong character, I felt that it was Waverly who was the true hero in the story. She is the one I felt made the right decisions and handled things the best. It was interesting to see how the dynamics between the girls in the crisis was very different to how the boys handled things but the journeys of all the characters were so different, it was hard to compare.
‘Glow’ by Amy Kathleen Ryan is a thrilling read and I look forward to the next installment. I recommend it to anyone who is looking for an exhilarating read in the science fiction genre.(less)