Wow, this collection of stories about Four was surprisingly moving and thought-provoking. Four has always been an amazing character, and now I know whWow, this collection of stories about Four was surprisingly moving and thought-provoking. Four has always been an amazing character, and now I know why: he was originally supposed to be the main character of the story. Usually I think more main characters should be female, and more female authors should have female main characters (although I know this will make boys less likely to read the book, and girls will read books regardless). I do take note of whether books pass or fail the Bechdel test, and it's exceedingly rare for a book with a male POV character to pass. And this book does it only in the extra scenes from Divergent, when Four is listening to Tris and Christina talk, very briefly, about food. But I really don't mind, in this case, that there are no women with depth as defined purely by this test. First of all, this is definitely a universe with strong women in it, I know that both from the books where Tris is the POV character and from this book, in which Four talks about women as being strong, even if what they do to show him that is off-screen (off-page?). And second of all, shockingly, I don't mind because Four himself is such a deep complex HUMAN character (yes, men are humans too ;) ), that the feminist in me finds that to really be enough. As it should be.
Or maybe I just have another crush on a fictional impossibly good teenaged boy. Thanks, Divergent. Although he's no Peeta--but he is sexy, which Peeta isn't...and now I've brought the level of discourse down and lost character depth. Oh well, I was taking about a guy anyway....more
In Gilded, a sixteen year old Korean-American girl recently transplanted to her ancestral homeland finds herself part of an ancient family curse and aIn Gilded, a sixteen year old Korean-American girl recently transplanted to her ancestral homeland finds herself part of an ancient family curse and a supernatural struggle between Korean mythological figures and deities--and her life is in the balance. The story gives the reader a glimpse of life in Seoul, as well as a look at Korean culture, history, and mythology. It's a very interesting premise, and a very refreshing change from standard fare, but the execution was a bit of a let down. Good for a young adult, I suppose, but not for an adult reader.
I gave this book three stars because I think it is good enough for what it's trying to be, but if I were rating it for myself alone, I would not give it more than two stars. My frustration with it was nearly equal to my enjoyment of it. Much too much of the story was focused on teenage romance (and by that I don't just mean a romance between teenagers, but a romance with the maturity level of teenagers--in other words, nothing real and nothing that I want to read about) and friendship and family dramas. The characters were mostly one-dimensional, all seemed to have the irrationality, impulsiveness, and emotional maturity of teenagers and, as ill-defined as they were, still managed to act out of character.
Still, I enjoyed reading this book. I was interested in the story and I was very interested to learn about Korean culture. I would definitely recommend it to an actual young adult or to someone will doesn't mind the lesser quality of some young adult books or the inanity and melodrama of teenagers....more