Allegiant sadly did not live up to the promise of the first two books, either in quality of writing or conceptually. There were great ideas planted inAllegiant sadly did not live up to the promise of the first two books, either in quality of writing or conceptually. There were great ideas planted in Divergent and Insurgent that could have had great payoffs in this third book, but instead almost all of them were letdowns. The characterization was weak (I've read reviews in which readers say they got confused between different POVs, and I've always before thought that was a ridiculous problem--how could you not tell who was who? Well, when the characters' voices are the same, it's pretty hard to remember who is narrating at any given moment), the writing was weak, and the story became a little too silly for me to continue to suspend my disbelief. Still, it was good to read a conclusion to the series, even if it fell short....more
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
The story continues in the wonderful alternate universe created in the first book, with many of the same characters and plenty of new ones as well. Richard Burton is assigned another case to investigate: that of the Tichborne Claimant. This is an interesting bit of history even in our universe, but it becomes more exciting in the Albertian England where technology is advancing faster than even the tech-savvy can keep up with it and the supernatural is actually possible. Always entertaining, at times hilarious, and with multiple intriguing mysteries going at once, this book is a fantastic read. There are ingenious inventions and innovations, fascinating differences between this universe and ours, and wonderful characters anyone would love to read about. And since the story is full of actual historical figures and events, this book might possibly be even more fun for those who know a lot about the time period.
The writing is just as strong and funny in this second book book as it was in the first, although since the story takes place over a much longer stretch of time, there are periods and events that are skipped over in the telling, which was a bit disconcerting. Even so, I truly enjoyed every page of this book, and desperately hope there will be more in the series. I picked up the first one because the cover looked cool on the front and beautiful on the back--and I ended up with a new favorite author and a new favorite series! I can't say how excited these books make me without sounding like a teenage girl, but I genuinely do love this book and I highly recommend it to anyone who's read the first book.
Here are some of my favorite bits: The zombie rakes very politely trying to eat people (sadly, I didn't copy any of my favorite lines from this part, and I'm moving soon and have already packed the book away). Parakeet message:
"'Message from that dung-squeezer, Detective Inspector Trounce. Message begins. Word has reached me that you're back on your feet, you dirty shunt-knobbler. I'll call round at eight this evening. Message ends.'"
There are of course plenty of Oscar Wilde quotes:
"'Ah, well now, whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.'"
"'It seems to me that the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.'"
"'Have you seen the news yourself, sir?' 'Not yet. I've had my nose in books.' 'Then you must be the exception that proves the rule, for I have it in mind that the difference between literature and journalism is that journalism is unreadable and literature is not read!'"
Herbert Spencer's philosophizing:
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance--that principle is contempt prior to investigation; contempt carved from the immovable rock of faith."
"'It isn't possible to know if the reality you perceive is all there is. You can only deal with what you are cognizant of.'...'Knowledge is phenomenal?'...'We might only be aware of a small portion of reality, but it is reality nevertheless, so however we apprehend it, that apprehension has validity. Existence is, then, I posit, a continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations.'"
"Resistance to aggression is not simply justified, but imperative."
"In fact, I contend not only that anyone can do it, but that we all do! Destiny is not fixed. It is the ever-changing consequence of uncountable actions--actions undertaken by every single person of the face of the planet...even the most obscure, uneducated, unimaginative nobody can, and does, make a difference."
And one more parakeet:
"'I think I can safely predict that this attempt will be a great deal less traumatic than the last!' Pox let loose a terrific shriek: 'Bollocks!'"
The art continues to be absolutely gorgeous. With four beautiful full-color pages at the beginning, lovely full-page (splash page?) fantasy scenes, anThe art continues to be absolutely gorgeous. With four beautiful full-color pages at the beginning, lovely full-page (splash page?) fantasy scenes, and wonderful art throughout, this book is an aesthetic feast.
Unfortunately, the events continue to be very hard to follow. The story isn't particularly confusing: a human girl is married to the water g-d Habaek, and she's trying to figure out: a) if the little boy Habaek that she knows during the day is the same person as the adult "Mui" that she encounters at night, who she has feelings for, and b) who among their companions she can trust. I got that bit. But the details? Those I'm not so sure about. If there's any sort of action going on, the beautiful pictures don't illuminate it well enough, and the dialogue is neither explanatory enough nor clear about who is speaking it. Oh well.
I decided that in the first volume, the art was worth the price of the book, and I feel the same way about this one...but I'm not sure if I'm going to seek out future volumes or not. Aw hell, it's so beautiful I probably will....more