I have to admit, I'm not one of the people who read every single book King has ever written, but I've read enough of them and I've always like his styI have to admit, I'm not one of the people who read every single book King has ever written, but I've read enough of them and I've always like his style and the way he can make a story come alive and his characters breathe. He can make you fall in love with the characters or hate them or fear them... he can just make you feel stuff. Usually stuff that make you think twice before you go to the bathroom at night.
Stephen King is a big deal in the world of literature, which is why, weeks before this book came out in the Czech Republic, people were asking about it. And I felt intrigued. Like I said, I haven't read all his books and I don't sit around waiting for his next to come out. But when you hear about something so much, you start to wonder.
Well, no, no it's not. I already knew that when I started reading it. I knew it was one of King's non-supernatural books and I was ok with it. I read Misery and I loved it, so I should like this, right?
As you can see from my rating, wrong.
I would love to say that it was amazing and it deserves the aclaims and the Goodreads choice award and all that. The truth is, the only reason I can imagine for this book winning that award is that people voted for the author not for the book.
One thing I remember I felt throughout most of the book was confusion. I wasn't sure what it was that King wanted to write. It wasn't a crime novel, it wasn't horror, there wasn't much mystery in that either. The only theory I came with was that King noticed the rise in popularity of the nordic crime thriller genre and wanted to have his share in the trend. The result is a novel that is average in its genre and far below average in King's bibliography.
It was not a complete disaster, but I'm bitter. And there are other feelings that made me give the book only two stars, which I will relate in a minute.
There are three main things I usually notice in a novel and I think it's very similar for most people. I notice the plot, the characters and the style.
The style was one of the more pleasant things about this book. I was a bit taken aback with the use of a present tense for a 3rd person narrative, but it was mostly because I'm not that used to it. King switched into past tense when he wrote flashbacks, which was something I really liked. It's neat.
King has a way of using words that fit the mood of the narrative and I felt like he did good with it in this book too, though there were some parts, especially when talking about technology, when the speech of the character felt forced and unrealistic. Another this was that they blabbed out a lot of unnecessary things that had nothing to do with the story and I had no idea why it was they were talking about it. Maybe King was trying to show how people can switch from one thought to another when they're talking, but it didn't work when he wrote that down. It didn't work at all.
While we're talking about forced things that didn't work, I don't know what's the deal with King and the LGBT community, but there was a lot of weird, off sentences that mentioned gay people. It mostly felt like someone told King he should put something about gay people there because it's a big topic now or something, so he went back to the text and randomly added thoughts about how someone was gay to the characters' minds. And the most clichéd lesbian character ever.
Another attempt to follow one of the hot topics was probably Janelle, who I can only guess was supposed to be a strong female character. I wish I could call it a "nice" try.
I got off the track here a bit, so I'll get back. The second thing I notice is the plot. In this case, I had very conflicted feelings on this topic.
For starters, almost nothing happened for about a half of the book. It was mostly just the two main characters, Hodges and Brady, thinking about each other and sometimes communicating through writing (which was a clever move on King's side though because he could use his experience when Hodges was figuring things out from Brady's style - write what you know). Things only started to get even remotely exciting in the second half, but even then, I was mostly switching between two emotions: cold disinterest and anger.
Which gets me to the biggest problem of this book: the characters!
In the first half of the book, I had absolutely zero interest in the two main characters. In Hodges' case, that lasted throughout the whole book. I started to get morbidly interested in Brady later in the story. Apart from that, there was only one character that I really liked, one that I didn't mind, and another that I thought I liked at first but then realized I was wrong and I don't care about them at all.
I liked Jerome. I actually think he was pretty much the only reason I finished the book. Jerome is a very smart teenage boy that works for Hodges occasionally and has a very bright future in front of him (probably Harvard). He was a breath of fresh air in a story that was otherwise mostly dull.
The character that I didn't mind was Holly. She was at least interesting if nothing else and I cared about what happens to her. I felt like King was maybe slightly clumsy when he was writing her, even though most of it made sense give her condition. But it was so different from King's other books where the character breathe and come alive in front of my eyes. Holly was a puppet, not a woman.
Then there was Janelle, out attempt at a strong woman. When I met her, I was almost desperate to find anyone else in the story besides Jerome, I could care for, which was why I tried really hard to find her likeable and to relate to her. I failed. She was a walking cliché of the worst kind and I couldn't make myself feel anything about her. (view spoiler)[I didn't even blink when she died. King was talking about her ripped off arm and I was almost bored. (hide spoiler)]
Brady didn't seem that interesting at first. I mean, aside from the fast that he stole a Mercedes and used it to kill people. He was a little disturbing, but not enough to actually make me interested in what he was going to do next. It only came later when King started to get a little more into his backstory, that I started to wonder about him. The scenes with him were the only parts of the book where I felt the strongest emotions (usually disgust) and just for that, he deserves some sort of medal as a character :).
Then there's Hodges. Even though I knew that this wasn't a supernatural story, I thing it would actually be a lot more interesting if Hodges succumbed to his suicidal thoughts at the beginning of the book and then investigated his biggest unsolved case as a ghost who can't move on, because this is his unfinished job.
As it was, there was nothing even remotely interesting about Hodges and certainly nothing that would justified a trilogy being written about him. He is another walking cliché. A retired cop that is haunted by a mass murder he's never solved. I did think it was a good thing that King managed to avoid another cliché that is a cop being manipulated by the killer. It was actually pretty much the other way around in this case.
But it didn't cover the fact that Hodges was an absolute fail of a character. I can only guess King wanted him to be a really nice guy that everyone likes and a retired cop that was really good at his job. The result of that was a guy I only felt anything about when I got mad at him for being irresponsible and unbelievably stupid. He spent the book making up reasons for not telling the police about Mr. Mercedes. It would be believable if this was a character that had bad experience with police and had a reason to be distrustful, but this is a former cop for God's sake! He has connections and people he can trust and that trust him (wonder why). So I'm sorry, but this was a huge fail on King's part. Even when he tried, probably out of lack of ideas how to make Hodges' stupidity plausible, to make it personal for Hodges, he failed even worse. (view spoiler)[I yelled at the book because of this. Janelle died because Hodges tried to track down a murderous maniac and not only that, he got other people involved. (hide spoiler)] It seemed to me like Hodges was determined to talk about what he was doing to all the people he met, except anyone even remotely competent to deal with this kind of thing. And when he was confronted with the consequence of his choices, he went and made the exact same choice again. (view spoiler)[Janelle died because of him and instead of telling the police what he knew (and he had like a thousand chances to do that), he barely shared a tear about his dead girlfriend (who he claimed to love after knowing her for just a few days), before getting another person actively involved, this time a kid with his whole future in front of him, and a mentally unstable woman. What kind of cop would do that? No, scratch that... What kind of person would do that? (hide spoiler)]
I quite liked the climax of the story though. It was exciting and I cared how it would go down for a change (view spoiler)[and it also helped A LOT that Hodges wasn't present for a lot of it due to his heart attack, which was probably King's way of trying to make the climax even more exciting, but that effect was spoiled by the fact that I couldn't care less if Hodges dies or not - besides, there are supossed to be another two books about him, so of course he wouldn't die (hide spoiler)].
It's not much, huh? It is weird to look back at a book written by Stephen King and realized there were only very few things that I liked about it and most of them weren't even that important. King would do better if he abandonned Hodges and went back to his usual genre. Or possibly turn Hodges into a ghost, like I suggested :). I'm pretty sure he would be at least a slightly more interesting then.
I seriously doubt I will read the other two books when they are published. And if I open them, it will be for Jerome and Holly, who might not even be there. I actually kind of wish they weren't, so I would not be tempted to read the books.["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"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
This was amazing! Much better than the second book and it even beats the first book. It's the longest one of the series, but it's a page-turner. It's fThis was amazing! Much better than the second book and it even beats the first book. It's the longest one of the series, but it's a page-turner. It's filled with suspense and mystery, but it's also written with this very tasteful, dry sense of humour that lightens it a bit (but seriously, just a little bit). This is not even a regular crime novel anymore. The first two books weren't that typical either, but they were close. This one though? It's basically a spy novel. Seriously! Everyone spies on everyone and an information no one is supposed to know spreads around like wildfire. At one point in the book there is about twenty people all working for Lisbeth Salander (who is supposedly friendless), but they don't know about each other. So there's a secret police agent (on Lisbeth's side) who spies on another secret police agent (against Lisbeth) who spies on Mikael Blomkvist who knows they're spying on him, so he hires a security agency to spy on those who are spying on him, while he's spying on the first secret police agent, because he doesn't know they're on the same side. It's crazy and it's so absurd you believe every word of the story. You're cheering on the main protagonists and you are mostly satisfied with how clever they are, but the dark side is strong. And it does have it's cookies, so you're not sure to the last minute if they are going to win. And again. You come to the point of the story where you think it's all over and then suddenly an innocent scene changes into a character fighting for their life. This book is very closely connected with the second book. So much that it should be just one book. The first book is a bit detached - it's basically it's own story and kind of an introduction to the two main protagonists, so you would understand them and like them at least a little bit. The third book is the grand finale in every sense of the words. It's been a while since I have been this thrilled by a book, so it definitely goes to the top shelf....more
It was great, really, even though I didn't like it as much as the first one. Ironically enough it was probably because this one was much more terrifyiIt was great, really, even though I didn't like it as much as the first one. Ironically enough it was probably because this one was much more terrifying. Yes, Mikael was in danger in the first book, but it was very brief and it was over before I could even realize what was going on. In this book, however, there was a threat hanging over several characters that I liked. Lisbeth, for starters, even though I wasn't really worried about her that much until the end of the book. At the end there was a moment that really, truly scared me and I had to stop reading for a while. I was sitting in my chair, holding my head in my hands, trying to understand what had just happened and what it could mean. I didn't expected it one bit. Yes, I did expect the outcome of the situation a bit, because I didn't believe there was any other way out of it, but the situation itself was a complete surprise for me. This book is definitely not your mediocre thriller where you can tell exactly what will happen next and how it will happen. And even if this particular situation was resolved, it was still not over and I was scared every minute of the next chapter. With the other two characters in danger, frankly, I expected it. (view spoiler)[There were passages about Mia and Dag that were incredibly typical for this particular outcome and it was like Larsson went out of his way to make me like them while at the same time telling me that those two are going to die. (hide spoiler)] Larsson has a way of using typical passages with an expected outcome, so you think you understand where this is going and than he twists it in the last moment. You think it's over, because this is how it usually is in other books, but it's not over yet. He establishes a fact and then tells you then you read a seemingly unimportant dialog and BAM! One of the characters just drops the bomb when you least expected it. So, yes, I loved it. But loved it in the ambivalent way, because you can't really love something that drives you to the edge and makes you cry for people that don't even exist. It's the same kind of love I have for The Picture of Dorian Gray. I bet Larsson was a psychologist in his former life. Like the life before the one in which he wrote this book, because he probably lives another right now. Either he's a higher ethereal being as a reward for how amazingly terrifying his books are or he's a squirrel as a punishment for the same thing...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
That book was seriously good. Very entertaining and thrilling and very easy to read. Another thing that always gets me on the author's side is a stronThat book was seriously good. Very entertaining and thrilling and very easy to read. Another thing that always gets me on the author's side is a strong female character and this book has it. Myfanwy is a kick-ass female character, despite (or possibly because) she was written by a guy. And she's more amazing for the fact that there are two very different Myfanwys in the book and we get a psychological insight in both of them. Sometimes, the epistolary passages were a bit boring, especially when they launched into a lengthy explanation about something. And it wasn't always immediately clear what exactly is the point of them. But the truth is that it was probably the best way of introducing the reader to the complex system of the Checquy organization. The whole concept of a secret organization operating to protect the country against supernatural creatures or phenomena is not all that original. What is original, however, is the depiction of it. The supernatural abilities are various and extraordinarily imaginative. The way that Checquy works is amazingly complex and bureaucratic - so much it seems like a boring routine. That alone sets a contrast which creates a disarmingly ironic perspective. There were a few things that didn't really fit the whole picture. Like the fact that a whole bunch of policemen with guns couldn't kill a minor Grafter that randomly attacks a police station, while several pages later, a head Grafter is killed by a spear. Ok... Also, the whole problem with the Grafters is a bit exaggerated. It's introduced as the main issue of the book and it looks pretty impressive - you know, two powerful organizations of two powerful countries in a conflict, infiltration, spies, attacks, not knowing who to trust and all that jazz. What really happens though is that the few relatively minor conflicts that were supposed to be a part of something much bigger are resolved and then...that bigger thing just disappears. Suddenly, it's not an issue anymore. Alright, to be fair, it is resolved, but in a most amazingly unsatisfactory way ever. Think Breaking Dawn. Yes...THAT bad! So, that's the star I've taken away. But it seems like there might be another book, so there's room for improvement. And if there is another book, I'll definitely read it and I'm looking forward to it!...more
I never really liked all those movies about deathly pandemias. I decide to read this book because it was classified as a dystopian sci-fi and I was cuI never really liked all those movies about deathly pandemias. I decide to read this book because it was classified as a dystopian sci-fi and I was curious as how the author grasped this. I found out that I probably misunderstood the whole concept of a distopian sci-fi. Or who knows, maybe the classification is because of what happens in the other two books. Plus, we don't know what's going on on the continent. Still, I'm not sure if it's a good idea to choose the genre based on what we don't know. Other than that I have no serious objections. It was kind of a light reading (if it wasn't for the topic it might even be boring). But since the plot was interesting enough I was even able to read through the rather slow beginning. That doesn't mean that I didn't take it into consideration when I was evaluating the book. The cost was actually about one star. The other star was mostly for the style of the book. I don't know what's wrong with good old ich-form, even though I understand it might seem boring and overused (especially when it comes to YA novels). The letters (or diary) style always seemed a bit useless for novel writing to me. Of course, it depends on what kind of novel you write, but using it in a story with action and clear, rapid development is contraproductive. Also, by usign this style you practically rule out the element of immediate surprise. The purpose of this particular style might be to help the reader to relate to the main character. Ironically enough, it had the opposite effect on me. Not only did I not really understand her, I was also annoyed by the way she expresses herself. Especially by the way she adressed this Leo once in a while in this weird style that looked a bit like a love letter from 19th century. As a whole, this book was easy to read, enjoyable enough to finish and I didn't regret reading it. I probably won't pick up the second book though. Despite the open ending, I'm quite content with it and I don't want to know what happens next. This was enough of a closure for me. I would read the sequel only if I didn't have anything better to read, which is unlikely....more
I remember that I really liked the movie when I saw it and it was mainly the reason why I decided to pick up this book. When I was reading it, I was rI remember that I really liked the movie when I saw it and it was mainly the reason why I decided to pick up this book. When I was reading it, I was remembering the scenes from the movie and gradually I became more and more confused about why I liked it so much. The story is interesting and there is no real reason why I shouldn't like it. But there is also no particular reason why I should. I usually read several books at once (three on the average). Some people think I'm crazy, but I realized that it helps me to read more quickly and effectively. Firstly, it happens to me sometimes that I need to stop reading the book, because of a heavy scene or because I'm not in the mood for it or I just want to let some thought in the book "ripen" before I continue. When this happens I can easily pick up some other book instead of wasting time. Secondly, this system helps me to sort out the good books and...well, the not-so-good books. When I realize that I keep picking up other book so I wouldn't have to come back to some old one, I can see that there's something wrong with the book. It's not neccessarily a general problem, but it's there for me and it's apparently big enough to keep me from finishing the book. And when I compare it to the books I was reading along with it I can usually see the problem. With the Mummy, the problem basically the absence of anything that would make me want to come back to it. It's not a serious problem. But it is a problem. I made no real connection with the characters. Not even Evelyn whom I liked in the movie. And not even with Rick (gasp!) whom I considered to be a walking cliché even in the movie, but the book actually managed to make it worse. I didn't even dislike any of the characters, I felt indifferent to them. As for the tempo of the book, it was fast. A little too fast if you ask me. It's usually a good thing when the author doesn't bother with details too much or they don't fiddle with the character's history and so on. Collins managed to overdo it. The plot actually goes so fast that sometimes you don't even realise that something happened, because he doesn't stop, he just goes on. Maybe that's why the whole book felt indifferent to me. It's not a bad book, but it's one of those that makes me move on with a shrug and a "so what". And I had to make myself finish it....more
My main issue with this book is simple and it seems to be a very frequent problem with series: It's not as good as the first book. There are exceptionMy main issue with this book is simple and it seems to be a very frequent problem with series: It's not as good as the first book. There are exceptions, but mostly it's often like this in my opinion. I had expectations based on the first book that Catching Fire didn't manage to fill. Maybe it's the fact that the world has been set and there are no more surprises and new things in this department. But there are series that show that later books can be better than the first ones. For example Harry Potter (the 3rd book), the Watch (the 4th book), the Mediator (the 6th book) or the Sword of Truth (6th book). Comparing to Hunger Games, Catching Fire was almost boring. There were a few good ideas (like the arena), but mostly it kind of seemed shattered to me. The problem here was pretty similar to what happened to Divergent at the end. I started to shoot too high. I prefer smaller, but complex issues to the bigger ones that tend to be vague and rush (unless you have nine hundred of pages to describe them like George Martin has). I got stucked twice here, which never happened to me in the first book. The first part of the book was so weak I had to push myself into getting over it. The second part was a little better, but it was mostly about Katniss and her change of mind about the revolution. Other than that, nothing happened there. The last part was good, but it seemed to me as a desperate (and fruitless) attempt to get the story into the level the first book reached. I really want to read the last book, because I want to finish the series, but something holds me back. I don't feel tempted. I don't want to reach out for the last book, eager to find out what happens. That's not good. Still, it's a lot better than the Vampire Diaries or Twilight or Two Mirrors, so there's that...no I'm kidding. The book is good. The main reason why I'm so bitter about it is the disappointment. But I'll get over it....more
To be honest, I have expected a lot more of this book. Maybe it's the fact that I've read Mort and Good Omens or perhaps it was just the fact that I'vTo be honest, I have expected a lot more of this book. Maybe it's the fact that I've read Mort and Good Omens or perhaps it was just the fact that I've heard so many people praising Pratchett for the Discworld series. Somehow I don't see what everybody sees in it. BUT it's not bad either. I enjoyed reading it and even though I sometimes had to push or bribe myself into opening the book again, I never regretted it. Pratchett wrote a nice parody that touches not only the fantasy books, but mostly just the world around us. I can push aside the fact that parody is not my cup of tea. Even I can enjoy it if it's really good. And I did enjoy Pratchetts remarks and cues - when there were any. I think that this book was just fine. I don't think it was humorous or witty. I don't think it was brilliant and even though I admire Pratchett's imagination, I don't think it's uncommon to have enough of it to create such a world. The reason why Discwolrd is one of the kind is simply that everybody uses this imagination in a different way. Not to mention that with writers it's always a bit unsure what is the source of the story, the characters, the settings and so on. Many writers say that it's not a result of them thinking about it or conciously creating it. The idea just suddenly appears in their brain and they write and are surprised themselfs at what comes out of it. I do write a bit myself and I can confirm that it's possible. Maybe it's the imagination who puts those ideas into the writers brain. Maybe it's God (religious explanation) or nature (scientific explanation) or our parents (psychological explanation). I personally believe in imagination and I admit that Pratchett has a lot of it. Just not uncommonly so. The feeling I actually had was that Pratchett had a few ideas and thought of a few good jokes about several different things and then wrote a story so he could use them there. It's a bit like: "Oh, I know! How funny it would be if there actually was a little painter-demon in your camera." So he let Twoflower to have a camera. The whole thing with the first tourist and everything is brilliant, but after that, there's a whole bunch of nothing. An ordinary story. It all stands and falls with the jokes and there is not that much of them in the book. The style of the book is just about the same as everything else. It's nice but that's about it. The only think I really admire on Pratchett's style is that he's able to use an absurd comparison or unlikely words to describe something and you know exactely what he means. You read the words and you feel it, but if you think about it, it doesn't really make sense. For example the whole: "!" said the stranger. Now that is brilliant. If I look at all pros and cons, I can't help but think that the book was average. I didn't love it, I didn't hate it and I'm afraid that I will soon forget about it. But I probably will come back to the Discworld series and hope that I won't have to bribe myself into reading on by telling myself that I'll only start to read Catching Fire after finishing this....more
Oh, how I hate post-apocalyptic sci-fi. And how I love this book! I would be the first person to admit, that there are loads of people more competent tOh, how I hate post-apocalyptic sci-fi. And how I love this book! I would be the first person to admit, that there are loads of people more competent to judge the originality of the story. I've never been very keen on sci-fi. As a matter of fact, that only sci-fi I've ever really loved and sincerely cared about was Stargate. I also got through Star Wars and enjoyed it enough to start on one of the books, but the fact I've never finished it probably speaks volumes. But with the Hunger Games, the book is Elizabeth and I'm Darcy: "I vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you." Or perhaps it's the other way around, since I resisted at first. I avoided reading this book on purpose probably because it's so popular and I'm always late to pick up the popular books. Maybe it's too much to go ahead, professing my love for a book, but I just finished it a few minutes ago, so I can't really help myself. You know those types of stories you simply can't stop reading? I kept telling myslef through the whole Hunger Games that this was not one of those. And yet, everytime I needed to put the book away for a while, it was always the same song: "One more page and then I'll go. Alright, I'll just finish the chapter." And when I did finish the chapter, I just scanned the next page briefly and the next thing I know I caught myself half way through the next chapter. And then it was four in the morning. Maybe the reason why I liked it so much is that the book doesn't necessarily have to take place in the future. Yes, it does, I know. It's mentioned in the book where this whole twisted nation formed. What I mean is, it doesn't really matter that much. It might as well be a fantasy land that doesn't have anything to do with North America. It might as well be a pseudo-Middle-earth. Another thing that makes it so easy for me to like the book is that I like the characters. An annoying protagonist can kill the whole thing for me in a minute as I experienced it with Twilight, the Vampire Diaries or the Princess Diaries. I like and get Katniss. She's down-to-earth, well-portrayed, a bit bad-tempered, but not without reason. She knows what she's doing, but she's not infallible. And, on the top of everything, she might have her share of luck getting out of trouble, but not always. At times it was her knowledge and her abilities that did the trick. And you have no idea how glad I was to see this. As for the romance part of the book: (view spoiler)[I like Peeta quite a lot, but I never really saw the star-crossed lovers thing they were trying to pull out (alright that Katniss was trying to pull out). From the very beginning I felt that I would rather see her with Gale for some reason. But in the end I couldn't help but feel immensely sorry for Peeta, because I kind of got used to seeing him with Katniss. It reminded me of watching Gilmore Girls unable to decide if I would like Rory to be with Logan or with Jess. But in the end I did make a decision and in the Hunger Games case it was Gale. So I'll see what happens in the other books. I could probably also draw parallels to the Edward/Bella/Jacob triangle, but it feels like an insult to the Hunger Games. Plus the parallel is so subtle and inaccurate that it's probably just me imagining it and if I got further into the issue I would see that there's none after all. Also, I doubt that Peeta will turn out to be a pedophile who's really just after Katniss' unborn child. (hide spoiler)] Maybe in a few days this adrenaline rush will wear off, but I seriously doubt it will change my opinion of the book as a whole. I'm happy that I didn't let myself be blinded by the post-apocalyptic sci-fi label or by the popularity and I tried to read the book. Because it's one of those that deserves every bit of attention it gets.
Best main character: Katniss Everdeen Best supporting character: Gale Hawthorne["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The fact that Divergent is from the beginning very similar to The Hunger Games should probably be acknowledged first in this review, especially sinceThe fact that Divergent is from the beginning very similar to The Hunger Games should probably be acknowledged first in this review, especially since I read The Hunger Games just a week or so ago. The main theme is similar, anyway – in the ruins of the United States formed a dystopian society that seems all good on the surface, but beneath that it's just the same old book with a new, pretty cover. In Divergent the degeneracy of the new society is less noticable (at least to the main protagonist and therefore for the reader), because despite the fact that they apparently live in the ruins of the city (Chicago), they don't seem to have serious existencial problems. In The Hunger Games it's apparent from the beginning that something's not right and everybody knows about it. That could win Divergent a few points, but unfortunately, the main problem in Divergent is very unconvincing and seems to be added into the plot artificially as if it didn't belong there at all. The Hunger Games show us how a problem of the whole society affects a small group of people (the inability of the people to fight Capitol means almost certain death for a few teenagers every year). Divergent tries to show how a problem of one group of people develops into a problem of the whole society. It doesn't go very well thought. It would be a lot better if the author stayed away from the global issues and focused on the problem of the (view spoiler)[Dauntless (hide spoiler)] and their leadership, structure and ideals. Tris could discover the power-struggle, while interacting with the members of her new faction and maybe try to do something about the leadership with Four's help. It would make the book more interesting and certainly more compact. And it would spare us the awkward ending. Who cares it would be kind of a political novel. It would be better then the final "battle" or whatever it was supposed to be. My impression was that the author wrote three quaters if the book and then she watched Ocean's Twelve or Stargate far too many times. Divergent is a great book until it starts to throw in the inter-factional problems and suggests a bigger conflict than a few articles and gossip (however true it all may or may not be). The whole Erudite plan is awfully pathetic and as if the awkwardness of the whole global subplot wasn't enough, it's merely foreshadowed throughout the whole book and then it all happens in the last thirty pages. Rings a bell? Oh, yes, it smells a bit of Twilight, doesn't it? Thankfully, Divergent didn't shrink the thriller-like action so it can describe a super-hot vampire and talk endlessly about how they get together, but he's depressed because he could kill her and then she's depressed because she thinks he wouldn't want her. For starters, the main couple is much less pathetic in Divergent. Plus, them getting together is the smaller part of the book. The main issue of most of the story is getting used to a new faction, the rules of the faction, the changed ideals and the whole process of initiation. This part of the book is undoubtedly very good. Too bad that the author couldn't resist the temptation of the "bigger issues". Sometimes less is more. So, that one star I took away is for aiming too high when the author could aim lower and actually hit the target. The four stars this book actually got is pretty much for everything else. The characters are well-portrayed and have their own mind and their own personality. The romance, as I said before, is there, but is not the centre of everything. I kind of have bad luck for liking non-canon couples, so I was really glad that for once I could cheer up on something that actually happened in the book. But that might be partly because it was predictable. I thought he will be her love interest since he'd first spoke. And I knew exactely who he was since the visiting day. AND I'm sure that was pretty slow, because I have a tend to doubt everything. (view spoiler)[That's why I was scared for one moment that Tris is actually going to grow close to Al and eventually choose him. Thankfully, the author was sensible enough not to let this happen. (hide spoiler)] In my review on The Hunger Games I said I hate post-apocalyptic sci-fi. I really liked this book, but I doubt it's because I would suddenly discover my hidden passion for the genre. It's probably mostly due to the fact that it's a similar story. The similarity I'm gratefull for the most is that either book gives you moral and ecological and who knows what else lecture wrapped in something that might resemble a plot, but is actually a clever disguise for trying to persuade you that the author is right. And I hate that. I'm thankful this book doesn't insist on telling me how aweful I am to the planet and to other people and how this will destroy me and everyone else before I can say "convenient".["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more