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The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid. - Jane Austen

Review: Veronica Roth – Four (A Divergent Collection)

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WP_20140917_003I first spied this book just after it came out, but when I saw the price, I thought I’d leave it for my Christmas list, I didn’t really want to pay £9 for a book of short stories. But then I was having a pretty bad day and my lovely boyfriend brought it home for me, so I was very happy!

I didn’t really know what to expect from the collection, I knew it was four short stories written from the perspective of Tobias, but that was about it. I saw quite a few reviews on Goodreads that said it was a bit boring as there was a lot of repetition between the shorts and the main series, but I loved seeing how it all happened from a different perspective. It definitely changed my opinion of Tobias a little bit, especially the last story which was set around Tris’ initiation. In the main series, we see him as being a little on the mean side, but from his perspective we can see why he needed to do this and how much it killed him to have to do it.

After the main set of four short stories, there were also three even shorter stories, which were extremely short and sweet, but lovely all the same. I’m not going to hide the fact that I’m a huge fan of this series, and I thought these extra stories were brilliant, a perfect way of fleshing out some of the details which were missing from the main series.

I’d kinda like it if there were more stories from the perspective of some of the other characters, like Eric and Al. We’re not supposed to like these characters so it would be nice to see what was going through their heads too.

If you loved Roth’s style of writing in the main series and you loved the characters and you’re just hungry for more Tris and Tobias, you’ll love this book!

5/5

Review: Veronica Roth – Allegiant

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Veronica Roth - AllegiantI don’t think I’ve ever been broken and put together so many times as I have when reading this book. I’ve been left with extremely mixed feelings. Overall, I really liked the book, but I just didn’t feel as compelled to keep reading as I did with Divergent and Insurgent. It took me over a week to read the first 150 pages, because I just couldn’t get into it.

I think the main reason for this to start with was the change of character. Throughout Divergent and Insurgent we are used to seeing everything as Tris, her thoughts and feelings and actions. But now the chapters flick back and forth between Tris and Tobias as narrator. It took a long while to get used to that, and to start with I kept having to flick back to the chapter title page to remember who it was we were with now. But after I’d gotten over that and I just decided to buckle down and read, I was riveted by about page 200 and I really just couldn’t bear to stop reading.

Tris and Tobias are now in a world where the factions have been destroyed and it looks like their world is about to fall about with a rebellion on the horizon. Unfortunately for Tobias, his mum is on one side of the rebellion and his dad on the other. But Tris, Tobias and her friends are offered a chance to go beyond the fence and find out why the outside world so desperately needed the Divergent to come out and save them. And what they find is most definitely not what they expected, shaking them to the very core of their existence and leaving them questioning if their lives back in the factions were in fact completely meaningless.

After Tris and Tobias go beyond the fence, they may have been expecting some simple and easy life to await them, but they couldn’t have been more wrong. And so starts my understanding of why Roth used a duel perspective for the story, allowing us to dig in deeper to all parts of what is going on, and to see the conflict that both Tris and Tobias are feeling, to get right in with their emotions and feel very single bit of pain that they feel.

If I’m honest, the book left me feeling empty. Empty and crying alone in my room wondering why a young adult author could leave a book with such an unconventional ending. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know exactly what I mean and you’re probably feeling empty just like me. If you’ve not read the book, I’m not going to say any more and spoil it for you, because you need to feel that heart ripping jolt just like the rest of us, the kind that makes you feel like raw to the bone and makes you want to rewind time back to before you read that moment so you can pretend it never happened.

I would give this book a full 5/5 for the stupendous plot and the way that I could never predict what was going to happen when I turned the page, but since it took me so long to initially get absorbed into the book, I’m going to go for 4/5 instead.

4/5

Review: Veronica Roth: Insurgent

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20140324-195322.jpgWow wow wow. I finished my review of Divergent by saying that I thought this could become the next Hunger Games, and I think I may have been right. Quite often, the second book in a trilogy is a bit lackluster, stuck between the excitement of the first book and the dramatic conclusion of the third, but this book was jam-packed with page after page of action and intrigue.

We get to take a closer look at the individual factions in this book as Tris and her friends try to find a safe place to stay following the downfall of Dauntless and Abnegation. I liked this. In Divergent we learn about the factions mostly in the way that Tris has been taught about them, but now we get to see the good and bad sides of each faction, the way that they live and how each faction restricts their members in different ways so that in the end. there are really no individuals.

All the while, Tris is trying to cope with the loss of her parents and the guilt of what happened to Wil. I was happy that we got to see a different side to Tobias, more open and caring as opposed to the hard, aloof mask he wore for much of Divergent. The relationship between Tris and Tobias is going through changes in this book too, not all ones that she would like. I loved the way that the author didn’t shy away from the hard parts of the relationship. Often in books of this sort the relationship runs perfectly and everyone just goes on to live happily ever after, but Roth gave them ups and downs and struggles and hardships that they had to overcome to save their relationship.

Apart from that, I’m not going to give away too much plot. It’d be really hard anyway considering that the book was 525 pages of pure action, so to sum it up here would be damn near impossible. The ending though. Wow. Fair play to Veronica Roth, she knows how to end a book to have you desperate for me. I can’t remember the last time I finished a book and was so unsure about what is coming next. I usually try to predict it before I get there, but I honestly don’t have any idea where this is heading. Bring on Allegiant!

5/5

Review: Veronica Roth – Divergent

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Veronica Roth - DivergentI had high hopes for this book after hearing a lot of positive reviews and I’m happy to say I wasn’t disappointed. It had a lot to live up to after being mentioned many times as the next Hunger Games, a series which I absolutely loved, but I think if it’s possible, I may love this one more.

The main premise of the book is a future world split into five factions: Abnegation; the selfless, Candor; the truthful, Erudite; the knowledgable, Amity; the kind, and Dauntless; the brave. As a child, you grow up in the same faction as your parents, but at age sixteen, you get to choose which faction will be your place for the rest of your life, possibly leaving your family behind forever. Before you make this choice, you take an aptitude test which tells you which faction is most suited for you, but when Beatrice takes this test, she somehow manages to break the simulation. The woman administering her test tells Beatrice that she is Divergent, not fitting to any of the factions, and that she should never ever tell anyone.

I don’t want to go any further into the plot, because I don’t want to spoil this for any of you who may want to read it yourself, and I really would recommend that you do. But the book follows Beatrice to her newly chosen faction and through the initiation process, with it being imperative that she passes so that she doesn’t end factionless.

The book didn’t pull any punches, leaving nothing out in describing the fear that Beatrice is feeling every step of the way. We get to see her learning the ways of her new faction, while trying not to miss her family, and wondering what it means to be divergent. I felt every bit of fear and uncertainty that Beatrice was feeling, I felt so connected to the character that there were times when it was all I could do not to cry out at what I was reading.

The book sets up very nicely for book number two, Insurgent. I made a special trip to WH Smiths yesterday to buy it, I couldn’t wait for it to be delivered from Amazon, I need to read it now, like right now.

I’ll leave you with my favourite quote from the book, it really stood out to me:

“I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”

5/5