Monday, June 27, 2011

DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

May 3rd, 2011 - Katherine Tegen Books
Summary: In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each one dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue-Candor (the honest), Abnegation (selfless), Dauntless (the brave, Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is-she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are-and where, exactly, where a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also that her secret might help her save those she loves... or it might destroy her.

I wish I could just write one sentence explaining my opinions of this novel and be done with this. Instead, I'll just write three:
DIVERGENT. Is. Amazing.

Veronica Roth pumped out a novel that didn't let me dip in a toe of her dystopian Chicago, get used to, and start wading in, but instead ripped me out of reality and tossed me onto the floor of a train bulleting over glass buildings forty feet below. And I'm so freaking glad it did.

I don't think I have to tell you the hype about DIVERGENT. It wasn't THE HUNGER GAMES or TWILIGHT kind of hype, obviously, but it was literary hype that sends up a signal shaped like a pen into the sky, summoning thousands of readers to take out their contacts and put on glasses to become what they truly are-YA book nerds. (We don't have capes but we do have imagination, which means we can imagine a cape!)

Anyway, this action-thriller was something I was a bit weary about. Yes, the summary is like being punched in the face by angel, it's so good, and yes that cover made me want to ask a Barnes & Noble store clerk if making out with it would be considered tampering with merchandise. But, I don't typically go for thrillers. I love movie thrillers, but books.... Thriller novels are a whole 'nother spectrum of thriller. They just feel different.

I eventually gave in, and let me repeat, I'm so glad I did. Holy. Friggin'. Amazin'.

The main character, Tris, was totally lovable, and I feel like any person on earth could adapt to her. The action was a bit hard to get through at times, though it was done in a really creative way. I don't know how, but Veronica Roth was able to pull out these really gruesome acts, and still let me keep my lunch in my stomach.
As I mentioned in my last post, Peter is a guy who's on my top ten "Love to hate" list. He was a total egotistical, pompous, jerk. He was perfect.

Tris was by far my favorite character. The thing I loved about it is that it seemed like the characters had the perfect amount of likability in them. The MC, Tris, was the most likable, to me, her possible-beau was the next, and then her best friend, etc. I didn't feel the same amount of sympathy for a minor character as I did for Tris, and I liked that because I think that means that the characters' personalities were balanced really, really well.

Now.... Four. Oh, Four. Four. Four. Four. Four. Four. How I wish I could get rid of 1, 2, and 3, just so we could skip to Four. No, really. Four was that amazing. He was brave and heroic and yet he was tender. Also, he's got a pretty cool tattoo. ;)

My favorite is a split between three-no spoilers, promise.
1. When Tris is in that parlor and she sees the drawing of the ravens and it causes her to do something.... I won't say what, because that's a bit of a spoiler. This scene was so poetic, and I felt so happy when Tris did this-er-"thing", because it was just so beautiful the way it happened. She was letting go, but still honoring.
2. When Tris and Four are on the ferris wheel. Oh, God. So freaking wonderful! Four's reaction was so surprising and yet it made him that much more likable! Also, I love the whole decaying rides and attractions, which I think was another great component to add to the already sad dystopian Chicago.
3. "Then everyone can call you Six." *Cheshire Cat grin* If you've read it, then you know the significance of this quote. It's big, and it's as awesome as Four's back tattoo.

Anyway, read it. It's wonderful. The writing is beautiful, the ending is gripping, and the chracters are perfectly crafted.


PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White

August 31st, 2010 - HarperTeen
Synopsis: Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she's falling for a shape-shifter, and she's the only one who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.
Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of death. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.

So much for normal.

I first heard of Paranormalcy right before it came out-when there was hype over it and the ARC's were first being passed around. I liked the sound of it. I'm a sucker for secret agencies, and especially for magic.
But I kept forgetting about it once it finally hit the shelves. Firstly, I had already planned to read a bunch of other books, and also, I was broke. It would be a few months before it were on my nearest library's thin, cold metal shelves. And then I forgot about it. Last month, perusing the YA section, I stumbled on it, and remembered that it's sequel, Supernaturally, was coming out soon, and so I decided now would be a good time to read it.

Well, I won't linger on my crappy backstory anymore, but dive right in....

The beginning, especially the opening pages and first few chapters immediately grabbed me. I'm typically a snobby and rude critic with very low expectations, and so it's hard to get my attention in the first few pages. But Kiersten White's pulled me in and I was enthralled in Evie's world.

Her humor is really evenly placed throughout the novel. I don't know how, but she was able to effectively make even the most intense of scenes a little funny. (And how can it not be funny? The main character has a pink taser and throwing knives and screams, "Oh, bleep!"-literally-when she's frustrated.)

Her creepo stalker boyfriend, whom I won't name, because if you've read it, you know why I can't say his name, was... well... a creep. He made my skin crawl by how wicked he was. I absolutely adored hating him every bit. Said fearie ex-boyfriend is on my top ten list of villians I love to hate. Also on that list: Peter from Veronica Roth's DIVERGENT, which will be my next review.

Anyway, Evie was really easy to feel sympathy for. I liked how easy it was to cheer for her because of her mix of sassiness and vulnerability. Also, the people and things she faces make it really easy to do so, as well.

I don't know who my favorite character was! So many to choose from! I really loved Lend. He was so sweet, and I really enjoyed how he seemed to posses the same kind of mix of personalities that Evie had, except his were suave and awkward. And, of course, Evie was just a freaking awesome MC that I wouldn't mind spending a day with, talking about vampires and teenage soap-operas. But, still, I think my favorite character was either Evie's mermaid friend, Lish, or her boss, Raquel, who served as such a wonderful role. I think I'm leaning towards Raquel more, just because of her maternal protectiveness over Evie, even if she was a bit overprotective at times.

I couldn't find any writing problems with it. It flowed really well and all the characters had so many dimensions and Ms. White was great at showing all of them to the reader. Several chapters in, I was afraid that the story might be hard to read because it only took place in such a small facility such as that of the IPCA's, but Ms. White did it, and I'm very glad I read it! :)

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