Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Death Would Not Be Another Beginning

JUST finished Infinite by Jodi Meadows, the final book in the Newsoul trilogy. I am speechless, sad that it's over, and just so overwhelmed with the amount this book delievered.

I am, as we speak, eating my words regarding book two. The thing about this series is there is so much to digest that just picking up the novel and "rolling with it" will not be enough. You have to devote some time and thought to the whole aspect these novels are expressing. And, as with most cases in a trilogy, the 2nd one had a lot of dull points that lead up to the end of the action. So, ignore the whole "it takes a while" thing. Book Three is pure gold.

Ana is one in world where everyone is reincarnated- she discovers the truth about the God-Like figure, Janan- and now she leads the brigade to try to prevent Janan from rising. This journey involves a lot of emotion for Ana; new, real, and changes within herself. Her strength and courage really do cause the reader to rally around her, and even when all seems lost, you know she won't go down without a fight.

The love between Sam and Ana is so real- you can feel the surge of passion. I did cry, I felt pain for Ana and the decisions she was forced to make, but I never once tired of this journey. It was truly a story of surviving the unknown, courage to overcome the evil, and discovering in yourself that perhaps being the only one can be the best opportunity to succeed.

Ana is presenting these ideas of rebellion to a world of people who are insulted, intrigued, and afraid. Fear is the driving force for a lot of action, but overcoming that fear and breaking the cycle of the "cult" created is where the beauty truly comes in. Being the one to stand up for something takes on a whole new meaning- and Ana's end goal comes with knowing there is never a chance for her to be reincarnated like the rest. However, she knows that even if she dies- her journey should and will not be in vain.

 I fell in love with this series, this book....Sam. ;) The idea is new and fresh, plus there are lots of fantasy elements: dragons, centaurs, slyph (which end up being the lost souls who disobeyed Janan). I would relive this journey, and I know I would still feel the same emotions. This book showed the bravery of one person who chose to step up and fight the unknown, and that is such a powerful message. Read it, end of story. It is not a quick read by any means, but the theme and the overall emotion that you can walk away with is so worth the time.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Neither of Us Were Alone. Asunder

Ana is a new soul- one who is not reincarnated after death. She is the only new soul in the community and is not fully welcomed, even after saving many from the tragedy that was Temple Dark: many were killed never to be reincarnated all thanks to their once beloved God-like figure- Janan.
After some time away- Ana has pieced together the few notes, diary entries, and theories she has taken from the tragedy. Many of the pieces are still unclear, but Ana has discovered things, including how to deal with the Sylph- ghostlike creatures that burn. Ana chooses to hide these elements between her and Sam; no one else would understand, and she wants to make sure she has evidence on how to make sure this tragedy will never occur again.
Upon returning to the city of Heart, Ana faces a new challenge- more new souls are being born. She is not alone in this fight, although that's exactly what it turns out to be. Most of the city is outraged by this new "take over"; and some are even resorting to violence.
Ana realizes that she must try to make the city understand and protect the new-souls- but even with her friends and Sam's help, it appears as if this battle is far from over. In reality, you can't make people understand, and those who are against her "kind" seem to disregard the want and need for a change.

Asunder by Jodi Meadows is the sequel to Incarnate. Normally the second books in the series are always somewhat boring because they have to keep the story going. However, once the novel got started, I was able to stay active in this story without feeling as though this was just a bridge to a greater end. Similar to the first one, it was difficult for me to get into this novel because the first few chapters are almost tedious. But, I promised myself I would finish this series because the idea is truly too interesting and creative to throw away. After chapter 4, it gets quicker paced, so despite the unwritten rule to ditch the book after a chapter- WAIT until chapter 5.
Meadows creates complicated characters in an intricate world. Sam has been reincarnated for centuries- yet he has fallen in love with Ana, which is a conflict of interest. He is over 500 years old, yet she is just an 18 year old child; any kind of relationship or feelings seem "inappropriate", but Sam's heart and his good nature seem to overshadow this idea. Ana is a tragic hero in a lot of senses- she is not the whiny teenage brat with these typical ideas because she has suffered greatly throughout her childhood. You do see some emotions that are very natural of an eighteen year old, but Ana is strong. Her emotional stability gathers other individuals and gives strength to those people who seem lost and alone.

The city once worshiped Janan-who is their God like figure. Some still believe, others have left that behind years ago. But the more you find out about this city and this whole community- you see it began as almost a cult following. Ana begins to unravel the secrets everyone else seems to forget- and you as a reader realize that this community isn't just about being afraid of the new souls- it's about power, control, and making sure change does not occur. I can see a huge parallel to a lot of discrimination in our world, and the cult-like community really does bring a whole new aspect to this world Ana lives in.
 Meadows has a beautiful way of writing so that everything weaves together, and she creates a new twist on the regular dystopian societies. I am on my way to get the third book because this series is too good to not finish; and I figure with the story fresh in my mind- it'll be easier to follow. This novel was a step up from the first one- AND it really shows the differences between love and fear.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

It Is So Hard To Leave-Until You Leave. And Then It Is The Easiest Goddammed Thing In The World

Quentin Jacobsen is 3 weeks away from graduating high school. He has dealt with the harassment from the popular crew, video gamed with his two best friends, and loved Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. On the night Margo climbs through his window with an all night adventure of revenge and thrills planned, Q begins to feel hopeful that maybe things can change. 
However, the next day he discovers Margo has run away, but she leaves a string of clues behind.  When no one goes looking, Q makes it his mission to read the clues carefully so he can be the one to bring her home. The clues include old records, graffiti walls, and Walt Whitman's poem Song of Myself. Throughout the last weeks of school, Q accomplishes much more for himself, and others, than just figuring out the clues Margo has left. But does she want to be found, and can he accept what he might discover if he does find her again?

 While I was reading John Green's Paper Towns, I noted how familiar it was to his other coming of age story, Looking for Alaska. And although I have not jumped on the teen bandwagon yet,  I am going to go out on a limb and say that it has a similar feel to A Fault in Our Stars. It seems all of these stories have a similar theme, characters, and overall ending with a very familiar moral.
However similar it may be, I was able to connect to the characters in a way that made me want to keep the adventure going.
In Q's journey you want to smack him upside the head while screaming, "Just leave her be, you idiot!" However, after finishing and having a chance to digest the novel, it wasn't about getting the girl; it was about the journey. Q and his friends are at a golden age where there is a door closing, yet so many opportunities laid out for them. Margo rejects these opportunities and chooses her own path on her own terms. Q is almost unable to deal with this idea. He has this complete picture of "saving her", "being with her", and "fixing things", but as a reader you start to wonder if he will be disappointed by the end result. Q has to come to terms with his high school door closing, and he needs to accept the change going forward; perhaps Margo is not willing to accept the change in herself.
Green creates these male characters who have to come to life realizations on their own, but not until they deal with this strong female figure. I love this idea, and the story is more relate-able because the pull you feel to the characters is more genuine and real. Some aspects to the story are a little outlandish: Can readers really believe that two high school kids have the ability to break into SeaWorld at night, no. But Margo is an interesting character who shows strength in a different way, which leads to this obsession Q has for her, and later on, shows him the strength he has inside.
I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars because when it comes down to it, I liked Looking for Alaska a little better. I liked the idea of finding your way out of your own labyrinth, and even though there is more adventure in this novel, there was just something about Alaska that I liked better than Margo. Don't get me wrong, this is definitely a feel good read as well; I read it quickly, and I was completely entertained with the high school antics going on throughout the pages. And yes, there are laugh out loud funny pieces of dialogue, so that is always a fun ride.
Green's writing also amazes me because there are so many thought provoking quotations that you can take away. His novels, at least the two I have read, are about real problems, real change, and dealing with real loss. His characters grow, and that is the most heart warming part, no matter what your view is of teen fiction.

~What a treacherous thing it is to believe that a person is more than a person~