Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Ironically, Since the Attacks, The Sunsets Have Been Glorious

Six weeks ago, the angels took over the earth. They aren't even the fallen... these are regular "heavenly" angels. Since the apocalypse, the humans have been scavenging. Everything is a wasteland, and everyone was affected by this travesty. Penryn, her schizophrenic mother, and her wheelchair bound sister find themselves in the middle of a fight where an angel's wings are cut off, and Paige, her sister, is captured.
Penryn then makes it her mission to find these angels, rescue her sister, and maybe get some revenge. However, this clipped angel could be her only clue to getting to her end goal. Once the angel, Raffe, heals enough to move forward, Penryn finds herself on a journey where she must rely on her enemy in order to reach her sister. And Raffe must trust Penryn's guidance and strength in order to find a way to get his wings back. Although the two are an unlikely pair, both must be able to get past their pride, anger, and weaknesses to use each other. How will it be possible to surmount these obstacles when both of their worlds are so incredibly different?

The first book in the series, Angelfall by Susan Ee, focuses on a post apocalyptic world where it's not zombies but angels that cause destruction and death. The reader is immediately introduced to Penryn's strength. With her mother's illness and her sister's disability, she has been the mother like figure, the anchor, and the only constant. She is quick witted, and she is able to fight her way out of most obstacles she does face.
Raffe, on the other hand, is a mystery, which is what he is meant to be. He's strong, sexy, but broken without his wings. Penryn tries to keep him under her thumb, however you can see times of weakness. She feels sorry for him, and readers do too. But he has such a hard exterior, that you aren't sure what to think. I mean at times he is a jerk! However, there are often signs of a soft heart.
I liked this novel because it shows a different post apocalyptic world where our saving grace is now destroying the earth. As the story goes on, there are battles, dark findings, and a suggestion of deeper feelings between Penryn and Raffe. The angels are truly demonic and create a new world of fear and evil, which makes readers wonder what side is "good", and what exactly is this war meant for.
Something to keep in mind: the narrator isn't even MOVING in the last few chapters. She is paralyzed and seeing all the events happening, yet the intensity of the scene really does keep readers engaged. I mean you have to be skilled if your narrator can just be laying there while a huge battle is happening. Pretty intense.
Very neat concept. I heard the second one takes a few chapters to truly get into, but this is always true with the second in the series. Worth a read if you are looking for a dystopia where it's not a zombie, vampire, or government controlled world, and no love triangle.
 Definitely a refreshing "re-look" at angels...especially after the disaster that was Hush Hush. Do not even get me started. At least this one reintroduces the angel story with a STRONG heroine, actual fighting and disturbing concepts, and next to no underlying love interests. Thank goodness for that.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

We Can Be Mended. We Mend Each Other

I just finished the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. I am processing the ending, the events, and the trilogy as a whole.

As I expected...Roth did not disappoint. In this novel the reader sees outside of the fence, the new "government" that controls all the cities and their living situation. They watch them, they created the factions and their forms of living, and if they think the city is doomed- they can erase and begin again. This whole concept drove me nuts throughout the novel. It completely makes sense- yet it's completely messed up. They choose not to protect the cities, just replace their memories and move on. The fact that you can also see such parallels to the government we trust is uncanny. I think that is what drew me into this trilogy- the corruption of the government. People explained "damaged genes" were the reason for the destruction, yet there is always going to be a group who want to overthrow what is clearly unjust. The idea behind people with the "pure genes' and how they were somehow superior to the rest of the population was interesting, yet disgusting. It's easy to explain away the reason for war when you have a convenient scape goat.

Roth gives Tobias, Four, a voice, and the story comes to a close with a lot of sorrow, death, and destruction, but it shows the fight, the struggle, and the bravery. Love is a common theme, not just the love between Tobias and Tris. Love between friends, family, and companions is.

I have come to the conclusion that I like this series a little better than The Hunger Games. Roth pushes the boundaries, and she creates a whole conspiracy behind what the main characters see as their world. She was not afraid to go against what readers would expect, or like, and it seemed that she took more of a risk with the complete ending. I think it is also always great to add a new character's point of view to the story. Collins kind of stifled herself by only using Katniss, and using her as the anchor for two male characters because it provides readers with a convenient love triangle that can be a sub plot. However, Roth managed to bring in the emotion of two characters- both broken, dealing with their own grief, but their different intentions and views to drive them both together. And the love and passion between them was not the center point- Tris and Tobias have problems within themselves, but they belong together because they each are the missing piece.

The last fifty pages were packed with so much emotion and energy- I was literally between crying and being unable to breath. This series will stick with me, and I am really interested to see what they do with the movies. Hopefully they won't disappoint. Although I was late to the party, Divergent will forever be a favorite journey I would like to revisit.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It Is Impossible To Erase My Choices. Especially These

I read the second in the Divergent series, Insurgent by Veronica Roth, in three days. I am not some crazy reading machine, I promise. This series is just breathtaking. I am in middle of the third as we speak and sometimes it is impossible to put down.

The second novel relays a lot of moving around. Tris and Tobias discover the truth about the government and the reason for Erudite's hostile attempt to kill all the Divergents. The stakes get higher when Tris needs to trust the one person she hates most in order to uncover the truth. There is betrayal from unexpected sources, forgiveness, recovery, and as always survival.

Allegiant is the last in the series. After the truth is uncovered, some will go to great lengths to keep it the same, but there are a few who seek answers- not just the answers provided. The journey takes readers to familiar ground, but for Tris and the Allegiant group, it is hard to swallow the lies they were once fed, and it's even harder to adapt in a world where everything has changed.

The idea behind this novel gives more insight into the "corrupt" government, and I have to be honest the ending to the second book blew my mind. I didn't see it coming, but it makes complete sense. It breaks the mold of the typical dystopian society books because it gives the readers a sense of realism.
Tris is a great heroine- she gains strength, bravery, and most of all she starts to come into her own. And as a nice little *uncontrollable girl giggle* surprise, Tobias becomes a narrator in the 3rd book. Readers see past his stoic front and are introduced to an emotion filled character with more than just sexy tattoos. Tobias is a broken character who, like Tris, needs to begin to realize who they are without a label.
The factions have separated and defined people for so long, but losing that sense of comfort creates new feelings and strengthened senses of loss, betrayal, and fear.

I am obsessed. Great reads, and, although I have not finished the ending, I can guarantee this ending will not disappoint. I mean- you can't have a huge build up and then just let us down, right....RIGHT!?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I Suppose Now, I Must Become More Than Either

I admit, I was late to the party on this one. Divergent by Veronica Roth was the next craze after The Hunger Games, and I did read a chapter before leaving it. Seriously- why does that always happen? I ended up seeing the movie first, too...MAJOR faux pas! It's like I fell asleep at the wheel for a second. But not to worry, I am back on track. I gave myself a stern talking to because this book should not have taken me this long to figure out.

Tris is an a futuristic society that is divided into five factions. These factions were created to maintain balance and give everyone a place and a set job in order to keep the peace and harmony. Once sixteen, all teenagers are given a test to determine what faction best suits them, then they can choose. Tris, born Abnegation (the selfless faction), is unsure of her future. But once her tests are inconclusive- her confusion is even more profound. These results, however prove that she is more than "normal"; she is divergent. Her and her brother, Caleb, both choose out of Abnegation, which stirs up the pot for the government officials in this faction.

Dauntless, the protector faction, sends Tris through training in fighting, facing fears, and bravery. However, the more Tris improves her rank, the more she begins to feel in danger because of her inconclusive tests results. She is warned by those who know about her this label is a curse and can prove to be her end. As the months go by, Tris begins to discover hidden plots by one of the factions to overthrow the government. She also begins to feel more at ease in her new home- especially once her trainer, Four, begins to enter her thoughts. Whatever happiness she finds, she is still drawn to her former faction, considering they are in such trouble now. But once the rebellion begins to break out, Tris realizes that her "divergent" status may be the only thing that can save them all.
I went to the book store last weekend because I was sad. Yes, book stores make me happy, judge me. So I bought Divergent and began reading. I finished the book in four days. I cannot express how incredible this book is. The book focuses on one faction's leader beginning a spark of rebellion. Tris, and the others labeled "Divergent" don't realize how much power they truly have in this war. You can see Tris becoming a strong woman throughout the training process, and she makes a lot of decisions readers are on board with.
The idea of the factions is much like the districts in The Hunger Games. But each one has their own goal to protect the balance. The romance, the training, and the power are all connected so well in this world, that it's impossible to read this book and not want to immediately finish the rest of the story.
I think readers can also relate to this dystopic society more than Katniss Everdeen's story, which is so not a popular statement. Both stories are so similar, but you can see the differences between each society, and you can see each of the heroines with difficult decisions in the end. Katniss is more emotionless; Tris has so much emotion, so it's easier to relate.
AND the movie wasn't so bad! I thought it worked really well along side the novel- plus holy crap can we just talk about Four for a second? The good looking bad boy? I mean DEFINITELY an upgrade from Peeta. And I am completely Team Peeta!

Worth it. Read it. End of story.