Monthly Archives: August 2011

Book Review – Divergent

I don’t know about everyone else in the world but ever since I read The Hunger Games I’ve been obsessed with YA dystopian trilogies- I can’t seem to get enough. I’ve read some amazing ones – The Giver (some believe the first YA dystopian novel) and ¬†The Mazerunner and some not so awesome ones – I couldn’t even finish Gone….annoying characters although the premise seemed intriguing. I was really excited about Divergent and I’ve gotta say that it didn’t disappoint! Was it Hunger Games good? Well maybe not quite there but it was exciting and left me wanting more….always a good sign.

Beatrice Prior lives in post-apocalyptic America. She lives in Chicago, which was virtually destroyed because of war sometime in the past (they don’t go into much detail). In order to avoid war, people have divided themselves into five seperate factions : Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Erudite (the intelligent), Abnegation (the selfless) and Dauntless (the brave). Each faction is appointed to a task to keep society running i.e. Abnegation are appointed leaders since they are less likely to seek out power for themselves. On your sixteenth birthday, each member must take a test that will determine what faction they should choose and then a day later, they must choose what faction they will pledge their lives to. If you choose a faction different from your family, you will not see them again (except on Visitor’s day). When we meet Beatrice she is about to take the test and is extremely torn because she isn’t selfless and doesn’t believe she will stay in Abnegation. Her fears are confirmed when she takes the test and the results are “Divergent” meaning she is suited to more than one faction. The test giver tells her this is dangerous and to NEVER tell anyone about her result. When Beatrice chooses her faction (I’m not going to give it away) we follow her in her training and as she learns more about the inner workings of the faction. As she learns more about being divergent, she also begins to suspect that there is something more sinister going on between the factions. Meanwhile, she meets a strange and enigmatic boy named Four….he is at once intriguing and annoying. Will Beatrice do well in her faction? Will she find out what being Divergent is and why is it so dangerous? Is there a secret plot? Is Four part of it? Does Four like her? You’ll have to read it to find out!

Fast-paced and action packed, Divergent really delivers on many of the same levels that Hunger Games did. We have a strong female character, she is sarcastic, tough, yet vulnerable in many ways. We get to know her friends in her new faction as well as her enemies. There is a sense of competition in Beatrice’s new faction and this really adds to the thrilling narrative of the story. The world that Veronica Roth has created is both horrible and wonderful, full of the details of the ruins of the America we all know. While we cannot understand the reasons why this society has chosen to divide themselves, we are fascinated with their new rules and societal regulations. Not to mention, Four seems very hot in a sensitive bad boy way ūüėČ All in all, this was a really fun quick read that I think anyone who enjoyed Hunger Games would also enjoy. I give it eight shoes – a sweet pair of BCBG wedges that I found on sale at TJ Maxx – both wearable and adorable.

Three Appeals : thrilling and fast-paced, strong female heroine, good dystopian fantasy world

Red Flags: Some violence and gore

If you liked Divergent then try :

1) Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Often cited as the best book to introduce new readers to science fiction, this is considered a classic. This amazing novel follows Ender, a young exceptional boy who is taken from his family at the tender age of six to train at Battle School. There he must excel at mock battle games while comtending with his fellow students. The invasion is coming and Ender will be pushed to his limits at the school. Can he save humanity? This is an amazing book and I would highly recommend it to anyone Рa definite ten shoe book!

2) Enclave by Ann Aguirre

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they¬† survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’¬† has trained into one of three groups-Breeders, Builders, or Hunters,¬† identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has¬† wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember. As a Huntress, her purpose is clear–to brave the dangerous¬† tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while¬† evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this¬† goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a¬† beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes¬† her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning. Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and¬† harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks¬† he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear¬† the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be¬† telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy¬† like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives¬† with feral grace. As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant¬†¬† battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only¬†due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the¬†¬† elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the¬† enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter¬† how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from¬†the only world she’s ever known.¬† (taken from Fantastic Fiction)

3) The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him¬† –¬† something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is. (taken from Fantastic Fiction)

4) Delirium by Lauren Oliver

What if love were a disease? There was a time when love was the most important thing in the world. People would go to the end of the earth to find it. They would tell lies for it. Even kill for it. Then, at last, they found the cure. Now, everything is different. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. But then, with only ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable. (taken from Fantastic Fiction)

There you go my loyal friends : As always please let me know if you read this book and how you liked it.

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Book Review – Hourglass

In an effort to improve my blog and my book reviews in general, I decided to research other book review blogs and see how they did it. I discovered “Books I Done Read” which captured me with the title alone. This witty blogess has such great reviews but I also like that she rates things on a 10 point scale (or in her case caterpillars). In looking at my own reviews, I decided that maybe the ten point scale would work better in my situation as well. I like a lot of books but I need some more gradation to really hone down HOW much I liked it. So from now on the scale on BRFMF will be a ten shoe scale (to honor my other great love – fashion) with one shoe equaling a particularly atrocious Croc and a ten equaling a beautiful Louboutin. Hope that you like the new scale!

I am reviewing a new YA paranormal romance called Hourglass by Myra McEntire. Emerson Cole has a problem – “she sees dead people (insert scary child voice)” – specifically people from the past keep cropping up in her day to day life. When she touches them, they disappear. It all started shortly before her parents died in a horrific accident right around her thirteenth birthday. Since then, her older brother Michael has been trying to help her with psychiatrists, hospital stays, paranormal experts etc… Unfortunately because she doesn’t always realize that they are ghosts, Emerson has been labeled the crazy girl. She went on meds and the ghosts went away, but she didn’t like how they made her feel and now – “they’re baaaack.” Enter Michael, the newest expert her brother has found to cure her, from the mysterious Hourglass institute. He is super hot, charming, and she feels an electric spark as well as connection with him. Imagine Emerson’s surprise when Michael tells her that he knows she isn’t crazy, because he sees them too! Michael reveals to her that they are special and the Hourglass Institute needs her help to save a man’s life. Can Emerson trust Michael? What is the Hourglass Institute? What makes her special?

This book had a lot going for it. I liked the story line – it had an interesting angle and I enjoyed the twists and turns that the author presented. Emerson is an interesting female protagonist with a strong personality and likeable traits. The romance between Michael and Emerson was sweet with some nice complication thrown in to make it a little more exciting. The story is exciting and fast-paced. However, I felt the author sometimes missed the mark. The dialogue could be a bit unbelievable and although¬†she fleshed out Emerson pretty well some of the other characters felt a little wooden and formulaic. All in all, I would say the originality of the story really set this book apart and made it worthwhile to read. Although I found some of the writing lacking, I read the book in two days. I found myself wanting to know what happened. I enjoyed both the fantasy and sci-fi elements present in the narrative. I give this book six shoes – a sweet pair of Target shoes that look cute but aren’t going to make you sigh with happiness.

Three Appeals : original storyline, fantastical elements, strong female protagonist

If you liked Hourglass try :

1) Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

Rigg and his father are trappers by trade, but Rigg has been instructed throughout his 13 years in languages, sciences, history, and politics. The teen is therefore somewhat mentally prepared for the quest that his father thrusts upon him with his dying breath‚ÄĒto go to the capital city and find his sister. Both Rigg and his friend, Umbo, have a special ability that aids them‚ÄĒRigg can see the paths of all living things, regardless of intervening obstructions or even time, and Umbo can seemingly change the movement of time itself. Needless to say, the two meet various friends and foes and can’t always tell which is which as they journey onward. Juxtaposed with this main story is an entirely different narrative, told in a page or two at the beginning of each chapter. This is the tale of Ram Odin, human pilot of a colony ship from Earth, traveling to a new world with the use of space-folding technology. (taken from School Library Journal, v 56, iss 12, p104)

2) Interworld by Neil Gaiman

At nearly fifteen years of age, Joey Harker learns that he is a Walker, able to travel between dimensions, and soon joins a team of different versions of himself, each from another dimension, to fight the evil forces striving to conquer all the worlds. (taken from Novelist)

3) Die For Me by Amy Plum (Revenants #1)

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity. When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves¬†¬† her¬† life–and memories–behind to live with her grandparents in Paris.¬† For¬† Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world¬† of¬† books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.¬† Mysterious,¬† charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens¬† to melt the ice¬† around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she¬†¬† begins to fall¬† in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a¬† revenant–an undead¬† being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself¬† over and over again to¬† save the lives of others. Vincent and those like¬†¬† him are bound in a¬† centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants¬†¬† who exist only to¬† murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she¬† follows her heart, she¬† may never be safe again. (taken from Fantastic Fiction)

Have you read Hourglass? What did you think?


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