The Darkest Minds:A Book Revew

Book: The Darkest Minds

Author/Authors: Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)

Cover:2/5

There was nothing wrong with the cover …. But nothing really made it stand out (you would think that the orange on the cover would be like a flashing beacon, but no it actually isn’t). Combined with the fact that Disney was the publisher (I’m not really a Disney princess fan; not when they messed up the fairytales so much) , this book really didn’t look so appealing. So, I passed it up for a long time despite its good rating for other books with better covers (but inferior content). Moral of the story for publishers: Readers judge books by their covers. Moral of the story for readers: Trust your fellow readers and goodreads.com; seriously, they rarely guide you wrong.

Plot:5/5

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

The plot in this book deserves more than 5 stars. It was attention grabbing and I’ve definitely never seen something like this before in this genre. If any such book exists, it’s a cheap knockoff (even if that book was written earlier)

Characters:5/5

The characters in this book were amazing. From Ruby, the main character to Chubs (I guess his designation is the sidekick but he was too smart for me to think of him as one) to Zu, the adorable little girl who was mentally traumatized enough into not speaking. Most books have one character (if they’re lucky) who stands out. But the awesome thing about this book is that there are many such characters.

Ruby: Ruby starts off at the beginning of the book knowing almost nothing about the world she lives in. But she has a good reason for this. Ever since she turned 10, she’s been stuck in a rehabilitiation camp (the concentration variety) because the adults are scared of her awesome super powers. So far this sounds like the plot to a cheesy comic, right? Wrong. Let’s just drive the stakes a little bit higher. Majority of the children in America had succumbed to a mysterious illness and died. The rest…developed super powers. Naturally everyone was scared. So they stuck their kids in camps which were designed to make the powers go away. That’s one brilliant thing about this book: The government and adults acted almost exactly like you would expect them to act in such a situation. However because this is dystopian fiction, the camps are horrible. The children in them are mistreated- the most dangerous ones are killed, the rest are treated brutally, not allowed to talk, forced to do hard menial labour, etc. Disturbingly,there are several parallels between the ‘rehabilitation camps’ and the Jewish concentration camps set up in Nazi Germany during WWII. But this really didn’t set in for me until Ruby tells us how her mom had told she would be allowed to shave when she was 12 but she didn’t actually do so until she was almost 16. In this book, Ruby is special because she is one of the last ‘oranges’ (that’s a code name for her power level and basically means she can mess with people’s minds- literally! ) and also dangerous for that reason. But here’s the catch: She has no idea to control her powers. Right from the beginning we can see how much her powers scare her. With one touch, she erased her best friends memory. <spoiler> somewhere in the middle we learn that she also erased her parent’s memory and in the end she erases Liam’s memory.<okay, relax spoiler’s over>. Ruby’s a good character. She’s nice without being too sugary. Scared enough without being a total coward. Powerful but not invincible and awkward enough without being cringe-worthy.

Liam: If Ruby’s a good character, than Liam is an even better one. Having come from a less notorious camp, he’s less troubled than Ruby and much nicer, sweeter and more naive for it. Liam is the kind of guy who has an actual personality. As soon as he meets her, Liam is all for travelling with Ruby. However this is not because of some twisted love-at-first-sight thing (thank god!) but more a reflection of his personality. He’s not the type of love interest whose life would revolve around his love for the MC. Ahem, Malcahi from Sanctum, I’m looking at you. No, Liam had much more going for him such as his need to help others and his  loyalty to his friend. Definitely a swoon-worthy romantic love interest.

Zu: It’s hard to learn about a character who doesn’t talk. I mean, can’t talk. Although no one ever says what, it’s implied that Zu was tortured and tested upon in the camp and was so affected she stopped speaking. Despite the fact that she doesn’t talk, it wasn’t exactly hard to learn about her. She’s a yellow (that means she can make stuff explode) but more importantly, she’s a loving little girl who’s interested in dressing up, needs a serious dose of self-confidence and fiercely loyal to her family (whether they’re related to her by blood or just bound together by necessity).

Chubs: Chubs is a character I really enjoyed. Annoyingly assured his intelligence was superior, a little bit (okay, actually a lot) distrustful and insecure- he’s the type of character who grows on you. And he didn’t just grow on me as a reader, he grew on Ruby too. As he came to trust her more, they had surprisingly insightful and profound discussions.

Clancy: This is a character who oozes charisma (not surprising, since he is the President’s son). At first I was kind of annoyed with him for appearing because I really didn’t want a love triangle. But there’s a lot going on underneath the polished and charming exterior of this boy. I guess you could call him the villain of the piece but I was never really able to muster up any real hatred for this character (By the way, Ruby wasn’t able to either). Sure he was petty, arrogant and jealous with a strong cruel streak. But that somehow added to his charm (believe me, I know how messed up that sounds) but somehow he managed to make it all up with a short letter to Ruby.

R-

I lied. I would have run.

-C

 

Romance: 5/5

The romance in this book was surprisingly good. It wasn’t too heavy, neither was it too light. It didn’t hurt that the characters involved in it were so brilliant either.

Plotholes: 4/5

 This book was surprisingly realistic. I mean if a virus such as IANN did exist I could imagine the world (or at least America) going to Hell in a handbasket like this. Of course there were some unhealthy messages in here. For example, Ruby’s whole relationship with Clancy but the book made it clear that the relationship was unhealthy.

Overall Rating: 5/5

No, I’m not surprised I gave this book a five star rating and you shouldn’t be either. It was amazing, I promise you and totally deserves this rating. Buy this books as soon as possible so that you can read it over and over and over again.

Ashfall:A Book Review

Book:  Ashfall
Author/Authoress: Mike Mullin

Ashfall (Ashfall, #1)

Cover: 1.5/5

The cover didn’t exactly drum up much enthusiasm for me. For some reason, I was reminded of Narcissus after seeing the cover. A mirror? Seriously? I know that teenagers can be self-obsessed and writers writing in first person need to have people look in mirrors so that their readers can get an accurate description of the main character,  but in the wake of an apocalypse why would people spend time staring at their face in mirrors? That’s a good question and one they don’t answer anywhere in this book because nothing like this ever happens in the book. I guess the other things on the cover are accurate enough, though.  For example, Darla really does wear a grey sweat shirt and she does have blonde hair. But I’m still hung up on the fact that their is a huge mirror which is hugely inaccurate and taking up all the space on the front cover.

Characters:4/5

The Main Characters move around a lot and rarely meet the same person twice so there’s not a lot of characters that I can really talk about. However, I can vouch for this: Mike Mullin has gone for quality over quantity. There are two main characters in the book and the author’s done a great job with their characterization.

The characterization is… realistic (there’s no other way to describe it. I hate to break it to you, but kids who face hardship don’t automatically become Enid Blyton kids. The girls don’t automatically learn how to wash dishes, sew clothes, make food and go on adventures. The boys don’t immediately launch into a crusade of adventures gone wrong where they have to rescue their friends and comfort the girls. Most post-apocalyptic books would have you believe that the kids who survive are either

a.) mean, tough kids who will not hesitate to shoot you, maim you, steal things, etc. etc.
b.) someone who the mean, tough kids care about
c.) abnormally and weirdly lucky enough not to be shot or maimed and even more lucky to find safety, shelter and food

Maybe they’re right. Survival is a tricky thing which does not really tie in with morality anywhere. But I’d like to believe that the progress we’ve made from an ape like thingy to a human over several million years can’t be erased in a day. Even if that day includes the eruption of a super volcano.

This book features a teenage guy ( words can’t describe how refreshing it is to have a strong, male main character for once) who is a real teenager. Sure, he’s selfish enough to want to stay at home and play computer games while his parents visit his boring relatives but he’s kind of selfless too. He cares for his family enough to go and make sure they’re all right even though several feet of ash cover the ground. He has a heart and he demonstrates his respect for human life over and over again as he meets several people through the course of the book. Sometimes this trait gets him into trouble while at other times it’s his saving grace.

Darla is one of my favourite female characters ever.  She is the ultimate woman (yes, woman- not girl). She’s intelligent, proactive and strong. More importantly, she’s resourceful, clear minded, determined and capable. Without her, the MC would have died several long, miserable deaths and she doesn’t mind reminding him of the fact several times. If Annabeth from Rick Riordon’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians ever grew up, I imagine she’d both look and act like Darla. In fact, I’d say Darla would be Mary-Sueish if not for the fact that she’s seriously lacking in empathy. Oh well, I guess you can’t have everything.

Plot: 4/5

Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don’t know it’s there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to seach for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster.

Now that I think about it, a supervolcano is actually a pretty novel idea for a book plot (pun intended). Mike Mullin delivered the plot amazingly well with strong characters and emotion evoking incidents.

Romance:4/5

The romance in this book was initiated by Darla and that’s a remarkable feat. In young adult books, why is it always the male who has to take initiative? Personally, I think Alex and Darla have a lot of chemistry. The romance is one of the best things about this book.

Action:5/5

 A fifteen-year-old boy left alone for the weekend. An attempt made by him to get to his family in the wake of the mother of all natural disasters. An eruption. Bandits.  Cannibals. Prison Escapees. Fighting. Snow. Choking ash.  More ash. Murder.  Rape.  More ash. Love.  Refugee camps. Escape. Marauders. More ash. This book has action of all kinds- physical, mental and emotional.  Mike Mullin must be a crazy kind of guy to imagine all of these things in the minutest detail. But I don’t mean he’s thrown in a bunch of stuff for shock value or to evoke a sense of disgust like Julianna Baggot did in Pure. It’s all plausible and beautiful in a twisted sort of way.

Plotholes:5/5

No plotholes as of yet. Or none that I could identify, anyways. I think I was a little too caught up in the story to notice any major discrepancies. Way to go Ashfall!

Overall rating: 4/5

Why are you still reading my review? This book was amazing times infinity. If you haven’t read this book yet, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. This book reminds me of why I love young adult dystopian post apocalyptic books so much. If you need a reminder or if you’re not truly into the genre yet, buy (or settle for reading) this book right away.

Three (Article 5 #3):A Book Review

Book: Three (Article Five #3)

Author/Authoress: Kristen Simmons

Note:

You may (or may not) have noticed that I’ve always tried to stick to reviewing the first book in the series. I’m not completely sure of my reasoning, but I think part of it is because I want to get new readers hooked onto a series. But I recently got Three by Kristen Simmons which is the third and final book in the Article 5 series from Net Galley (Thanks, by the way NetGalley) and I  just couldn’t hold myself back from reviewing it. Part of the reason is sentimental.  Article 5 was one of the first ‘good’ dystopias I read. It got me hooked onto this whole genre which I grew to love enough for me to actually start a blog about.

Cover: 5/5

This cover brings back lots of nostalgia. The same red, white and grey theme that was used in the past books is used again in this one. Personally, I think the colour scheme is perfect. Patriotic, dark and a little hopeless. Besides, what Article 5 cover would be complete without the city scene? But even from the cover, we can see that Three is not the type of book to lean on the success of it’s predecessors. The bright red slashes on the top add an edgy look to the cover and a whole new meaning to the title “Three”

Three (Article 5, #3)

Characters: 5/5

These books have seen the characters change and grow a lot.But what I love most about these character is the fact that they never lost their integrity. No OC’s in this book. If I didn’t know for fact that the American government wasn’t taken over by a bunch of crazy wackos who implemented several Articles, then I would have seriously thought that these characters were real people. There were no iffy decisions made by the characters for the sake of the plot and no ‘I have no idea what’s going on’ moments just so Three could have a few extra chapters.

Ember: She’s no longer naive and idealistic. By the end of this book she’s no longer in a position to judge other people. Nor does she.

Chase: Chase has grown in a way completely different from Ember. Something about the events he’s witnessed and the things he’s gone through have turned him into a more hopeful person and someone who’s willing to fight for humanity instead of against humanity.

Tucker: I knew that this guy would be an amazing character. Even though Three is not in his point of view, we can still almost feel the tumultuous roller coaster of emotions that Tucker rides through.  Who does he owe his loyalty to? Is he a traitor? Does he deserve redemption? It’s all explored in this book. I won’t tell you why he hates Chase or why he killed Ember’s mother. But I will tell you that Ember grossly underestimated him while other characters grossly overestimated him.  I’ll give you a slight spoiler. This book doesn’t give him his  happy ending (does any character in this book truly get one?) but no one will turn the last page of this book without being a Tucker Morris fan.

Chris’ Uncle: For some reason, Chris’s Uncle has an almost ‘Sirius’ like character. He’s the playful, un-serious,slightly secretive  trouble making sort of guy who is not really fit to be in any sort of parental position.Hotheaded, angry and rebellious he’s willing to sacrifice his life for the sake of his goal. And willing to sacrifice much more for Chase’s sake.

Plot: 4/5

Kristen Simmons’ fast-paced, gripping YA dystopian series continues in Three.

Ember Miller and Chase Jennings are ready to stop running. After weeks spent in hiding as two of the Bureau of Reformation’s most wanted criminals, they have finally arrived at the safe house, where they hope to live a safe and quiet existence.

And all that’s left is smoking ruins.

Devastated by the demolition of their last hope, Ember and Chase follow the only thing left to them—tracks leading away from the wreckage. The only sign that there may have been survivors.

With their high-profile, they know they can’t stay out in the open for long. They take shelter in the wilderness and amidst the ruins of abandoned cities as they follow the tracks down the coast, eventually finding refugees from the destroyed safe house. Among them is someone from Chase’s past—someone he never thought he’d see again.

Banding together, they search for a place to hide, aiming for a settlement a few of them have heard about…a settlement that is rumored to house the nebulous organization known as Three. The very group that has provided Ember with a tiny ray of hope ever since she was first forced on the run.

Three is responsible for the huge network of underground safe houses and resistance groups across the country. And they may offer Ember her only chance at telling the world her story.

At fighting back.

After I finished reading this book,  I was kind of surprised to find tears (actual tears!) running down my cheeks. I can’t believe this  is over. I just can’t. I loved this series and I have to say a huge part of it is because of the plot. It’s full of plot twists which seem to come together in the most beautiful of ways.

Action:4/5

This book takes the action up another notch. Heat seeking missiles, fist fights, guns, batons…This book has it all.
Not to mention the traitor (three guesses who it is) and all the suspense that mini-arc brings along with it.

Romance:4/5

The romance in this book is hot but tasteful. A good quarter of this book is spent on kissing (and more) and funnily enough I loved  the romance in this book. I have no idea how this  works but Kristen Simmons somehow managed to allude to everything without saying it flat out. It sounds annoying but trust me, it’s not.  The romance was sweet but not cloying. At the same time it was passionate without being hormonal.  Folks, that takes talent.

Overall Rating:4.5/5


This is one of the few books (and series) that I just wish would go on forever. New, intriguing plots. Realistic, exciting characters. Interesting worlds and fast-paced action. I really hope Kristen Simmons does some mini-stories or something that relates to this series. It goes without saying, that I’ll read her next book.  But I guess all good things must end.

Article 5 : A Book Review

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Book: Article 5 (Article 5 #1)
Author: Kristen Simmons

Cover: 3/5
The cover’s a bit chilling. You can see a girl and a guy just surveying the ruins of what must have been a great city. Initally, I thought they would be one of the few survivors of the city. However I was wrong. Either I came up with something completely random or the cover’s misleading. Assuming the second, the cover gets only 3/5. Sorry.

Setting:3.5/5
It’s set in future USA. The time’s not specified but  USA is effectively being run by a military regime whose head was a voted President. The President was voted in hopes of stabilization after a war between the rich and the poor broke out. Instead he threw the entire country into a harsh dictatorship which is based on 8 moral conducts. Failure to submit to any of these rules result in imprisonment and execution. Religion, the definition of a family and the clothes you wear are all changed by these articles.  The protagonist of our story gets locked into a detention center after her mother violates article 5 (thus giving us the title of the book). She spends most of the book trying to escape it and it’s violent head. When she finally does escape, she’s in a crazy car trip with her fugitive ex-boyfriend. Kristen Simmons does a great job of showing how chaos and panic have set in. Big cities have been deserted and smaller cities are overcrowding. Everyone has to stand in lines at the soup kitchen. Although it’s not explicitly stated, it’s heavily implied that there’s been a high rate of inflation. Food, water, gasoline, etc.  are all hard to get. But this is more because nobody has any money, than about any real shortage.

Plot:3/5
(Taken from goodreads.com)

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don’t come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It’s hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved

Characters:4/5
Ember’s a bit of a damsel in distress. Even though she tries rescuing herself several times, she’s forced to depend on others for help. She has a bit of a holier-than-thou attitude (which kind of pissed me off but characters shouldn’t be perfect) but will do anything for the people who she loves and trusts. That’s why I think the blackmail fit her character really well. I know a lot of people were horrified by it, but I think the blackmail is the second best part of the book. Here she reveals exactly how desperate she is to save her mother. That was another unique thing- the mother had to be saved. In most books, it’s a younger sibling or best friend who has to be saved. Kristen Simmons made the plot more refreshing by making it necessary to save the mother. The mother is a bit outspoken and is brave (braver than the heroine,) yet sometimes these qualities are what gets the mother into trouble. It doesn’t really seem like she need saving, but the heroine is convinced she does need saving. And I think that’s what helps make this character most human: she thinks she knows what is best for everyone, but don’t we all?

Rachel was the kind of girl who I was sure I would hate at the beginning. She was the fake candy-floss sweet girl. But then we find out it’s all a cover. I was surprised- but this was  definitely a good surprise . She turns out to be the loyal friend and even more loyal girlfriend. It’s heartbreaking what happens to her. I hope we see more of her as the series progresses.

Sean…I think I almost prefer Sean to Chase. He’s so sweet, even when he has been blackmailed. Loyal too. I think his story is the saddest in the series, yes this includes his girlfriend’s.  But through it all, he still remains funny and lovable. Towards the end of this book, he’s almost like a brother to both Chase and Ember. I really love the banter between the trio.

Chase is swoon worthy. I’m not joking. He’s the best friend who grows up to be more (in most YA books, only the guy wants the friendship to become more). Then he becomes the dangerous, hot soldier who is such a cliche in these type of books. (look under romance for more).

Brock is the first villain. She’s like a muggle umbridge; she inflicts corporal punishment while pretending to be sweet and lady-like. There’s not a single redeemable quality in her. Gah! I intensely hated her throughout the course of the book. She didn’t bite the bullet yet, but I still have hope. There are two more books left in the series.

Tucker is the villain of the piece. And he’s Kristen Simmon’s masterpiece. From the very beginning, he seems to have a perverted, sleazy interest in Ember.

“His green eyes blazed with desire; such a different look than I’d known before. Chase had studied me, reading my feelings. Tucker was only trying to see his own reflection. Disturbing on several levels.”

But before you groan about love triangles, let me tell you that he’s only interested cause Ember is Chase’s girl. Jealousy and ambition seem to be his driving forces but eventually they lead to his downfall. Is it just me or does he sound brainwashed here?

I’m a damn good soldier. I did what needed to be done.

Romance 3.5/5
I love how the authoress takes a cliche like a love triangle with the bad boy and the sweet guy and puts both guys into one. Confused? Yeah Ember is too. She refers to the pre-soldier Chase as ‘her’ Chase and the soldier as ‘a stranger’. In the book Chase deals with PTS and this just makes him more humane To be honest, before that, the soldier kind of freaked me out too. He not only deals with Post Traumatic Stress, he deals with guilt too (you’ll find out why by the end).

“I wondered what he’d done that had been so terrible that he wouldn’t accept even an ounce of kindness from another person. It seemed impossible just then that I could ever hate him more than he hated himself.”

Both of these things put a serious dampener on the relationship for quite a while, but when it get’s going…it get’s steamy quickly.  Too quickly for me, but then to each their own.

Action: 2/5
Although there’s action in the book, it’s not very well described.  The author says stuff like he kicks, he punches, he breaks his arm. And it’s good but it’s not great. The motions are all  very vague and it takes effort to picture them. Kristen Simmons tries but in the end, it doesn’t play in your head like it does in Gone or in Angelfall.

Plotholes:
There’s a lot that is left to be explained. But I understand that this is a series and that there are two more books to go. I’m dying to know what Three is and who Roy was. Chase’s uncle is another character who I think will have an interesting story. I have high hopes for Tucker too; I predict his story will be one of redemption.

Technical terms/Worldbuilding:4/5
Though there are a couple of new terms, they instantaneously stick. I think the hardest part to get over, for me was the sisters of salvation. They are treated so badly by men, yet women are supposed to look up to them as role models? Ah well, it’s a twisted world.

Overall recommendations: 4/5
There’s something which makes this book click. I don’t know if it’s the awesome characters or the moving plotline or just the flowing writing style. Maybe it’s a combination of all three. Whatever it is, this story works and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Sanctum: A Book Review

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Book: Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowland #1)
Author/Authoress: Sara Fine

Cover:4/5
The colours seem dark and moody but that’s a good thing since that’s what the book promises to be. The cityscape looks desolate and depressing but the girl’s pretty and fit’s into the cover perfectly.

Setting: 5/5
It was dark, gritty, and imaginative- a horrible Wonderland you could say. The city was a shadowy, hellish place. To give you a perspective on the city, let me tell you about the dark tower. The dark tower had the ability to bring back your worst fears and nightmares. And it was smack dab in the middle of the city-impossible to circuit around. If this doesn’t sound creepy and creative to you, I don’t know what will.


Plot:  4/5
(Taken from goodreads.com)

A week ago, seventeen-year-old Lela Santos’s best friend, Nadia, killed herself. Today, thanks to a farewell ritual gone awry, Lela is standing in paradise, looking upon a vast gated city in the distance—hell. No one willingly walks through the Suicide Gates, into a place smothered in darkness and infested with depraved creatures. But Lela isn’t just anyone—she’s determined to save her best friend’s soul, even if it means sacrificing her eternal afterlife.

As Lela struggles to find Nadia, she’s captured by the Guards, enormous, not-quite-human creatures that patrol the dark city’s endless streets. Their all-too-human leader, Malachi, is unlike them in every way except one: his deadly efficiency. When he meets Lela, Malachi forms his own plan: get her out of the city, even if it means she must leave Nadia behind. Malachi knows something Lela doesn’t—the dark city isn’t the worst place Lela could end up, and he will stop at nothing to keep her from that fate.
 
Characters: 3/5
Lela’s backstory would wring sympathy out of anyone: she has  overcome a lot in her short life. Shuffled from one foster home to another, she has suffered abuse from her foster parents. Lela almost succeeds in killing herself after being repeatedly assaulted by foster parent but is able to overcome her past with the help of the unexpected friendship of Nadia.

Nadia is the golden-girl with a couple of hidden secrets. Even though she’s beautiful reasonably intelligent, popular and affluent, she has a dysfunctional home life. This is what brings her closer to Lela. The girl’s unlikely friendship, while baffling to the outside world, makes sense to the two girls. Nadia goes against the pressure to only maintain friendships within her own clique to specifically keep this friendship alive. She constantly  Lela to hope for more in life than just getting-by. In her turn, Lela cars deeply for Nadia. When Nadia gets bogged down in despair and starts using drugs, Lela does her best to help Nadia save herself. She doesn’t succeed and Nadia eventually  commits suicide. The friendship between the two girls is fresh and beautiful. I can actually feel Lela’s pain when she hears that Nadia committed suicide. But then Malachi makes an appearance and Lela just starts slipping out of character. It becomes harder to empathize with her. She just is so different.  He’s bad ass but his roughness and toughness just seems to be too forced. I think ths story would have been better without the romance angle at all. Seriously, falling in love in hell is a bad idea.

Romance: 1/5
It wasn’t really insta-love but the gradual attraction between Lela and Malachi felt wrong to me. Overall, Malachi seemed drawn to Lela by her strength and tenacity in the face of a daunting situation. Which is not bad… until he dropped all his responsibilities to do everything in his power to help this “fascinating” creature. Malachi  was perfect to the point of being a Gary-Stu. He seemed to exist for the sole purpose of protecting and loving Lela .  Malachi seemed drawn to Lela by her strength and tenacity in the face of a daunting situation. Which is a good thing but then he  dropped all his responsibilities to do everything in his power to keep this creature in a safety bubble.Without Lela, he barely has any character in the book.  He knew very little about her and repeatedly had to clean up her mess, and yet he was willing to sacrifice and throw away everything for her like none of it mattered anymore now that she was in his life. Disgusting.

Action: 3/5
I know a lot of people like the action in the book but to me it was at most mediocre. More chilling and easy to visualize were Lela’s flashbacks and travel through the tower. But I guess that’s action of a different type.

Technical Terms: 3/5
The world building uses a lot of new terms and almost all of it is in the form of an info dump. It gets tedious to read and kind of detracts from the main plot. Almost everybody who reads this book tells me that they didn’t completely understand the world. I completely empathize. Sarh Fine has created an amzing world; she just didn’t describe it well.
This was probably the biggest flaw in the book after the messed up romance.

Plotholes:
Just look at the Romance and Character section.

Overall Rating: 3.5
This book has all the problems that YA books usualy have. i.e. a messed up romance and info dumping but Sarah Fine does create an amazingly dark new world with straightforward, creepy villains. The characters have a lot of potential to grow. I’d say wait until the third book comes out to start reading this series. It’s not worth the long wait for the other books.

P.S. The sequel Fractured has already been released.

Divergent : A Book Review

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

Book: Divergent (Divergent trilogy#1)
Author/Authoress: Veronica Roth

Cover:4/5
Have you seen the American cover? It’s just gorgeous, although the UK one is pretty good too. I admit it, the cover was what attracted me to the book.


Plot:  2/5
(Taken from goodreads.com)
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her

Characters: 1/5
I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. Tris comes off as a little whiny with her constant complaints about her appearance and griping at the unfairness of her life. Her best-friend, Christina, seems to barely exist once the story gets going. In fact, her character consists mostly of makeovers, hamburgers, jealousy and pity. The love intrest seems to be a series of checkmarks. Hot? Check. Brooding? Check. Mysterious? Check. Horrible past? Check? Childhood connection with the heroine? Check. I guess one interesting thing about this book are the abundance of villains. First Tris overcomes her personal villain; then she overcomes her boyfriend’s personal villain and finally she tries defeating society’s villain. The only characters which worked were Will- a funny, intelligent guy who befriends Tris but she is later forced to kill and Tris’s mom who sacrificed her life for Tris after revealing she was living a double life. But even then, Veronica Roth barely scratched the surface of these multi-faceted characters; elaborating on there characters would make for an interesting read.

Technical Terms: 3/5
The world building uses a lot of new terms. The factions are divided on basis of character traits.
Erudite- Intelligent
Candor- Honest
Dauntless- Brave
Amity- Peace-loving
Abgenation- Selfless
Your faction defines the food you eat, the clothes you wear and where you live. Sometimes it’s hard keeping it all straight. But I have to give Veronica Roth credit for one thing- there are no infodumps; the information is spread gradually.

Romance: 2/5
And here’s one thing that wasn’t spread gradually. There was love at first sight! Ew. Another thing I covered in the character section was the love interest. Double ew. I appreciated the fact that they didn’t round all the bases right away- but I get the feeling that they’re implying that if you do round the bases before marriage, you’re morally lacking. And it’s the love interest is so, so cheesy.

“I might be in love with you.” He smiles a little. “I’m waiting until I’m sure to tell you, though.”

Plotholes:
The society structure in this book seems very unlikely. I love the idea of society being divided into factions based on character but let’s face it; it’s never gonna happen.

We’ve all started to put down the virtues of the other factions in the process of bolstering our own. I don’t want to do that. I want to be brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind, and honest.”

It just seems like someone should have figured this out sooner.

Action: 5/5
If there’s anything that made this book stand out, it’s the action. The whole book is like a James bond flick. Veronica Roth throws a bunch of action at us in hopes of distracting us from the slow plot…and it works.

Cliffhanger: 2/5
I understand that this is only the first book in the trilogy and that Veronica Roth needs to maintain some mystery, but I don’t understand why this book is so short; I mean that the plot was less developed than it should have. The real action/mystery doesn’t begin until the end of the book and it gets over far to quickly. Majority of the book is used up in word building and character building. Although a few tantalizing hints are dangled at the beginning of the book, the details of the nefarious plot get buried under the teen drama and fight scenes (not that I’m complaining about the latter of course). By the time the nefarious plot is finally unveiled, the book is ended–On a major cliffhanger, might I add.

Overall Rating: 2.5 rounded up to 3
If you’re bored and don’t hve anything else to read or if your friends are driving you crazy by constantly fangirling over this book- read it. Just don’t expect too much from it.

P.S. Insurgent and Allegient are a lot better than this book