Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

(This review may contain spoilers)

Allegiant is the third and final book in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth.

Summary (from back cover)

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power-struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal.  So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready.  Perhaps beyond the fence she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated ties, tangled loyalties and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind.  Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless.  Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves.  And once again Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

Favourite Quote

I wonder if fears ever really go away, or if they just lose their power over us.

*

I suppose a fire that burns that bright is not meant to last.

Review

So, I really enjoyed Divergent and Insurgent, and my expectations of the final book in the trilogy were, of course, high, higher than they had been at any other point in the series.  And I wasn’t disappointed.

Allegiant is quite different from the first two books.  We are now outside of the fence; in effect, in the real world, if one far into the future.  But here the world is divided too, along different lines, but the results are the same.

Tris is such a strong and clever young woman.  It’s hard to read how someone so young has lost so much, suffered so much, witnessed so much, but it’s a testament to her character that she doesn’t give in.  But it is still heart-breaking, all the same.  Tris and Four’s relationship is also hard to watch; it’s almost constantly put to the test because of what they have to endure and live through, but there are also times where it is sweet and easy and terribly moving.

I both did and didn’t expect the ending to this book and thus the series.  I know that doesn’t make too much sense, but there it is.  The question is, am I happy about it?  No.  I’m not.  Why?  Because I’m human and emotional.  And yet, I’m not sure how else it could have ended.  The ending needed to big and bold to create an impact after all that had gone before, and the author certainly achieved that.

I loved this series.  It was definitely one of the best YA series I have read, and also one of the best dystopian series I have read.  And as such, I can’t recommend the Divergent trilogy highly enough.

Rating

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Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth.

Summary (from back of book)

One choice can transform you – or destroy you.  Tris Prior’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration: instead it ended with unspeakable horrors.  Now unrest surges in the factions around her as conflict between their ideologies grows.

In times of war sides must be chosen and secrets will emerge.  Tris has already paid a terrible price for survival and is wracked by haunting guilt.  But radical new discoveries and shifting relationships mean that she must fully embrace her Divergence – even though she stands to lose everything.

Favourite Quote

Like a wild animal, the truth is too powerful to remain caged.

*

Do remember, though, that sometimes the people you oppress become mightier than you would like.

Review

I read Divergent in a couple of days and thoroughly enjoyed it. I couldn’t wait to get stuck into book two in the series, but I did wonder if Insurgent could live up to my sky-high expectations.  I needn’t have worried.  It did, without question.

Whereas with book one, we get to see up close two of the five factions (Abnegation and Dauntless), in book two we are given not only a closer look at the remaining three (Amity, Candor and Erudite), but also the factionless; those who have been forced to live outside and on the edges of society.  The divide between those within the faction system and those discarded by is great, and so naturally, the tension that exists between them is also great.

What I also liked about this book was that it wasn’t only a vehicle to get you from the amazing first book in the series to the amazing last book in the series.  It served it’s own function in the trilogy, building on book one and guiding the reader to book three via its own storyline.  It was packed full of information and detail about the world Tris, Four and the others live in, and the pace and action level of Divergent was maintained.

Insurgent is a fast, emotional, action-fuelled story that kept me entertained and ensured my attention never wavered.  The characters are not perfect; they are flawed and they are human, and it was interesting (and moving) to see how they each responded to the terrible events that unfolded around them.

As of writing this review, I’ve now finished reading the final book in the Divergent series, Allegiant, and will be posting the review of it soon.

Rating

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent is the first book in the Divergent series by Veronica Roth.

Summary (from back of book)

Beatrice Prior is on the brink of a decision that will change her life.  In a society divided into factions all are forced to choose where they belong.  And the choice Tris makes shocks everyone, including herself.

Once decisions are made, the new members are forced to undergo extreme initiation tests with devastating consequences.  As their experience transforms them, Tris must determine who her friends are – and if the man who both threatens and protects her is really on her side.

Because Tris has a deadly secret.  And as growing conflict threatens to unravel their seemingly perfect society, this secret might save those Tris loves…or it might destroy her.

Favourite Quote

“Becoming fearless isn’t the point.  That’s impossible.  It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.”

*

“…there is power in self-sacrifice.”

Review

I’m surprised at how quickly I was pulled into this story, so much so that I really struggled to put it down.  I hadn’t seen the film before reading the book (which is how I prefer it), though a little serendipity, the film was on TV the day I finished it.  And I’m aware that it took me quite a long time to get around to reading it.  However, I do have a tendency to keep away from “popular” books at least while everyone is still talking about them.  (I still haven’t read The Hunger Games series yet!)  It helps to form my own judgement of the book, and to consider whether I think the hype surrounding it was justified in my opinion.

So, in a nutshell, I loved pretty much everything about this book.  I don’t often tend to read dystopian fiction, so Divergent was a pleasant surprise.

The faction system was really interesting, and I did spend a little while after reading it (and some time whilst I was reading it) wondering which of the five factions I would choose.  To think such a major decision has to be made by every sixteen year old is crazy.  I’m not sure I would have trusted my sixteen year old self to make a decision like this, and not one that would have had a major effect over the rest of my life.

Roth is very good capturing her characters personalities.  Tris is a fantastic main character; possibly one of my favourite YA leads.  Four is also great.  The book is well-written, and the storyline clear.  The pace was fast enough to keep me hooked and actively engaged in what was happening but not too fast that things passed me by in a blur and left me confused.

All-in-all, a great first book in a series, a great YA read, and one you can completely immerse yourself in for a few hours.

As soon as I finished this book, I started the second, Insurgent, the review for which I will be posting soon.

Rating

Book Review: Torment by Lauren Kate

Torment is the second book in the Fallen series by Lauren Kate.

Summary (blurb taken from back cover)

Love never dies…

It took Lucinda an eternity to find her beloved angel, Daniel.  But he waited for her.  Now they are forced apart again, to protect Luce from the Outcasts – immortals who want her dead.  During their separation, Luce learns about her mysterious past lives.  But the more she discovers, the more she suspects that Daniel is hiding something.

What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t true?  Is it really their destiny to be together?  Or is Luce actually meant to be with somebody else?

Favourite Quote

Sometimes beautiful things come into our lives out of nowhere.  We can’t always understand them, but we have to trust in them.  I know you want to question everything, but sometimes it pays to just have a little faith.

Review

After struggling to enjoy reading the first book in the series, I don’t know if I would have read the second, Torment, only I had already bought it when I purchased Fallen.  The covers pulled me in and persuaded me to buy them.  And I’m sort-of glad they did, because I enjoyed Torment more than the previous instalment and I wouldn’t have known that.

I’m still not a big fan of Luce – I think her attitude is all wrong and she just comes across as a really selfish person on occasion.  Again, it is her friend who I am more interested in as a character.  In the last book it was Penn.  This time round it is Luce’s hippy roommate Shelby.

Parts of the book were still slow-going in places, and still there is stuff going on which is alluded to but never explained.  It doesn’t make it mysterious, only confusing.  However, it was certainly more enjoyable than Fallen to read, and the end really set up the third book in the series nicely.  So much so, that I’m intrigued to find out what happens next, something which I couldn’t envision myself thinking at the end of book one.

Rating

3.5 / 5

Book Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

This is the first book in the Fallen series by Lauren Kate.

Summary  (blurb taken from the back of the book)

Some angels are destined to fall.

Instant. Intense.  Weirdly familiar…The moment Luce looks at Daniel she knows she has never felt like this before.  Except she can’t shake the feeling that she has…and with him…a boy she doesn’t remember ever setting eyes on.

Will her attempt to find out why enlighten her – or destroy her?

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a thrilling story about forbidden love.

Favourite Quote

Trust is a careless pursuit at best.  At worst, it’s a good way to get yourself killed.

Review

This was another book that hooked me via a really cool front cover.  Gothic, dark, mysterious artwork coupled with an engaging blurb (see summary above) had me buying not only the first book in the Fallen series, but book number two too!

And it was an all right story.  I didn’t really like Luce though.  My favourite character of the book was Luce’s friend Penn – full name Pennyweather Van Syckle-Lockwood.  She was the saving grace of this book.  The other characters lacked enough depth for me to really be interested in why they were there.

I expected more from this story.  It tried to be too mysterious, I think, and in so doing, basic explanations of what was going on were sacrificed.  However, I did read to the end of the book, I loved the front cover and Penn was an interesting character, hence the 2.5 / 5 score.

Had I not already bought the second book in the series, I am doubtful as to whether I would have read it.  But I did, and I have, and I will be sharing the review shortly.

Rating

2.5 / 5

Book Review: Daylighters by Rachel Caine

Daylighters is book fifteen, and the final instalment, in the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine.

Summary:

While Claire was away at MIT, Morganville changed dramatically.  On their return from Massachusetts, the gang are welcomed home at the town boundary by the police and quickly separated into two groups: vampires and humans.  Quickly, they realise that Morganville is not as they left it.

It seems that the Texan town has undergone a major transformation.  The town which has had a neglected look ever since Claire arrived, is now being done up.  The people are happy and carefree, and there isn’t a vampire in sight.  It should be a good thing, but there is an insidious undercurrent of evil at work…

An organisation known as the Daylight Foundation has taken over Morganville, and the residents couldn’t be happier.  However, Claire and her friends have already crossed paths with this group before and they are not what they pretend to be.

Can Morganville be saved?  And what of the vampires that live there?  This is the hardest fight Claire and her friends have had to deal with yet, and the one that has the most serious – and permanent consequences – should they fail…

Favourite Quote:

“There were a few things scarier than a bipolar vampire off his meds, but to be honest, not that many.”

Review:

This is the final book in the Morganville Vampires series, and it is both a welcome ending, but bittersweet too.  This is one of the longest book series I’ve read, behind The Cadfael Chronicles by Ellis Peters at 20 books, and the Marcus Didius Falco series, also at 20 books long.  Unlike the two latter series, I didn’t feel like these books could go on forever, but that doesn’t mean I enjoyed them any less.

So, on to the review…

This book started with the major cliffhanger ending from the previous book.  As a story line for the finale of a series, this was perfect.  It was dramatic, full of action and energy, not to mention tension.  About the ending…it was what I expected, but perhaps not what I would have liked.  But then I have felt like that at the end of a number of series and trilogies.

As the story unfolds, it is clear to see just how more grown-up Claire is now than when we first met her in Glass Houses (in fact, her transformation is remarked upon by another main character).  And that is what the author has done well; shown us as the series progressed how the characters have developed and altered according to the trials they have faced.

Who am I going to miss the most now that the series has ended?  Myrnin; definitely the crazy Welsh alchemist-scientist vampire with the vampire bunny slippers.

So, to sum up…It’s sad that the series has ended, but it ended well.  I’m so glad that I came across this series and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Rating:

Book Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Linger is the second book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater.

Summary:

Sam Roth is no longer the boy who turns into a wolf when the temperature drops.  He is now just a boy with a future ahead of him and the girl he loves beside him.  However, his past is never that far from his present, nor is the weight of responsibility on his shoulders ever far from his mind.

Grace Brisbane, the girl who didn’t turn into a wolf when she was bitten as a child, now has all she’s ever wanted.  A real future with the boy she loves and the prospect of a life away from Mercy Falls when she goes off to college.  However, something’s not right, and the future she had thought was hers is no longer certain.

As their world begins to fall apart, what will become of them?

Favourite Quote:

“I never knew there were so many kinds of love or that love could make people do so many different things.

I never knew there were so many different ways to say goodbye.”

Review:

In the second book in this series we find that the roles of Grace and Sam have been somewhat reversed.  Isabel, their reluctant confidant from Shiver, comes into her own, as she tries battling her own demons and helping her friends.

We are also introduced to a new character, Cole. I liked how his story was the complete opposite of Sam’s: Sam struggled to remain human, whilst Cole struggles to remain a wolf.  Another aspect of the story that I like is that Sam uses song lyrics to process what he is feeling and what is going on around him.

I enjoyed reading this book, however, I didn’t think it was as good or as gripping as the first in the trilogy, probably because I found it harder to connect with a few of the characters this time round, at least for the first half of the book.  This made it much harder to rate.  I didn’t think I could give it a 4, the same as I gave Shiver, but it is much better than a 3, so I tagged an extra ½ on to the rating below.

I am looking forward to reading the final book of the trilogy, Forever, to see what happens to Grace and Sam, Cole and Isabel and the rest of the wolf pack.

Rating:

3.5 / 5