Friday, February 28, 2014

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Series: Divergent (bk. 3)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi/Romance

Subjects: mind-control, action, bravery, choices, fear, futuristic, love, utopias, wars

Setting: Dystopian futuristic Chicago, IL

POV/Tense: 1st person, present tense, rotating between Tris and Four/Tobias

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 526 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen: Katherine Tegan

Summary/ product description: “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 lies, 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.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.”

My Review: I don’t know how I feel about this book. People kept on saying that they didn’t like it, but I think it still deserves five stars. It gave me a lot of feels. It was well written and full of exciting discoveries about the outside world. No matter how sad it ended, I’ll still love this series.

Tobias’s mother has eradicated the faction system and it forcing people to not be in factions and to wear clothes from multiple factions. The dress code thing is kind of dumb, but she’s got the factionless enforcing it like a law. There’s a group called the Allegiant who want the faction system back. They plan on causing an uprising and over throwing Evelyn. Tobias helped his mother get rid of the factions with, but regrets it. Tris, Tobias, Christina, Caleb, Cara, Peter, Uriah and a few others go outside the fence to see what’s going on outside the city.

They drive though the ruin and end up at a compound. This is where they find out that the city they were living in was called Chicago. The compound is at O’Hare Airport. Chicago was part of an experiment and nothing was what it seemed. This is the first time Chicago is actually mentioned in the series. I have no problem imagining their trip down I-90 (the Kennedy expressway) to O’Hare Airport. I’m familiar with the area because my grandma lives in Norridge and we always pass O’Hare when we go there. I’ve never actually been inside the airport though, but there’s plenty of picture online that you can use as reference to imagine the story. The ruins are kind of eerie because they would be buildings that I have driven pass.

On the compound they learn what it means to be Divergent and what happened to create the faction system. It was really interesting. I wonder if Veronica planned this, or only came up with the ideas while writing Allegiant. All this stuff about genes and personality traits seems well researched. There’s also new characters introduced. A few scientist and people who work there. The people are separated in a way different from the faction system, but not everyone is equal. We also get to hear about other cities. I like the part when Tris gets to ride a plane and see how big the world really is.

The book did have action and twists and all the awesome stuff you’d expect from this series. There was romance and kissing. There’s one really steamy part between Tobias and Tris. They also argue with each other, but are able to work it out. No love triangle, but maybe a little jealousy. There was also a few sad parts. Parts that will make you cry and grab a tissue box. The ending is bitter sweet, full of sacrifice and sadness, and new beginnings. It wasn’t the ending I expected. I wanted a happy ending. One with triumph and joy and kissing. This ending was more realistic. Life isn’t about being happy all the time. Sacrifices must be made, and here you see that.

If you haven’t read Divergent, then you should. The movie is coming out on March 21, 2014 and you’re missing out if you don’t read the books first.

Cover Art Review: The red-orange-yellow sky background reminds me of Amity’s colors. The water could be for erudite. That’s O’Hare Airport on the bottom. It’s not close to the city the way the photo shows. I pass it all the time when I got to my grandma’s house.

3-D Google Earth image of O'Hare

My Photos of O'Hare

My Chicago Photos

The Blue-Line Train Station

Sears/Willis Tower

Millenium Park

Near UIC

Driving on the express way

Chicago River

Lincoln Park Zoo

Near Grant Park (You can see Navy Pier and the Ferris Wheel in the background)

Train Tracks

Thursday, February 27, 2014

In My Mailbox 2-27-2014

I ordered a few books from B&N

I went to Meijer and Half Price Books (which had a sale) and got these.

I also got a few library books

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Series: Divergent (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi/Romance

Subjects: mind-control, action, bravery, choices, fear, futuristic, love, utopias, wars

Setting: Dystopian futuristic Chicago, IL

POV/Tense: 1st person, present tense: Tris

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 525 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen: Katherine Tegan

Summary/ product description: “Fighting for survival in a shattered world… the truth is her only hope.

The thrillingly dark sequel to No. 1 New York Times bestseller, DIVERGENT.

I have done bad things. I can’t take them back, and they are part of who I am.

Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. But she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future.

Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she must be stronger than ever… because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.”

My Review: I waited way too long to read this sequel. Wayyyyy too long. The movie comes out soon, so I just wanted to finish the series before I saw it. Insurgent was an interesting sequel. I liked Divergent better still. In this book we get to see what’s going on in other factions. It starts in Amity. Amity is many miles away from the downtown area. I’m not sure if it’s even in Cook County. We also get to see inside Candor, and Erudite. This book definitely goes more in-depth with the world building. I enjoyed the setting especially since in live in the suburbs of Chicago. It’s always great to read about my city, even if it’s about a dystopian future.

Tris is really growing as a character. She learns to accept all parts of her Divergent status. She can be selfless, brave and smart. She’s good at analyzing things. She’s very perceptive. She’s also a bit self-destructive and self-sacrificing to the point of stupidity. She was a bit depressed though since her parents died. I feel like Tobias was a little mean in the book. He and Tris fought a lot. I hate when sequel decide they have to test the relationship either with break-ups, arguments, or love triangles. Thankfully no love-triangle. I like Four and wish he’d be a little less moody. But he was kind of funny and he definitely cares about Tris’s safety. We got to see a lot more of Caleb, Tris’s brother. And Christina, Uriah, Peter and so many other characters too.

Insurgent was full of action, twists and turns. Loyalties are tested. Truth serum is used. So people turn out to be less bad that we thought they were. Some people betray others. Deals and compromises are made, but not everything works out the way they planned. Insurgent is exciting. Honestly, the book is kind of long with 525 pages of it, but it’s not difficult. It’s well written. Clear and fast narration. If you have not read either Divergent or Insurgent, then hurry up because the Divergent movie comes out on March 21st.

Cover Art Review: I love the green and the warped tree. And of course the Chicago skyline. Chi-city is my city!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Series: Uninvited (bk. 1)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi/Thriller/Romance

Subjects: genetics, psychology, psychopaths, murder, love

Setting: Texas, in March, 2021

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense: Davy

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 372 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary/ product description: “The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan's chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she's destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton's tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn't feel any different, but genes don't lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he's not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan's trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.”

My Review: Uninvited was a very unique kind of Dystopian book. It’s set in the near-future in which people are tested for the “kill-gene” and ostracized for having it. This book brought up a ton of questions about psychology and prejudice. It’s a book that can make a good discussion. Uninvited was so different from the Firelight series, but Sophie’s writing style is still the same with it.

I love getting to read in first-person present tense. It makes the story so much more thrilling and really brings out the main character’s voice. Davy was a unique character, but somewhat similar to Jacinda in some ways. Rather than being a shape-shifter, Davy is a musical prodigy. She can play any instrument without having to be taught. She can sing songs from memory. She never expected that she’d have the kill-gene.

Davy does not seem like a psychopath at all. Psychopaths don’t feel remorse or guilt. They’re manipulative and like to hurt people and things. Davy’s not like that at all. It’s a major surprise that she has this gene. It brings up the idea of nature vs. nurture. Davy was nurtured and cared for. She has a brother that looks out for her, a mother and father who adore her. She was accepted Julliard, she’s got serious talent, and a boyfriend named Zac.  She has no built up anger. She has everything going for her. Then she loses everything. She’s uninvited from her private school, sent to public school to be in a caged classroom with five other carriers.

I think that being labeled as a carrier is what causes most carriers to become violent. There are real sociopaths out there, and then there are people who got stuck with bad genetics. Go and ruin those people’s lives by taking away everything they want to do and they’re bound to become violent. These people clearly don’t understand that it’s the situation that’s causing their actions and not their genes.

I liked Sean. He was very protective of Davy. He was gentle and silent and sometime a bit broody, but not a dangerous as he looked. He only beat up the guys who mean to Davy. There’s a little romance here and there, but it’s just enough and sure to grow throughout the series. I also liked Gil. He’s a computer geek and a carrier. He’s not violent. He’s a wimp, but a really nice guy. He becomes a good friend to Davy.

This story took a twist when Davy is sent to a training camp. This camp made me think of the Dauntless faction in Divergent. Davy trains hard in hopes of having a chance to be something more, and get her mark removed. She doesn’t want to kill. She wants her old life, but that won’t happen. This story is full of action toward the end. I recommend it if you enjoyed Divergent, Blackout by Robison Wells, Shatter Me and other dystopian books.

Cover Art Review: I love the hair with the DNA strands intertwined. It was done in Photoshop, not actually sculpted. It has a nice layout.