Book Review: Divergent

Synopsis:

5/5

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, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Review:

It might be the fact that it is 8am and I have yet to sleep, or that I’ve had a bit too much coffee when I say this book is killer, but honestly, it really is a killer.

I’m not much to read YA trilogies unless it’s a book that has been raved about for months on end (Maze Runner and The Hunger Games). Even then, it takes even more persuasion to actually finish the whole damn trilogy, that of which I have NOT done for either the Maze Runner or the Hunger Games for reasons I have but cannot think of in my state of mind. Forgive me. Please.

So, Divergent is a book that is quite often compared to the Hunger Games. I try to see it, and at times I force myself to formulate theories as to how it may fit in, but really, there really isn’t much of a comparison other than the fact that it is YA, it is dystopian, there is some action, and there is a lovely blossoming romance (I tried to make that as over-the-top as possible). I feel as if most of the inclinations to compare the books emerge from the fact that Divergence was the next novel to be hyped up to a level near The Hunger Games mania, and, not so much the overwhelming similarities.

Beatrice is the main character within the novel and I really did like her. She reminded me of Katniss-do I sound hypocritical?- but without her overdramatic scenes involving her family. Don’t get me wrong, Beatrice, obviously cared for her family, but on the other hand, she recognized that from the start, she wasn’t cut out for the predestined life outline drafted by her parents 10 years before her conception. It is her ferocious, witty, natural selection-esque mentality that makes the novel bearable.

The novel overall is quite fast paced. Though, I find that many dystopian novels drag the foundation building of world elements and government a bit too much, Divergent did it quite seamlessly.The concept of 5 factions automatically made my mind think back to Harry Potter with the four houses, and now that I think about it, I’m almost positive it had a definite influence on this novel. Hmmm, maybe I should write to Veronica Roth about this! Aside from that, I loved most of the background foundation to this novel, though I am very curious as to why she didn’t explain in more detail about what lies beyond the city. But, i’m sure it will get covered in the later books.

Now, I was going to attempt a spoiler-free analysis of the ending to the novel, but now that I think about it, I’m almost sure that “spoiler-free analysis of the ending” is an oxymoron, and that it would be far off from being spoiler free. I guess all I can say about the later part of Divergent is that the action in those critical moments last longer than any other novel that I have read. True facts.

A definite thrill ride to the end, and a definite reread. Maybe I’ll actually finish a trilogy for once!

I hope you enjoyed this review, comment if you have free time!

Thank you.

Memorable Quotes:

“We have each other memorized”

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Book Review: A Monster Calls

5/5

Synopsis:

“At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s’ been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.”

Review:

So if you’ve been keeping up with my posts you will know that I recently made a trip to my nearby bookstore and achieved some much needed retail book therapy.

I purchased a total of 5 books, and though I was eager to read all of them, there was one book that stood out from the rest.

The book was, “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness

It would be a lie to say that the first thing that caught my attention to this book was the plot, because honestly, it definitely wasn’t. After reading “Speak” I was attempting to find books that were a bit more light hearted and if anything, comical. As I was browsing the Teen section I could not help but focus all my attention on A Monster Calls.

Look at it, the cover looks amazing, and if that weren’t enough, the book itself is full of illustrations, often taking over 2 whole pages! In addition, at a price of one regular paperback adult fiction novel, I just had to purchase it, in all of its hardcover glory.

The novel focuses around Conor and his adventure with a tree-like monster who frequently appears outside his kitchen window at approximately 12:07am. The monster, though at first glance, horrifying, turns out to be quite the “cute” character. With his attempts to terrorize a 13 year old who just won’t budge at any sort of horror, his character fills the role as the “wise one” and does a great job at providing a rational and thought provoking aspect to the novel.

Conor, facing the future of losing his most reliable confidant, his mother, must live in two worlds. One, in which he seems to be invisible and pitied as he walks the hallways of his high school while peers whisper to each other as he strolls by and where teachers feel as if it is their duty to automatically deem him “special” due to his unfortunate circumstances.

And lastly, a world where he is constantly in the presence of a talking tree monster who claim that his reason for being anywhere at all is to narrate 3 short stories to the sulky thirteen year old.

Aside from its aesthetic appeals-I still flip through the illustrations in amazement-the main reason I enjoyed this novel was essentially for its emotional side. I sat on my bed on the verge of “man” tears as I saw Conor go to school with nothing but a dislike for teachers who believe that he is to be “pitied” simply because of his circumstances. I loved Conor’s attempt to disbelieve anything contradicting his own beliefs such as his mother’s illness, and it is through that disbelieve and built up innocence that truly makes this whole novel, and Conor specifically, highly believable.

I finished this book in about 2 hours, and I think I’ll be rereading it for many years to come. Definitely check this one out.

Memorable Quotes:

“As incredible as it seemed, time kept moving forward for the rest of the world. The rest of the world that wasn’t waiting”

“Villages grew into towns, towns into cities. And people began to Iive on the earth rather than within it”

Bookstore Mania!

Yesterday, was a very great day.

From waking up to the sun shining, to the discovery of ice cream in the downstairs freezer, the day  could not have went any better.

But, it did.

How? Well, after much debating in my head, I finally convinced myself-without much trouble actually, haha- to travel to the bookstore to do some much needed retail therapy.

I purchased a total of 5 novels, 3 classics(all for $10 which is ugh-mazing) and 2 YA fiction reads.

Classics:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I don’t think I need to say much in terms of plot lines for this novel, because I’m sure, many of you already know this book word from word. I will be the first to admit that I have never even read this book, but have finally been persuaded to pick it up after watching the recent movie adaptation trailer. Very excited to see how this goes

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I’ve wanted to pick this up for quite some time, but have never gotten to doing so, until now. I have never read anything from Jane Austen but I expect something romantic with a bit of mystery. I could be totally wrong, but, I am nonetheless ecstatic that I’ve finally picked it up.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

I pretty much picked this up solely because I had to choose 3 classic novels to fulfill the sale requirements-that sounds horrible :(-. After coming home with it, I read the back and was surprised to find it quite intriguing. I’m sure this one will be entertaining and refreshing, considering I have been reading too many emotional heavy books.

YA Fiction:

Divergentby Veronica Roth

So, everyone pretty much has this book now. I’ve been trying to stay away from it simply because I wanted to take the hipster route and say that I’ve never even read it, but I just could not pick it up. The last YA novel that I read was the Knife of Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I enjoyed that book very much, and though it does not have the same qualities shared with Divergent, I’m sure I’ll enjoy this read.

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

I had my eye on this book for awhile, and I’ve got to say I absolutely love the cover. The book itself is full of illustrations that just blow my non-artistic mind. Apart from the aesthetics, I do believe this book touches upon the themes of death and depression. I’m sure this one will be amazing, as I’m pretty much almost finished the book itself!

Book Review: Speak

4/5

Synopsis:

“Melinda is a friendless outcast at Merryweather High. She busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, and now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. As time passes, she becomes increasingly isolated and practically stops talking altogether. It is through her work on an art project that she is finally able to face what really happened at that terrible party: she was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and who is still a threat to her. It will take another violent encounter with him to make Melinda fight back. This time she refuses to be silent.”

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Book Review: Norwegian Wood

Synopsis:

Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual passion is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before.  Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable.  As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman.

A poignant story of one college student’s romantic coming-of-age,Norwegian Wood takes us to that distant place of a young man’s first, hopeless, and heroic love

Review:

I’ve finally finished Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami and much to my dismay it was rather unexpected. I wanted a really sappy love story, two lovers, separated for a time, then reunited. To say I didn’t want any of that would be a flat-out lie, because, I really did want that.

This book is a classic and from what I’ve read around can be correlated to the fame Twilight has received in the Western world. Though, to say their fame is relatively alike, their content and quality is DEFINITELY NOT. I haven’t read Twilight myself but I know better than to show up in public with a “Team Edward” shirt, sign in hand, proclaiming Twilight’s dominance to Harry Potter. Trust me, I know better.

The book started off great. Although it wasn’t eye catching or “on your toes” amazing, it was the author’s-Haruki Murakami- ability to flow his ideas so strongly and uniformly while maintaining his beautiful craft in transforming the most simplest objects/ideas into masterpieces. If there was one reason why I felt motivated to read this book, it would be the anticipation to read another one of his crafty descriptions.

Like I said in the opening of this post, I expected a “cry on my bed ’till I can’t cry anymore, while listening to beyonce’s irreplaceable” kind of book. Ok, not really, cry on my bed , but definitely beyonce’s irreplaceable. I felt like I had to put in a reference to her best love song.…Anyways, the book started off normally, and it wasn’t until I found myself constantly putting off important things (school) just to read this book that I realized their was something special in the book.

The plot consists mainly of 4 people. The main character, his best friend who later commits suicide, his best friend’s girlfriend who ends up becoming the most tragic character ever written, and the main character’s “love” who i’ve decided is a sex addict and needs to be checked out. The first three become very close and it’s at this point where I wish that the author focused more on the interactions of the three. Given the amount of space dedicated to the remembrance of his best friend’s death, I felt like a more strong description of their bond before his death would have aided more in terms of me feeling any sort of emotion to his death.

Which brings me to another one, death is a major part of this novel, but it becomes such a large part of it that I feel it no longer holds its emotional “impact”. Death makes people cry, this book had tons of it but they didn’t hold enough force to make me seclude myself in my room and release tears.

For most of the books I’ve read, the main character becomes my absolute favourite. Was this the case for Norwegian Wood? Not-at-all. I felt like I was reading the grinch’s autobiography before he became all naughty. He was indecisive, and passive. A point in the book came where an event occurred that SHOULD have turned his world upside down for the worst. Did he feel sad? Definitely, he decided to turn himself into a homeless person for a whole month. Did he cry? Yep. Did I feel like he was emotionally traumatized by this horrible event? I would say yes, but I just can’t. The message in the book is to learn from your sorrows. Unfortunately, having sex with a women 19 yrs older than yourself who you knew to be your now deceased best friend’s friend doesn’t exactly make me feel provoked to cry nor feel like he learned anything.

All in all it’s a great book. Not boring at all, and if you’re into sex…there’s a lot of it in here. Though I criticize the book’s ability to fully induce any sort of “sorrow” or “sadness” in me, I am going to blame it on simply my desire for a sappy love story. I assure you, if that’s not what I wanted, I wouldn’t have written what I just did. Fact of the matter is, I wanted to cry.  Did I? No.

Book Review: The Secret History

Synopsis:

“Truly deserving of the accolade a modern classic, Donna Tartt’s novel is a remarkable achievement-both compelling and elegant, dramatic and playful.

Under the influence of their charismatic classics professor, a group of clever, eccentric misfits at an elite New England college discover a way of thinking and living that is a world away from the humdrum existence of their contemporaries. But when they go beyond the boundaries of normal morality their lives are changed profoundly and forever, and they discover how hard it can be to truly live and how easy it is to kill.”

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Hello BookBlogging Community!

Hello everyone! My name is Marvin, I am 19 yrs old and i’m a full time university student. Though during the school year I find myself at the library doing things that are nothing remotely close to reading, I do love to read. I have had a reading slump of about 6 years, and I have only started getting back into my reading rhythm this past winter. I hope that through this blog, I am able to extend my reading experience with the many fabulous characters I have met through various novels, and in turn, share them with all of you wonderful people!

Here is a little summary of how I created my blog:

With countless hours spent at my nearby Chapters bookstore I was eager to find ways in which I could somehow extend my reading experience. A normal reader would buy a book, spend time reading it, and then place it back into a bookshelf where it will not be touched for quite some time.

I wanted to move around that.

That’s right, with the power of blogging and my-as I like to say- “good thinking” I have decided that in order for me to extend my reading experience, I would have to write about the books that I have read. In other words, book reviews.

With this idea, I am now here hoping to gain some ground in the world of book blogging.

Please accept me with open arms 🙂