Podkayne of MarsAuthor: Robert HeinleinNarrator: Emily Janice CardPublication Date: 10/1/09Publisher: Blackstone Audio[Goodreads | Amazon | Audible]Blurb (GR):
Meet Podkayne Fries, a thoroughly Martian Ms. who thinks that Earth is not really fit for habitation and that humanity evolved on the now-exploded Fifth Planet
Paddy has one goal in life; to be the first female
starship captain.She has her strategy all scoped out, and with her determination, looks and I.Q. she'll get there, never you doubt!
But all work and no play would make Poddy a Dull Girl, so when a chance comes her way to travel to distant Earth to Venus witrh her elderly uncle, Paddy jumps at it, even if it does mean having her loathsome little brother along for the trip. Travel, Adventure, the chance to cuddle up (in a nice way) with real spaceship officers and ruthlessly pump their brains- she'll have it all!
What Poddy doesn't know is that "Unca Tom" is more than her warmly supportive relative: he is also the Ambassador Plenipotentiary from Mars to the Three-Planets Conference (travelling not quite incognito enough) and that certain parties will stop at nothing to gain control of his vote -including kidnapping and doing terrible things to sweetly innocent Poddy Fries....
Review: So this was a bit ridiculous. I listened to all five discs rather quickly, as it started out as a fun space story. Then suddenly I was on disc four and thinking to myself, "Sooo, nothing much has happened yet." This book is about creating a world, setting the stage for what could be a cool story about a future female space pilot and then having the main character talk herself out of her ambitions because childbirth and mothering are the most important aspirations for women in the world and blahbitty blah blah blah. Thanks, Robert A. Heinlein, I definitely needed the reminder of how women should act. In case you're reading this review and wondering what kinds of awesome tidbits the main character shares in her journal, they are statements about hiding your intelligence from men, never letting a man see that you are better at anything than he is, and accepting that you should never have aspirations that will hinder your ability to find a man and reproduce for the good of the universe.
This book hints at so many possible plotlines and they go nowhere. The actual plot/action doesn't even start to occur until at least halfway through, probably further. Heinlein hints at a possible romance; it goes nowhere. He describes a lot of planets and governmental structures; it's all irrelevant. He spends the first half of the book on a space journey; it has very little bearing on the overall plot. The book ends more abruptly than any I've ever read. Honestly, this felt like the first part in a serialized story. (Ha! I just looked it up on Wikipedia
and the book itself started out as a serialized story.)
Emily Janice Card did a good job voicing the teenage protagonist and her 11-year old genius brother. The side characters, including one or two with southern accents, were distinguishable, which isn't always the case in audiobooks. I do enjoy her narrations but unfortunately, I always keep thinking about her father's politics and it takes me away from the story she's reading. I know this isn't the case for everyone but it IS the case for me, even if she doesn't share the same beliefs. (I don't know one way or the other)
Skip this one unless you're a writer who is looking for a world that was created and then just disregarded. There are lots of ideas to be had here! 2/5 stars
Singing the Dogstar Blues
Author: Alison Goodman
Publication Date: 4/12/12
Seventeen-year-old Joss is a rebel and a student of time travel. This year, an alien student, Mavkel, from the planet Choria, has chosen Joss as his study partner. Can this very different pair manage to live together--even learn from each other?Review: Singing the Dogstar Blues
is that rare specimen of YA fiction called science fiction
. That's right, not dystopia or rather dystopian romance, not sci-fi romance, but real deal sci-fi. There are no love triangles in it, no angst, no moping around boys. Gee, no wonder nobody read it. My library book was bought 6 years and looks as if nobody ever even touched it.
Joss Aaronson is a 1st year student at a time travel school. She is about to be paired up with her permanent TT partner who would accompany her on all her adventures. Her partner turns out to be the first alien admitted to the TT school Mavkel. For some reason he feels Joss is his perfect mate. Mavkel's race is deeply dual. Its species live in telepathically connected pairs. Mavkel needs to establish a psychic connection with Joss without which he can't exist. After several failed attempts to connect, the couple's last resort is to travel back into the past to seek the missing ingredient to assist their union.
Great things about Singing the Dogstar Blues
1) time travel! - I craved more of it though.
2) aliens! - Mavkel is the cutest alien with a fab personality and the whole concept of his society is very curious.
3) futuristic setting! - loved the cyberpunky feel of it.
4) emphasis on developing of friendship instead of romance!
5) a heroine who kicks ass and who is rebellious without being annoying.
6) mystery! - yes, an actual mystery involving assassins, sperm donors and DNA.
I mean, what's not to like here? Why aren't there more books like this? It is always such a pleasure to read teen books that are both entertaining, light and not dumb. I can't read Le Guin's complex and thought-provoking sci-fi all the time, right? Some fun teen sci-fi is necessary too. 4/5 star
Walls of the UniverseAuthor: Paul MelkoPublication Date: 2/3/09Publisher: TorBlurb (GR):
John Rayburn thought all of his problems were the mundane ones of an Ohio farm boy in his last year in high school. Then his doppelgänger appeared, tempted him with a device that let him travel across worlds, and stole his life from him. John soon finds himself caroming through universes, unable to return home—the device is broken. John settles in a new universe to unravel its secrets and fix it.
Meanwhile, his doppelgänger tries to exploit the commercial technology he’s stolen from other Earths: the Rubik’s Cube! John’s attempts to lie low in his new universe backfire when he inadvertently introduces pinball. It becomes a huge success. Both actions draw the notice of other, more dangerous travelers, who are exploiting worlds for ominous purposes. Fast-paced and exciting, this is SF adventure at its best from a rising star. Review:
I picked this book up from the library after it was mentioned in an io9.com
article about great sci-fi stories (and that also mentioned the movie rights to this book had recently been sold). Anyway, this book tells the story of a young man in Ohio who is visited one day by a version of himself from another universe. The story is set along the lines of a many worlds theory about universes wherein there are infinite (rather, not infinite
but who knows how many) universes coexisting at the same time and some people have transfer devices to travel between them. John, the main character, is visited by John Prime and the plot runs at a fast pace from that point.
This novel started out as an award-winning shorter version of itself and, regrettably, I could tell. I was four star enjoying it for most of the ride and then I completely lost interest during the CLIMAX. When the hell does that happen? I felt like the last 30 or so pages of the book were rushed and the Visigoths and Corrundrum were not as well developed as they could've been.
I also thought the one sex scene between John (Farm Boy) and Casey was ridiculous. It was like two sentences long and completely unnecessary to any part of the story or character development. And, frankly, I couldn't see any real reason why the Johns wanted to be with the Caseys so badly anyway. I know this is sci-fi and not romance, but I've read sci-fi that had better relationship development and this book lacked a little in that area.
I'm giving this book 4 stars because it definitely kept me interested. I thought the author did a great job of creating universes that had slight differences and altogether different options. My favorite part was when John Farm Boy was traveling through the universes one at a time. However, I feel that the book is somewhere between a 3 and a 4 for me. 3.5/5 stars
The Edge (Starfleet Academy, #1)Author: Rudy JosephsPublication Date: 12/28/10Publisher: Simon SpotlightBlurb (GR):
A new Starfleet Academy series for teens--filled with romance and adventure In "The Competitive Edge," Kirk finds out how much of a toll the intense training classes and grueling schedule of academy life is taking on all the cadets, including himself. But some recruits seem better equipped to handle the challenges. Is there something that is giving them an edge? Kirk is determined to find out, especially since one of the cadets with a little something extra is his new girlfriend. Review:
I am dying to read a YA series set at a school in space. DYING. I know, I know, Ender's Game
satisfies that wish...only it doesn't. I want it to be high school students and I want it to be like Stargate/Star Trek/Firefly meets every YA high school book ever made. Anyway, this book seems to be as close as I can get. *sigh* But it was rather fun!
I've never watched any Star Trek--gasp--but I did like the most recent movie and this book is based in the movie version of Starfleet. This turned out to be both a positive and a negative for me. I was happy that a lot of my favorite characters were there and it brought up several scenes from the movie that made me feel like I understood everyone's motivations for going to Starfleet. On the other hand, I felt that the references were too blatant and it made me feel like this book was published more to ride the wave of popularity from the movie than to publish a genuinely well-written book.
This book is described as following young Jim Kirk during his first few months at Starfleet. While it does do this, I'd say this book is actually about solving a mystery and romantic relationships between cadets. There was a lot of flirting going on and the relationship that I was most
interested in was Spock and Uhura, for obvious reasons. I am a little disappointed there were no classroom scenes--it just felt a little hurried overall and, while I wanted to know more about each character, the narrative bounces back and forth between telling us about Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and Bones, and it got a little frustrating.
I'd recommend this one to people who might be dying for a space school story or people who really enjoyed the latest Star Trek movie. 3/5 stars
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publication Date: 1/3/12
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.Review:
Let me first give credit where credit is due. A cyborg Cinderella
? Wow! It's a bold premise. I applaud Marissa Meyer
for thinking this up.
In this re-envisioning of the fairy tale, Lihn Cinder is a cyborg, meaning, she is almost half mechanical - she has prosthetic hands and a foot, a big chunk of her internal organs are wired into her body. Cinder is a mechanic in New Beijing, the capital of the Eastern Commonwealth, a country ravaged by plague outbreaks. One day, the heir to the throne of the Commonwealth, Prince Kai, steps into Cinder's shop to get his android fixed, and everything changes for Cinder. She falls in love, she becomes a center of multiple intrigues, she discovers her own well hidden (even from her) secrets.
As much as I appreciate an author willing to think outside the box, I am afraid in this case Marissa Meyer
bit off more than she could chew. The world of Cinder
is very imaginative and full of potential. New Beijing, royalty, plague, cyborg falling in love, a war with the Lunar (Moon) Empire. I mean, just think about the possibilities here. Too bad, these possibilities are never explored to their best advantage.
Let's take Cinder, for example. She is almost half robot, there is stuff wired into her brain and body. Is she a human? Does she have artificial intelligence? Does she think of herself as human? How can she love? Are her emotions real or programmed? None of this is explained with any kind of depth. I compare this book to The Adoration of Jenna Fox
, and Cinder
How about the setting? New Beijing! Futuristic China! Is there any Chinese flavor in this story? Any infusion of Eastern cultures, customs? Not really.
Ok, maybe there is something to this Lunar business then? Who or what are these Lunar people? How did they get there? How do they live on the Moon? Why exactly are they at war with Earth? I still have no clue.
My general impression after finishing Cinder
is that every good idea in this story is developed very superficially. It's like Cinder
is... Ship Breaker
's ugly cousin. What Paolo Bacigalupi
managed to do in his fairly short book with great depth - the world ruined by environmental changes, genetically altered human beings, poverty - is all done here, but in the most shallow way, as if the author was determined to keep the plot moving at a break-neck pace, afraid that any paragraph spent on layering the world or characters' personalities would bore readers.
There is still some entertainments value in Cinder
, and I did get all the way through it to find out how the story would unfold. (BTW, you can predict the novel's outcome at about page 50 and it all ends with a cliffhanger.) But the novel fails miserably at being thought-provoking, challenging or truly engaging, even though the ideas are all there. Squandered potential. 2/5 stars
Stray (Touchstone, #1)Author: Andrea K. Höst
Publication Date: March 20th 2011
Publisher Andrea K. HösthBlurb (GR):
On her last day of high school, Cassandra Devlin walked out of exams and into a forest. Surrounded by the wrong sort of trees, and animals never featured in any nature documentary, Cass is only sure of one thing: alone, she will be lucky to survive.
The sprawl of abandoned blockish buildings Cass discovers offers her only more puzzles. Where are the people? What is the intoxicating mist which drifts off the buildings in the moonlight? And why does she feel like she's being watched?
Increasingly unnerved, Cass is overjoyed at the arrival of the formidable Setari. Whisked to a world as technologically advanced as the first was primitive, where nanotech computers are grown inside people's skulls, and few have any interest in venturing outside the enormous whitestone cities, Cass finds herself processed as a 'stray', a refugee displaced by the gates torn between worlds. Struggling with an unfamiliar language and culture, she must adapt to virtual classrooms, friends who can teleport, and the ingrained attitude that strays are backward and slow.
Can Cass ever find her way home? And after the people of her new world discover her unexpected value, will they be willing to let her leave?Review:
How useful would you be in an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic situation? My best friend and I had a discussion about this for a while the other day. (Well, to be honest I have this discussion all the time.) While we obviously tally people’s skills up in the positives column, we were in agreement that two of the biggest advantages a person can have is their ability to just go with the flow and their tendency not whine or complain about things. The reason I bring this up is because the first third or fourth of this book is about a teenage girl, Cass Devlin, walking home from school and suddenly finding herself in a completely foreign place. As she walks around, the thinks about what is going on in a very logical manner.
She thinks about where the sun is located, how long the days are, what kinds of wildlife is around, what she might be able to eat, how to actually make
things from raw materials. Gosh, thanks for that Andrea K. Höst
, because my reading partner and I were so excited to read about a character who actually thought about all the things a person should
be thinking if they are somewhere they have never been before. I’ve read several books since I finished this one (as has my reading partner) and we’ve repeatedly said “Ugh, Cass Devlin would never
do something like this.” I also enjoyed her sense of humor about her entire situation and the new society she finds herself a part of.
The interesting thing about this book, and this could really be a positive or negative depending on the reader, was how it was very in-depth setup for the rest of the series.
What this book needs is a kickass editor to contain the awesome. Here is a very scientific graph I’ve made for the occasion:
Wouldn't we all like to have that problem? I’d get overly excited if I were the author, too. It is clear that Ms. Höst has mapped out this world, its inhabitants, the powers, technology, and the history...and I was into all of it! At a point, while I never lost interest, I was looking for a little less description of every single power, its amplification, and the different spaces the teams went to. (this sentence probably makes very little sense but I don’t want to ruin the plot of the book for future readers) Several of the characters intrigued me and I wished we got to know a few of them more in depth rather than tens of them by name only. In the end, this book has the potential to be a five-star read for me if it was completely edited. (There were a couple affect/effect, hanger/hangar-type errors but overall, the writing was fun and there were very few errors for a self-pub) However, the final product as it is was quite enough to make me buy the remaining two ebooks in the series to see how it all pans out and definitely enough to recommend it to a lot of people.
Surprisingly, there is no concentration on romance, at least not in this installment of the series. There are
a few hints and several possibilities but it was nice not to have that weighing down the plot. Instead of Cass wondering about what X or Y dude thinks of her, she actually wonders about how everything in the world works, how she might get home, and the ramifications of her choices. Crazy!
To the author, if you are reading this at any point (which you might be!), please write a survivalist or post-apoc novel! I will read it and love it. Until then, I'll continue with this series and enjoy those ones.
I never would’ve found this book without Goodreads. My pal Chichipio
has an aversion to buying books that cost more than $5. Sure, I often yank his chain about this habit but this is it, Gonza, your REVENGE. I really loved this book, so thank you. (be sure to check out his review
Singing the Dogstar Blues
Author: Alison Goodman
Publication Date: 7/15/99
Publisher: PuffinBlurb (GR):
Seventeen-year-old Joss is a rebel, and a student of time travel at the prestigious Centre for Neo-Historical Studies. This year, for the first time, the Centre has an alien student, Mavkel, from the planet Choria. And Mavkel has chosen Joss, of all people, as his roommate and study partner. Then Mavkel gets sick. Joss quickly realizes that his will to live is draining away. The only way she can help Mavkel is by breaking the Centre's strictest rules . . . and that means going back in time to change history.Review:
I’m always on the lookout for a fun space-related story. Singing the Dogstar Blues
isn’t set in space but there is a very futuristic feel to it and ALIENS so it definitely hit my sweet spot. If you are wondering if this book reads at all like Goodman’s other book Eon
, the answer, at least for me, is absolutely not. I enjoyed Eon
but the pacing was off and I wasn’t especially attached to any of the characters. That’s not the case here. Joss Aaronson attends a prestigious time-jumping school and holds one of 12 coveted spots in the program for her year. She is a comp, which basically means that her mother used a donor to have her and comps are looked down on as genetically manipulated because people can use up to even 5 or 6 donors to create the child of their choice. She is snarky, sassy, and unlike Eon/a, it doesn’t take her eras to figure out what is going on around her. Thank goodness for that.
Overall, the book has a bit of a campy and adventurous feel. The plot primarily revolves around Joss and her new school partner, Mavkel, the first alien to be admitted. As expected, there are enemies and allies in the school administration and amongst the students but Joss and Mavkel hold this entire story on their backs and they succeed in doing so. I couldn’t picture what Mavkel actually looked like but it didn’t hinder the character development. His personality came through even with a language barrier and extensive cultural differences. He and Joss bond over music and that is where the title of the book comes from.
There are hints that this was Goodman’s first novel—the writing definitely favors utility rather than description, for instance. Since this is what I prefer in my sci-fi, I was more than happy with the style. And Ms. Goodman actually surprised me with a plot twist near the end. (I laughed out loud at the Petri dish scene) I wish this book started a series so we could find out how Joss and Mavkel’s partnership continued to develop during their school years. As it is, I guess I will just have to hope that Alison Goodman writes some more sci-fi one of these days.4/5 stars
Author: M.T. Anderson
Publication Date: 2/23/04
Publisher: Candlewick PressBlurb (B & N):Brave New World
takes a romantic teen twist in this disarming, engrossing novel set in a hyper-computerized future.
Spending time partying on the moon and riding around in his "upcar," Titus is an average teen of the future, complete with a computer chip implant -- the "Feed" -- that lets corporate marketers and government agencies broadcast directly into his brain. Then Titus meets Violet, and an anti-Feed hacker shuts down their Feeds for a short time; but when Violet's Feed is seriously damaged, she begins spouting some radical ideas.
M. T. Anderson has predicted the future, and it's startling indeed. Although Titus is a good, well-meaning kid, his blissful ignorance of the control over him leaves readers thinking twice about the destiny of earth's citizens. Beneath the book's techno-veneer, however, lies a romantic tale between a boy who gives into the system and a girl who sees beyond it. All told, Feed
is a "meg" remarkable work of science fiction, and once readers begin, they'll be caught up in its powerful grip.Review:
While I’m sitting here writing this review, a Seattle Groupon advertisement is trying to get me to buy nachos with some amazingly tasty-looking picture in my sidebar. Now I really want some nachos. I just turned on the television and the advertisements while I’m perusing the OnDemand selections (because who can be bothered to watch television in real time these days?) made me want to watch The Fighter again. But I’m not going to! (I’m going to watch Clueless, duh) My mom told me today that Bath & Body Works is bringing back Copa Cabana scented lotion so I just bought lots of it online. (It was Buy 3, get 2 free!! OMGZZ!) We are sick. Our entire consumer-based society makes me ill but I am a willing participant in a lot of it.
This book is set in a (plausible?) future wherein our consumer desires have taken over. Corporations rule the roost, run the schools, and implant wetware into humans so people can research online without having to do any work, receive targeted ads and shop 24/7, and chat their friends without, you know, having to move their lips. There isn’t an incentive to learn anything because your feed can just tell you what you need to know. It’s soooo MEG! Titus and his friends do all sorts of unit things like frag around in clubs on the moon, wear whatever the hip new style of clothing is (I actually laughed out loud at the conversation about the geriatric chic clothing—canes, walkers, muumuus—and the riotware—the “Kent State Collection”), and go mal (malfunction) which is the equivalent of getting f*&ked up. No one seems to give a second thought to the system they are a part of--save a few people. Titus meets Violet on the shuttle to the moon and she got her feed later than most. Because her parents are academics she still has a lot of experience reading actual books, speaking (in the air as opposed to chatspeak), and philosophizing. She, arguably foolishly, tries to get Titus and his friends to actually think about what their consumptive lifestyle means in the larger scale of things. It was frustrating to listen to his friends let her inquiries about their knowledge of worldwide riots, mass killings, deforestation, etc. just slide off them—they just called her pretentious and said she was on the lookout for any sign of the decline of civilization. Sigh.
This aspect of the book, actually thinking about the effects of disposable culture and (over)consumption really struck home for me. I am fascinated by attempts to create closed-loop manufacturing systems. (ideally, a circle from raw materials through to end product in which little to nothing is wasted and byproducts may be used rather than disposed of) and the entire seven generation sustainability concept. (making our ecological decisions based on their effect seven generations ahead). But do I get ecstatic thinking about new video games coming out? Yes, I totally do. Can our individual environmental choices actually effectively change anything
? Is our only choice to either watch our entire world deplete its resources at a disgusting rate oroverthrow it all and start anew?
Even at the end of this book, though it ends on a semi-hopeful note, I was still depressed. The types of people who would probably benefit the most from reading a satire like this will never read it.
While I feel like this book was successful at making me think a lot about our current society and its possible devolution into something even more corporate than it already is, I don’t know if this book is as successful as it could’ve been. I thought Unwind
was so fascinating because it brought up tons of societal issues while still having an engaging plot. Here, I was only passively interested in what was going on in the story. Which brings me to the audiobook—awesome. The audiobook is narrated by one man but the feed portions are actually done by a cast and it sounds completely real. You hear all sorts of crazy commercials and advertisements just like you are actually experiencing the feed. I really don’t think I would’ve enjoyed this one as much in book form—maybe 3 stars—but the audiobook popped it up to a 4. 4/5 stars
Author: Connie Willis
Publication Date: 6/25/07
Publisher: Subterranean Press
Theodora Baumgarten has just been selected as an IASA space cadet, and therein lies the problem. She didn't apply for the ultra-coveted posting, and doesn't relish spending years aboard the ship to which she's been assigned. But the plucky young heroine, in true Heinlein fashion, has no plans to go along with the program. Aided by her hacker best friend Kimkim, in a screwball comedy that has become Connie Wills' hallmark, Theodora will stop at nothing to uncover the conspiracy that has her shanghaied.Review:
I won't tell you what D.A. stands for, as it would ruin the story. I will tell you that this story has gotten me all excited to read more of Connie Willis
' books. In my mind, I always thought that she wrote inaccessible sci-fi (fine, go ahead and laugh at me), and maybe she does—I’ll find out soon enough. But this story was an absolute funfest to read. And it only takes about 20-30 minutes if you’re interested in that type of incentive…which I sometime am. (Anything to up my count. Damn you, Goodreads Challenge!)
Theodora attends a traditional high school at a time in the future when most kids are taught in online classes from home but her parents sent her to regular school to increase her chances of getting into The Academy. Students spend years trying to get perfect grades, taking classes on obscure space-related topics and learning random skills, all in the hope that they will get selected to go into space. Despite nearly every
student dying for the opportunity, Theodora has never had the desire to go so imagine her surprise when a school assembly is called and a representative is there to congratulate her on her acceptance. She never applied, so what the heck is going on?
It’s a bit cliché and reads like a less genius-ridden, war-minded Battle School and Theodora spends most of her time being a downer, complaining, and sneaking around, but I enjoyed where it ended up going at the conclusion. I only wish the story continued so I could see her develop even further.
This short story came to me as a recommendation from my query for 'YA in space' on Goodreads. Since you can't close a query, I will probably continue to get recs on it until I am 50 but you know what? That sounds great to me! I'll never tire of space stories. Kaethe recced this one to me, and a huge thanks go out to her for it. Even if it is does end up being whatever the female equivalent of blue balls is…in that it ends when I wanted it to go on for much, much longer. 4/5 stars
If you like this, you might also like Academy 7
by Anne Osterlund, the Ender's Game
series and Shadow
series by Orson Scott Card, Across the Universe
by Beth Revis, the new Starfleet Academy
series, and the Galahad
series by Dom Testa.
Author: Veronica Roth
Publication Date: 5/3/11
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
This book is getting so much hype, I think my blood pressure was running high before I even began. Basically, this book is 486 pages of action-packed fun. While I have a few gripes with it, this book basically delivered what you are all hoping it will.
Beatrice (Tris) Prior lives in a future Chicago where everyone is divided into six factions: Abegnation (the selfless), Dauntless (the courageous), Erudite (the knowledge-seekers), Amity (the hippies, oops, I mean the peaceful), and Candor (the honest). At sixteen, each young person is put through an aptitude test which determines the faction they will join for life--usually the one in which they've grown up. Tris, however, ends up in a different faction and this book follows her initiation trials in the Dauntless faction.
I read an interview somewhere in which Veronica Roth
said she wanted to write a standalone. I get that--the YA market is saturated with series, but by dropping us into this world and then concentrating on Tris' trials, I felt like I was missing that undercurrent of rebellion. I'm sure this book will be compared to Hunger Games
more times than anyone can count, but hey! that's a lot more flattering than comparing every vampire book to Twilight
. Anyway, in Hunger Games
, you could feel the rebellion growing. I was constantly wondering what was going on in other districts--and Suzanne Collins
made us worry
about it all. In Divergent
, this element was lacking. I loved most of the book, but the climax and wrapup (if you can call it that) are only in the last 50 pages! This is an instance where I wish the author had built up the tension a little more, maybe given us a few other characters in different factions, and saved the ending scenes for a second (or third!) book. I just laughed a little bit thinking about how this book could've used a little dose of Matched
to slow it down...
I hated the name of the male love interest. I don't want to spoiler it for any of you so I'm putting it in here--> view spoiler
in original Goodreads review.
I keep trying to discuss this book with people so I can't wait till all you GR friends of mine get into it, too! You'll love it. Well, at least "really like it." I did.