Book Review – Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Title: Allegiant

Author: Veronica Roth

Format: Hardback

Published: 2013

 

After finishing Insurgent I was quick to pick up Alegiant and read it. I was excited for the read as I had enjoyed insurgent. So I delved in looking forward to getting lost in the book to be jerked right out of the story by the second chapter. Instead of the story being told in first person perspective from the eyes of Tris the story alternates back and forth from the eyes of Tris and Tobias. It is almost every other chapter that the voice changes in first person. Each chapter is marked with whose perspective the story is being told but taking the time to note that every chapter pulls you out of the story that is being told instead of getting lost in it. In addition to that if I got interrupted in the middle of a chapter it was difficult to determine whose perspective I was reading from unless I looked back a few pages at the chapter start.

 

Over all, I don’t mind changing perspectives in third person because that is easy to tell and the voice doesn’t really change just the scene does, but in first person it can be difficult to determine who “I” is. Honestly I feel the story in Allegiant suffered from the changing perspectives and in some ways it was a little necessary but a lot of times it wasn’t and I didn’t see the point of the change in perspective. Alternating back and forth I feel was a poor execution of telling the story. Honestly there are better ways of executing things if there is a need for change in perspective such sections, it still pulls a reader out of the story but not as frequently so one can go multiple chapters without being pulled out. Also a font difference would also help as it is a quick reference and easier to notice than stopping at each chapter to read a name to verify whose talking. Long rant cut short, this made me very cranky and frustrated me with the book.

 

Despite the changes in perspectives, I still read the book because I wanted to know what happened and it was still a good story that kept my attention as far as stories go and toward the end I was locked into the book and was ready to murder a person for interrupting me in my reading as the story picked up and had enough action that changing perspectives was not a bit deal. Overall the book was a pretty good read, and I will give it a 4 out of 5 pages. If the story wasn’t as good as it was the formatting would have forced this book into a 3 out of 5 but the story saves the book keeping at a strong rating and something I would say is a good read but I would warn about the changing POV’s as that can be annoying.

Advertisements

Book Review – Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Title: Insurgent

Author: Veronica Roth

Format: Hardback

Published: 2012

 

Overall, I feel like everyone on this blog has read and reviewed at least the first book in the Divergent series and some of us have gone forward and reviewed the latter books in the series. I myself have reviewed the first book over a year ago. [ Link ]It was a good read as I recall but I held off reading further considering that my fellow reviewers were doing the same books. I have now returned to the series not because of the not too long ago released movies but rather because I happened to on a lark pick up the audio book of Divergent.

 

In listening to the first book I was reminded of how good the story was and the audio book placed a rather good and compelling voice to the main character of Tris. After finishing the audio book I decided that I very much wanted to read the rest of the series and so I quickly jumped on picking up the next book to read. Once I opened the book I was reminded of how engrossing Veronica Roth’s writing style is. The story was decent but the writing style is one that simply draws you in and refuses to let you go. I found myself quickly lost in the book turning the next page over and over again and hardly noticing when there were chapter breaks.

 

As some of you may know I am a bit of a slow reader. It can take me a long time to get through a book unless it is rather good. In the case of Insurgent I had it done in two days. I hardly put it down for much of anything. I loved how the story traveled to the different factions and there was a lot of interesting information that was revealed in the story. In a lot of ways the action and tension kept pretty strong in this book.

 

Though the book engrossed me and would not let me go and I finished this rather thick book in short order I would still give this book a solid 4 out of 5 pages. Yes the book is good and is certainly a good read but this isn’t a book that I would go rushing out to own and recommend to all of my friends. This is a book that if asked for a book to read I would mention it, or if I see someone already reading it I might remark that it is a good book and a good read but that is where it ranks. I certainly don’t regret reading this book and find that it was time well spend those two days of reading.

Writer Wednesday – Amy McCorkle/Kate Lynd

Who are you? (A name would be good here…preferably the one you write under)
I write romantic suspense, crime fiction, and gritty romantic suspense under Amy McCorkle and SciFi and Dystopian under Kate Lynd

What type of stuff do you write? (Besides shopping lists)
See question one.

What do you want to pimp right now? (May it be your newest, your work-in-progress, your favorite or even your first)
I’m working on a screenplay right now that I plan on producing and directing called Rain Down On Me, an indie drama about a hard drinking, embittered disabled vet and his relationship with a woman on the run from her abusive sheriff husband. A web soap called Darius and Anastasia about a mob boss and his former CIA bodyguard. And I’m launching Blackout: An Aurora Black Novel and Letters to Daniel Vol. 2 at Imaginarium.

What is your favorite book? (Okay, or two or three or… I know how writers are as readers.)
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut and The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?
Director and producer.

What link can we find you at?
Amy/Kate’s Blog

 

*****

Enter Catchy Title Involving A Boat Here

Alone in a boat. As a writer that’s what you are when it comes to making it in your career. I remember as a kid growing up I wanted to be a writer. Or perhaps published author would be a better way of putting it. I wanted to walk into a bookstore and see my name on the shelf. I dreamed of awards and signing my name and getting paid boatloads of money to do it.

I had no idea how to make this happen. I thought you went to college to make this happen. And you can get your MA in creative writing and set out along that path if you wish. But there’s no more guarantee that you’ll make than if you take my route which is going to conventions and conferences and making connections and being left alone to develop your voice.

But I have to admit my success came by way of the small press. And I picked great house to start with MuseItUp Publishing. They’re an e-press that will consider print after a year of your book being out on the market for a year. They nurtured me and helped me hone my voice as a writer. Lea Schizas had a vision and she has seen it through.

I found her at digicon, a free online writing conference put on by Savvy Authors. I had a fabulous mentor in Julie Butcher. I now have several people who’ve reached out to me along the way and supported my career in its early stages. Stephen Zimmer the boss that he is was big on getting me included in the con scene. Pamela Turner introduced me to Stephen and Fandom Fest.

The most important thing though is, no matter how many people are there to help you, you will get nowhere if you don’t reach up that ladder for the next rung while helping someone up with the next hand. Not only is it just good karma, it makes good business sense. You don’t want to alienate people with a bad attitude. Your success ultimately depends on you. Because your career is the boat and you are the one steering it with you paddles. No one is guaranteed the million dollar paycheck with the movie deal. You must define what is success for you. Compared to February of 2011 I am doing quite well. I still could do better. You can always do better. Be more. Do more. So my advice is don’t ever give up. Keep writing. Keep revising. And don’t be afraid to submit.

Book Review – Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Title: Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
Format: Hardback
Published: 2013
So, we’re finally at the last book of the Divergent series, and this review is going to be difficult to write because of spoilers.  Bear with me.  To see my past reviews of the series: Divergent (Book 1) or Insurgent (Book 2). You can also see Misheal’s review of the first book HERE or Katherine’s interesting review of the first couple in this post.

Now then.

The book starts with Tris and her friends in Erudite headquarters, where they’re being held for the stuff that happens in book 2.  They then leave the city and discover what is going on outside the city where nobody’s allowed to go.  Beyond that, I can’t really say much without going into a lot of spoilers.  Seriously, a LOT happens in this book.

On the plus side of things, after how much I hated book 2, this book seriously redeemed the series.  I still think that book 2 could have been condensed into a couple chapters in book 1.  But in this book, the story moved quickly, the characters were interesting to read about (for the most part), and I got a lot of the questions that I had in book 1 answered outright or at least well enough.

On the negative, I still have issues with Veronica’s decision to just go from one book to the next as easily as one chapter to the next.  These books came out like eight months or a year or something apart.  And with NOTHING to recap what happened in the last book, there are several places where I had to stop reading and try to remember what happened.  Oh, wait, why are they at Erudite…?  What does this term mean, again…?  Who is this person…?  Really, would it have killed Roth to give us a wee bit of overlap?

Also, Caleb annoyed the hell out of me.  Yes, I understand why he was there.  Yes, I get what the author was doing.  But every scene with Caleb in it annoyed me somehow.

Also, and here’s the biggest one… I have already complained about first person (especially first person present).  I hate it, and it’s almost never done well.  While Veronica’s story is good enough to make that okay, in this case it was the most annoying thing ever.  Why?  Because every single friggin’ chapter changed the main character that we were following between Tris and Four.  And while I like Tris and Four, it’s really annoying to have to remember who is talking when all anyone is saying is “I am doing this stuff right now.”   There were several instances when I was so into the book that I forgot that the POV changed until somebody referenced the character that I thought was speaking.  *sigh*

PRO TIP – when we’re all into a book and reading, we’re not stopping to look at the chapter headings to change point of view.  Just sayin’.

Honestly, it got to the point that I would only read a chapter at a time and stop whenever the POV changed.

 

End result – the good outweighed the bad for the most part, but I have to only given this a four out of five because of the POV thing.  Sorry.

Book Review – Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Format: Hardcover
Published: 2011

Dystopian Chicago.  The city is divided in five factions; half is walled off, half is abandoned. The great lakes have dried into marshland, the buildings that stood tall now stand empty.

There’s a yearly ceremony for 16-year-olds where you chose the faction you’ll live in for the rest of your life.  This determines your job, your hobbies, even the clothes you wear.

Beatrice and her brother Caleb are both up for the ceremony this year.  They’ve done the aptitude test, and now they have to decide – stay with their faction and the family and friends they’ve spent their lives with, or go a totally different path.  They both go their own ways.

Now there’s a secret – a huge one that will divide the city and reunite their family.  Or will it?

Okay.  Here’s my thing.  First of all, the book is written in first person, present, which drives me nuts.  “I do this. I go here.  Now I bend and do that and then do this and look at you and watch as you do something so I can talk about it.”  Just no.  Most writers aren’t good enough to pull it off well.

Also, there are several things I wanted to know but didn’t.

What happened to cause Dystopia?  How long ago was it?  What happened to the lake?  [Look, y’all, I grew up on the great lakes.  In order for them to dry up and be marshland, a lot would have to happen.  Also, they get deep pretty damn fast, so having a marsh as far as the eye can see is a little odd.]

I wanted to know more about the factions.  What caused the split?  Why was society done this way? This could have been a really cool appendices or something, but I kind of get the feeling that the author herself hadn’t thought it out that much.  “This is the way it is, who cares why?”  I do.

The population thing bothered me.  A lot.  So, I get that it’s a dystopia.  They’ve walled off the city, so nobody new is coming in, even though people exist beyond the walls.  But the factions are already forgetting what they stand for (huge plot point there), and the people involved have been in the factions for a few generations.  If they’ve had the chance to settle in houses, repave roads, get generators to buildings that are never used (in one scene, they zip line off the Sears Tower, after using a generator to get the elevators to take them to the tippy top.)

So population should be growing, right?  But in Tris’ faction, there are only 20 new recruits.  Which means there are only about 1600 people in the entire faction.  Apply a bit of basic math and assume that all factions are relatively equal (which we know they wouldn’t be – this is the rebel/adventure faction we’re talking about here), and that’s still only about 8000 people.  Y’all, the current population of Chicago is 2,707,120.  They’ve lost 99.7% of their population, even after several generations of people having babies.  Or, to put it in a different perspective, there are only 100 sixteen-year-olds left in all of Chi-town.

Seriously, what would wipe out that many people, turn the Great Lakes to marshes, and still allow people to live there?  If the cause was nuclear, the whole city should be gone.  And they can’t site something like high infant mortality (which is an easy but acceptable way out) if they’re going to have advanced medicine, and serums and everything else.  (Also, Tris and her bro are only 11 months apart; with high infant mortality, they’d be one lucky family.)

Another thing, I don’t think the author has ever held a gun in her whole life.  There are some questionable descriptions in the book that make me think Roth’s knowledge of a gun is only from watching rather calm cop dramas in the 90s.  I’ve shot just about every caliber of handgun, and the descriptions don’t match reality.

There are also serious doubts about the train.  Have you ever seen Chicago’s train?  Pictures of Chicago’s trains?  They look old and dilapidated now.  So the fact that they still run… amazing.  Also, everyone jumps on the train and jumps off the train, but there’s a whole scene that involves a train station.  Erm.

Also, the big huge “ermergherd” moment… the main character gets  it a whole lot later than I do, and that’s without me knowing the *why* that makes Tris get it.  *facepalm*

The last part of the book is weak, too.  This author sucks at action, and first person present isn’t a good format for it anyway.  Then add in the inevitable love story, and it’s just not doing it for me.  Also, the moment that makes Tris and Four/Tobias admit love for each other?  Totally ripped from The Incredible Hulk.  ‘Just sayin.

I was at a friend’s house when I finished the book, and every time I got to something that pissed me off, I apparently made a noise, which would make him ask “what’s wrong with the book this time?” and then I’d read the paragraph to him.  At one point, he got up, acted out the action, and looked a little like a duck trying to dance with those soda can rings wrapped around his ankles.  You get my point, I hope.

There’s a sequel, and I’ve been told that it clears up a lot of the plot holes.  I’m waiting to get it, just to see.

In the end, if you want a quick read and you don’t really care that a bunch of stuff is flimsy, give it four out of five (no, not really) and give it a read (yes, really).  If you want a more serious dystopia, where everything makes sense, give it a three out of five and either skip it  or save it for something light in between better reads.

%d bloggers like this: