“Divergent”—A Book Review

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“I am Divergent. And I can’t be controlled.”

 

Divergent by Veronica Roth: I finally got around to reading it! I wanted to wait until the third and final book was released before I started the series, and I’m glad I did. Fans of books like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Matched by Ally Condie, and The Pledge by Kimberly Derting are sure enjoy this series.

Most of you have already read this book, or know what it is about, so I’m just going to give you a very brief summary:

Typical dystopian setting, people are crazy, so the area around Chicago has divided itself into five different factions. Each of these “factions” hold a characteristic to be most important: Dauntless=bravery, Erudite=brilliance,  Amity=peace, Candor=honesty, and Abnegation=selflessness. With each faction upholding a certain characteristic above all others, the societies can cohabitate. Or so is the theory.

Belonging to one of the factions is the most important thing. If you fail to become a functional member of one, you are kicked out and are forced to live a life of the factionless, roaming the boarders, belonging to no one.

 

“To live factionless is not just to live in poverty and discomfort; it is to live divorced from society, separated from the most important thing in life: community.”

 

Upon your 16th year in school, you are administered a test that tells you which faction you would function strongly in, and you are given the choice to stay in the faction you were born into, or pick another.

 

“Faction customs dictate even idle behavior and supersede individual preference.”

 

Beatrice “Tris” was born into Abnegation, but never quite got the hang of being selfless and quite. When her test results are inconclusive, she discovers that she is something rare—she is Divergent. This means that she holds too many strong characteristics to belong to just one faction. Warned that she must keep this a deep secret, or people may try to harm her, she chooses to become a member of the Dauntless community.

 

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

 

Tris quickly learns that people aren’t always what they seem. Everyone has a hidden secret. Can she keep her secret hidden, and can she make it through the Dauntless initiation alive?

 

“I am deeply suspicious of people in general. It is my nature to expect the worst of them.”

 

I give this face paced read four out of five stars. The characters were strong, the messages were clear, and the story was intriguing. The only reason I didn’t award it five stars, is because it almost feels like it’s been done before, just with a different setting and different names. I was seeing a cross between Vampire Academy combat training, The Hunger Games districts, and every other YA novel implication of “there is something special about you, main character.”

Looking forward to the movie and the next two books in the series 🙂

“Gameboard of the Gods”—A Book Review

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I have to say, I was super excited for Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead to come out, seeing as I am obsessed with her teen Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series. But sadly, the start of her new adult “Age of X” series just didn’t do it for me, and I can’t help but feel disappointed. I pretty much had to make myself finish this book 😦

Set in the future the RUNA is basically the only government sanctioned area, which resides in the Vancouver area. All throughout the United States lays “provinces,” which are basically areas that the government keeps tabs on, but doesn’t necessarily reside in.

Justin March used to be a servitor (government official who goes around making sure religious organizations have a license for their establishment and are abiding by the government’s rules for religious practice). Justin was exiled four years ago for mentioning “the supernatural” in an incident report and was exiled to Panama City. You see, the government is big on trying to quell out any “nonsense” of supernatural happenings and trying to get people to stop believing in any kind of religious entity.

The thing is…Justin has been target by a god that is trying to get him to follow him.

“The truth is, when you banish the gods from the world, they eventually come back—with a vengeance. Humans can’t stay away from gods, and gods can’t stay away from humans. It’s the natural order of things. Our country’s treatment of the divine was too harsh after the Decline. Our people have pushed the gods away for too long, and now the divine is pushing back. That’s why these forces are stirring around us. There’s a vacuum here, and entities we haven’t seen for a very long time are rushing in, seeking followers. Belief is what powers the gods, and they’re picking out their elect to conduct their earthly business.”

Mae is a praetorian—basically a supped up solider for the aid of the government. All praetorians receive an implant when they sign on with the military that amps up their body’s natural defenses (insane amounts of adrenaline kick in during a fight, they no longer need to sleep, the implant quickly recognizes and dissolves any kind of poisonous toxins that enter the body—alcohol included).

Well, Mae got into a fight at the funeral of her deceased lover and ended up hospitalizing another praetorian. Her punishment: Justin March’s new bodyguard.

A string of unexplained murders have been going on in the provinces. A security camera from one of the victims shows a smoke/shadow intruder killing the victim and no forced entry is apparent. Thus, the government calls upon the aid of Justin March (seeing as he kicked ass at his job and seems to believe in supernatural weirdness). The government believes some kind of unorganized religious zealot is responsible for the string of murders, and wants Justin to find the unsanctioned organization, find the murderer, and have the religion stopped.

And so, Mae is to follow Justin around to make sure he doesn’t die while raiding sketchy “underground religious groups”, shutting them down in hopes of drawing out the one that may be responsible for the bizarre murders.

Oh yeah, and Mae has some “dark” goddess following her around, trying to get her to swear fealty. BUT, Mae can’t see it, even though she feels it sometimes when she gets in fights. Justin on the other hand knows that a god is after him because he has two ravens in his head that converse with him, telling him when he is being an idiot, and try their damndest to get him to give in and swear full devotion to their god. And yes, these ravens have names: Horatio and Magnus.

“Gods consolidate their power in places and people. Breaking belief is the biggest way to hurt one. You do that by disbanding their followers. Gods need people to believe in them. Could be as simple as someone like you revoking a license. Or it may take more drastic means. Destroy their place of worship. Take out some of their leaders. Once the followers start to stray, the god weakens. It’s why their all scrambling right now to build their power—and followers.”

So that’s basically the sum of the book. Justin and may going to different places of worship, checking for licenses and looking for the “mysterious murderer” while a whole lot of sexual tension hangs out (because naturally there are reasons Justin and Mae can’t be together).

I kind of felt like this book tried too much to be political and send “a message.” I found it really boring and it took forever for them to actually find out anything useful. I didn’t even find the “futuristic” world remotely intriguing.

Sadly, I can only give this book two out of five stars 😥 I will not be reading the sequel.

 

I do want to add that regardless of how let down I felt by this book, I am very eagerly awaiting the next installment in the Bloodlines series, The Fiery Heart, which is scheduled to hit bookshelves this November!

#bookboyfriends

#bookboyfriends

Ron Weasley, Dimitri Belikov, Adrian Ivoshkov, Patch, Edward Cullen, Emmett Cullen, Peregrine, Jay, Rafe, Gale Hawthorne, Stark, Balthazar, Will Herondale, Jase Wayland…the list goes on and on and on…

“Vampire Academy”—A Book RAVE *Movie Announced

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I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Vampire Academy series, by Richelle Mead! I absolutely cannot say enough good things about it. It is simply phenomenal and everything that Twilight isn’t. Great plots, strong characters, steamy romance that holds nothing back…need I say more? Yes? Okay, fine…here it goes.

In the wonderful world Richelle Mead has created, there are 3 different types of vampires:

 1)Strigoi – You’re typical evil “dead” vampires, who drain the blood of their victims and have no conscience. Sunlight kills them. They can turn any vampire or human into a Strigoi by draining the blood.

2) Moroi – Vampires who need blood to survive, but only take it from willing feeders, and never enough to kill. They make up the royal vampire families and have an elemental magic of earth, wind, fire, or water. Sunlight is uncomfortable and will physically drain them, but won’t immediately kill them. They tend to have tall, slim frames.

3) Dhampir – The result of a Moroi mating with either a human or another Dhampir. They do not need blood to survive, nor are they affected by the sunlight. They have no elemental powers, but are physically stronger than an average human. They tend to have a shorter, sturdier frame than Moroi vampires.

Strigoi are bad. They wish to either kill or turn others into one of them…especially Moroi vampires. Because the Moroi contain elemental magic, and many make up the royal court, Dhampirs are trained to be Guardians for the Moroi, following them around continuously, keeping vigilant to prevent harm from befalling them.

 

Logistics out of the way…the story:

Vasilisa “Lissa” Dragomir is a Moroi vampire and the last of the royal Dragomirs. Rosemarie “Rose” Hathaway is a Dhampir and Lissa’s best friend since childhood. Rose takes it as her personal mission to keep Lissa safe at all costs—being that Lissa is the last heir in a royal family, there are many who wouldn’t mind seeing her dead. And just to paint you a picture of the awesome snark in this series, here is a quote from Rose on how the two became friends:

“Lissa and I had been friends ever since kindergarten, when our teacher had paired us up together for writing lessons. Forcing five-year-olds to spell Vasilisa Dragomir and Rosemarie Hathaway was beyond cruel, and we’d—or rather, I’d—responded appropriately. I’d chucked my book at out teacher and called her a fascist bastard. I hadn’t known what those words meant, but I’d known how to hit a moving target. Lissa and I had been inseparable ever since.”

Rose and Lissa had run away from St. Vladimir’s Academy and were finally caught and dragged back to the institution, whose sole purpose is to teach Moroi how to be functioning members of the vampire society, and Dhampirs how to be Guardians. Due to a near death accident, Lissa and Rose are linked, allowing Rose to sense Lissa’s feelings, hear her thoughts, and occasionally see the world through Lissa’s eyes. Again…an awesome bit of snark from when the girls were captured and returned to St. Vladimir’s and Rose argues to be Lissa’s Guardian after learning that a mysterious, giant, twenty-something Russian guy has been assigned the task instead:

Dimitri: “She might be wild and disrespectful, but if she has potential—”
Rose: “Wild and disrespectful? Who the hell are you anyway? Outsourced help?”
Kirova (Principle): “Guardian Belikov is the Princess’s guardian now, her sanctioned guardian.”
Rose: “You got cheap foreign labor to protect Lissa?”

And here is my perfect segue for the introduction of Dimitri Belikov –girls (and guys), here is your cue to start swooning.

Dimitri is a Guardian in his early twenties, who came over from Russia. He has not only been assigned the duty of being Lissa’s guardian, but has accepted the challenge of training Rose to someday be an official Guardian to Lissa as well. Just to get your blood pumping, here is a description of our sexy Russian beast: 6’7”, long brown hair (often pulled back into a low pony tail), a body roped with lean muscle, crazy awesome combat skills (not to mention a ridiculously high stamina; wink, wink) seductive brown eyes, has the heart of a gentle giant, wears a long cowboy duster, and can usually be found reading a paperback western novel in his free time.

Dimitri pushes Rose hard during their training sessions, refusing to let her slack off. He takes her snarky remarks and attitude with ease, letting them roll off of him, but is often caught staring at her as if she were a priceless French painting. But of course he would never allow himself to admit it. Dimitri quickly becomes fiercely protective over not only his charge, Lissa, but Rose as well. When Rose injures her ankle, Dimitri flies to her side at the nurse’s office (and of course, Rose dishes out a hearty serving of sarcasm):

Rose: The only thing better than imagining Dimitri carrying me in his arms was imagining him shirtless while carrying me in his arms.

Dimirti: “I’m glad you’re better,” he said. His mouth sounded like it was almost in my hair, just above my my ear. “When I saw you fall…”
Rose: “You thought, ‘Wow, she’s a loser.’”

But naturally, because of his position as Lissa’s Guardian, Dimitri cannot allow himself to fall for Rose, because a)It would be unethical as her instructor and b)If he cared more for Rose, Lissa’s safety could be compromised:

Dimitri: “No. If I let myself love you, I won’t throw myself in front of her. I’ll throw myself in front of you.”

Okay, peeps, if these little snippets aren’t enough to make you immediately pick up the nearest copy of Vampire Academy and devour it, your must have suffered head trauma of some kind. This entire series is a nonstop adrenaline rush…and just wait until you are introduced to the cocky, green-eyed, Moroi Royal, Adrian Ivoshkav!

Much to my delight, the series is being made into a movie! *insert happy dance* Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters is set to be release on February 14, 2014. I know what I’m doing next Valentine’s Day, for sure 😉 And they got an actual Russian actor to play the part of Dimitri…hopefully Danila Kozlovsky can live up to our expectations!