Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

*MAJOR SPOILERS*
US Cover for Allegiant

Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Series: The Divergent Series (Book 3)
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on October 22nd, 2013
Pages: 526
Format: Hardcover First Print
Source: Purchased Book
Avg Rating: 4.26/5
Author's Other Work: Insurgent, Divergent
__________________________________________

Summary Blurb:

One choice will define you.
What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?


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.

REVIEW: (Contains MANY Spoilers)

Allegiant...Allegiant...Allegiant

WOW.

Allegiant sure as hell was a trip. There were a ton of loose ends to wrap up, lots of bitter, sweet, and bittersweet moments, people to kill, battles to fight, places to explore, societies to change etc.

Allegiant picks up right after Insurgent ended and it kept right on going until the end. Now, normally with dystopian novels there seems to be a pattern, especially if it's a trilogy. Book 1 will deal with introducing the life and problems of the dystopian society, Book 2 will evolve into a growing rebellion, Book 3 will escalate to full-fledged war. This is not the way Veronica Roth had it planned, oh no.

Book 1 was the equivalent of the regular Book 1 & 2, Book 2 was the war, Book 3 was...after.
After the battle, after the victory, after people are scarred by loss, it is FAR from over as Roth has proven to us in her breathtaking conclusion to the Divergent trilogy, beloved by readers everywhere.

Allegiant follows Tris, Tobias, and a few others as they exit Chicago, leaving the battle-tense city behind, to further understand the truth of their past, their society, and themselves. They sure as hell find out the truth.

This book should have been titled Genetic. Honestly. It all revolves around genes. The word gene must have been said about a million times. Nonetheless, it was amazing.

SO...to make this easier for all of us, a quick listing of the major things that happened:

Deaths: Edward, Tori, Uriah, Tris

Yes, Tris, the main character died. Don't talk about it, I've already cried so many times. I'll explain the differences and comparisons of this Book and how I felt, don't you worry.

Inside-Chicago Resolution: The city is opened, experiments are ended, people are free to come and go and the people work together to vote and share their voice in the government.

Outside-Chicago Resolution: The Bureau (people behind the experiment of Chicago to make perfect-gene people) is shut down.

NOW how did I feel you ask? Well...I don't exactly have an answer. It was...a lot to take in. It was difficult saying goodbye to the characters, while trying to get into the feel of the story, and deal with the intense moments.

But, I think I can firmly say I am extremely satisfied with this ended. Tris's death was her last act of bravery, her truest form of herself and devotion of love. Tobias will heal as we can see, the world we have grown to love is better.

The book itself however, aside from simply the factual ending, was not the best way I would have ended it. The writing felt different, and I think it's a combination of the setting, the pace of the story, the actual plot, the best attempts at explanation, the specifics of the new world they're in, etc. A lot contributed to the actual "feel" of the story, and it was very different. As Veronica said the story is not action-based, it deals with the society.

Now, here's what I'm annoyed about: THE DAMN FANDOM.
Fans are mad at Veronica, I'm proud. She took a bold leap to tell the story she knew she needed to tell, this was the ending she envisioned and is proud of, people are mad the story isn't exactly what they wanted. Whatever, they're just annoying and irrelevant.

I know this review is extremely jumbled, it's just how my thoughts are. I've come to terms with the deaths and ending, I just haven't exactly fathomed that it happened. If that makes any sense...

The writing was lyrical, quote-worthy, and beautiful as usual. The story was wonderful, the ending was brilliant.

I LOVED THIS BOOK, and I'm so happy that I did. It was so damn different from what I expected, but then again...what did I expect? PLEASE share your thoughts, I will post more on the topic once I've gathered myself up enough to discuss it.

As for the rating:


I give the book a 4.5/5 stars. The speediness of the end of the book, pace, and feel to it made the story feel less important, and disregarded books 1 and 2 so that and a few other TINY things bumped it down half a star. Overall though, a brilliant read.


 

Allegiant Review!

...to be posted tonight.

Monday, October 21, 2013

JUST A FRIENDLY REMINDER:

THERE IS ONLY ONE MORE DAY UNTIL ALLEGIANT BY VERONICA ROTH IS RELEASED.
...until we hear the last from Tris and Tobias
...until we turn the final page
...until the story we love comes to an end.

(Sorry, i'm listening to REALLY dramatic music.)

Are you guys ready?
One more day.
One more book.
One last adventure.
One last goodbye.
One more choice.

I'm ready for October 22nd, when the beautiful series by Veronica Roth will come to it's...
End.

Thanks Veronica, thanks for all the adventures. I can't wait for the final one.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

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Book Review: City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments (Book 4)
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on April 5th, 2011
Pages: 424
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased Book
Avg Rating: 4.16/5
Author's Other Work: The Infernal Devices, etc.
__________________________________________

Summary Blurb:


The Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She's training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And - most importantly of all - she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine's Circle, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second bloody war. Clary's best friend, Simon, can't help her. His mother just found out that he's a vampire and now he's homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side - along with the power of the curse that's wrecking his life. And they're willing to do anything to get what they want. At the same time he's dating two beautiful, dangerous girls - neither of whom knows about the other one.

When Jace begins to pull away from Clary without explaining why, she is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: She herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

The Review: (CONTAINS SPOILERS)

*Side Note: This will not make sense unless you've read City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass by Cassandra Clare.*

 

Alright guys, just give me a minute please. I just need a minute or two to compose myself. I just finished City of Fallen Angels so I'm not exactly stable.

Alright, breathe.

Okay, here we go.

Well, as you just read in the little synopsis this book focuses around the Mortal Instruments Gang again. Duh, it's the Fourth book. The book at the beginning is really cool, and I say that because of the feel of it. It was a nice transition between the intensity and ethnicity of Shadowhunteryness in book 3 and the regular feel of life in this book. The beginning shows it's been a few months since the Mortal War and things are kind of better. There is still obviously grief and trauma but everything's on the road to getting better.

Haha, no. Cassandra Clare couldn't give them a few years of happiness, she just threw more at them.

I felt like in the beginning of CoFA (City of Fallen Angels), the story was very much like City of Bones. It was the start to a new series, a second trilogy. This series doesn't seem like it's very focused on The Mortal Instruments and therefore I personally consider it a sequel series but whatever. Cassie Clare's writing just about a billion other series on Shadowhunters so what's one more gonna hurt?

Basically everybody's in New York and a few things are happening. Clary is training to become a well-skilled Shadowhunter, Simon is two-timing Maia and Isabelle while dealing with the curse of having The Mark and being a Daylighter. Alec and Magnus are having fun on vacation around the world. Meanwhile, Jocelyn and Luke are planning their marriage.

So everything is nice, training, dating, vacations, marriage, etc.

Yeah...not really.

The story picks up once Simon is summoned. Everybody wants him as an ally and a powerful vampire named Camille would like him on her side. Also, all over the city Shadowhunters (Specifically Ex-Circle Members) are dropping dead. Hence, City of Fallen Angels. After that we start to see a change in Jace, Jace is distant. Jace departs from others and we notice that he's having horrific nightmares.

Eventually at the end of the book we see that everything is tied together, and the answer to all of the questions is one thing. Or rather, one name:

Lilith. Mother of Warlocks. The First Demon.

(Spoilers:)
By the end we come to understand that the first demon ever, Lilith, has some devious plans. Lilith has been experimenting on human babies, injecting them with both shadowhunter and demon blood, attempting to replicate the creature that is Sebastian. Lilith wants a new breed, a breed of special warriors that are dark rather than light. Lilith also has other intentions. Lilith has been controlling Camille, forcing her to kill Shadowhunters in order to use their blood on the babies. Lilith has also been controlling Jace, forcing him to try and want to hurt Clary in order to lure him to her. We find out that Lilith has Sebastian in her possession. While his humanity has died he still remains in a coma-like state. Since the mixing of blood with babies didn't work, Lilith sees the only way to create these dark Shadowhunters is by using Sebastian. Lilith saved Sebastian as he was dying and now preserves him, hoping to use Clary as bait to force Simon to bring Sebastian back to life. The reason Sebastian is needed for this is because he is a Daylighter and has The Mark (I think). Eventually they fight Lilith, destroy her, and Sebastian remains...not alive.

Or so we think.

The Clave comes, people resolve issues, and then Jace feels a sudden urge. He unintentionally completes the ritual (Which confused me, I thought only Simon could), and bring Sebastian back to life.

The End.

Cassandra Clare, you b*tch.

THAT CLIFFHANGER THOUGH.

Wow wow wow. So, here's what I have to say:

I'm going to break the review into Characters, Plot, Explanations, and Writing Style.

Characters:

Okay so the Characters were eh in this book. Here's a list of them. Jace, Clary, Alec, Magnus, Isabelle, Simon, Camille, Lilith, Jordan, and those are the most important. Jace was annoying as hell, I couldn't deal with him. He moped the entire book, didn't develop, acted like a baby, and took any chance he could to complicate his relationship. He treats Clary like shit and genuinely doesn't deserve her. I love Jace, don't get me wrong, but honestly Clary deserves better. Clary was annoying and clingy though, trying to solve all Jace's issues and being a sad little girl about it. Alec and Magnus were gone for most of it but then they came back and annoyed me, Magnus did nothing wrong and Alec got all damn defensive. Isabelle and Simon were badass and awesome, I loved them. Simon developed SOOOOO much and I loved his character in this book. Camille and Lilith were SO interesting, I wanted to learn more and more about them and was fascinated. Then there's Jordan and Maia. Maia I never really liked, but Jordan was okay. Jordan was mostly interesting and I just liked his personality, he seems like a good guy.

Plot:

The plot was DAMN awesome. I freaking loved the plot. It was fast paced and intense where it needed to be and slow where it needed to be. The end was a tiny bit tedious, could've been reduced a little, but it was still great. I loved all of the subplots, the events, and how they all tied in.

Explanations:

The explanations were overall well done. There was a lot to explain and I give Clare credit for explaining it the best she could. The only things that didn't make sense were that she brought in new information that was previously unexplained. She used the term parabatai which hadn't been used before. She never delves too far into The Silent Brother's and their abilities. Also, I didn't really understand how Jace could have completed the ritual, the whole thing with using Simon's blood and awakening him, making him a vampire or just bringing him back, if he was dead or alive, I don't know, it just didn't make sense. If Jace could complete the ritual, why didn't she just use Jace. It all was really confusing and she really should have simplified and explained the ritual better for awakening Sebastian. Whatever...

Writing Style:

The writing style was the exact same as it's always been. A tad plagiaristic, mostly very fun and interesting, nothing too astounding.

Overall...

The book was very good. The characters like Simon, Isabelle, Camille, and Lilith made the book for me. Also, the plot twists and intensity made it really interesting. If I had to put them in order from best to least: City of Glass, City of Ashes, City of Fallen Angels, City of Bones. Wait...actually I feel like City of Ashes and City of Fallen Angels were definitely tied. Anyways, the book was great, the plot twists and some characters really brought it back up for me when it wasn't doing great due to the poor explanations and Cassandra Clare's almost misunderstanding of her own world. She just seemed to throw terms around to confuse the reader into just saying "Whatever, I'll go with it." It just wasn't effective really and quite bothersome since the ritual seemed interesting had there not been so many unexplained complications. However, I'm rambling. I'd definitely give this book a...

 
4/5 Stars. It was very well done and I'm extremely excited to read the next book and The Infernal Devices.
Some information for this review was collected from Goodreads. Goodreads is a free website where readers can join to discuss, connect, and shelve books that they've read, are reading, or are planning on reading. The City of Fallen Angels goodreads page is here.

Thanks for checking out my review, make sure to follow for more Book Reviews and other fun things. Until next time, Happy Reading!
 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Book Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

*Side Note: February 4th and April 15 will be the best. On 2/4 both Stolen and Ignite Me come out. On 4/15 Raging Star and Frozen Come out. OMG.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on August 13, 2013
Pages: 273
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library Book
Avg Rating: 3.9/5
Author's Other Work: The Silver Linings Playbook
Goodreads
__________________________________________

Summary Blurb:

In addition to the P-38, there are four gifts, one for each of my friends. I want to say good-bye to them properly. I want to give them each something to remember me by. To let them know I really cared about them and I'm sorry I couldn't be more than I was—that I couldn't stick around—and that what's going to happen today isn't their fault.
Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather's P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school's class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.


The Review: (CONTAINS SPOILERS)

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is the first novel I have read from Matthew Quick. I saw Silver Linings Playbook a few months back and loved the movie, however I hadn't read the book so I wasn't experienced with the author.
My first experience with Matthew Quick was very good. I really enjoyed this book! Now, that being said, it was not the best book I have ever read.
There were minor irritations and a few things that bumped the rating down quite a bit.

Firstly, Characters.
I really loved the characters in this book. Leonard was extremely wise for his age and very relatable. I was able to easily empathize for him when I had never experienced something that he had. His descriptions, often humorous or vulgar, were necessary to give the tone that the author was trying to push forward. I really enjoyed reading from Leonard's perspective because even though he was considered "The Shooter", we were able to see the reasoning behind his decisions.
Aside from Leonard, the secondary characters were wonderful. I found myself thoroughly interested in meeting these people. The general plot of the story is that this young man Leonard is giving four gifts to his friends before he commits homicide and suicide. I was extremely impressed with the character development and introductions. I read the story for one purpose, I had a huge question in mind.
Will Leonard kill his friend? Will Leonard kill himself? What will happen afterwards?
I wasn't so sure he would commit suicide based on the fact that this was first person perspective, however I've seen such things happen before so I couldn't be positive.
What I found was that the story had me reading on for much more than simply these three large questions of mine. I started to care, and that is something that takes great skill for an author to do.
Oftentimes Leonard would go off talking randomly about somebody else and I was so invested in this minor characters story that I didn't even connect it was probably one of the four friends. This book had me interested from page one until the last. A large part of that were the characters. I'm not going to describe each one, but every character had a unique voice, background, and important part in the story. I was very happy with who I met while reading this novel.


Then...plot.
The plot was...good. I don't know if I can go very far beyond that. The story idea was extremely interesting, a young man giving gifts to his friends on his own birthday and planning to murder his ex-best-friend and then himself. I was obviously very intrigued to read the story. At the same time, I was reading the novel Columbine and so I was looking for an interesting fiction take on school shootings.
This was not at all about a school shooting.
I could argue it was about so much more, but I was really looking for that school aspect. Alright, maybe that's messed up to say, but I was looking forward to the intensity of a hallway conflict, a school lockdown, the kids trying to escape. I wanted to have that heart-pounding action, instead I was thrown off.
Leonard carries the gun with him, risking its exposure the ENTIRE school day, and plans to do the murder/suicide afterward. I simply didn't understand why. Couldn't he just go back home and pick up the gun? The mother wasn't home...it wouldn't have been a problem. The story led me up to expecting this grand school action scene and instead it didn't go that way at all.
However, aside from this I really enjoyed the progression of the story and how quick it all felt. My only problem with it is...the ending.

Screw this, the ending is getting it's own section because let me tell you, I have a damn lot to say about it.

The ending was shit. I'm sorry, that may not be the best way to word it, but I can't think of anything better. I was not satisfied or happy with how it ended. It was a very The Spectacular Now type of ending. (I'll post a review for that soon). Essentially *SPOILERS AHEAD* Leonard's ex-best-friend was raped by his uncle and therefore he raped Leonard. This was the reasoning for Leonard's hatred of him, and I thought that was a good, while clichéd, good catalyst behind the story. Something so intense made sense to be the reason that Leonard was pushed off the edge. However, when Leonard went to kill his best friend, the setting was outside his window which was very awkward and anticlimactic. He gets to the window and sees his friend jacking off. He takes a picture (which doesn't turn out), and leaves. Still though, he plans to commit suicide.
This I was okay with, at this stage in the story I had told myself...alright, well if he kills himself that will make for an interesting ending. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not all about school-shootings or suicide, I think they're tragic and horrible and do not promote them, however they make for good lessons and lasting impressions in story's. Instead though, this book took a turn toward the obvious.
Leonard does not kill himself because he is unable to fire the gun, he calls his teacher who talks to him and picks him up and brings him home. He is saved and suddenly he is fine. He tries to talk to his mother, she ignores him, he walks out.
That's it.

NO. DAMN. RESOLUTION.

Earlier in the story, when giving the gifts, everything goes awry. Everybody wonders what's going on and suspects something's up. They all react badly and he is left very upset.
I was hoping at the end of the story he would possibly go to a hospital, they would find out, and forgive him for acting so strange and apologize for their anger. I was hoping that something would happen to his ex-best-friend, so that he gets revenge. I was hoping the mother would be supportive, I was hoping Leonard would demand support. I hoped Leonard would get support and mental help. I hoped that he didn't just abandon the man who'd saved his life.
How, after that day, is he suddenly fine? How could he not receive help? He now has no friends, no parental support, no help for his mental health, his teacher is pissed, his rapist is free to have a great life.

I was just unhappy altogether and I hope people can see why. It really didn't make sense to me why it would end this way. I would've preferred the suicide ending and then an epilogue showing the impact on his friends and the legacy he left behind. This would have made for a surprise, a much more powerful ending, and an altogether better book.

All in all, I must say the good outweighed the bad. I really loved that in certain parts of the book there were chapters in which there were letters from the future. We found out why and I thought it was really interesting, that Leonard was trying so hard to tell himself to stay strong.

When I put it all in one piece, I told myself that this book probably deserves 3.5/5 stars.


I hope you guys enjoyed my review, and please do pick up this book, I really think it's worthwhile.

Until next time, happy reading!






Tuesday, October 15, 2013

TO-READ TUESDAY: 10/15/13

Hey guys, welcome to the first To-Read Tuesday!
Let's get going!

Okay, so here are the books that I'm MOST anticipating this month & next month.

 
I'm insanely excited to finish reading the Divergent Series by Veronica Roth. Book 3, Allegiant, is scheduled for release in exactly ONE week! Allegiant will be in stores on October 22nd.

 

 
I'm a sucker for survival thrillers so I'm very excited for Matt De La Pena's The Living. This book is scheduled for release on November 12th.

 
On November 5th, my hugely anticipated read Champion is released. Champion is the third and final book in the Legend Series by Marie Lu. This is a wonderful dystopian and I'm SO excited to see how it all ends.

 
The first book in the Blackcoat Rebellion by Aimee Carter is released on November 26th. Make sure to pick up PAWN in stores soon!

On November 19th comes Demi's debut novel Stay Strong 365 days a year. Yes, I am excited for this. I don't have huge faith it'll be wonderfully well written but I'm still looking forward to it.
 
Aside from this, I have many more books I'm waiting for, make sure to comment your most anticipated below.
 
Thanks for checking out my blog and while you're at it, feel free to follow me!
Until next time, Happy Reading!
 
P.S. My wonderful friend over at www.prettydeadlyreviews.com and I will may read The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken together, as I am receiving it tomorrow. Today I received a bunch of books, if you'd like me to make book hauls, I'd be happy to.
 
Today I was given five copies of The Sowing by K. Makansi, 1 copy of Angelfall by Susan Ee, and tomorrow I'll be getting The Darkest Minds and Taken by Erin Bowman.