Category Archives: Utopian & Dystopian

Book review: Divergent – Veronica Roth

I must first make amends for my recent absence, and apologize to all of my readers. It has been a considerable amount of time since my last post, and that is because I have had a lot going on lately, and so I have neither been reading, nor blogging.

Now! Straight back into it…

Well I think the first thing to mention about this book is that I read the entire book in a single day, with only a few bathroom breaks, and one small stop for my dinner. The book was amazing, and very well written. It easily exceeded any and all expectations that I had for it, and was also quite different compared to what I was expecting. When I first saw the Divergent movie, my initial thoughts were ‘this is simply a rip-off of The Hunger Games; however, now having read the book, I can honestly say I was wrong.

The way the story and characters are portrayed in the book, is completely different, and tells the story as it should be told. I thought Veronica’s writing really allowed connections between the story and its readers – especially with the characters, Tris and Four in particular.

I really enjoyed both of these characters, and can really feel the energy and the heat between them, which is something not all writers have the ability to do. Their relationship seems so real and natural, that it seems as though it could be happening right in front of you.

It was also very interesting to see the growth of Tris, both physically and emotionally, and through reading this book, you get a real sense and a good idea of all of the things she went through, and can really sympathize with her. There is a real bond between reader and character.

Characters aside, the book was very interesting, and I can’t seem to recall a single dull page. It was organic in the way that things occurred, and they just kept on occurring. It wasn’t rushed or too fast-paced, it was actually very well written and structured. I wouldn’t usually read an entire book in one day, as I like to have something to read the next day; however, I just couldn’t put this book down. The very world itself is rather fascinating, and it keeps the reader captivated, as they want to learn more about this newer world.

I love the scenery the book is set in, whether it’s revolving around the Abnegation faction, or the Dauntless faction. All of the dilapidated buildings and the ruined, time-eaten cities have quite an interesting feel about them, and I can really picture it all in my head.

Speaking of which: Veronica’s writing, though it may not be too descriptive, does allow the reader (or has at least allowed me), to see everything that is written down in the books. Now unfortunately, I had seen the movie beforehand, and so I had an image planted in my head for each of the characters; however, while reading, I soon discovered myself to find brand new faces for each of the characters, and the images I created in my head, didn’t derive at all from the movies, as they didn’t not look like I remembered.

The book is very original, is very interesting, and captivates the reader from the very beginning. It is very organic, and is well laid out, well timed, well structured, and generally well written. The characters are fantastic, and keep getting more and more enthralling. The same can be said for the relationships. All of it is well planned, and the back stories make it seem a lot more real. The scenery was brilliant, and not only is it where the story takes place, but matches the themes of the story, and brings a few literary points to mind.

Having said all of that: the book wasn’t actually very emotional – in fact it wasn’t really emotional at all. You can say a lot of good things about the writing of Veronica Roth through this book, but it cannot be said that she knows how to tug on people’s heart strings. I also feel that their is no grander meaning to this book, than to simply entertain. Of course you could derive a lot of good and interesting points from this book, however, I feel that from a literary point of view, it has no special place in the world.

Not there is anything wrong with that, but a lot of people enjoy books for their cultural, literary sides; myself included. Though even I must admit that is nice to just unwind from time to time.

I give this book a 4.3/5 for entertainment, and I won’t bother with a literary rating.

To be honest, I recommend this book to its actual target audience, of guys and girls of a teenage demographic, and anyone who enjoys a good book to unwind with, and to keep them entertained, no matter their reading pace and skill.

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Book review: Hunger Games (series) – Suzanne Collins

I read the first one in a matter of 3-4 days. It was a brilliant piece of literature and was one of the most exhilarating though provoking, relatable , realistically fake, wonderful and best written books I’ve ever read. It was unbelievable how quickly I got sucked into the book; especially considering I thought the film was appalling. The way the book is written; in the format of a sort of lifetime diary, is astounding. It really shows the story should be told, and not in the way the director had perceived it. Everything about it was wonderful and actually made me realise a good deal of things that are, aren’t and should be important in my life. In my opinion, this is what a book should do, and if an author can create a book that does this, then they’ve written a masterpiece. A lot of the details from the book stuck in my head, whereas almost none did from the film. One thing especially is the bread being given by Peeta to Katniss. The image is perfectly planted in my brain of a girl looking through trash cans and a bright golden light through a doorway and the bread being burned hard and slightly black on the bottom and the pigs and the giving and receiving and the hitting from Peeta’s mum to him and the taste of the bread is even in my mouth and the mud and squelchiness of the floor and the heavy downpour of rain.

What I really liked about this book – and series – is that they are very original in so many ways. The very story line of the entire series is riveting. I personally have a deep love for this, and the other books, because they are set in a world that, though it isn’t real, it is something that could easily be. I also really enjoy the characters of Peeta and Gale (mostly Gale), and so I was quite disappointed that Gale didn’t have a bigger part, and that those two don’t have much time together.

The second book – Catching Fire – was said by many to be the best book of the three; I on the other hand, think it is by far the worst one. The book is boring, and drags out, and doesn’t have any emotional scenes in it what-so-ever. Literally, none. Not even a little happy scene or something, it’s like it is completely blank. This got me very bored, very quick. I did of course finish the book, but was overall disappointed with it.

Now… Mockingjay… this is the one! Mockingjay was easily my favorite of the three, and not just because there is lots of action, which is the reason most people seem to think. This book showed a lot more of the other characters, and was definitely the most emotional. I actually had a tear in my eye at a certain part: *SPOILER ALEART* when Katniss reads the message from Cinna.

I do have to say however, – and a lot of people will probably thoroughly disagree with me on this – that I thought the ending of the book was actually really awful. There was no closure on so many different things, nearly all of the characters were just blanked, and the last line or so was so cheesy, and actually really mean. In conjunction to this, I would also like to point out that I really don’t like the character of Katniss.

Anyway, the ending… I really feel Suzanne should have closed more doors, so to speak, and that the sudden ending of the relationship between Gale and Katniss was a horrendous decision on her part. On this point, I have read something online (I don’t know if it’s real) a epilogue for Gale’s character, which was a really good ending (for what there was to work with), and should have been in the book.

And that last line. UGH! I hated it! It was actually kind of cruel of Katniss to ask that question, and make Peeta answer, because it is basically her saying “even though you’ve done all of the stuff for me that you have, and that you have constantly told me, and that we’ve gone through everything that we have, do you even actually love me?!?” Aghhhh! It’s terrible.

Now, these books aren’t as easy to write about as the other books I’ve discussed, as they are written, in my opinion, almost solely for entertainment purposes, and so there is less literary points to discuss. Also, these books don’t really have any personal meaning to myself. This leaves me solely with just my opinion on them, and so I do apologise if this review isn’t up to my usual standard.