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Archive for November, 2012

Divergent

Review of Divergent by Veronica Roth

From Veronica Roth‘s Website:
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.

General Impressions:
I’ve been hearing about Divergent for awhile now and was on the super long waiting list at my library waiting for a copy for a good long time, so needless to say I was ready to dive in when I finally got my hands on the book. Dive in is a really good description. You get sucked in pretty early in the book, but once the Choosing Ceremony happens, the rest of the book is like a high paced action movie that you can’t look away from.

Tris is an awesome character. While there are times she can seem somewhat whiney, the reasoning behind it makes sense. She is just completely bad-ass. Tris is also imperfect, and those imperfections make her who she is and extremely relatable. If I was still in high-school, she would be a person I would want to be friends with.

There is a romantic aspect to this book, but it didn’t bother me at all. First, Four, the romantic interest in the book, is awesome. Second, it wasn’t a fall in love at first sight, or even third sight. The romance in this book is real romance, a lot of unknowns and confusion. It also is very sweet and not a giant whirlwind that you normally find in most YA nowadays. The romance thread between Tris and Four reminded me a lot of the romance between Rose and Dimitri in the first half of the Vampire Academy series.

Final Takeaway:
Do yourself a favor and read this book. The first thing I did when I finished was to check my library for a copy of Insurgent (the second book in the series), which they unfortunately aren’t carrying. I broke down and bought a copy just cause I couldn’t wait.

This story stays with you, the characters stay with you, and the world stays with you. It is definitely shaping up to be an amazing series.

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A Discovery Of Witches

Review of A Discovery Of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches

From Deborah Harkness‘ website:
When historian Diana Bishop opens a bewitched alchemical manuscript in Oxford’s Bodleian Library it represents an unwelcome intrusion of magic into her carefully ordinary life. Though descended from a long line of witches, she is determined to remain untouched by her family’s legacy. She banishes the manuscript to the stacks, but Diana finds it impossible to hold the world of magic at bay any longer.

For witches are not the only otherworldly creatures living alongside humans. There are also creative, destructive daemons and long-lived vampires who become interested in the witch’s discovery. They believe that the manuscript contains important clues about the past and the future, and want to know how Diana Bishop has been able to get her hands on the elusive volume.

Chief among the creatures who gather around Diana is vampire Matthew Clairmont, a geneticist with a passion for Darwin. Together, Diana and Matthew embark on a journey to understand the manuscript’s secrets. But the relationship that develops between the ages-old vampire and the spellbound witch threatens to unravel the fragile peace that has long existed between creatures and humans—and will certainly transform Diana’s world as well.

General Impressions:
This book revolves a lot around alchemy, history and science. That was enough for me to enjoy it. Deborah Harkness really did her research while writing this book and it shows in how she makes everything come to life with her descriptions. Even parts that I felt dragged or had too much romance for my taste, the descriptions of images or historical events were so vivid that it kept me reading.

Diana is a girl after my own heart. As much as she drives me crazy, I absolutely love her. The biggest thing that makes me love her is that she has realistic reactions. When she finds out that someone had been stalking her and broke into her apartment, she is horrified. She struggles to come to grips with the horrible things that the man she loves did, though his past indiscretions are not enough to push her away. I also like that she doesn’t really let anyone boss her around. She will pass a leadership role on to someone else, but makes her opinions known if she disagrees.

There were a few parts where the romance got too much for my enjoyment, but it followed a more natural romantic structure which was refreshing. Diana does not fall head over heels in love with Matthew on first sight, it is gradual, or as gradual as you can get in novel. Once they do finally realize that they are in love with each other, there are parts where it can get annoying, but that’s just me.

Final Takeaway:
As much as I complain about the romance, I actually really did enjoy this book. While there were some parts that became major page turners, it really was more of one of those books you pick up to relax and enjoy at a leisurely pace.

A Discovery of Witches reminded me a lot of Twilight. While I try to avoid Twilight comparisons, this really read like what I would think a more adult version of Twilight. Even if you don’t like Twilight I suggest it, because it lacks and/or makes up for a lot of what many people complained about Twilight. And no, the vampires don’t sparkle.

Side note: Please check out Deborah Harkness’ website when you are done reading. She has a series of pages for her more curious readers, including a reading list if you get interested in something in the book and playlists you can subscribe to on Spotify. I love it when authors go that extra mile for their readers, which Harkness certainly has.

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