I enjoy the greats of old and the hype of the new


I rate books solely within themselves. For example, Great Gatsby has 5 stars, but so does some of the Harry Potter books. Obviously, on a literary scale they don't even compare, but it is because I am rating them for what they are striving for. Within a series, I rate books within that series, not side by side with a similar series or similar books. So I hope you don't get uncomfortable when J.D. Salinger gets 3 stars at the same time Stephenie Meyer does.

By far and anon, beyond the expected.

Cruel Beauty - Rosamund Hodge

     This book strove to achieve so many things at once. Not once was that distracting. At once a retelling (Beauty and the Beast/Cupid and Psyche), the world that is wrought before us is intricate, beautiful, terrifying and whole. I've rarely been able to say I've enjoyed something so much. I'm not going to comment on specific parts of this book because you really need to stop reading this, and go read this book.

Reblogged from Benefits of Being a Nerd:

So good. 



Reached - Ally Condie

     This was a fascinating series in a great many ways. Yes Matched stole from the Giver, yes Matched was "eh" at best, but the final two books of this series greatly made up for the poor start.
     I'm glad that this didn't suffer from any real happy ending sop. It's still a miserable condition they were left in and so that is how it ended. Yes everyone is in love and together, but by the end you have a stark reality of what it cost, and how they've grown.
Cassia was funnily almost a non-entity (that's harsh I'll say not as important as the rest) until she led to the discovery of what was needed for the cure. By the way, the cure; I don't think scientists today really go crush herbs and inject them hoping to cure Hepatitis or any of the had to be said.

    Xander was by far the best perspective in this book. The intense drama that unfolded before his eyes was shocking and moving. He remained stoic and performed his duties immaculately. I was definitely sad to see Indie go, the introduction of Laney was rough and clunky. I felt her character was betrayed, slightly, because it was just a one-off i.e. Oh Indie died, sad face, Let's get the cure. The same was true of Cassia's father.
     I was very impressed in the Act II and Act III of this series, and I definitely recommend it, even to non-YA fans. It's incredibly eloquent and isn't sloppy like so many others.

Reading progress update: I've read 17%.

The Emperor's Children - Claire Messud

Watching Over You

Watching Over You - Mel Sherratt

     I wasn't really aware of what I was getting myself into; it said psychological thriller and was on ads for Kindle. But I found myself reasonably surprised with the pace and shock value of certain things.

     I'm not much for gratuitous sex scenes in books but the contrast of Ella and Charley's sexual encounters brought out the major differences, i.e. Ella was a crazy bitch.

     It was a strange change of pace but was a visceral, gritty experience. If these books weren't so linear I would actually pick them up more often than never.

     I recommend this one because it seems more accessible than most that I can't get passed the first chapter of.

Crossed (Matched)

Crossed  - Ally Condie

     I felt that this book did NOT have Second Book Syndrome. I felt that Matched drug on and things were inserted that didn't seem plausible at the time (i.e. Cassia's sudden support of open rebellion and the poetry seemed out of place).

    Most second books delve too much into characters heads and they lose track of the numerous goals or plots still going on around those characters. This wasn't a problem in Crossed. I felt that the insight was deeper than most and felt like I was trudging through with them. The outside world's tragedies bound them to their respective missions.

    The only problem I had with this book, really, was that it ended quite suddenly and suddenly we're back to, essentially, square one. That being said, starting on the last book as we speak.


Matched - Ally Condie

     I'd like to give this book a 4, but it just meandered too much. It is much more eloquent then much of the YA out there but it seem to struggle with itself getting anywhere. Still enjoyable and I will be continuing with this series.


Allegiant (Divergent, Book 3)

Allegiant  - Veronica Roth

     I sat on reviewing this for a long time. I have been trying to discern how I really felt about it. The up swell of hate this has generated isn't really something I can understand. If anything, I feel that the second book was the "bad" book in this bunch. I'm glad that it got moving semi-quickly in this book.

    The faults I have found with the series is it basically reiterates itself over and over again, with slightly more dire circumstances. The confusion of the dual narratives is something I understand complaining about. They had the same voice and without differentiation it just felt a little pointless. After Four's narratives, he would show up and tell Tris everything that happened...which is something that could have been done without being taken away on the 14th rebellion against x, y, z.

    This book doesn't fall flat, but it does pale against the first book. I never felt as captured (although I did feel more involved) as I did in the first book.

    All in all this book provides the emotional depth that the 1st book couldn't and all the character development that the 2nd really should have had.

Spoilers, like in the first sentence

     In answer to did she just kill Tris for shock? I don't feel that she did at all. I picture it this way: In action movies people dodge thousands of bullets and have infinite ammunition against their enemies, or infinite deus ex machina. People die in war and people sacrifice in rebellions; I guess I'm saying I appreciate Tris' sacrifice.

     The one thing it robbed any character of is Caleb's redemption, which to be honest was clunky to me. No one just offers themselves up after 2 lines of dialogue.

     I recommend this series, as it is entertaining and interesting. I just pray people can make it through Insurgent.


Insurgent (Divergent)

Insurgent - Veronica Roth

     This has been by far the worst Second Book Syndrome case of the lot. I wouldn't say that I suffered, but it was a bit more laborious to get through. Where Divergent excelled building this mysterious world with many cracks and hidden things yet to be discovered, Insurgent was lackluster in adding concrete things or adding to the ideologies of the world at large.

Here there be spoilers...

     I'm not incredibly demanding with YA, especially the "hypetrain" type, but the suddenness of Jeanine's death and a number of other things that were thrown into my lap, out of either convenience or to expedite another plot, did not sit well with me. It wasn't as clunky as some other YA second efforts, if anything it was too fast. Especially after so much dragging and groaning, and an intense makeup/breakup/makeup arc that was joined with the exact same description of muscles this, kiss my neck that.

     This, however, is the only real disappointing chapter in this series. Veronica Roth has done well with this series, and I appreciate the effort.

     If you find yourself suffering, just put it down and come back to it. I forced myself through it in one sitting and it reflects in this review.


Divergent - Veronica Roth

     I boarded this hypetrain a little late, but I was delightfully surprised at this book. It was good to see real uncertainty in a character. Alot of things just fall into the laps of the new breed of YA characters.

     Tris is a nice break from the rest. Yes, it takes a chip from Katniss, but Tris is wholly her own, broken and scattered between her choices, past, and future. She's intuitive and is a quick learner, she doesn't have some magic superpower or just happens to be expert with a weapon. She herself is average at most of these things, but her intelligence is her real weapon. The survivor factor in her serves her well through her training and makes her relatable.

     This is a great start to a surprisingly fun and altogether thought-provoking series.

Currently reading

The Fault in Our Stars
John Green
The Emperor's Children
Claire Messud
Progress: 17 %