Book Review || Divergent | by: Veronica Roth

divergent

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

I picked this up on a whim this weekend. Okay, well not completely on a whim since it has been on my to-read list since it came out but I had no plans of reading it anytime soon. Then I was food shopping and walking by the book isle in Stop & Shop and there it was. I don’t know why, maybe I’m still not over the Hunger Games, but I suddenly wanted it.

I finished it about 24 hours later. I just couldn’t put it down. Roth’s writing style is simple and flows so easily that before I knew it I was half way done.

I have to say that I actually like Tris, which is unusual for female protagonists (especially in YA novels). I don’t know why, I’m just overly critical of them. I suppose Tris could have been called whinny at times, but given what she was going through and the fact that she was a 16 year old girl who until that point had been living a soft life, it’s not something that bothered me.

And then there’s Four. I liked Four. I liked how complex he could be.

The only thing I can say I disliked about this book  (though it did little to impact my enjoyment) was how predictable it turned out to be. Not the whole story, but most of the little twists I could see coming from a mile away.

Oh in regards to people claiming that it’s a rip off of the Hunger Games, not even close. While I can see some similarities between the two, that can mostly be attributed to that fact that they are both dystopian young adult novels. Divergent is 100% it’s own story, and it’s a damn good one.

Rating: ★★★★★

**This review was originally posted on my Tumblr on February 17,  2014

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Book Review – The Martian | By: Andy Weir

the-martian

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. 

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. 

After a dust storm forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’s surface, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive. And even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive. 

Chances are, though, Mark won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

Armed with nothing but his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength–Mark embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

This book made me laugh out loud: a lot. It’s a survival story that keeps you at the edge of your seat, anxious to know how Watney is going to get himself through the next curve ball Mars throws at him, but it was hilarious all at the same time. Mark Watney is the sort of character that you just love. It’s near impossible to hate him. I was more invested in Mark Watney’s fight for survival than I have been for any other character in a long while.

I’m a huge fan of science fiction stories. I love it even more when those stories are rooted in believable science. I say believable science because I’m certainly no expert and wouldn’t be able to tell you if any of what Mark was doing was physically possible. I’m sure that most of it was, but even if it wasn’t, well at least this book was written in a way that it was most certainly believable.

The science talk that filled the pages wasn’t so much that it was constantly going over my head either. I definitely didn’t understand most of it but it was given to me in such a way that I could still understand what he was doing, without making me feel like an idiot. It’s always my biggest complaint about any sci-fi book I read, the science making my brain hurt. I was happy that for the most part this book was able to smoothly bring me up to speed through out the entire story.

This was the best book I’ve read in recent memory and is one that I highly recommend to any with even passing interest in science fiction, space exploration, or even just survival stories.

Rating: ★★★★★