Wednesday 16 May 2012

Review for Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I have done things. Bad things. I can't take them back, and they are part of who I am.
Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. but she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future.

Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she much be stronger than ever... because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.

Finally. Finally, finally, finally. That was all I could say when I clutched this book to my chest. A week past release date before any of my local bookstores got it in (honestly, do they WANT me to shop online?) and my mum immediately snapped up one of those five copies. Unfortunately, I had a major essay to work on so it's taken me until NOW to read and review.


At Face Value: This cover is amazing. Another turned back (again) butt he roof tops, the leaves, and the faded birds actually HAVE A REASON. And that's the main point. I just hate that I now have two non-matching covers. 

Immediate Reaction: I hate to say this but... I was pretty satisfied by the ending. I guess I missed the massive cliff-hanger reaction that everyone else felt.

High Five: Here's the thing. I loved Divergent beyond words. It was an amazing book that just had that something else. That said, this book could never live up to my expectations. So, it's partly my fault but it gets a 3.5.

Favourite Quote: To be clear, I love Christina. And this is why:

Tris: "Let me get this straight. So you left the Dauntless compound to get ready or war... and you took your makeup bag with you?"
"Yep. Figured it would be harder for anyone to shoot me if they saw how devastatingly attractive I was."

And again: "Has anyone ever told you about the miracle of eyebrow tweezing?"

And AGAIN: "Where's Marcus, Destroyer of Lives, going to meet us?"

Her sarcasm was one of the most enjoyable things in this book.

When it comes to Insurgent, there are three main parts that I remember as having the 'Veronica Roth Spark' that filled Divergent to the max. The first one, the part I absolutely loved, was the truth serum in Candor. There was so much emotion in this part from both Tris, and the heavy nature of the situation. There's a point where Tris realised how easy it would be to get carried away in the truth. So, so true. 

The second main part that I absolutely loved was the imprisonment in Erudite. It was great to really see the inner workings of Janine's lackies and the growing relationship between Tris and that ass-wad Peter. As much as I want to hate him, he's an interesting character. 

The third part I got that happy feeling was when Marlene and the other simulated characters threw themselves off the building. Yeah, that's morbid, but it made for an interesting choice for Tris. And I think the choice could have gone either way really. It was a tough one. Her friend, or a kid she's just met. 

Now for the reason this book didn't hit the high notes I was expecting. There were parts of the book that were just plain unclear. The main one being when the Dauntless-traitors attacked. I'm still kind of unsure where this happened and who was who. What happened was cool, but I got lost. It happened again with small parts like Tris being in one place and then suddenly in another, and it left me feeling a bit out of it. 

The Caleb-twist and ending really weren't as shocking as I would have liked either. Hard to say if it was because I kind of expect this from reading a lot of Dystopians and YA, or if it the signs were written into the books. While waiting for Insurgent, I've been pondering what could be outside that fence; and I picked it. The main surprise for me was hordes of factionless and their rise to grace.


He was there. He was a lot deeper than in Divergent and he grew as a character in his own right. It was interesting to see him break away from Tris and the part where he gives his dad what's coming to him was just awesome. For the Four-fans out there though, there was a lack of swoonworthyness that filled the first book. 

Tris was as awesome as ever too. We can't forget that. The parts where she just rushed off into crazy land were intense and I didn't even stop to think about her actions either until Four pulled her up on it. This got me wondering - is there a trend where YA protags just don't think their actions through? And the rest of us don't even realise it?


Anyway, great book. I'm looking forward to the next one but I can wait. Roth left it in a good place and I'm just hoping that she steps it up for the finale, because if anyone can do it, she can.

And clickly here if you want to check out my Divergent review. 

So guys, what did you all think?

Monday 14 May 2012

Blogspiration (10): Long Overdue

Blogspiration is a Brand Spankin' New weekly meme hosted by both GrowingUp YA and Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers and writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author's choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation and just a little SOMETHING.

Check out these gal's awesomeness:

This blogspiration is so far overdue I can't even believe it. But ten is a special number, and when I read Faye's post this morning about Alice in Wonderland and the Cheshire Cat, I remembered the quotes I've been collecting about my biggest earthly obsession. 

Walt Disney

So the following are some of my all-time favourites that bring the biggest smile to my face every time I hear or read them. So without further ado, hopefully these will make you smile too :)

Do not be fooled by its commonplace appearance. Like so many things, it is not what’s outside, but what is inside that counts.

Even miracles take a little time

If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense.
~Alice in Wonderland~

I’m afraid so, you’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret, all the best people are.
~New Alice in Wonderland~

But she warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for beauty is found within.
~Beauty and the Beast~

To die would be an awfully big adventure.
~Peter Pan~

Oh, the cleverness of you.
 ~Peter Pan~

Never is an awfully long time.
~Peter Pan~

But they say if you dream a thing more than once, it's sure to come true.
~Sleeping Beauty~

Giving up is for rookies.

If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.
~Winnie the Pooh~

Life is no a spectator sport. If watching is all you’re going to do, then you’re going to watch your life go by without you.
~Hunchback of Notre Dame~

Oh yes. The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it.
~The Lion King~

What if it's not everything I dreamed it would be? 
It will be. 
And what if it is? What do I do then? 
Well, that's the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.

So what about you guys? Are there any Disney quotes (Don't even have to make sense) that you guys remember whenever you're sad, happy, having a rough time?

Sunday 6 May 2012

Blogspiration (9): Endlessness

Blogspiration is a Brand Spankin' New weekly meme hosted by both GrowingUp YA and Saz101. The meme was created to help spark inspiration among bloggers, readers and writers alike. An inspirational quote/picture/video is posted weekly, on the day of the author's choosing, so that it may inspire creativity, conversation and just a little SOMETHING.

Check out these gal's awesomeness:

I'm getting this post in before my weekend off comes to an end. Quite a small blogspiration this week, but when I was considering what I could possibly post, I realised I was looking right at it.

As corny as it might sound, whenever I'm driving to or from work, whenever I've been cooped up all day and just don't feel like I'm coping, I look at the sky. It just relaxes me instantly. There's something intimidating and humbling about it that just puts things into perspective. I hardly ever take time to just stop and look so when I do, it's a nice feeling.

What about you? Do you have something that helps you take a step back and just be humbled by its presence?

Book Review for Eve


Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth's population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, but the night before graduation, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school's real purpose - and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she's ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust... and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers start hunting them, Eve must chose between true love and her life.

Yesterday, I was totally being a super-good uni student and getting a head start on a big assignment I have coming up. It's the kind of assignment where you don't really understand the question, the teacher can't really explain it, and yet you're expected to write a bazillion dry words on a subject there is next to no information about. Right.

So you guys can see why my attention was drifting elsewhere; more specifically, to my bookcases. Now, I have a LOT of books just chillin' on my shelves that I haven't got around to reading yet and possibly never will. I always glance over them every now and then to see if any seem more appealing and HOLY CRAP! I have Eve!

I bought it a few months ago, SO keen to get it read and then, when I tidied my room, I shoved it on 'the shelf' (a place books only go once I'm finished them) and completely got snowed under with uni and work.

So, I guess that's enough explanation on why my uni assignment was completely forgotten about. And before the guilt kicks in, let's move on!

Book Review on Eve by Anna Carey

At Face Value: I actually really love this over. And I especially love that 'Once' is quite similar. Now, I do have a 'thing' where a lot of YA books have trended from girl-in-the-water, to girl-with-her-back-turned, but Eve came out a little ahead of tho trend so I'm willing to forgive it for that.

Immediate Reaction: What the hell? I seriously loved this book but the ending just didn't sit right with me. 

High Five: *deep breath* No. It hooked me so immediately, it had me reading until the end. And then the end actually happened. Just, no. Four stars for me.

Favourite Quote: There were a lot of heart-wrenching quotes in this book. The one that really stayed with me though, (and you'd have to have read the book to fully get it's true importance) is one from Benny and Silas as Eve is being carted away.

' Leif gripped Benny's shoulders to hold him back, but he broke free and chased the truck, pumping his tiny arms and legs with great fury.
"I love you!" he called out, when he was just ten feet away. I gripped the metal bars, my throat choked with emotion.
"I love you!" Silas cried, as he followed.
They both kept after us, sprinting wildly behind the cage. I watched their mouths moving, saying those words over and again, as the truck bounded through the woods and their small bodies disappeared, unreachable, behind the trees. '

A while ago, I read of saz101's blog about how she doesn't like to read dystopians because she the bleak futures they show, freak her out a little bit. I'd never really gotten that feeling until I read Eve. I'm not 100% what it was that caused this reaction but despite the easy writing-style, the book deals with some pretty intense stuff and it's super easy to see our world become exactly what Carey describes. And there's no shying away from these intense topics. I loved that they were dealt with head-on.

Firstly, there's the plague. I know this little devil has found it's way into a lot of dystopians but in Eve, the disaster left by it is shown with terrifying reality. The letter, written by her mother, opens this book up to a whole world of pain. Every time Eve's mum is mentioned I cry a little inside, and imagine what it would be like for that to happen to my family.

The government is all kinds of screwed up. The school Eve goes to has way evil intention that, in a post-plague world, actually make sense. HELL-TO-THE-NO, do I condone the school, but its evilness is believable and has come out of the very dominant human survival instinct. And once Eve left the school, I could totally understand why she had points of wanting to go back instead of facing the terrifying wilderness. The brain-wash of these students has been done through love, instead of fear, and not once, even after learning what the teachers had done, did I hate them. I saw them more as a loved pet that had suddenly bitten me. I didn't want to believe it was their fault.

And of course, Caleb. Man do I hate that name. This guy burns the pages out every time he shows up and there was so much fricken chemistry I could feel it simmering out of the pages. NO INSTA-LOVE HERE, FOLKS! But that name. Every time it was said was like a bucket of cold water. And it's said a lot. I just couldn't help but picture a full on bogan-lord. (In Australia, a 'bogan' is generally someone uneducated and disgusting).

Before I get into what stopped it from getting a five, I'd just like to mention that Eve, as a character, is so real and so raw. She has so much strength and I really felt her struggle to understand this new world she's suddenly found herself in. She has epiphany's on every second page and they really make you stop and think.

That said, Eve is a survivor, and I really didn't agree with some of the choices she made. 

First, big, fat, red flag for me was when she left Pip and Ruby behind. Yeah, yeah, I get what the teacher said but she did see that room, right? She did know what she was leaving her friends to? That gave me chills. It was disgusting. And for all her talk of wanting to go back for them, I didn't buy it. I did buy her love for her best friends and I did feel her regret, but at the end of the day she made that choice and she CHOSE WRONG!

I would love to say that was out of character for her. Second exhibit, Arden. This girl is far too awesome for words, and yet, Eve conveniently forgets about her when it suits her. She doesn't bother trying to find her at the lake, she runs around with all the boys while Arden is sick, and again, at the end, she lets Arden practically give herself up just to save Eve.

If only that was the end of it. The third (and I'm sure not even last) example of this is when Eve and Caleb finally get to Califia. It comes to her choice. Leave Caleb and be safe, OR STAY WITH THE MOTHER-EFFER WHO JUST GOT STABBED IN THE LEG AND STILL MANAGED TO DRAG YOU ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO SAFETY AND NOW BADLY NEEDS YOUR HELP. Yep, guess which one she chose?

I know it sounds like I have massive beef with this book but I seriously loved it. I'm so glad I put of my assignment for those few hours of escape. The world is so real, the characters are so loveable, and the danger and suspense have you tensed in anticipation. I loved it. Really. And the flaws I didn't agree with above, really make Eve that much more dimensional. Sure I didn't agree with her choices. But if she didn't make them she'd probably be dead. So meh. I can deal.

There's just one little point that has been nagging at me. Eve mentions her dad, once, only to say she doesn't remember him. It was a passing comment but something about it seemed important to me. It's totes understandable that after being taught to fear men all her life, she'd forget she had a loving father BUT, what if he wasn't around because he was trying to find someone to see to her mum. AND, (this has probably been surmised by others but I'm interested to see what you think) I can't help but feel it's the King. Him wanting her babies just doesn't seem logical in this world. He's thirty years older than her and I just don't think he'd go to this much trouble to find her just so she can pop out an heir. There has to be more to it. At least, man I hope there is.

What do you think? Am I totally nuts? Or have heaps of people already figured it out?