Moved

Time for yet another new start.

Improved reviews, old but equally lame reviews at witlessexistences.wordpress.com for I am too old a soul to settle. 

Review: Dark Waters

So I’m sitting here feeling dizzy and tired and too lazy to crawl outside for a baguette. And my finger muscles ache for some typing. I’m avoiding personal blogging, and I just finished a book which I have not had the chance to blow off steam about. Guess what I do.

As (hopefully) the last book in this dratted series–hey! First complete set of series on this blog!–here’s another amazing star removed.

1 star/5 stars

Blurb has been removed because it does no friggin use.

Well that’s awfully informative. Did I mention how relevant this blurb is to the actual text, because hey, we’re all about stalkers and woe-is-me-here’s-another-aspect-of-my-shimmering-beautiful-life-I-have-to-face-oh-no-what-now-poor-little-me-what-should-I-do-I-love-my-boyfriend-but-I-need-other-boys-woah-woah-I-am-such-a-sad-child. I really hoped that the series would discontinue, even though the point of a series is kind of to finish it up, but I highly doubt that it would be a trilogy from the way the story rounded off.

Such a waste of neatly bounded and wrapped glossy covers, such a waste of deliciously smooth creamy paper to run your hands across, such a waste of fresh ink rising from a perfectly respectable font, such a waste of time in venturing out for fantasy.
But hey (confession time)
I was all ready to snarl and rip this book to shreds before I even begun reading.
Like the Snape-faced critic in the recently rewatched Ratatouille movie, negative reviews are “fun to read and write”, and I’ll poke fun at various aspects of the book without personal jibe to the (I’m sure) lovely souls penning down thoughts because everyone wants dimension and beauty to their little baby book girl, don’t they? They want to create the perfect little book character without having her being too morally rigid, want her to be smart without having to mug for it, to be beautiful unconsciously. But so often the protagonist becomes an empty vessel, like an actual author/narrative placing themselves in the different situations and made so brave that we admire them so much, but there are no real traits we can pinpoint them to, can we? A good best friend, successful applicant to Dartmouth, cannot live without her boyfriend, extremely brave and headstrong to venture into situations that would previously have sent her panties into a tizzy.
There is nothing wrong with the characters, if only these traits established to make the protagonist seem all the more perfect, likeable and fabulous didn’t backfire. Because we try to establish this, and in the laziest of attempts settle for several “you’re beautiful”s from the boyfriend (so often smitten at first sight and confesses love after a long period of tension and almost-romances), and in cases of Crossed by Ally Condie even going about declaring how they weren’t pretty and then lamenting over every facial feature they possess rounding it up with “this is me”.
So chalking it down to personality I pretty much draw a blank on what’s-her-name-after-3-books-oh-yes-Vanessa. She is passive at best, whiny at most. Her character flops around, ranging from weak to full-out retarded as she hankers after her past boyfriend, here known as “forward and brave”. She puts herself in dangerous situations completely disregarding the wishes of those who love her, because she knows the best. This would have been fine if there had been at least some reflection of what she had, some sign of planning. Instead Tricia Rayburn ploughs straight through the action because she is simply too lazy to complete the action parts or agonize over representations. I hate how books drag on for an eternity of nerves, boredom and angst. In the last few pages the pace doesn’t pick up but have an utterly boring climax and then fall flatly into a recount of what has happened. It annoyed me to no end because it shows zero effort to reflect on what has actually happened but going “so you know I’m invincible and the world is about me so really nothing is going wrong and I am so special I will be the one person to work out all of this centuries-long mess and I will emerge victorious with my laaaaave and all so yeah bye remember I’m pretty“. That is Vanessa to me.
Everything is about one’s love that is invincible.
But when one’s carelessness leads to freaking deaths it is brushed away because the protagonist is more important.
Characters flit in and out of the story to the convenience of the protagonist.
The protagonist really doesn’t care for anybody.
Her “best friend” is thrown in when the reader needs to be reminded of her close relationships, and her parents when the holds on Vanessa is completely and irrationally lax, decisions by them posing as little obstacles easily dodged. Her boyfriend appears in and out, but conveniently has no fuss about the special conditions that her status as a Siren again throws into the picture as one final desperate plot twist.
I wish the series had never continued.

Review: Populazzi

So hello there. (Missed me?)

I did promise a return someday, and since I am currently in the middle of a week-long holiday with a conscience bugging at me for ages, here I go before my reviewing skills complete their final stage of rusting and crumble away for eternity.

3 stars/5 stars

Nice to see that some things haven’t changed.

Populazzi

Cara has always dreamed of being a Populazzi, one of the popular crowd. But it’s not until she changes schools that she gets a shot at it, thanks to her best friend Claudia’s crazy plan. The idea is simple: The rungs of The Ladder are relationships. First get a boyfriend who’s ranked low, then climb up through more boyfriends until you’re not just one of the Populazzi, but the Supreme Populazzi. Yet what starts off as a fairy tale turns into a somewhat dark comedy of errors. Just when Cara reaches the top, her life hits rock bottom. She wonders why she wanted to be popular in the first place—and if there’s any way to live happily ever after now.

To be honest, I don’t understand the inferiority and the constant need to be popular. Perhaps it’s just another American thing I do not understand (along with the consumption of excessive sweeteners, yadda yadda yadda). So again we have wannabe chick wanting to have a fresh start and become the brainless, lipglossed and grinning queen bee of the school. Yeah, I think we’ve established that there are absolutely no motivation behind this wish except for the fact that she was nothing short of a loser at her old school, since apparently memories of wetting one’s pants run a long time. A Very Long Time.

We have a best friend that one is supposedly so close to that they cannot live without them. This best friend is equally unpopular. There are so many best friends in YA Literature, but they all seem to be either smartandblondieandohsoperfectwhy or a partner wannabe in crime. Guess which one Claudia falls under, clueless Claudia and Catatonic Cara, striding around being fatalistic about navigating the social ladder in manipulative dates and boys that they each quickly fall for and convince that are detrimental to their strive for succulent fame and popularity.

This book wasn’t original. Oh, it tries to bring in themes of being popular, but zero insight or language of reflection which I am now well versed in after having submitted essays written in biography-format. Popularity, I learnt, has little to do with self-worth but more to do with dating and materialistically dumping your good friends, shuffling around with people you like, being self-absorbed to the point that everyone is talking merely about you and you wonder what could they possibly be discussing. Newsflash: The world does not revolve around you and your petty preferences. Cara wasn’t a particularly memorable character, but again no wannabe being horribly unoriginal in their quest to be seen and heard by the world is. She is again a mere vessel exploited for easy tales, and there is so little in her that I can find. Like any other protagonist, she gets flustered easily, never has had a date, has family issues at times, and more or less receives stellar grades.

And unmemorably pretty, as she so likes to remind us about. I am not impressed with the growing numbers of YA books, some so short that you cannot fathom the point of the novel. Others, like Populazzi, huge paving slabs of words with little literary poise and an overload of excessive information detailing each and every single detail of a very boring life.

What can we look forward to seeing in Populazzi?

  1. Let’s see. Here we have a bunch of funny stuff involving food that are supposed to be easily interpreted as dirty which I passed (every single one of them) without stopping and when I realized what they were supposed to establish I screamed lame and ran for the hills.
  2. Lameness. Like Populazzi in itself.
  3. Cute boys that Just Don’t Cut It, even though they are all so unbelievably unperfect next to the REAL boy toy of the moment. Manipulative queen bees who (surprise!) has issues of eating disorder and bulimia, all the while glugging down bottles of wine and delicious snacks known as lime sorbet.
  4. Overanalysis of everything and a refusal to settle.
  5. A perfect ending.

In short, not horrible though I do tend to list only the bad about a book. It’s a typical YA read, and it is recommended for when your brain is a ball of fluffiness that can stand any amount of annoying characters and when you really cannot get any lamer.

 

On Hiatus

I’m sorry, but this is necessary to deal with everything going on now. 

Review: A Little Friendly Advice

One of my own advice to you would be to not expect too much coming for this blog for the time being.

2 stars/5 stars

A wonderful debut for any teen with friendship issues (i.e. all of them)

Ruby’s turning sixteen . . . but the day doesn’t turn out to be as sweet as it’s supposed to be. Her long lost father shows up, and Ruby doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. Instead, she wants to hang out with her friends – loyal Beth, dangerous Katherine, and gossipy Maria. They have plenty of advice for her – about boys, about her dad, about how she should look and what she should be feeling. But really, Ruby doesn’t know what to think or feel. Especially when a new boy comes into the picture . . . and Ruby discovers some of her friends aren’t as truthful as they say.

Didn’t like this book either. While it is relatively (and not very, shall I say) closer to reality by grappling with very real problems and such I felt that Siobhan Vivian isn’t good enough (I know that hurts) to eliminate the better part of drama, including betrayal and plot twists that were shockingly obvious that I saw it coming within the first ten miles or so. This book had some potential, but I never had much taste for unnecessarily long descriptions of the clothes worn by a character that I really disliked for being not just selfish but weird with handling situations.

Siobhan Vivian was trying too hard to create creativity. The insta-love didn’t work, however dimensional she had tried to make the male love interest seem, because ultimately there was very little chemistry and a lot of fabrication on the part of the writers, and therefore you’ll probably find that most of the characters except for her best friend and even or mother and her father are highly unnecessary. The story narrated was both unconvincing.

Her friend who is supposedly loved by all boys is just an anxious peacekeeper who hangs pathetically from one person to another. And Katherine. Well, she’s just weird, because you don’t call Katherine a “friend” the way Katherine treats her and the way she treats Katherine. This story is mostly just about Ruby and her best friend, called IForgotHerNameAndIsTooLazyToCheck, and the unreal situations they were put into.

I would say that Siobhan Vivian has very little sensitivity to the world at large, for her solutions to the ultimate family and relationship questions are nonexistent– there wasn’t a conclusion in the end, just that everybody is selfish and she would go off to a college. So a brief rundown.

Daddy shows up.

OmiGod, what are you doing here, like, you totally abandoned my mom and I and now you’re coming back, you’re here to get me back and who do you think you are, running around leaving scars?

Runs Out crying and very intelligently gets drunk. Not punished (duh).

Why is IForgotHerNameAndIsTooLazyToCheck hiding something from me? OMG

Instead of just facing the problem, she waits and feeds herself crap.

Everything is getting worse, but meeting a boy and immediately making out is good. TeeHee!

The ultimate “I’m Leaving you”

Why?! Why is my life this way? Stupid Katherine. Stupid IForgotHerNameAndIsTooLazyToCheck.

Cues Huge Plot Twist.

OMiGod like seriously what! IForgotHerNameAndIsTooLazyToCheck how could you?

Never Mind.

Let’s all be good friends and go off to college together!

And..that’s pretty much it. So, little substance, a truckload of emotional issues and a lackluster ending. Sounds like the ultimate YA novel.

Review: Obsidian, A Lux Novel

Merry Christmas, kids. Review is going to be drastically less jolly, like most of the angry reviews are

2 stars/5 stars

https://justreadatcatrins.files.wordpress.com/2012/12/obsidian.jpg?w=198

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.

And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens. 

The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. 

If I don’t kill him first, that is.

So Obsidian is getting a lot of love on Goodreads (4.23 average rating, last I checked).

I disagree.

I may or may not follow the crowd, but here’s the outline of the story where everyone will probably understand where the issues lie to begin with. Insert a standard story template.

  1. Beautiful (but she doesn’t know it) girl moves to new neighborhood, with one parent. The other is either dead or divorced, or maybe a complicated mix of both.
  2. Hot guy appears. Inhumanly hot. Girl starts swooning and dying and melting, and he opens his mouth and she immediately gets annoyed and finds some snappy comeback. Or something.
  3. A nice sister to talk to! Yay, let’s be BFF!
  4. Why can they eat ice cream and so much nice food? Why are they so pretty?
  5. Eh. What are they talking about while I am supposed to be asleep? Are they supernatural beings or something.
  6. Somebody saved and healed me from dying. No prize for who guesses it.
  7. That same somebody now has to be my shadow and we have plenty of moments.
  8. Winds up in hospital, out again.
  9. Bad guys. Called the dark. Revealed that inhumanly hot kids are in fact, inhuman. What a shock. I know, right?

And on it goes with unneeded tension. This author knows what to avoid, which is insta-love and happily ever afters. This author makes Cady (Cathy? Caty? I don’t know.) like an author, what with book blogging and some books that she detests. And so on. Yet I don’t see the point of dragging everything out enough. Sure, this author is really aware of everything now in YA Paranormal novels that are sorely lacking, but she hasn’t picked up the challenge because this is classified as pretty much anything I’ve read. I’m also seeing lots of plot cliches that are potential cliffhangers and so-called “plot twists”. We’ve been reading too much and these little details jut out, just begging to be noticed.

I’m betting that Dawson is not really dead and he makes some return.

Another infuriating thing is also using foreign language to give your -insert paranormal creature-  a name. Frankly I’m just sick of the light and the dark in which the light are the perfect, beautiful and peaceful residents while the dark are resentful, jealous creatures by nature. Remember, jealousy may be in the self but resentment takes actual interaction to be nurtured. I can’t stand the fact that there are the evil, and then the victims, end of story. And using Latin to substitute for a name called “light” is both unoriginal, albeit fitting.

I can’t handle Paranormal YA fiction these days.

Review: Dash and Lily’s Book Of Dares

4 stars/5 stars

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

If you like witty characters and a read about Christmas during the anticipation (or lack thereof) before Christmas, Dash and Lily’s Book Of Dares is probably it for you. With 2 characters that are vastly different from each other and a solid, original plot with so many intellectually-challenging vocabulary thrown in with heavy taste of academia it’s a fast-paced book. I enjoyed the read, and reading some reviews on Goodreads that chose on how pretentious this book was, I couldn’t help but snort.

Excuse me.

What I really liked about this book was that nobody was around to throw compliments like “You’re so pretty” and “I’m actually smart, though I don’t know it and I don’t act like it” by the silly, dithering, protagonist, I don’t think that anyone who is pretentious could churn out an original idea the way this book did, and they most definitely could not sit writing the story with a dictionary open and full of challenging words. It’s part of the fun to look up things you don’t understand, and with Dash and Lily’s vast taste in books and the fondness in which their bookstore is described, it’s not fabricated. Writing doesn’t work that way.

And because the guy was actually written by a guy, I didn’t have to endure the pages of “she was so beautiful” crap that the ladies (nothing against you all, but still) spout when trying to undertake the role of a man. Since their relationship (Dash and Lily) is purely epistolary relationship, beautiful words on a Moleskine, it’s funny to explore the alternatives between each character and watch them come to their own conclusion of their story. My only issue was that there was very little background building. It’s not exactly necessary, but it would have made the story so much nicer to read should the different spins on their life had been played to the advantage of the character-building.

 

Review: Perfect Escape

Hello there, little flakes of snow drifting across my Dashboard.

4.5 stars/5 stars

That was close.

Perfect Escape

Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art — until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation.

 
Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all — with enough distance, maybe she’ll be able to figure everything out. But eventually, Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past.
 
With undeniable grace and humor, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown explores OCD, the pressure for perfection, and the emotional highs and lows of a complex sibling relationship.
This book does not have some groundbreakingly beautiful cover, yet I found the beauty this time within the confines of the black ink, printed neatly in their respective letters in this graceful tale of growing up with an ill sibling. Because this was told gracefully, a strangely touching story with feelings that are authentic, not made from the overtly rough construction for the dramatic purposes that leave the reader in doubt of the situation.
This story was raw and quite gritty. There are parts where the selfish bit of us are shown– and not just for that once, because we have a lot of selfish moments and even if we come to terms with something that selfish thought can still repeatedly show up in your mind. I enjoyed reading about gritty bits of life, and how things are just now the way you work them out to be.
Now, I’ve been in plenty of trouble and scrapes before, things that were deadly serious to me at the time, as far as I recall, but I do not remember what they are about if you asked me to recount any of those now. This story talks about getting into deep shit (pardon my French), and getting afraid of being not perfect, like everybody else is afraid of, and this allows you to connect with the characters in the story.

Review/Rant: Carrier Of The Mark

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ANGER OVERLOAD. The red is really clogging up everything my eyes process.

0.5 stars/5 stars

Carrier of the Mark (Carrier Trilogy, #1)

Their love was meant to be.

When Megan Rosenberg moves to Ireland, everything in her life seems to fall into place. After growing up in America, she’s surprised to find herself feeling at home in her new school. She connects with a group of friends, and she is instantly drawn to darkly handsome Adam DeRÍs.

But Megan is about to discover that her feelings for Adam are tied to a fate that was sealed long ago—and that the passion and power that brought them together could be their ultimate destruction.

There are reviewers who express it better than I can, and funnier. Please read this one: (I might give you a huge slice of strawberry hearts jelly cheesecake, which is as good as it sounds. Oh wow.)

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/162429376

I’m so generous to give out stars for books. Stars are for superstar books, books on their way there, or books that might be. Not imitation fanfiction-gone-famous on some site that everyone adores. Newsflash: People have bad taste. It’s not the first day.

Blame it on the boredom on holiday in Bali. Here’s some gif to show that I honestly couldn’t care less about this Twilight retelling.

Ouch. Leigh Fallon sounds like a nice person, but it does not change the fact that this book sucked was rather unsatisfactory.

This story, as the previous review stated, had too much similarities with Twilight. But even without the existence of Twilight (which really, makes more sense and has more originality than this one) I would have disliked Carrier Of The Mark. There was the codependent relationships with irresistible boys who just so happens to only have eyes for the new girl who seems to catch the attention of everyone, being pretty and nice and immediately attracted to the boy at the same time, feeling huge pangs and crushes and goes after him recklessly. Classic symptoms of being stupid. And boy-crazy. And a lot of other, harsher words that I could use. It was frustrating listening to the annoying bleating of The-Main-Character-Whose-Name-I-Forgot-Again going he is so hot. I met a boy the day after I reached school. It’s enough to get an obsession. It’s enough to have a crush for some two months, in which the boy suddenly comes all out and goes all

“I have loved you for so long.”

I have hated crap for so long. It’s so annoying to see how boys seem to first avoid and then hate and then ignore and then do nothing to their love interest

DAMMIT! Why doesn’t the little whine just go and kill herself already?! There’s a lot of crap her boy toy Adam spouts about her being all brave and strong and beautiful, as if it’s supposed to sell out to all of the readers. I’m not stupid. I can differentiate between behavioral symptoms which suggests at the contradictory personalities which others may point out to be a certain way, especially an unexplained star-crossed lover whose judgment on the girl is some crap to do with her immense beauty and charm. (and fainting on board a ship. And staring. And classic symptoms of — sorry I have to spout this word here– being gay. It’s so fabulously gay with her gay obsession with the gay Adam who is not only overprotective, but also stupid and annoying at the same time!) Nobody ever grows a brain in this simplistic one-dimensional crap tale. This is so boring and so weird and so awkward I seriously do not believe people’s taste in books anymore. This is what becomes all so famous on a book site?

Here’s some of the crap Adam spouted.

“You’re so brave.”

“You’re so beautiful.”

“You’re the strongest person I’ve ever met”

Bullshit!

This is me getting really angry. But I laughed when I read that. This is the best we can come up with with the selfish girl who admits her guilt to refusing to (supposedly) save the world with her powers because she loves and needs her boy toy? Seriously. This is the girl who, when meeting with the family for the first time and knowing all of their dirty little magic secrets goes all dramatic like and runs and faints and does a drama thing in which she announces that nobody ever told her anything about that? GAY! And this is the girl who does some weird jig when she hears about her potential monster baby (the 25 year pregnancy thing, FYI, is really gay) and goes all I NEED ADAM IN MY LIFE. And when she hears about her supposed strong powers she thinks it’s all cool and exciting to be a part of something that big.

Do you think it’s a game here, idiot girl? Do you think your boy toy is the world for you instead of concentrating on saving the world with your good? What a crap heroine. I despised this book because of the whiny girl and the incredibly bad writing that goes all  “I sat down.” “I kissed my boy toy sitting down.” “My boy toy kissed me sitting down against the wall”. The whole tale was set in Ireland which leaves incredible potential for development but no, the writer had to leave it all to the crap boy toy.

Hated this book.

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 11.21.25 AM

Ouch. That makes me feel bad. But no.

I still despise your characters. There’s that irritating romance (that should be dead, for one), and the crap about all of the kids being nice and good and fabulous. For all you know, I am more inclined towards the tale of Anu, because you know what? People who are dark and imperfect appeal to me. They’re more alive and something way more interesting to read about than the latest endeavor my boyfriend and I went up to with our fabulous magic and I get fabulously saved by fabulous people. It’s terrible how much the girl (forgot name again) is twisted to be some sort of perfect person which she obviously isn’t.

Review: Divergent

I was thinking that maybe this was another overrated book, but since it was a Goodreads Choice Book (and Goodreads is pretty harsh and hard to please, I’ll give you that) I figured that it won’t be too bad. Also due to a certain WenWen’s insistence.

All right. I’m not sure of what my rating would be here.

3.5 stars/5 stars

Divergent (Divergent, #1)

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 enjoyed this book. So what explains the 3.5 star rating?

Okay, so let’s see why we have enjoyed this book. After a few days of analysis and flipping through, some of the reasons are due to:

  1. “Growing Up”: The supposed growing up here is where the typically weak and small little girl who is generally overseen starts to go revolutionary and pledges some long-time secret or longing. There has been something special about this girl, who has always not quite fitted the mould of her society and feels inadequate or out of place. With a change of environment she starts to grow and appreciate the dynamics of her new life and thus discovers a growing aptitude in a certain area. She grows stronger and stronger to eventually become the best.
  2. Romance: The romance is rather cliche, but cliche is all everyone laps up these days. There is a smouldering hot, brooding boy who is older, more mature. From the very start, he appears to be tough, and of course this will be accompanied later by an in-depth description of how his muscles are like as he will sooner or later take off his shirt, followed by talk about how hot he was, and just how nicely toned the biceps are (frankly, I couldn’t care less). This guys will be protective, jealous, with some specialty and typically both smart and powerful. He would be kind of predatory in that homicidal way YA romance seems to include, with all the nonsense about “crawling under his skin” or “swallowing her whole”. He wouldn’t care if the girl was pretty or not, he just liked her.
  3. Action: There’s a lot of talk and hardly any action in YA Dystopia these days, but there were graphic details about fighting incorporated with human instincts along with some selfishness and sadism. There are typically antagonists (primary  ones) to defeat, those who are obnoxiously cruel and violent and apparently with no sense of humanity at all. There are details as to which the fighting involves, and the skill at which the protagonist is vastly competent at is bound to pique interest in a reader.
  4. Dystopia: Let’s face it, we just love dystopia. Everything about it is so appealing: a bunch of teenagers that can outsmart evil adults who are supposedly smart with long, long years of planning. The teenagers have certain powers to overcome everything. What’s not to like about young people overthrowing evil plans with how spontaneous they are? Factor in all the new settings and rules, in this case the five factions valuing a certain set of values and rules everyone abides by.

That’s all I’ll list for the niceties of this book because my word count is going high up, and everything is going to get kind of boring (I’m trying out holding lame snarkiness for recent reviews)

But while the above points make Divergent an enjoyable read, here’s some of the points why people might plain-out hate it.

  1. Boredom From Action: We can get bored from all the talk about specialty and how someone who is supposedly so weak and, as she keeps reminding us, childlike and not pretty at all, be the center of an instructor’s attention (the instructor at hand will be addressed later).
  2. Symbols It Represents: Beatrice is a “growing up” character coming along with selfishness and humanity. That’s just pretty gift-wrapping for being hypocritical and cruel. All right, so she’s in constant danger. I do not comprehend the goodness of throwing cruel punches at people and then passing it off with the fact that she was a good person, but she didn’t care at that moment? No guilt? Getting over a friend–even a backstabbing one– after they die? And then the nice guy goes around calling her selfless for rare moments of sudden nicety. Beatrice is so irregular and unpredictable it’s difficult to understand what is the point of making her selfish and then good and mean and then Mary Sue again. The symbol seems to be along the lines of Do Whatever Feels Right. It is mentioned that Beatrice is a Christian; yet it only pops in briefly later. She is nearly as cruel as any of her supposed tormentors. Being a hypocrite, among many other labels, appear to be okay, in this case (even beating up a mean girl for no reason).
  3. Cardboard Characters: One-dimensional twats with the exception of Uriah and Christina (Tris is too irregular), I suppose. Apparently you are either human or a monster, selfish or frightened, good or bad.
  4. Fabricated World With Little Information Given: In most dystopian novels, we at least get some idea of how their worlds were formed and why they existed that way with some background information, of history. The one in Delirium (click for review) was especially well done that way. But apparently our author here was a little too eager to leap into her story world. Not only did she not give enough time to let the information sink in, she leaps right in with a few chapters on Abnegation and Divergence and then it’s long chapters of Dauntless training until the action really kicks in the last 80 pages or so. Some of the details and information given were unnecessary. We are also told about five factions who seem to bring their values to the extreme; and that’s a little odd. I know those words and they are good uses in different parts of speech, but nothing about them even hints at the possibility of a good, peaceful world.
  5. Dystopia: Let’s face it, we just hate dystopia. Everything about it is so infuriating: a bunch of teenagers that can outsmart evil adults who are supposedly smart with long, long years of planning. The teenagers have certain powers to overcome everything. What’s not to dislike about young people overthrowing evil plans with how spontaneous they are? Factor in all the new settings and rules, in this case the five factions valuing a certain set of values and rules everyone abides by.

So, read the story for your love of dystopia and how it will engage you, but don’t judge its values or messages too harshly and consume with a pinch of salt.

Oh, what am I saying? I liked this one in spite of myself. Erudite forever.

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