Monday, May 26, 2014

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I think I forget what being a 16 year old girl is like. Through quite a bit of this book, I was sighing at Tris and rolling my eyes. But as it progressed, I got it.

I had a rocky upbringing but obviously wasn't taught to battle, use guns and take over Erudite headquarters as a 16 year old. I didn't watch my parents die bloody deaths and I didn't have to kill my best friend. (thank goodness).

Tris is now having panic attacks when she has to hold a gun (don't blame her there) and seems to be recklessly throwing herself in the path of death and mayhem for no particular reason, although she'll be happy to give you all the reasons she made up. Naturally, Tobias (aka Four aka Tris' boyfriend) is getting fed up with all of this especially since they are in the midst of a deadly war between factions.

Spoilers, dear reader.

The Dauntless end up back at their home base when it's clear the other factions would rather turn them over than stick their own necks out. Sweet. Anyway, they attempt to blind all of the cameras that the Eurdite have placed in Dauntless headquarters but they miss some. That results in very young Dauntless being mind-controlled to commit suicide until a Divergent (such as Tris or Tobias) hands themselves over to Eurdite headquarters. Tris, suicide mission bound again, walks herself right in to hell. Good girl.

She's experimented on by the head of Eurdite and lo and behold, Tobias walks himself right into hell with Tris because, at first it was a "You die, I die" deal (very Shakespearean) but then it becomes clear Tobias has no intention of dying with Tris and is trying to find the control rooms of the headquarters for an attack later. Fortunately, he doesn't want Tris dead either and they do make it out.

From there, an attack on the Eurdite headquarters is planned by Dauntless and the factionless. Tris joins up with others to get there first because the data must be saved.

And I leave you there. Because it's quite a fiery, bloody end to the book which leaves you hanging and desperately cursing the library for not having enough copies of Allegiant. Not that I would curse the library.....

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Storm of Swords by George R R Martin

According to Goodreads, it took me 2 years to read this. Why, you ask? It's not because it was boring or a terrible book. It's because someone told me all about the Red Wedding. Details, in fact. I was spoiled and I couldn't bring myself to keep reading.

Here's a hint: someone says "Hey, I'm reading such-and-such book!" Your response should never be "Did you get to the part where there's a wedding and so-and-so and so-and-so are murdered? And the direwolf.... " etc. etc. Instead, say "Where are you at in it?"

Common sense, people!

I hated knowing the red wedding was coming so I plodded. But then, GoT on HBO showed the purple wedding and before I could log off Facebook someone posted all about it. Fork, just stick me.

I was told by friends who had read it to keep reading, that the story is well worth it even though I was rudely spoiled on 2 of the biggest events. So I took it on my vacation and finished it.

Now, I kindly tell you, dear reader, spoilers are ahead.....

What a fantastic  book! Despite knowing the horrific red wedding and the exceedingly pleasing purple wedding, once I got back, I was sucked in entirely. So absorbed, I got sunburnt on vacation because I got lost in the book. I'll only hand out a few spoilers here because if you haven't read this, you should.

First off.... Jon Snow and Ygritte. Holy moses, I felt horrible for both of them through the course of this book. He was clearly getting smitten with wild woman Ygritte, and she with him ("You know nothing, Jon Snow!") and, while he did have to get back to the Wall, I was sad that she continued to attack and was killed. They could have lived in that cave forever and happy.

Dany and her story line didn't really do much for me and didn't draw me in very well. I am shocked that Jorah was banished and curious when we will see him again.

The red wedding. It has to be said. I was still horrified reading it, even though I knew what was going to happen. Catelyn and Robb dying such horrible deaths at the hands of Frey for.... revenge? That was a bloody massacre and it seemed commonplace when it was discussed among other families ("Yup, the Starks are out of the way"). I'm getting really upset with what is happening to the Starks. Sansa getting out of the Lannister land is good but to end up with Littlefinger and batshit aunt who tries to kill her? Oy. Arya. I have such mixed feelings about Arya. I love her but bad luck just follows the girl. I have honestly never cared for Bran's portion of the books, so I don't really have comments on him.

Now the purple wedding. Holy snikey.... little bastard King Joffrey is finally dead!!! And his mom/uncledad have sex right next to his dead body. What??! Keep it classy, Lannisters. We know Joffrey was poisoned and, if Littlefinger isn't lying, who killed him was a surprise (yay, something I wasn't spoiled on!).  Uncle Tyrion is accused of the murder (but really, I think almost anyone in the book could be a suspect) and stands trial. Everything falls in his sister's favor and he's sentenced and thrown in a cell. Dun dun duuuun! Only to have his now one-handed brother Jaime break him free! Dun dun dunnnnn! But first! Before he goes...... let's kill daddy Lannister! Didn't see that coming!

Not a lot of people survived this book but damn, what a ride.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Divergent by Veronica Roth

A lot of hype because of the movie so I was sucked in. I got this from the library just a day before my vacation and sat out in the sun reading this, beginning to end.

I'm hooked!

It's no Hunger Games and honestly, that's good. I did love the first 2 books of The Hunger Games so don't get me wrong.

Divergent is set in dystopian Chicago, of all places, with groups of people divided up into factions. We have Candor (honest), Dauntless (brave), Erudite (intelligent), Amity (peaceful) and Abnegation (selfless). The theory is that all factions make up one excellent society.... *cough*

The Dauntless are the soldiers and Abnegation is the government. Beatrice and her brother Caleb are part of the Abnegation faction and, as per the rules, once they turn 16 they take a test to determine which faction they will stay in, either the one they are born in or one of their choosing. They get one shot at it or else they become factionless.

Possible spoilers.....

Both Caleb and Beatrice choose to leave Abnegation. Beatrice, hereby known as Tris, chooses Dauntless and begins her training as a soldier. She meets several other Dauntless folks, including Christina from Candor and Will from Erudite. She also meets Four, her trainer. Sparks started flying early on, but surprisingly it didn't ruin the plot of the book.

Ok, no more spoilers....

Except people die because there is no utopian way of doing things!!! People never learn.

Ready for book two......

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison

Number 8 in The Hollows series with Rachel Morgan.

Short and sweet review: this is another good book in the series. Rachel is shunned by the witches coven because they believe she is a demon (mostly true) and dabbles in black magic (true) but it still grates on her that she is shunned. Mostly because the coven keeps trying to kill her and her friends.

All the old characters are back, and even though there was a sad death in there, nothing terribly surprising happens. Not to say it's not a good story because I did enjoy the book, but it was a Rachel Morgan book. And, as Martha says, that's a good thing!