Books I’ve Read: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Young Adult Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

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As I continue to look through my old book journal, I’m posting about books I read a number of years ago. This week, I’ll be posting my initial “review”, on Divergent by Veronica Roth. It isn’t so much a review as my opinion of the book, and boy was it opinionated. See below:

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This write-up is pretty harsh. It sounds like I hated the book yet I gave it 4.5 stars. I guess that says a lot about a books ambiance, which to me means the general feeling the book generates and my ability to ‘suspend disbelief’. Divergent was a book that I really had to not try to reason out. I mean, the entire population of the city is forced into four groups—FOUR! People are so much more diverse than that. And there are so many more job functions than that. Anyway… Even if I had a difficult time falling for the premise and the choices some of the characters made, I liked the FEELING of the book. The tone. I guess that’s what won me over.

Come back later in the week to see what I thought about Insurgent.

JEH

What I’m Reading: What Light by Jay Asher

Young Adult Book Review: What Light by Jay Asher

When I heard that Jay Asher had a long awaited second book coming, I was excited. Then I began to read it… The premise of What Light is very different than 13 Reasons Why, which I loved. What Light is really just a Christmas Romance, and I use the word ‘just’ heavily.

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The real problem with this book for me was that it had potential (I mean a Christmas Tree Farm and a Bad Boy sounds like fun…), but nothing happened. Like ever. The story, while it may have been well written, lacked tension. And I really hate to say that just because I loved 13 Reasons Why so much. (Though I haven’t had time to check out the Netflix series yet).

Sierra (cool name), goes to California every winter to sell trees with her parents for the month before Christmas… and that’s about it. The entire time I read this book I expected something to happen. But it never arrived. I imagined at least ten different twists that never came to light. And the result was that it took me a long time to read this book. I also had a problem with the dialogue, which at times felt pretty forced. I would recommend this book if you really love Christmas and sappy romance, but otherwise, I’d give it a pass (but I still love 13 Reasons Why).

2/5 Stars

JEH

Books I’ve Read: Castle Waiting by Linda Medley

It’s not often I pick up a graphic novel. My husband gave me Castle Waiting by Linda Medley as a gift a couple years ago, and I loved it. Castle waiting is a beautifully illustrated black and white graphic novel great for all lovers of fairy tale and fantasy.

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Sometimes a change of pace is nice when reading, and after finishing Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners trilogy I was ready for something a bit different, so I picked up volume two and am currently working my way through it. This reminded me thg at I’d never posted anything about Castle Waiting Volume I, so here’s a picture of my book journal and my review from October 2014. As you can see, I was looking forward to the sequel.

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If you haven’t checked out this graphic novel yet, I highly recommend it.

JEH

What I’m Reading: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

Young Adult Book Review: Calamity by Brandon Sanderson

This week I was pretty obsessed with finishing the last book in Brandon Sanderson’s Young Adult Reckoners Trilogy. If you haven’t read the review of the first book, Steelheart, you can find it here. Now that I’ve finished the trilogy, I can admit a few things: Steelheart was my favourite book of the Reckoners, I wish I could write as well as Brandon Sanderson, and I’m sad that I never got to go back to Newcago. While the setting of every book was unique and interesting, Newcago was my favourite by far. I would definitely go visit it if I could, if the Reckoners wasn’t a dystopian-Marvel-esque- Fantasy.

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Brandon Sanderson has already announced that his next Young Adult series will be called the Apocolypse Guard and will be set in the same world as Reckoners. I will definitely pick it up. The ending of Calamity definitely left me thinking, and there are still a couple things I’m trying to figure out (like most of Sanderson’s books, I’m not sure I’m supposed to understand everything). You can read more about his next series on his blog if you’re interested.

Calamity of course was  full of action, fairly quick paced (though I thought it dragged slightly more than the other two books, though I would hardly call it dragging). There were lots of laughs and lots of tension.

A solid 4.5/5 Stars.

NOTE: Finishing this book puts me at 16/60 books on my Goodreads goal, 2 books ahead of  schedule!

JEH

What I’m Reading: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

The second book in the Young Adult Reckoners series by Brandon Sanderson moves the action from a futuristic Chicago (Newcago) to a futuristic, dystopian Manhattan (New Babylon). I loved this second book and I found New Babylon (also called Babilar) to be very interesting, but part of what I loved about the first book, Steelheart, was the setting: a city that had been completely morphed into steel, and I missed that setting in Firefight. Not that I didn’t love Babilar, I just love Newcago more.

The action of the second book, Firefight, is just as fast and heart-pounding as in the first book. The stakes get higher, and we discover more about the world and Epics (the bad guys), in general.

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Like the first book, Firefight is 75% action, 20% romance, and 5% bad metaphors (which are often hilarious). That isn’t an exact breakdown, so don’t quote me on it. The main point is that this book is mostly the kind of action you would see in a Marvel movie.

Loved it.

5/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson

In case you missed it, I posted a review of the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s Reckoners Series, Steelheart, last Saturday. I picked up Book 2, Firefight, and began reading but kept coming across this mention of a battle with Mitosis, which sounded familiar, so I checked, and sure enough, Mitosis is a standalone story that falls between Steelheart and Firefight.

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Mitosis was fairly short and I finished reading it in under an hour. It was a good piece of action between the two main novels. I wouldn’t say it’s a must read. I think one could just go from Steelheart to Firefight and not feel like they’re missing much, but it did add a nice bit of backstory during the passage of time between Steelheart and Firefight, which is a few months.

If you’re a Sanderson fan, or just need to read every piece of lore in a universe, then you probably won’t want to skip Mitosis.

4/5 Stars

JEH

What I’m Reading: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Young Adult Book Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

I’m going to admit that this post might be a little biased because I’m a big Brandon Sanderson fan. I love his epic fantasy, both the Mistborn Trilogy and the Stormlight Saga, but this was the first Young Adult work I’d read by him. This is actually his first young adult series, though he has also published some middle grade stuff that I haven’t read yet. But I’m such a big fan that I plan on reading all if it at some point in time.

About a year ago, I read the prologue for Steelheart and felt a little blah about it, and I put the book down for a good while. I finally picked it up again last week, and began on Chapter One, since I’d already read the prologue a long time ago (though I had forgotten a few details). Beginning from Chapter One, I fell right into the book and loved it, which left me wondering if it really needed the prologue. I mean, the prologue was alright but… Well, maybe it’s just me. Did you read the prologue? Did you like it?

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Anyway, moving on. The main character in Steelheart is 18 year-old David, a regular human in a world that’s been invaded by comic-book type bad guys. I loved that. There are no Supermen or Batmen, just bad guys. And the regular folk have to figure out how to take them out. Needless to say this book is full of action. It is also full of that smart, witty humour I love.

“I was like the guy who had brought the spoiled shrimp cocktail to the party, causing everyone to throw up for a week straight.” Yep, our main character David is really bad at metaphors, which I found to be really entertaining.

Like I said, I might be a bit biased, but I give this book 5/5 Stars.

JEH