Divergent – Veronica Roth

With the releases of the second instalment to the Divergent Series ‘Insurgent’ due to be released in cinemas later this month, I thought I should re-read the series and post my reviews on both the book and the film. I am a massive fan of dystopian young adults novels and when I was introduced to this series i was so excited as the plot sounded original and adventurous.

The story takes place in an undermined future where the world is divided into factions, including Candor (honest), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (daring), Erudite (knowledgeable), and Amity (peaceful). Tris, our main character, has reached the age of sixteen where she is tested and placed in a faction that complements her intuition and character. As the story progresses and she chooses her path, it’s suddenly clear that she doesn’t quite fit in just one faction and that proves threatening for those controlling this perfect society because as a Divergent, she can’t easily be manipulated. What comes next is a continuous reveal of hidden agendas and power plays.

Tris is one of my favourite characters and i thought her character development was really good and something you don’t always see in female characters. From the beginning we begin to see hints of her courage and intuition but throughout the book it became clearer and for me it was the ending when she really shone; she can really kick some ass!!
Four again is another character I loved. The mystery behind him as a character was really intriguing and always left me wanting to learn more about him.
For me i really connected with the characters which i really enjoyed as i felt their pain, happiness and sadness which made me love this book even more!

The storyline i thought was really actioned packed and for me there was never a dull moment. As per usual the ending was great it left you on a cliff-hanger desperately wanting to know what happens next; i know i was!! The idea of the factions was clever and unique and i thought brought a different flare to the book.

Overall, I give this book 4.5/5 stars – a great read filled with action, great characters and a unique storyline. I really recommend this series to everyone and I hope you fall in love with these books just as much as i did! Keep your eyes peeled as I will be posting my Insurgent book and films reviews in the upcoming weeks!!!

Film

As for the film i thought it was a brilliant book to film adaptation especially for the first book in a series! I thought all the actors and actresses who portrayed the characters were perfect and i really enjoyed all their performances! Shailene and  Theo for me were the perfect Tris and Four and worked really well together. The pacing was fab and i was constantly on the edge of my seat even though i knew what was going to happen. But for me it was the soundtrack which topped it off; it was perfect and i recommend you check it out! I’m so excited for Insurgent and all the trailers look amazing!

What’s your opinion? And are you excited for Insurgent? If so what scene?

Graceling – Kristin Cashore

As usual, I’m late to the party. I wish i had heard about this book sooner however I have ‘Booktube’ and the lady in Waterstones (again!) to thank for recommending me this book; it was amazing! It had everything a YA novel needed; strong protagonists, unique storyline and a action-packed adventure.

Graceling takes place in a fantasy world where certain people are gifted with extreme skills called Graces. Our protagonist, Katsa is graced with killing however this makes life hard for her as for many years she has been forced to become her uncle, King Randa’s personal thug. Throughout the book we follow Katsa as she uncovers the mystery behind the kidnapping of Po’s Grandfather and the mystery behind King Leck… I wont give too much away but this book never leaves a dull moment!

Right from the fist page of the book we are thrown into the action and adventure seen throughout the book. I thoughts the idea of the ‘Graces’ was brilliant and different to what I’ve seen before. The storyline was also brilliant and kept me on the edge of my seat through the whole thing! Cashore’s world building is immense and she has drawn a vivid picture of the seven kingdom Graceling resides in which you can really emerge yourself in.

Character wise, i thought Katsa was perfect. A strong, kick-ass female protagonist who we really see develop in the book from a slightly naive young girl in to a strong minded woman; I loved it! Po was also a great character as not only did he bring humour to the story he also helps our protagonist develop. The romance in the book was more mature and very unexpected which I really enjoyed as Po helped Katsa believe in herself and overcome her fears. Their relationship is so lovely as both Katsa and Po understand each other and fall in love, without needing to end up at the altar and live happily ever after.

However my only criticism character wise was the antagonists; King Leck. I wont give too much away but he was really creepy and I wished he played a larger role in the book or at least learn more about him as we were only given a snippet! For me he was the perfect villain and needed a bigger role!

Overall i thought this book was fabulous and a must read if you liked the ‘Throne Of Glass Series’. I am happy to award it with 4.6/5 stars; a great read with adventure behind every page!

Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo

How could I have waited so long to read a series that has everything I like; magical powers, war, complicated sexy men, and a magnificently flawed female protagonist! Not to mention the alternative Russian setting! I have to thank the lovely lady in Waterstones who recommended this book to me; I’m so glad she did!! I loved the concept of the book and I feel in love with the world of Grisha however i have to admit that the book got a bit boring in the middle. But apart from that it was a good book and I can’t wait to read the next one!

The book follows the journey of Alina, a pale, lonely orphan who discovers a unique power which turns her world upside down as she becomes a Grisha. With this new power Alina must learn to control it as well as trying to follow her destiny. But discovering her power comes with a great risk?

For me the first part of the book was brilliant as it was full of twist and turns which kept you at the end of your seat. However putting a negative spin on things, i thought the middle part of the book when Alina spent time in the court, got a bit dull and boring. But I did redeem itself at the end and for the last 100 pages i was on the edge of my seat as it was packed full of action.

As for the characters, I thought Alina was brilliant; a real strong female protagonist. I loved the fact we saw her turn from a shy nobody to a strong hero with a destiny that could either save or destroy the world. I also loved Mal; the boy from home who grew up to again be a strong warrior. But then there’s The Darkling who is the complete opposite! He’s dark and mysterious; what more do you want. As every other young adult novel there has to be a love triangle and is this case it involves Alina, Mal and The Darkling. In my opinion I want Mal and Alina to end up together as I think they have a much better relationship and i could definitely see them living happily ever after. However we’ve still got two books left so who knows whats going to happen…

Overall I give this book 4/5 stars was it is has everything a fantasy novel needs; magical powers, wars and a great female protagonist!! It is brilliant. If your a fan of ‘Throne Of Glass’ or ‘Divergent’ I recommend you check it out!

And just recently, I found out that David Heyman, the Producer of the Harry Potter films is planning on making this a movie! Yay!!

Fire and Flood – Victoria Scott

I picked up this book after hearing many people rave about and also from its storyline. Yes, it is very similar to ‘The Hunger Games’ however ‘Fire and Flood’ has many unique and different ideas which makes it at the same time very different. Apart from that I really enjoyed this book and I am desperate to get my hands on ‘Salt and Stone’ which is coming out in February!

The novel follows young adult Tella, who’s brother is slowly dying of cancer and there’s nothing she can do. Until she receives an invitation to participate in ‘The Brimstone Bleed’; a competition which is set across four different ecosystems and the prize is a cure for any illness. Risking her life for her brother, we follow Tella as she fights for survival across two of the four ecosystems; Jungle and Dessert. This book has action, romance, mystery, adventure, and so much more.

The main reason which makes this book different from ‘The Hunger Games’ is that each contestant is given a ‘Pandora’ which will help them survive throughout the race. I loved this idea and now I constantly wished I had a ‘Pandora’ of my own. Mine would have to be either a Cheetah or a Hawk, similar to Harper and Jaxon’s. What would yours be?

Tella’s pandora Madox was lovely and I quickly grew very attached to him; he is so cute. As for Tella, I didn’t connect with her as much as I wanted too however throughout the book I kept finding myself rooting for her to win! Guy, is another character that I love. His mysterious personality is driving me insane as I want to find out more about him! There are some charters that I wish we had seen more of, such as Harper, the female badass; and Levi and Ransom, the twins as I wanted to know more about their backstory. But from what we know, I thought they were great characters each one of them bringing humor and action to the storyline.

The ending was great as it left you at a cliffhanger which in some cases is really irritating but brilliant. I am so pleased that the race has been separated into two books as it means more can happen and we can spend more time in each specific stage of the race. I can’t wait to find out what happens next…

Overall I rate this book 4/5 stars and I would certainly recommend it to those who are fans of ‘The Hunger Games’ or who love a good action packed book!!

The One – Kiera Cass

I have no words to express how much I loved these books and their storyline! ‘The One’ had everything from fantastic characters to a cliffhanger ending – I don’t want this series to finish, they’re just too good!

The competition is coming to an end and soon Prince Maxon must choose his wife whilst trying to save his county and battle his relationship with his father. With only four girls left each one of them must battle it out to win the hand of the prince (writing that it sounds like its The Hunger Games!!). America is still in the competition but by just a hair and must try her best to sort things out.

Everything happens in this book, I won’t give it away but a lot of the time I never saw it coming. Poor America, a lot of the time she was affected by what happened but it helps makes her a stronger and more loved character. We also see America express herself more (even though she is standing on thin ice) and show her passion for getting rid of the castes. This book is once again darker and has more involvement with the rebels making it more action packed and in my case more addicting! But the series also never got deep enough for me to take the political stuff seriously. Everything was all on the surface, even when rebels were introduced as a real threat. It happened in a rush.

Now let’s talk about the ending. WHAT! I have to admit I didn’t expect that, it all happened all at once and I was on the edge of my seat for the whole chapter! But I am pleased with the outcome and I don’t think that I can wait until May 2015 when the final book is released. I hope I the last book we see more about the rebel attacks and the efforts of making Illea a better place.

Update: I’ve recently discovered that the next installment is called ‘The Heir’ and is set about 20 years after the events of this book. I need more of America and Maxon so fingers crossed that we get to see more of their relationship as they grow old together.

Overall I love this series and especially this book – it’s the best in the series – and I would definitely rate it 5/5 stars. I wish everyone read this series as in my opinion they are fab!! If you are interested in reading this series check out our spoiler-free review on ‘The Selection’ and the ‘The Elite’.

The Finisher – David Baldacci

I have to admit the only reason I picked up this book was because it was only a pound and I needed a book to take on holiday with me!

From looking at the cover you see a young female heroine dressed in battle armour with raging battle in the background – this is my kind of story! But I was disappointed as it didn’t turn out as I planned, learning my lesson from the old phrase “never judge a book by its cover”. Apart from that I thought it was a good book and perfect for a holiday read!

The story bases itself around a young girl called Vega Jane, who lives in a town cut off from the outside world. But when a young man adventures into the unknown, it begins to make Vega wonder what’s on the other side of the wall surrounding her! From there she discovers secrets of her past and future whilst trying to survive…

The book is about 500 pages so you would expect a lot to happen but that wasn’t the case. The story built the reader up for an adventure which sounded really exciting which sadly only began at the end of the book! This made it in my opinion a terrible ending and I desperately hope he writes a sequel or otherwise I will hunt the author down and demand answers – just like Hazel Grace! But apart from that I felt there was quite a lot of enjoyable bits with a lot of action! As well as all of this David managed to add a mystery in making it addictive!

The character of Vega Jane I thought was a really enjoyable character who I personally would love to have as a friend – she’s determined, adventurous and sassy! I love her. As for her best friend Delph you really see him develop from a shy quiet character to a supportive, adventurous friend!

Overall I would give this book a 3/5 stars, it was still a good read but nothing I would get excited about as I think it lacked real adventure. However I thought the storyline was still great and I would recommend it to those who have no clue what to read next and just want something different!