Review: Rot & Ruin-Jonathan Maberry

3.5/5 Stars

Rot & Ruin (Benny Imura, #1)-Jonathan Maberry

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There are moments that define a person’s whole life. Moments in which everything they are and everything they may possibly become balance on a single decision. Life and death, hope and despair, victory and failure teeter precariously on the decision made at that moment. These are moments ungoverned by happenstance, untroubled by luck. These are moments in which a person earns the right to live, or not.

***

“Eat me,” said Benny with a grin.

“Zombies wouldn’t eat you. They have standards.”

Plot: Benny Imura doesn’t remember a time without zoms (zombies). After First Night, the day with the world fell to the living dead, the zoms have taken over the country, electricity is a thing of the past and people are limited to small villages. Although Benny was only an infant when First Night happened, he remembers his parents and their horrific death. Benny is haunted by visions of his mother screaming, his father bloody and ravenous, hands clenched around his mothers neck eager for flesh. After that night, a deep-rooted hatred of zoms and his cowardly brother is all he knows and all he lives for.  Even though his brother Tom is a famous zombie-slayer, Tom scoffs, he knows the truth, when it really mattered, when he had the chance to save Benny’s mother from death he ran scared. Leaving his mother for dead is unforgivable to Benny and drives a mile-wide wedge between the brothers. Benny recently turned 15 and in this dystopian land of heartache and terror, 15 year olds are considered adults and must find a job or have their food rations cut in half. The problem is that jobs are not hard to come by but desirable ones are coveted and snatched up long before eligibility. As the deadline draws near, Benny must do something he swore he never would, ask his brother for help. Forced to join the family business of zombie-hunting or starve, Benny and Tom venture out into Rot and Ruin, what used to be the United States. Benny is met with an evil so sinister that he questions everything he thought he knew, his reality disintegrates and he slowly is met with a bleak reality that will leave him hollow and confused. Rot and Ruin is nothing like he expected nor is his brother. Deadly secrets, twisted, grotesque murders, and corruption are all part of Rot and Ruin and Benny is caught right in the middle. When Benny is confronted with an insurmountable choice that threatens to break him, he becomes the unlikeliest of heroes. With the help of his brother and some surprising new friends, Benny embarks on a dangerous rescue mission that will have you second-guessing the nature of zombies, humanity, and morality.

PROS:

  • Benny. Although as you’ll read below in the cons section that he’s slow on the uptake and pigheaded, his development is fantastic. It’s wonderfully inspirational to watch Benny transform from a naive 15 year old boy to a determined, powerful young adult. As he grows in character, he questions who he is as a person, who he wants to become, and reevaluates what he thought he knew for the first 15 years of his life. He thought zombies were blood-thirsty killers who took away his chance at a loving family but when out in Rot and Ruin he learns about mercy, humanity, and just how far someone will go to save the ones they love from pain. By the end of the book he’s no longer the foolhardy little brat he was in the beginning but a smart, calculated, risky hero on the rise. He puts his life on the line, battling through hordes of zombies, bounty hunters, and spring-trapped terrain to save innocent lives form the horrors of greedy, seedy men.
  • Tom Imura is one badass, sexy slayer. He’s full of compassion, zen, and understanding. He sees the world in a way that’s unique and makes your heart bleed and eyes water. He’s a beautifully compelling character who still has enough sympathy to put zombies at rest and embrace the world with open eyes and hope. Plus he’s a masterful fighter with wicked samurai skills.
  • The men in this story are unafraid to cry with such perfect, gut-wrenching abandon that you really feel a connection.
  • Lilah or the Lost Girl. A little whacked, 10 shades creepy, and a whole lot of terrifying, this girl can kill without mercy, she’s cold, vicious, and on a mission to take out the bounty hunters that took away her childhood, robbed her of her sister, and destroyed her life. Lilah is a feral mix of love and ruthless determination that will leave you wondering what you would have done had you been as wronged and wrecked by man; you’ll find a new understanding for the simplicity of zombies as former humans.
  • Nix. Nix is a fiery redhead with a sassy attitude, a dreamy design for a future outside of her small village and aims to write a nonfiction book on zombies. She fights for her life, kicking and punching her way through always to get back to Benny. She never gives up and puts herself in the line of fire to help those in need.
  • There are some slow points but generally the plot is fast-paced, fueled by mystery and bloodshed. The zombie descriptions and mutilations are gruesomely descriptive in that great way that will leave little to the imagination and might give you a nightmare or two.

CONS:

  • Benny is kind of an idiot. He’s completely and utterly stubborn, so much so that when the truth slaps him in the face he still has his doubts. He can’t get past the assumption that his brother is a weak sham of a zombie-slayer and so his relationship with his only relative is stunted and sad. His temper escalated quickly and is rife with assertions that are off-base and ridiculous. Furthermore, he’s completely daft; sometimes he’ll make a comment or ask a question and you’ll feel compelled to face palm, like come on kid, seriously?
  • There’s little development of characters apart from the 4 main ones; Benny’s friendships are there but there’s not enough that you feel any real compassion or connection to them. Although there are some humorous passages, they’re immature and fall flat.
  • The awkward semi-romantic scenes are somewhat painful to read. If there had been some playful banter or teasing or something to lighten the tragic mood a teensy bit it would have been okay but instead read like a sulky, weird mess.

If you enjoyed any of the following, you’d probably like this:

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Happy reading,

-BB

 

I’m Back!

Hello my lovely readers, fellow bloggers, and book fanatics,

I’m absolutely thrilled and excited to be writing this post because I’ve missed blogging so much and getting to share my book passion with you all.

Now that the semester is over I have over 10 reviews coming up and I’m sure I can post one a day. This semester of grad school was crazy stressful and so time consuming that since Monday, when I was actually able to read for fun again, I’ve read one or two books a day and suffered from insomnia. MUST READ zombie right here. It’s kind of depressing but I feel like I don’t know when I’ll have time again, so I’m devouring books with abandon. 🙂

I’ve won some fantastic giveaways as of late, so many that I’m tempted to do a stacking the shelves post but I always feel kind of awkward when I only have one or two books to post on.

In other news Pulseit is holding this really awesome #31DaysofReading event, where each day you have 24hrs to read the Simon&Schuster book offered that day. They have some great reads that I’ve been dying to get my hands on and if you’re like me, someone who can read a book a day and is broke by the end of the semester, this is truly a gift.

Plus, PulseIt is a great site that offers free reads, giveaways, reviews, etc.

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For those of you who participate in Epic Reads, it’s a HarperCollins YA version of PulseIt that had cool trivia, giveaways, and articles like shoes to match your fav YA books. If you don’t know about Teatime, you’re really missing out. Teatime is a live broadcast that sometimes features an ARCParty where the new books are announced and you can tweet to win. Last week at the ARCParty I won and I can’t wait to show you my prizes 🙂 I’m ridiculously excited.

You can follow me on twitter on the sidebar. I enter contests and share them frequently if you’re looking for that sort of thing.

It’s so great to be back!

Now I’m off to write my Rot & Ruin review.

-BB

 

 

Review: Onyx-Jennifer L. Armentrout

5/5 Stars

Onyx (Lux, #2)-Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Holy hell, where do I even begin? It’s not often that a sequel trumps the first book in a series but seriously, I started reading this book last night as I was trying to fall asleep and at 4am was so disappointed because I had 9am class and ALL I wanted to do was finish this book. I contemplated pulling an all-nighter, and for someone who spends countless days only staying awake to research massive papers, this was far too tempting.

As you guys know, this semester is gruesomely, ridiculously hard, and just so much research I don’t even have time to work on this blog, which, if you guys can’t tell, is like therapy for me. I love books and love sharing my thoughts with you. In light of my recent crises, i.e. 3, 20 (min) page research papers and 2 long presentations are all due this month. The end of the semester is drawing near, and I wish time would slow the hell down a little so I could get everything done. This is my notice of temporary blog hiatus until December when I’ll have a bunch of new releases, cover reveals, and blog tour posts for you but as of right now, I’m so stressed I’m barely coherent. When I was applying for grad school, a Huffington Post article came out about the extremely high rate of depression in grad students. TOTALLY see why. I took 18 credits a semester as an undergrad and compared to my work now, that was a breeze.

This may well be my second to last blog post this month, and for that I’m sorry but know that I would much rather be on here chatting with you wonderful readers and kindred spirits than trekking through libraries with a pounding headache, and back pain from being hunched over taking notes for hours on end. IT SUCKS. Coffee is my savior and sanity right now. Back to the review and I’ll get back to blogging soon. Don’t worry. I’ll miss you guys.

There was something soul-burningly beautiful about being on the brink of losing control, tumbling over into the unknown, and I wanted to fall and never resurface.

***

Words were the most powerful tool. Simple and so often underestimated. They could heal. They could destroy.

***

“Can you turn off the light?” Darkness descended without him moving. Several moments passed. “That’s a handy ability.” “It is.” My eyes focused on the pale light peeking through the curtains. “Maybe one day I can be just as lazy as you and turn off the lights without moving.” “That’s something to aspire to.” I relaxed a fraction of an inch and smiled. “God, you’re so modest.” “Modesty is for saints and losers. I’m neither.”

***

Daemon kissed like he was a man starving for water, taking long, breathless drafts. His teeth caught my lower lip when he pulled away, only to come back for more. A heady mix of emotions warred inside me. I didn’t want this, because it was just the connection between us. I kept telling myself that, even as I slid my hands up his chest and circled them around his neck . When his hands inched under my shirt, it was as though he reached deep inside me, warming every cell, filling every dark space within me with the heat from his skin.

Touching him, kissing him, was like having a fever all over again. I was on fire. My body burned. The world burned. Sparks flew. Against his mouth, I moaned. 

Plot from Goodreads: 

Being connected to Daemon Black sucks…

Thanks to his alien mojo, Daemon’s determined to prove what he feels for me is more than a product of our bizarro connection. So I’ve sworn him off, even though he’s running more hot than cold these days. But we’ve got bigger problems.

Something worse than the Arum has come to town…

The Department of Defense are here. If they ever find out what Daemon can do and that we’re linked, I’m a goner. So is he. And there’s this new boy in school who’s got a secret of his own. He knows what’s happened to me and he can help, but to do so, I have to lie to Daemon and stay away from him. Like that’s possible. Against all common sense, I’m falling for Daemon. Hard.

But then everything changes…

I’ve seen someone who shouldn’t be alive. And I have to tell Daemon, even though I know he’s never going to stop searching until he gets the truth. What happened to his brother? Who betrayed him? And what does the DOD want from them—from me?

No one is who they seem. And not everyone will survive the lies…

PROS:

  • CHEMISTRY! The sexual tension is all-consuming, reckless, addictive. You will want to punch Daemon in the face several times but EVERY SINGLE SECOND of his pushy, occasionally obnoxious behavior is worth the sexy.
  • Daemon and Katy are magnetic, their sarcastic, passionately angsty banter is dialogue to PERFECTION. If you’re an aspiring writer and you’re having trouble, read this book, check out the natural, witty flirtation mixed with genuine adoration, it’s fantastic.
  • The plot. If you thought the first book was action-packed you are in for quite a ride. The many plot twists and dangers are enough to put anyone on the edge. It’s thrilling, adrenaline-filled, and just all around an exciting read.
  • Katy’s character goes through a marvelous transformation. Although with Daemon she’s always been pushy, domineering, and generally stuck up for herself, this time around she is a powerhouse heroine with skills to match. Katy has finally discovered her strength and is not afraid to use it. She goes out of her way to protect those she loves, putting her life on the line without a second thought. She is fierce!
  • There are many blush-worthy, steamy scenes that will have you consumed, deep in the book oblivious to the outside world. The word choice, the general description is addictive.
  • Surprise after surprise after devastating, crushing surprise, this book will leave you mouth agape, struggling to process some of the insane events.
  • The feels. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll sigh, you’ll scream in frustration. It’s an emotional rollercoaster.

CONS:

  • Blake. Blake is a controlling, insidious, bland flake. He comes into the story, bursting with masculine wiles and charm eager to sweep Katy off her feet, and is just BORING. Up until the big revelation his character is pretty much a jerk on an ego-trip fighting with Daemon for Katy.

If you liked any of the following you’d probably enjoy this:

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strange and familiar 5.30

Pleasant reading,

-BB

Friday Findings and Upcoming Reviews

Hi everyone,

I missed the mid-week update but decided to write one today to let y’all know what’s going on in my life and in the YA world.

I have several upcoming reviews for you guys, I’m not exactly sure when they will be out but keep an eye out for them.

Here’s what’s in store for you in the next week or so:

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Dare-You-To

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Also, I have been toying with the idea of starting a new blog specifically for romance books, what do you guys think?

In other news:

Pleasant reading,

-BB

Review: Asylum-Madeleine Roux

2.5/5 Stars

Asylum-Madeleine Roux

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I picked up Asylum because I am a sucker for horror films. I absolutely love creepy, psych ward, haunted, exorcism, Paranormal Activity type films. I saw this cover and immediately grabbed it and held on for dear life. I thought FINALLY!!! horror of my specific preference has come to YA and WITH PICTURES. It’s taken me a while to write this review, first because I am swamped with research papers but the true reason is that I was so disappointed. This is one of those books that has a fantastic concept, the kind that has you hanging on to your seat, sleeping with the lights on, insomnia inducing terror right at your fingertips, and it simply failed to deliver.

Plot: Dan Crawford is thrilled to be attending the New Hampshire College Prep summer program. He has high hopes to finally meet some people who are as enthusiastic about learning, and escaping the stereotypical labels of high school as he is. Dan loves research, he’s fascinated by history, and plans to take this prep program for all it’s worth. Dan is nervous about making friends, and is pleasantly surprised that as soon as he sets foot of the campus he falls in with a beautiful girl named Abby, and her new gay BFF Jordan. Things are looking up, and it seems like Dan will get his dream summer after all, and maybe even go on a date, when he learns that the New Hampshire College dorms are in an old sanitarium that housed the criminally insane. As Dan and his friends dig deeper, they uncover the horrific past of the asylum, gruesome, chilling tales of experimental procedures, serial killers, and operating theater performances on children. Breaking into a forbidden office, Dan and his friends discover the files of the former patients, and haunting photographs that suggest a darker past hidden within the walls of their dorms. Strange and disturbing things start to happen, obsession becomes sinister, and Dan scrambles to decode the puzzling psyche of the former warden who looks an awful lot like him. Murder, possession, ghosts, and events that threaten to drive even the most sane out of their minds, Asylum digs into a past that is so terrifying that people would rather demolish the building than uncover the truth.

Here is the Goodreads blurb:

Asylum is a thrilling and creepy photo-novel perfect for fans of the New York Times bestseller Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it’s a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

Featuring found photos of unsettling history and real abandoned asylums and filled with chilling mystery and page-turning suspense, Madeleine Roux’s teen debut, Asylum, is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity.

PROS:

  • The photographs are ominous, and startling in the most chillingly graphic way. The black and white photos depict patients with dead, haunted eyes, doctors and nurses with creepy smiles, and jarring poses that will have you guessing at the secrets hidden behind those expressions. Specs of blood, handprints, bare bulbs in cellar-like padded rooms with manacles, and spotted gurney’s suggest a tortured, shadowed existence. Surgical instruments stained with blood, healed over, jagged wounds point to procedures too backwards, and painful to comprehend. These pictures are things of nightmares, loss, and macabre.
  • The plot twist was unexpected, and jilting.
  • Stories of the patients in the sanitarium were truly eerie, and a touch menacing. The diary entries, ghoulish notes, and crazed quotes made for a thrilling build up that will have you second-guessing everything.

CONS:

  • While the story attempted to use to the pictures as a supplement or even explanation of plot elements, the descriptions, actions, and events do not do the photos justice. What is left unsaid is far more terrifying.
  • Slow, and hard to get into.
  • Dan is boring. He’s completely devoid of any interesting, memorable characteristics except for his dwindling sanity.
  • Nearly all of the characters were undeveloped, the dialogue was stilted, forced, and a little unrealistic. The sheer anger, borderline rage that suddenly took over was so weird that it was unbelievable, and felt unnecessary. The conflicts between the three main characters were random, and complete over reactions. It seems that the author was trying to make these conflicts so out of place that they would be associated with the supernatural, ghostly elements of the plot but it just didn’t quite get to that point.

If you liked any of the following you might enjoy this:

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Happy reading,

-BB

Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown-Holly Black

4.5/5 Stars

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown-Holly Black

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They ran through the night together in a darkling fairy tale of blood and forests and snow, of girls with raven’s wing hair and rose-red lips and sharp teeth as white as milk.

***

He kissed her ferociously, savagely, their lips sliding together with bruising fervor. The pain in her tongue became a distant throbbing. Her fingers dug into the muscles of his back. their bodies pressed so close that he must have felt every hitch of her breath, every shuddering beat of her heart. And as scared of him as she had been, right then she was more frightened of herself. 

*** 

Every night, in every Coldtown, people die. People are fragile. They die of mistakes, of overdoses, of sickness. But mostly they die of Death.

Death drinks down their warmth until their veins are dry. Death forgets restraint. The older vampires might grow dusty and careful, but those freshly made want to glut themselves and sometimes, foolishly, they give in to Death and do. 

Plot: Tana wakes up from a rough night of partying to find herself in a bathtub, missing her shoes. She has no clue what happened last night or how many people noticed her black out wasted in the bathtub behind the curtain. Noticing the sunlight streaming through the window and absolute silence, she figures everyone must still be asleep. Stumbling from the bathroom she is met with slaughter. Torn throats, shredded skin, puddles of blood, and cold, lifeless bodies lay strewn across the house. Tana is terrified, bordering on hysteria, she knew these people, they were her classmates, her friends. Ever since the Coldtowns were established after the vampires have stepped out of the closet, attacks on houses had been rare. Someone must have left a window open and rogue vampires climbed in, hungry and savage. Knowing what she does about vampires, she is aware that they could be slumbering in the house, waiting for darkness, so she must be absolutely quiet, grab her stuff, and get out before the sun sets. Cautiously stepping into the shadowed room where she expects her coat to be, she is shocked to find her ex, Aiden,  strapped to the bed in some sort of weird bondage, and a vampire, chained up against the wall. Baffled, Tana doesn’t know what to make of the situation but knows that she can’t leave Aiden for vampire food no matter how much of a jerk he was to her. As she goes to untie him, he launches, teeth out, jonesing for blood. He’s been bitten, he’s cold. Those who have been bitten by vampires suffer an infection in the blood that only kills them and makes them a vampire when they drink human blood. If they fight the cold for 88 days then the infection will pass and they’ll stay human. Most don’t make it that long. As the sun starts to slant in the sky, Tana is flooded with desperate anxiety, she needs to save Aiden but hears the vampires starting to rise. Enlisting the help of the vampire, Tana gets Aiden out the door and they embark on a journey of love, lust, loss, anger, betrayal, and revenge to Coldtown.

This is the Goodreads summary:

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.

PROS:

  • Dark, twisted, and acerbic humor that is fueled by macabre ingenuity.
  • The descriptions are gory, meticulous, and written with such a poetic, candid touch that you’ll feel simultaneously removed from the carnage yet actively participate as each bloody detail is revealed. The shock, disbelief, and sheer heart-ponding terror will leave you feeling breathless as the wickedly gruesome slaughter, feedings, and fights reach their climax.
  • The danger, excitement, and general feeling of recklessness that comes along with taking risks, taunting death, and playing into the hands of cold-blooded killers will have you turning pages, consumed by hunger to know more.
  • Gavriel is a character in the vein of Anne Rice, with such a rich, complex, and vibrant history that is just exotic and corrupt enough to pull you in and have you begging for more. On top of that, he’s one of the most sexy vampires EVER. The kissing scene. Holy hell, the heat radiating off the page is enough to send even the more timid into overload mode. It’s tantalizing, dark, bloody, and just as wickedly sinister as you’d expect from a vampire-human make out. For this scene alone, I would have given this book at least 4 stars. Deeply impressed by the chemistry, the passion, and overall eroticism in a book that is not blatantly sexual. It sneaks up on you, surprising and raw.
  • Holly Black never ceases to amaze me. Somehow she takes overdone folklore and fantasy, gives it so much depth and emotion that it seems like an entirely new story.

CONS:

  • When I started reading this, I was completely and utterly appalled and disgusted with Tana. I really strongly disliked her. Mainly, Tana seemed like a pushover, someone with so little respect for herself that she put up with an open relationship that was highly masochistic, and very unhealthy, and didn’t care enough about herself and what it was doing to her to get out. Tana just wasn’t a character I could get behind, she wasn’t strong, she was weak-minded, insecure, and just not conflicted enough within her situation. That being said, on first impression, Tana was so not a heroine, hell, she was closer to a secondary character. As more and more of her backstory is revealed, her personality starts to make sense but some of her actions don’t match up. It’s only until later in the plot, somewhere around 80% through at least when the lightbulb goes off. Tana’s actions, her bravery, her unswerving devotion to morality, her mortality, and making sacrifices for the greater good are some of the most developed, inspiring signs of character growth that I’ve seen. As the story moves forward, Tana slowly recognizes her own self-worth, she’s able to embrace her recklessness and use it to save herself from dire situations, solve seemingly impossible problems, and face off against some of the most maliciously evil villains in the book. Tana is a badass of epic proportions. She puts others first, and brutally fights for her life, using ingenuity, calculation, and sheer brilliance to cheat Death time and time again. If you’re like me, give Tana some time, get to know her, and maybe you’ll be surprised by what a fantastically courageous heroine she turns out to be.

If you liked any of the following, you’d probably enjoy this:

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Happy reading,

-BB

Review: Allegiant-Veronica Roth

4/5 Stars***This review DOES NOT contain spoilers. 

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)-Veronica Roth 

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“Chaos and destruction do tend to take away a person’s dating possibilities.”

***

I used to think that when people fell in love, they just landed where they landed, and they had no choice in the matter afterward. And maybe that’s true of beginnings, but it’s not true of this, now. 

I fell in love with him. But I don’t just stay with him by default as if there’s no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me.

***

Just as I have insisted on his worth, he has always insisted on my strength, insisted that my capacity is greater than I believe. And I know, without being told, that’s what love does, when it’s right-it makes you more than you were, more than you thought you could be.

This is right. 

***

There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater. 

But sometimes it doesn’t.

Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through the pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life. 

What makes the Divergent trilogy so powerful is that everyone can relate to the major concepts in the book, and it is truly great storytelling that can transcend the fiction, and serve not only as an example of how to deal with various hard moments in life but that can also make a personal impact on each individual reader. 

When people talk about the Divergent trilogy it’s always with a story, whether it be how it made them feel, how it inspired, changed, or illuminated some aspect of their life. 

My Divergent story is also a personal one. When this series came out, I was figuring out my life. I had just graduated with my undergrad degrees, and took a year off of school to pursue my ambitions to be a writer. Unfortunately, I am a stir crazy person, and being at home, in my chaotic household was not the best environment for exploring the craft. Yes, I wrote, a lot, and made huge strides on several stories but I didn’t finish. It was then that I realized that a year, at least for my first book wouldn’t be enough for me. So, I make the choice to go to graduate school. 

Tris and Tobias are and always will be role models for weighing options and making sacrifices when it seems choices are impossible. Going back to school was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, and right now it feels like hell. 

On a more positive note, my little sister was never a reader. I always tried to get her to get into series that I love but she was apprehensive. She’s a very picky girl. Finally, I was able to get her interested because I couldn’t STOP talking about Divergent. She picked the book up, and read straight through. Since then she has become somewhat of a reader, not an avid one but this was a turning point for her, and more importantly, it brought us closer together. 

I’ve seen people write open letters so often lately that I was a little hesitant to take a swing at it. When I heard about all the backlash from Divergent fans about the conclusion of the series I was both shocked, and frankly, appalled. Everyone has a right to their opinions but there are certain boundaries that are just impolite (for lack of a better word) to cross. 

As a writer, you’re constantly taking risks. You put your heart and soul on the line in the lives of your characters that you nurse and watch grow up until the end of the series or story. Sure, not everyone will love your characters as much as you do, and yes, some may hate your story. Others might be guilty of fangirl/boy-ing. I was warned over and over again about the now famously blacklisted chapter of Allegiant, and when I got there, as my Twitter can attest to, I was terrified. For those fans, the fans who have loved and respected these characters through their faults and bad choices, you will reach that chapter and hell yes, you will be scared, but if you’ve learned anything from this story, pushing on through fear, through pain, and being brave despite all signs screaming in your mind to turn back, you will take a deep breath and take the leap. 

I understand how many may be upset, devastated, feel betrayed, as I’ve read from some complaints, but I’d advise you to sit on it. To let the story sink it, and ponder the whole message. I was not disappointed. I thought that the ending was perfect, bittersweet, and yes, I cried, seriously, bawled my eyes out. I am very glad that I was in my room, comfortable rather than at school where I tend to read because I was a mess.

By all means, be upset, scream, cry, throw things, whatever you need to do to embrace the overwhelming feelings this finale evoked but to boycott future films, to send death threats, to demand a rewrite? This is like asking a mother to get her child cosmetic surgery because the sight of her offends you (yeah, I realize this analogy is a little exaggerated), or asking someone to change their mind about something they’ve spent years slaving over just because you were disappointed, i.e. the decision to change careers, or get a divorce. Yes, the writing process is so amazing because everyone can share in the story but everyone experiences what the story makes them feel, how it changes them, individually. The author has a right to this too, and as the creator does not have to sacrifice what the story becomes or needs to be in fear of upsetting a couple people. 

I would like to thank Veronica Roth for an unforgettable journey. One that helped, changed, and bettered me, and countless others despite the negative comments. Keep writing, I’ll keep reading. 

There will always be people who disagree with you, but believing in yourself, what you think is right, and being true to yourself, as Tris, Tobias, and the other Divergent trilogy characters learned, will always be better in the long run. 

Plot: After the chaotic conclusion of Insurgent, the factions have been dismantled, the factionless leader, Evelyn Johnson is now in power, and those rebels who helped broadcast Edith Prior’s notorious video are placed under trial. The world as Tris and Tobias have known it is destroyed, violence, and power struggles reign, and a group called the Allegiant attempts takes matters into their own hands. Tris and Tobias are not happy with the way things have turned out, nor are their closest friends. The destruction of the factions has only merged into a dictatorship rife with lies, secrets, and exhibition-like punishments. When the Allegiant corner Tris in an isolated area, throwing a bag over her head, and inviting her to join them, Tris is wary but intrigued. Exposing Edith Prior’s video to the community opened her eyes to possibilities outside their small world, and every just, brave bone in her body is curious to see, and help those on the outside.

Teaming up with the Allegiant, Tris, Tobias, Uriah, Cara, Christina, Tori, Peter, and a few others leave the world they knew and are greeted by a strange reality on the other side. When the truth about the role of the factions and community comes out, Tris and her friends are startled. It turns out that they left one world for another with the same issues. Two communities divided by prejudice, lifestyle choices, and stubborn notions of righteousness.

PROS:

  • Agony. Utter and total desperate, heart-wrenching emotional madness. Allegiant evokes so many feels it’s almost overwhelming. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll scream, you’ll want to strangle someone, or even throw the book across the room (please refrain) but it is all worth it. This emotional roller coaster will open you up to a whole new level of identification with the characters. Sharing their struggles on such a deep, raw level will only enrich your love and respect for each character, even some you would never expect.
  • Tobias and Tris’ relationship reaches new heights. Their chemistry evolves from simple, natural magnetism, to something more heated. There are a few steamy scenes but what is most beautifully open and powerful is their ability to be honest with one another. Their love is not perfect, in fact, most of the time it’s in pieces and hastily patched back together, but how they make each other better and help one another grow is epic. Their love is lasting, and immortalized.
  • There are many plot twists, mysteries, shocking accidents, and truths that will have you on the edge of your seat, dying to know what happens next. While there is some foreshadowing, expect the unexpected. Even that won’t help.
  • Christiana, Uriah, Tori, Caleb, and even Peter have a greater role , each bringing something unique to the story. Each has their own lessons to learn and to teach that help the other characters grow.
  • Forgiveness, love, truth, sacrifice, and truly learning what it means to embrace bravery when it seems like all is lost, when hope is gone, and there will be no happy ending, and to fight on in light on this.
  • The explanation for the creation of the factions, the experiments, and the parallel worlds of the characters’ former lives with their new ones will bring up several moral and ethical questions that are extremely relevant to today’s society.
  • The ending: The final 50 or so pages of Allegiant are bittersweet. The sheer magnitude of revelation, reality, and life-altering changes will leave you reeling. Steel yourself, hold on, and don’t be too hasty. This is the kind of ending that you will need to mull over. Some of you will hate it, some of you will be okay with it.
  • The writing was clean, clear, concise and yet full of profound, thought-provoking ideas. I had so many quotes (as you saw above) highlighted that are now part of a collection of my all time favorites. There’s beautiful wisdom throughout, pause, don’t rush through the story to reach the ending, muse.
  • Told from both Tris’ and Tobias’ perspectives, you get closer look at what makes these characters tick, and a glimpse into their darkest emotions, thoughts, hopes, and dreams.

CONS:

  • The plot starts out very slowly, and sometimes drags to the point of feeling a little stagnant.
  • Near the end of the book so much happens at once that while it is high intensity and you will be rife with anxiety while reading, it is a bit convoluted. The information about genetics and the Purity War could have used more expansion. As an overarching theme and purpose, the mentality both positive and negative could have been more pronounced and seen in more characters, not just heroes or villains.

Please share any of your Divergent stories 🙂

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Keep reading,

-BB