Insurgent

This Month for EOG Book Club our genre was YA or Teen Lit. This gave me the opportunity to dive back into the rather entertaining Divergent series by Veronica Roth. I read the first book, aptly named Divergent shortly after it came out, and found myself enjoying it. Sadly that meant waiting nearly a year til I could get my hands on and sink my teeth into the next instalment.

As soon as I got it I popped off the dust jacket (I never read with them on, I’m always scared I am going to ruin it!!) and nested down with  my new read. I was very confused! I read the opening chapter and found myself remembering nothing. I recognized one name, the setting of factions and the city, but otherwise found myself drowning in a sea of unfamiliar names. So I popped it on my shelf and picked up the first book for a quick reread before my glorious adventure onwards and  upwards.

Ripping through a book a second time is pretty simple. You remember large chunks and have the option of skipping over parts that are familiar or rereading chunks that baffled you the first time with the benefit of whole book context. It took me til about the middle of the first book to start remembering who everyone was and how they all fit into the first chapter of the second book. The confusion only aided by the fact that several key characters change their names at one point or another. But I got the gist and was back on my way.

For those who have not read the first book let me give you a quick world builder: There is a city and the city is set up in a very particular way. People are catagorized into one of five groups depending on what they believe is the most important value:
-Abignation: selflessness
-Euridite: knowledge
-Dauntless: bravery
-Amnity: peace
– Candor: honesty
If for some reason you are unable to fit or function into any of the factions you are doomed to a life of the factionless, second rate citizens with few rights and no wealth. When children turn 16 they take a simulation exam to determine which faction they are most suited for and help them choose which faction to be a part of for the rest of their life, faction over family. Leaving your old faction means cutting all ties. When our lead character Tris goes for her test she finds that she has an aptitude for 3 factions and the ability to control the simulations. This labels her the danger and unspoken title of Divergent. And when she chooses to leave her life of selflessness for a world of danger, bravery and ruthlessness she finds theres more behind being Dauntless then she ever imagined.

Insurgent picks up quite literally right where Divergent left off. No great span of time has passed its only moments later. Tris and Four, she calls him Tobias which is his given name (and one of the reasons the first chapter threw me off) must escape the fallen Dauntless and Abignation districts of the city along with Four’s father Marcus, Tris’s brother Caleb and the ever hateful Peter. They flee with other Abignation to the Amnity compound and seek refuge from the power hungry Euridite. The book chronicles the movement of Tris and Four as they attempt to save what Abignation is left and muster the forces of Dauntless to retake their city.

I honestly cant say a whole lot more about plot without giving away some key events that really make or break the story, I will however give my thoughts on how it was done.

Veronica Roth does a spectacular and delicate job of handing suicide. We loose someone in the first book to suicide and in Dauntless they are exalted as a hero and truly Dauntless, for having been brave enough to take on the final adventure into the unknown. By so parading something we know to be so blatantly untrue she is able to tackle the idea without trivializing it and alienating people who might have had the same thoughts. She shows suicide as the tragedy it truly is and I applaud her for it. Suicide pops up again in the second book but we see it in another of its forms. Not as the overt taking of ones life, but as acting foolishly and recklessly with no regard for their own life, putting themselves purposely in harms way. It is all too common, but under recognized in a lot of cases. By highlighting it in the way she does, showing the danger and impact it has on others, Roth is again able to call out such behaviour for what it is without becoming preachy or condescending.

The idea that we are more then one dimensional is also tackled in the innovative idea of factions and separation of people for what is considered their key characteristics. This is most prevalent in the writing of the main character Tris, who has an aptitude for 3 different factions and gives her the label of divergent. But it can also be seen in all of the transfers as well. Al, while from Candor shows he can be brave by excepting to join a faction he has no desire for, as well as being selfless in his throwing fights so as not to hurt the other transfers. Christine who is also from Candor never looses her propensity to tell the truth, but her strength and desire for adventure pegs her as Dauntless. Even Peter, who we love to hate, shows signs of his Euridite past along side his violent Dauntless tendencies.

I also have two problems with the books thus far, but they create spoilers. So read beyond the cutline at your own risk.

For those who don’t and do read on, let me say this. The Divergent series has proven to be a very good series thus far. I have enjoyed it immensely. It is a YA title which I know is likely to throw people off but it really shouldn’t. Its not the next great American novel by any means, but it hits on some really important points that more then just teenagers need to hear. Its not quite brain candy with all the serious themes riddled throughout, but it is written in an easy to read style that will have you whipping through it in a couple of days.

This is my pretend cutline because WordPress won’t do it for me!

Warning Spoilers below!

.

.

.

.

.

.

______________________________________________

In the first book we learn through Tris’s fear landscape and just her general personality that she does not do intimacy well. Touching and physical affection is just not something that people in Abignation are taught or are generally exposed to. We get one brief and awkward scene of Tris and Four talking about it and it all seems to just disappear. Suddenly kissing and making out and touching half naked Four is no longer an issue. I get that the fear landscape helped her to face that fear, but it doesn’t make a fear go away. She goes from being shy and uneasy around Four to having zero qualms about getting all up in his grill and being super touchy. The transformation for me was far too fast  and therefore left it feeling unrealistic.

In the first book we see Tris kill Will (told you spoilers) during the simulation attack.  She in reality had some choice about what she did, but in the absolute terror and adrenaline of the moment we have to give her some forgiveness for her actions, it was an extraordinary circumstance. The guilt of this carries on with her through the entirety of the the second book and it drives me a little bit bonkers. I understand that the timeline of the second book doesn’t cover much more then a month at most, and that the drama of killing your best friends boyfriend is going to linger. What makes me the most annoyed is how long she goes with it bottled up and not telling/lying to others about it. She buries it deeper and deeper until it entirely envelops her and stops her from doing what she needs to do, as well as alienating from absolutely everyone she loves when it finally does come out. I get that she is suffering, but she is portrayed and being a thinker and percieving things in situations, you’d think she would look at what she was doing and say to herself “Hey, this is only going to cause a TONNE of problems later, maybe I should just get it out quick and easy!”

Advertisements

More or Less: Top Ten Tuesday

Good day everyone! 😀

I found this nifty little blog meme/challenge type thing while meandering around online. I had been hoping to find some sort of  activity like this to fill in the gaps in between my review posts. Low and behold I found Top Ten Tuesdays  hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. So far the topics all seem very interesting and relate-able and there are so many other people who are participating, it will make for good reading. Swing by and check it out! 😀

This week is a freebie, which means I can make my own list about anything. I figured I would go back and pick from their huge list of topics and go from there! The topic I picked was:

Top Ten Trends You Would Like to See More or Less of


1. More: Dystopia
I absolutely adore dystopian novels. The sense of what might happen, what could happen, even more so then science fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I like a good sci-fi too, I just find in general it focuses much more on the technology and less on the human interactions that I’m really after. Also just the the idea of a world gone wrong, when all along they thought they were right. ❤

2.More: Recognition for Canadian Young Reader’s Author
Growing up I was absolutely obsessed with Canadian children writers like Kit Pearson, and Monica Hughes. On top of being amazing writers, they brought a sense of wonder to the world around me. Just hearing my province named was a huge thrill. People should be just as familiar with names of these novelists as they are with Margaret Atwood and Robert Munsch.

3. More: Fairytale Retellings
 Oh man, don’t even get me started about how much I love fairy tale retellings!! I mean obviously Gregory Maguire with this retelling of Snow White, and Cinderella. His retelling of Oz is amazing too, not strictly a fairytale but it might as well be. Robin McKinley’s Beauty, and Rose Daughter. Jim C. Hines Princess series. Even Jasper Fforde’s Nursery Crime Division series is spectacular. Just the idea of taking  a story we all know and love, characters we thought we knew finding out something new. Seeing a whole new prospective. Just fantastic! ❤ ❤

4. More: Strong Female Lead Characters
I know this shouldn’t even be a trend, but after the wave of sub standard , spineless, and useless female leads running around in my fiction,  I’ve been in dire need of a great  strong lead heroine! There is something simply inspiring about cracking open a book and getting punched in the face with  a characters bravery and work ethic. To see them stop at nothing to reach their goal, to survive. To have  women (and girls) like Katniss from Hunger Games, Tris from Divergent,  Mary from  The Forest of Hands and Teeth, all characters that were strong and willing to fight.

5. More: Zombies
Don’t ask… After having read Carrie Ryan’s forest of Hands and Teeth I was hooked!! Its not the gore (I hate gore.) Its not the scare (I get terrified so easily.) Its just the idea of an enemy that can’t be stopped, of an enemy that you become if you don’t watch your footing? Its just fascinating.

6. Less: Terrible Supernatural Fiction
This one almost makes me sad. I really like stories with witches and werewolves,  the occasional vampire and ghoul, but with all the tripe that’s been thrown around lately I’m scared to pick up anything even remotely related. Too many bad burns of  terrible writing, terrible plots and terrible characters. If one more love triangle between a girl, a werewolf and a vampire shows up in fiction I think I’m going to explode. Think your characters through, give them proper motivation, back story and dimension. aksdljfask… just… No…

7. Less: Vague, Dark Cover Art
I remember when I could pick up a book, look at the cover and have a general idea of what that book was about, or even if was a little cryptic, I could look at it and was intrigued by the concept of what could possibly be hidden in the pages. We don’t get that any more. Its all black, with shadowed figures, swirls of two primary colours… what the crap? What is this book about? I don’t even want to know. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but how can I judge a book if I can’t even stand to flip to the first page.

8. Less: Stories About Abuse
I’m not even going to post any cover art for this one. I love a good biography, its true that so many times truth is stranger then fiction. And in the case of this wave of abuse tales its even more terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that there are people who have gone through a lot, who have endured incredible pain and abuse, but I have no desire to read about it. Its different if its part of a greater picture, someone who was abused who grew up and founded a home for abused children, a politician or actor who overcame their circumstances to be more then a victim. Its the books that sit there and say here is all the crap I went through, I didn’t grow, I didn’t break out and use my experiences to help people,  I’m just writing this books so you can know. I  mean no disrespect to these people, I get that sometimes just leading a normal life is a huge accomplishment for them, and that writing out your experiences can be incredibly helpful, but that is stuff to be shared with therapists, and other survivors, not the entire world.

9. Less: Diaries of Socially Awkward Kids
Oh my goodness… this is more a pet peeve then anything. If there is one thing I get, its being made fun of as a kid. Its not fun, it pretty much sucks. I love a good underdog story, root for him til the very end. You can do it buddy! But for real people? The endless stream of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dear Dumb Diary, Dork Diaries… Ok I get it, not popular children putting their thoughts down, 90% of the time in rude, sarcastic and just plain mean ways. Why are we teaching kids that its ok to be mean and hateful, so long as your not one of the popular ones?


10. More: Books That Make Me Laugh Out Loud
Wanted to end this on a happy note after those last four entries of ranting! I don’t know one person who doesn’t love to laugh. Laughing makes a person feel all over amazing, to giggle and just feel silly for a moment is the most amazing thing! I wish there were more books out there that could make me laugh. I’m currently  reading Dear Fatty, by Dawn French and there hasn’t been a chapter yet that hasn’t at least made me snicker somewhere in it. Most of the time I have to find my laughs from the awkward romance found in my Manga, so its nice to read a good wordy book and still get that good chuckle!

Well, I really enjoyed that!! I sincerely hope you did too!! I encourage all my blogging friends to take this one, I’d love to get your prospective too!

❤ Much Love