Divergent by Veronica Roth

image of book cover of Divergent

The book series called Divergent is an interesting one. It is the first book in a three-part series (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant). This was a book recommended by a friend who has a similar taste in books. Overall, I enjoyed this book, though some parts were questionable.
Divergent is about a future Chicago where everybody is split into factions. There are 5 factions with different attributes associated with it. There is Abnegation (Selflessness), Amity (Peaceful), Candor (Truthful), Dauntless (Brave), and Erudite (Smart). When you turn 16 you go through a test in which you are given a faction that is mostly likely one that you would be placed in based on what you pick in the test. There is then a ceremony where you must pick where you live, work, and do everything for the rest of your life. There are tests to get into the faction and if you don’t pass you could become factionless. However, there are people called the Divergent. These people can do things like manipulate the tests and be aware that they are in a simulation (whereas normal people can’t).
Beatrice Prior (Now known as Tris) was born and raised in Abnegation where everything they do has to be selfless, whether it means eating the simplest food or letting other people get on the bus before you. When she takes her aptitude test to see which faction she is fit for, the person administering it stops and says she is Divergent. She says this is dangerous, not to tell anyone, and then manually logs the data saying Tris is Abnegation. When the ceremony comes around Tris must make a hard decision. She picks Dauntless, where they are all about being brave. She has a large amount of experiences, losses, and rivalry along the way. She also meets a person named Four (Tobias Eaton). They start to have a romantic relationship but must keep it a secret. They then discover a plot against the Abnegation, started by the Erudite who want power, and powered by the Dauntless because they have skills in combat. They are being controlled by a serum that had been injected unknowingly. Since Tris is Divergent she is not affected. She needs to save her friends and stop the Erudite from killing all the Abnegation.
I overall enjoyed this book a lot. The only parts I didn’t like were when she was talking with Four. The way that it was described and, the way that they communicated seemed inappropriate for 16-year-olds. Besides that, and the fact that some parts are sad. It was a very good book and I would recommend it, especially if you are into books such as The Hunger Games, Percy Jackson, or Harry Potter.
I would rate this book a 9/10.

 

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Review of “The Unwanteds” series, by Lisa McMann

two children fleeing from a winged giant cat

 

“The Unwanteds” was a very entertaining series, and I had a fun time reading the books.

Alex lives in Quill, a land that hates and fears creativity of any kind. On a specific day every year, Quillens celebrate the Purge. The Purge is a holiday that separates out the thirteen-year olds of their country, picking out the Wanteds (the people designated to be the future leaders of Quill and who have some life in them), the Necessaries (the people to keep the population of Quill alive and are drab and lifeless), and the Unwanteds (the creative people who will be sent to their death. I know, morbid, right?).

Alex, unfortunately, is deemed Unwanted, whereas his identical twin brother, Aaron, is a Wanted. Alex is sent away to be killed, to the place where they end the Unwanteds, the Death Farm, but miraculously, he doesn’t die! He is sent to a magical world called Artimé by the Death Farmer, a mage named Marcus Today.

Alex befriends other Unwanteds named Lani, Samheed, and Meghan, and together they make dicoveries, learn magic, and go on adventures.

Rating: 4/5 stars. The issues I found with this series were that 1) it was too romantic (at least for me, but if you like romance you’d love it), 2) the battle scenes (especially the one in the last book) were way too long, and 3) I found that the plot line got a little bit repetitive in the final books. Other than that, it was good. This series was great, but I’m hard to please when it comes to books.

Ages: 12-15

The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black

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The Cruel Prince, written by Holly Black, is a modern fantasy and a first book in the duology. The second book, The Wicked King, was recently released. It follows Jude, who along with her twin sister Taryn and her half-sister Vivienne, was taken to the fairy world by Vivienne’s true father.

This book was very highly anticipated, and people either loved it or hated it. I personally liked it. My favorite element was the school that Jude attended with the other fey her age; it gave a unique twist on a fantasy story that made it different from the others. Jude as a character was aggressive and impulsive, but I didn’t mind. I found myself thrilled when she kept fighting the bullying of Prince Cardan and his trio.

A problem many people seem to bring up is the romance between Jude and a certain character. In my opinion, there wasn’t a romance at all. At the end of the book the character confesses how he can’t stop thinking about her and then they kiss but for no reason? There wasn’t any reason for them to and they didn’t seem to enjoy it nor did they talk about it again so that was very strange. From what my friends and I can tell, there is no relationship between them because Jude doesn’t like him still and she betrayed him at the end, losing his trust and likely any romance they might have had.

I liked how the story brought out my emotions. I felt exhilarated while Jude argued with Cardan, sad when Jude complained about being mortal, and angry when betrayals occur. I loved how the mortal world was mixed in and how they would travel between realms, which added to the uniqueness of the novel. I did not like how the fey are as they are in every book: so incredibly perfect and beautiful that mortals can’t begin to compare. I don’t understand why this matters so much when writing about the fey, but it needs to end. This book would have been so much better if the world were expanded. How big is the realm? Is it only as small as the map in the beginning? If so, the author should have no trouble going in depth into all the places. I feel as though this depth would have made the story leave a more lasting effect on me. The writing style was very nice and easy to read, and the imagery was wonderful.

I would rate The Cruel Prince 8/10 dragons, for the unique twist on fey stories and the emotions it brought from me.

Tower of Dawn, by Sarah J. Maas

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Tower of Dawn, by Sarah J. Maas, is the sixth book in the seven-book series (not including the novella) Throne of Glass. I would suggest not reading this review if you plan on reading the series because it may give away important details. The book strays from our protagonist, Aelin Galathynius and instead focuses on Chaol Westfall, who in the previous book suffered a paralyzing injury that sent him off to Antica, in the Southern Continent. Once there, Chaol works with healer Yrene Towers to heal his injuries and recruit the Antica military in aiding the war effort against Maeve.

Most everyone was weary heading into this book. Chaol is one of the supporting characters who has been in the series since its inception, although certain events led to Aelin distancing herself from him, thus making the reader not care about him as much as they used to. I was surprised by Maas’ choice of making the novel from Chaol’s point of view, but as it was the seventh book, and I had to read it. It started off extremely slow because the reader was trying to understand Chaol again and find reasons to care about him. Around a hundred pages in, the book starts to pick up and became impossible to put down. Maas made a wonderful decision by making Chaol the protagonist because he was the one character that I felt I didn’t have a strong connection to, and by making this novel, Maas was able to make the readers like him again. It also gave important background to crucial characters such as Yrene and why the Antica kingdom decided to help the war effort.

Most people don’t read the Novella, The Assassin’s Blade, because they think they don’t need to, but I would highly suggest reading it before Tower of Dawn because you will get further background on Yrene and her interactions with Aelin and it’s a very fun book overall. Yrene is an incredibly lovable character, and her relationship with Chaol started off rough but evolved interestingly. I don’t quite understand what was going on between Nesryn and Chaol because I couldn’t remember from the last book, but they had a very strange relationship. The chapters from Nesryn’s point of view only got interesting in the last couple hundred pages, unfortunately. She’s a wonderful character but in the first 400 pages, she didn’t do much.

There was a lot of representation in race and sexuality in this book, which I know a lot of people have been waiting for. The whole Southern Continent is full of darker skinned characters and one of the princess’ is in a relationship with a woman. In her other books, there tends to be a lot of graphic scenes, but this one didn’t have many. There is little representation in body type, which is extremely annoying considering even the strong women who train vigorously every day still have no visible muscles and curvy waists, which doesn’t anatomically make sense considering how strong they are.
What I didn’t like was how Chaol’s personality changed. When I look way back to Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, I remembered him not so much the whiny, tough, and brooding man he is here. Unless I remember him wrong, his personality upset me a bit and just reminded me of a more watered-down Rowan Whitethorn. You might think this was because of character development, but the character felt almost foreign to me, which isn’t a good thing.

I feel as though, as usual, Maas could have cut down a hundred pages, because there were so many parts that seemed unnecessary. I feel as though she could have spent more time developing the world. I’m not sure if we will get to see the Southern Continent again, but the kingdom and the whole southern part of the continent have been left unexplored.

I would rate Tower of Dawn 7/10 dragons simply for my love of the series and the new developments. Negative dragons for the slow first 150 pages.

Behind the Paper: Part Nine

Slowly, I started to walk to the car. I have never been this scared before. What have I gotten myself into?

The guy lowers the window, and yells, “Are you going to stay there, or are you going to get in?”

No no no no.. This isn’t happening! I recognize that voice! It belongs to.. Jacob Rod!

I quickly try to cover my face with my hands as I run to the car. Having to open the doors with my hand, I turn my head around so Jacob can’t see me. As I sit in the shotgun seat, I turned my head to face the window.

“Hi?” Jacob says with confusion in his voice.

I was about to say hi and thanks, but then I realized he could probably recognize my voice.

“….”

“So you can’t talk?” Jacob says,” I shouldn’t have agreed to this..” Jacob looks at me. I realized I am still wearing my work clothes.

“MOLLY?!”

I turn my head and make a fake smile, “Hi Jacob.”

“Oh my god. So now I have to deal with you at work and at home!?” Jacob angrily states as he starts driving the car to his house.

“Thank you,” is all I could say. As much as I hate Jacob, I have no choice. I really do not want to go back to Darry.

Suddenly, my phone rings.

“Is that yours?” Jacob asks.

“Yeah,” I look at the caller id. Oh so now Darry is calling me?

“Are you going to pick it up?!” Jacob asks, annoyed at the ringing noise.

“No.” I turned my head to look out the window again and noticed it started raining.

 

Behind the Paper: Part Eight

It has been hours since I caught my boyfriend Darry cheating on me. Well now ex but he doesn’t know that. I don’t know where I am, but I needed to find shelter. And I am not going back to the house. I grab my phone off my back pocket of my jeans and I call my mom.

Ever since my dad left us, my mom and I became closer. We are the only ones we have left in the family after my aunt passed away. That event devastated my mother.

Unfortunately, she didn’t pick up. After trying to call everyone on my contacts, I hopelessly give up.

After ten minutes though, my mom called me back.

“Hello sweetie! What’s going on? You know its eleven o’clock!” my mom said on the phone,” I don’t understand these days. People staying up until midnight! You know…”

“Mom, Darry cheated on me and I am lost,” I cut off my mom. I love my mom and all but she talks a lot.

I heard a gasp from the other side.

“Oh no, sweetie, are you okay? Where are you right now. I knew Darry was bad news!”

Three years ago when I introduced Darry to my mom, she absolutely hated him. I didn’t know why she did.

“I’m on a Huckleberry Road,” I replied to my mom while I came across a street sign.

“If I was in the same state as you, I would come pick you up, but you know I’m in Montana right now… Wait you’re in New York right?”

“Yes.”

“Oh you can stay with my friend’s son!  If it is alright with you. He lives in the same place. I’ll call her, wait a minute.” It’s not like I have a choice. My mom hung up on me. And in a minute she called me like she promised.

“She said yes sweetie! She is calling her son right now and he is gonna pick you up!!” My mom’s excited voice said.

It might be awkward living with a complete stranger but like I said, I don’t have a choice.

“Okay, thanks mom.”

“Also, I hope you feel better. My beautiful daughter doesn’t deserve to be cheated on..” I could hear cries coming from my mom on the other line.

“Mom, it’s okay now. You don’t need to cry.”

‘You have grown up into such an independent, beautiful, young woman.” My mom said and that made me happy.

At that exact moment, a car drives by the road and when the driver saw me he stopped.

“Mom, he’s here.”

 

 

 

 

Change in Tides part 1

 

 

My name is Lily and I’m an alien. My parents are also aliens. I have special powers that I am not allowed to use. You are probably thinking that sounds familiar to another story, but it isn’t. I am nowhere close to a superhero.

I wear all black. Black nail polish, black clothes, black eyeliner, even black eye shadow. Except I am not emo, at least I don’t want to be. My parents forced me to dress that way because since I’m really pretty– their words not mine– I would attract too much attention to myself. Emo kids are left alone, so that is why I only have one friend, Cameron. She is the only other person who knows my family are aliens.

Cameron is not emo, she is your regular highschool girl. Not popular, but everyone knows her anyways because she is really nice. Me and Cameron don’t talk at school because someone like her and someone like me hanging out together would raise too many questions, bit after school we are inseperable. It works that we are next door neighbors.

At home, I am nothing like what I pretend to be at school. I don’t have social anxiety, I don’t wear the color black, and I study really hard instead of pretending like I just don’t care about anything. I’m actually really girly, bit like everything else, I have to hide that part away.

I told Cameron that I was an alien on her 13 birthday. It was just us and we were having a sleepover…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Let’s go in the pool, it’s so nice outside today,” Cameron told me as she went through her dresser to get us some bathing suits.

Sure,” I said before going to sit on her bed.

“Pink or deep blue,” Cameron said turning around to show me the options in her hand. The pink one in her right and the deep blue one in her left. I nodded my head in the direction of the deep blue one and she threw it in my face.

Cameron!,” I giggled and so did she.

“Now go get dressed. You know where the bathroom is,” she said with a smile on my face.

After we both got dressed we headed over to her new pool that her family had just got. It had a nice pathway that led to her backyard to the pool. I don’t know what it was but it was like the water was calling my name because as soon as she opened the gate I darted into the pool.

When I stepped in, I felt a tingly sensation all over my body and could hear a low humming in my ears like the purr of a Lamborghini starting up for the first time. I had a smile on my face, but when I turned to look at Cameron, she was till frozen by the edge staring at me. I was relieved that the look on her face was not terror, in fact it was the opposite.  It was excitement with a hint of concern. It seemed that concern and excitement were battling for dominance, but concern seemed to win because she jumped in after me and quickly pulled me out. Her head kept on darting back and forth as she wrapped me in her towel and led me to her room before shutting the door behind us.

“Tell me everything,” she said, excitement seeming to come back now that I wasn’t out in the open anymore.

It was at that moment that I seemed to remember what my dad said to me before I left…

Don’t go into the pool. As you are nearing your 13th birthday, the water is going to start changing you. You are also going to start changing it as well.