Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
HarperCollins, 525 pages

"One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so."

After reading Divergent, I was so thrown into this terrifying society driven by factions and Tris’s own story that I anxiously anticipated the release of Insurgent. Insurgent was just as intense and wonderful as Divergent, probably even better, so I promise you won’t be let down.

The beginning of the book brings Tris's world into perspective. After the sad and tragic downfall in the last book, I honestly had no idea what was on the brink of happening next. Tris is a greatly developed character. She has plenty of vulnerability, strength, and is flawed in many aspects. I love each of those parts about Tris; she has finally grown into her Divergence and accepted that she is neither fully Dauntless, Erudite, or Abnegation. The factions are becoming more corrupted than ever and the resilience to not be so controlled by those factions is what makes Tris's character shine through. Although she can be stubborn, she knows what she values and does not want to hurt people if it's unnecessary. Especially considering Tris's last experience in Divergent, it's the only thing that is holding her back. Another one of my favorite characters of course is Tobias. His love and dedication to Tris is clearly evident in his actions and words. He, too, is strong, yet flawed. The mystery that lingered before about Tobias's character is now washed away and I liked learning more about Tobias's past and his reasoning for choosing Dauntless.

The pacing in Insurgent is so wonderful! Roth managed to give plenty of action, a lot more when compared to the first book. There wasn't a moment when I felt bored or that I had to trudge through to the next chapter. There was always something interesting going on that kept me reading up until I finished it. This book is also a lot darker than the first one, both plot-wise and emotion-wise for Tris. She is fighting a battle inside herself for what she has done and what she is doing. Let me just say that the ending had a HUGE cliff-hanger! I can't believe Roth would do that to her readers! It not only leaves questions drifting in the air, but it more or less ends in the middle of a scene and you will be dying for the third and final book in the trilogy which does not have a title or release date yet.

Roth has a beautiful writing style. She gives a sufficient amount of description without dilly-dallying. She gets straight to the point which is effective because of how many intense scenes there are in Insurgent. The plot is of course full of action and excitement. One thing I really loved about Insurgent was seeing each of the factions at both their best and their worst; or even in the toughest of situations, when some of the factions were forced to be brought together.

If you loved Divergent as much as I did, or just can't get enough of terrific dystopian novels, be sure to check out Insurgent. Roth better plan on releasing the final and last book in the trilogy sometime soon because I just might lose my sanity soon. (Who am I kidding... I lost it ages ago!) But seriously, read it! Just try and stay content until that unknown release date.

Rating: 5 stars - I loved it! Buy a copy!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguié

Unleashed by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguié
Delacorte Books, 304 pages
ARC courtesy of Random Buzzers

"Katelyn McBride’s life changed in an instant when her mother died. Uprooted from her California home, Katelyn was shipped to the middle of nowhere, Arkansas, to her only living relative, her grandfather. And now she has to start over in Wolf Springs, a tiny village in the Ozark Mountains. Like any small town, Wolf Springs has secrets. But the secrets hidden here are more sinister than Katelyn could ever imagine. It’s a town with a history that reaches back centuries, spans continents, and conceals terrifying truths. And Katelyn McBride is about to change everything. Broken families, ageless grudges, forced alliances, and love that blooms in the darkest night—welcome to Wolf Springs. Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguié, the New York Times bestselling authors of the Wicked series, have created an entirely new trilogy with the passion of Twilight and the grandeur of Fallen. The Wolf Springs Chronicles introduces readers to a town of secrets and the new girl who's about to start believing in werewolves."

I was very excited when I read the synopsis of Unleashed. It sounds roughly like something along the lines of Twilight meets Vampire Academy (two staples in the Young Adult genre). So, when my busy season started to die down and I had more time to read, I started devouring my monstrous pile of books hidden away in my closet (I really need to get a bookshelf!!). One day, when I was looking through my to-be-read pile, I came across Unleashed and I thought that it was long overdue for some attention!

I started the book and was instantly brought in with the action that occurs at the beginning. For those of you who like to be thrown into a storyline, this is definitely the book for you! Anyway, the beginning of the book goes into the usual: where the lead character, Katelyn, is at in her life and how she fell into the predicament she is now in. This book started out interesting enough, but as I continued, it became very boring and generic. I understand that the authors needed to set up a basis for Katelyn's life, but it really dragged through the first third of the book.

I ended up neglecting Unleashed (it sat in my school bag and on my desk for a spell) because I got busy again: the story of senior year!!

Finally I said to myself, "I have to buckle down and finish this sucker." So, I started to read the book while teachers were talking about things that I could care less about and while I was supposed to be watching my sister's softball games (I know, I'm such a great sister! Not! But it was only one game!). Although the story took a while to get off the ground, the drama and intensity of the storyline started to burst out toward the last third of the book. I was excited that this book I was so interested in finally picked up.

The ending was honestly the best part (Not in a bad way!). The last seventy pages or so were the most thrilling part of the book. Katelyn's love triangle, however, was extremely frustrating for a person who is the queen of romance novels in The Readable Kingdom! She constantly gives the two guys, Trick and Justin, mixed signals!! It makes me so unbelievably irritated!!! But on the plus side, the romance scenes are pretty steamy. I was very pleasantly surprised. In a way, they kind of outweighed the boring beginning (I'm being serious).

All in all, this book was pretty good. My only complaints are that it took too long for the action to pick up and the love triangle thing is frustrating. For anyone who likes to read about werewolves and folklore like that, I would recommend this with caution. The werewolf action doesn't start until a little later in the book.

Rating: 3 stars - I liked it. Worth borrowing.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Holy May New Releases, Batman!

Yes, for us at The Readable Kingdom, May is the month of amazing and wonderful new releases that we are DYING to get our hands on! So, without further adieu, here they are:

Today both Insurgent, sequel to Divergent, and Bitterblue, companion novel to both Fire and Graceling, have been released. Hannah and I are so excited to find out what is going to happen to Tris! But we can't forget about the long-awaited release of Bitterblue... we have been waiting 3 years for this one! Justine and I can't wait to hear about Bitterblue's story!

On May 8, City of Lost Souls, sequel to City of Fallen Angels, will be released. Holy Nephilim!

And on May 29, Dreamless, the sequel to Starcrossed, will be released. Jessica and I are totally ready to refresh our Greek mythology knowledge. And to read about the ridiculously attractive Lucas.

Off to reading and waiting for now, I suppose! And to pre-order the ones that aren't out yet. Hmm... now I must save my money... it's super important you know. :)