Tag Archives: post-apocalyptic

Review Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

 

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.

“New York Times” bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian “Divergent” series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Page Count: 525
Source: My copy.
Rating: 4/5

My rating may surprise you, especially if you saw my Goodreads status updates. Stuff like “Tris, grow up” and “OMG Tris. Stop. Just stop.” And by page three-hundred-and-something I was completely prepared to give this book one star and start my review with “Fuck this book” (I’ve always wanted to start a review like that. I guess it’ll just have to wait.).

But the thing is, I love this book and I love the Divergent series. I have even marked this book as a favorite, a list that holds only 21 books. Despite my frustrations with this book as I was reading it, I really loved it. I think that Roth is a phenomenal writer. I think her world-building is imaginative but realistic, and frankly, I am in love with Four like I have never been in love with a character before. I think he is an amazing, strong person who puts those he truly loves in front of himself and feel like I can connect with him on so many levels. He’s one of those characters that you wish you had as a friend in real life. And this book is like that – it’s a fast-paced, badass thriller yes, and it’s a really dangerous and crazy world to live in yes, yet you find yourself wishing you were really a part of it. I want to meet all these characters and fight alongside them because having them to fight for would be totally worth it. And I’ve gotta say, it’s been a while since I’ve come across a story with such strong world-building and character development that it made me feel that way.

But Tris, she… well, I’m just gonna come out and say it. She pissed me off. Bad. She was too goddamned reckless. And you want to be reckless fine… your parents died, you feel like there’s nothing else – but there is something else. Someone else. And he is fucking counting on you to be the girl he loves. Not throw yourself into danger. All the things I described about Four before, it’s like Tris fails to see all that. And she is supposed to be the one who loves him! She thinks its okay to basically tear his heart out and stomp on it because she is grieving and because she doesn’t want to live. This is where I wanted her to grow up. This is where I got so fed up with her that I wanted to put the book down. She needed to look at her surroundings and realize the world was falling apart, and she needed to stop and really think about what she could do to fix it before running into situations without using her brain first. She was not being Tris at all through the course of this book – the Tris I fell in love with in Divergent – and it seriously pissed me off. And if it wasn’t enough to do one Stupid Thing and be lucky enough to live through it, she went and did another Stupid Thing. And, though it worked out in the end (sort of), I still don’t agree with how she went about it. I don’t agree with her going against the people who loved her instead of entrusting them to keep an open mind to see it her way.

So, maybe I should rate this book lower based on my experience (and my frustration) with it, but I just love the Divergent world so much, I don’t have it in me to do it. I would definitely recommend it, and can only hope, for the sake of my sanity, that Tris is not such a dumbass in the next book, and actually takes the time to realize that – though her world is in ruins – what she does have… is beautiful.

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Rot & Ruin (Benny Imura #1) by Jonathan Maberry

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

Genre: YA Dystopian
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 14, 2010
Page Count: 458
Source: My copy.
Rating: 3/5

This book began with some serious eye-rolling from me. I mean, the monsters were called Zoms (is the word zombie so long that it warrants abbreviation?), and our main character was a lazy, angst-ridden teenager who had no appreciation for the cozy world he lived in or the people who worked hard to keep him safe. I said in one of my status updates that Benny had better undergo some serious character development for me to even remotely get along with him, and thankfully, he did. The problem is, I just don’t feel invested in these characters. Or maybe I do. Maybe I just don’t like them very much. But I don’t think that is entirely their fault. The problem is, that the people, the adults that belong to this town of Mountainside shelter themselves and their children so much, that they have no idea what life is really like outside the fences. I mean, really, Benny thinks killing zombies is fun and there are fucking zombie cards. This is not a game. Surviving in the zombie apocalypse is not fun. It’s fucking terrifying. And the adults of this novel are so, so stupid (and Tom you are not exempt because you did the same thing). I just… I can’t even. I can’t wrap my head around the stupidity and negligence of these people. No one wants to talk about anything with each other or with the children, and yet they think it’s okay to send their children out to something that’s called the “Rot & Ruin” when their fifteen. Fifteen. Which, okay, is not that young, especially in the apocalypse, but at least prepare them! I mean, shit, one of your own kids thinks the local factory is producing soda when it is in fact producing cadaverine or whatever the name is… zombie juice. I mean, it makes you smell dead. So, yeah. Not soda. But how could you let your own child walk around that oblivious to everything? I’ve never encountered anything so foolish in my life.

Jonathan Maberry can write a sentence. There’s no doubt about that. I found beauty in normality every few pages. Having said that, the book still reads like a B Movie. I don’t know if that’s a zombie thing or what (this is my first zombie book). I watch The Walking Dead, which is, to me, very real and not B movie-ish at all, but the dialogue and inner monologue here kind of killed me. I couldn’t help but think that people don’t really think like that and definitely (at times) don’t talk like that. It was kind of corny, some of it. So, yeah. I’m not experienced in zombie matters so I don’t know if that’s what zombie-lovers look for (my husband LOVES “corny zombie movies”), but it stood out for me. And the cover and spine are sort of B movie-ish, too. Like I said, I don’t know if that’s just “the thing”.

Besides the stupidity of the characters, the novel was pretty predictable. There were at least two instances where I said to myself, I totally saw that coming. I thought it was drawn out. I went into this novel expecting a suspenseful adventure and that’s not really what I got. At all. It was more of a slow and steady kind a novel. Which is fine, in some cases, but this being a zombie book, I expected more action & adventure. I think I would have been a lot more invested if it was a non-stop thriller kind of thing. Instead, by page 300 (just over halfway through), I wanted to be done with it. Finishing the book was more of a chore for me.

The characters do develop eventually, especially Benny, Nix, and even Tom, so they get easier to deal with. Nix mostly annoyed me with her overwrought emotions, but she is a badass chick who can hold her own, so there’s that. And Maberry did a good job with the bad guys, I truly hated them and wanted them all to die. Wholly though, I just didn’t find myself being very invested in the story or its characters. It was kind of a meh book for me where I didn’t love it or hate it and that’s not the kind of story I really look forward to revisiting. I am conflicted about reading the sequel though. Lilah, though everyone thinks she’s crazy, to me, is the most sane character out of all of them. And the second book seems to focus on that. So I may pick it up. I haven’t decided yet.