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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Divergent #2)

So this was the follow-up to Divergent, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I was a little worried, as you would be when the first in a series is so good, that the second installment wouldn’t quite live up to the first but this pretty much was just as good as its predecessor. There were a few differences, mainly I thought it was a lot darker as it focused more on the world outside the Dauntless faction and the inevitable war beginning between different factions. The first was like a build up to get you inducted into this new dystopian world and the second tells us how even in what is supposed to be a post-apocalyptic world humans can make the same mistakes all over again.

I loved learning more about all the different factions and I’m glad that we got to see more of Candor and Amity, two of the more peaceful factions, and that it didn’t focus solely on Dauntless and Erudite. Actually the parts with the truth serum in Candor headquarters were one of my favourite parts of the book. Although saying that, there are actually numerous parts of this book that I could nominate for being my favourite which is always a good sign of how a book has made me feel.

The main characters of Tris and Tobias evolve a lot in this book and sometimes not for the better. I feel like we see a side to Tobias that I didn’t particularly like. He was a little stubborn and ignorant at times, not giving Tris a chance to explain her actions and even when he did she rarely had the power to change his mind. Tris also was a little annoying in some parts, I know she shot her friend and her parents just died and her brother has turned traitor but still…. lighten up a little woman.

Maybe I’m being too harsh…

However for all their flaws the characters are still extremely likeable and you can’t help but root for them even when they do things that aren’t necessarily the right thing to do. Also was glad to see Christina make a reappearance towards the end of the book as I liked her in the first and didn’t want her to turn mean and horrible just because Tris killed Will. (Simulation Will, just to be clear)

I have to say I’m excited for the next book. I can’t wait to see what the author will come up with as it can’t be easy, writing two awesome books and having to keep getting awesomer. (I know it’s not a word, I don’t care.)

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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Countdown by Mira Grant (Newsflesh Series #0.5)

At the moment I’m going through a zombie loving phase. I’m absolutely addicted to the Walking Dead TV series and I’ve always been a massive Resident Evil fan. Shaun of the Dead remains one my favourite films of all time if you have not seen it then please do. Soon. On that note the weird thing is, is that the zombie book craze completely passed me by. I had seen this series once or twice before on amazon or whatnot and it kind of only vaguely interested me. Why? I have no clue. For some reason a zombie related book didn’t appeal to me in the same way a film or tv show did. Maybe because zombies are so visually scary that I was nervous my imagination wouldn’t quite match up to the Romeros of the modern world. How wrong was I?

My imagination should never be doubted I realise that now. Countdown doesn’t actually have a huge amount of zombies in it, mainly because it tells the story of how the two virus strains were released into the atmosphere and combined to make the Kellis-Amberlee virus that unfortunately makes some people just turn straight into zombies and raises others from the dead. The zombies that it does have are scary and easy to imagine trust me.

I was glad I read this little Novella as it just made the trilogy all the more appealing to me and I’ll definitely be investing in it as soon as I can. Feed, here I come!

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Book Review

 

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The Help by Kathyrn Stockett

ICover of "The Help" do try to read something that’s supposed to be ‘highly intellectual’ every once in a while and so when this was being passed around at work I took it home and gave it a try. Obviously when a book is so successful that it makes its way to the big screen there has to be something right with it. Nine times out of ten the books are even better than the film adaptation and with that in mind I always try to read them first and watch the film second. I like to see the characters brought to life on the big screen and see if they’re what I imagined instead of having preconceived ideas in my head before I read a book of what the characters are like. I haven’t seen the film version of the Help but I will after reading this book I’m sure of it.

The Help is one of those books that as you’re reading it you know that this book will still be popping into your head a year from now just cause it can. It’s a stick-with-you story and I loved it. All the characters are irresistible, even Hilly. The two black protagonists Minny and Aibileen are probably my favourites just because it was so refreshing to see their side of the story and see how they felt when their white bosses talked to them with such blatant racism and without so much of a hint of shame.

I know that these were the times that these women lived in but at times I sat reading with my mouth hanging open at the thought that this is what actually may have happened in households across Southern America. It just amazes me. I suppose I grew up not only in such a different time period but also Ireland is a country where even now there are not a huge amount of coloured people living here and they were never here during a time when there was segregation between people just because of the colour of their skin. There are of course other types of racism in Ireland and the most brutal amongst ourselves sometimes. You don’t have to have different coloured skin to the people around you to suffer from racial abuse. However, the Help made me understand what these parts of the world were like at one time in history and how far they have come since. I can only hope that books like these continue to open closed minds to a world where everyone is the same no matter what colour skin you were born into.

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Divergent by Veronica Roth (Divergent #1)

So I finally got around to it and read this book I’ve heard so much about. The next ‘Hunger Games’ people said. Well isn’t that a title to live up to. I have to say…

It is definitely up there with ‘The Hunger Games’ as a very, very good book. I can’t say that it absolutely was as good or even better than it but I most definitely enjoyed it that’s for sure. First of all the comparisons are a bit silly in the first place as, as far as I can see the only similarity is that they are both set in a dystopian world. I suppose you could compare the factions to the Districts but… not really.

The best thing about Divergent is the storyline. I always love these books set in fantasy or dystopian worlds that are so completely different to the world we actually live in. I always picture myself living in their world and imagine if I could survive or even prosper as the heroines usually do. The answers usually no.

The heroine in Divergent is Tris who is instantly likeable in that she is so unusual and different from those around her. I really loved the whole concept for this world that the author came up with. The different factions for people with different tendencies in their personalities, the way those different factions only did certain jobs because of their personality tendencies. I just thought, wow this woman has really hit on something really original.

Even though there’s a love story between Tris and Four (Tobias) it’s more of a sideline or a subplot to the main plotline which only makes the book better in my opinion. Of course I love a good love story as much as the next girl but we’ve enough snivelling wrecks of overly hormonal, helplessly in love with the wrong guy, sixteen-year-old girl heroines (coughBellacough) without adding another to the mix. Tris and Four’s romance is made all the more special because they realise that there are bigger things going on in the world around them.

Basically the factions are not getting on like they’re supposed to, especially the Erudites and the Abnegations. The Abnegation faction contains all the worlds political leaders because of their supposedly selfless nature. The Erudites, who are supposed to be the most intelligent faction, are arguing that not all of Abnegation are as selfless as they make out they are and they also argue that some are too selfless for the rest of the worlds own good, hoarding food and money for the factionless (translation=people who didn’t or couldn’t fit in to any faction) instead of looking after the people in factions first. This finally comes to a head at the end of the book with a revolt against the Abnegation faction. I won’t tell you which side Tris takes but trust me it’s all terribly exciting!

It was definitely a book that intrigued and excited me and I’ve already invested in Insurgent so will be reading that soon. Definitely worth a read.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking #3)

This just didn’t let up from the very beginning. You open that front cover and you better find yourself with no plans for the following few hours because you will be hooked. This is a big book, over 600 pages and I don’t consider myself a very fast reader and I finished it within a day. It’s that good.

I must admit after the first two in the series I was slightly worried about how the last in the trilogy would fare out but it doesn’t disappoint. Not even a little. Todd and Viola become even better characters and the development of lesser characters is at times as unexpected as it is brilliant.

Basically this whole book centers around an actual war between the Mayor’s army, the rebellion group the Answer under Mistress Coyles leadership and the native people of the planet the Spackle or as they call themselves, the Land. There is drama in every page and there is death and violence and horror as you would expect with a real war. What strikes me as the most remarkable thing the author achieves in this book is that I, as a reader, did not take any side and I don’t think he intends the reader to want to take sides. He shows every point of view fairly and you empathise and agree with all sides. Sure the Mayor’s annoying sometimes, as is Mistress Coyle and 1017 but they’re also right a whole lot of the time too. Despite myself I even grew a little fond of the Mayor even though he’s mean and evil, Todd helps to show him a side of himself even he thought didn’t exist.

There are just the right amount of twists and turns throughout the book that keep up the amazing pace that I’ve rarely seen any other author be able to do. It amazes me that this is classed as a Young Adult book as it’s just so in-depth into the minds of men and the intricacies of war and death. I wonder at 13 or 14 would I have been able to appreciate how good this book genuinely is. I’m not sure.

However that does not take away from the fact that this is one of the best trilogies I’ve read since Lord of the Rings and it will definitely go down on my favourites list for sure.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Book Review

 

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Buried by Mark Billingham (Tom Thorne #6)

Cover of "Buried"

Cover of Buried

Billingham continues his trend of bringing Thorne back to the top, where he belongs, in this instalment. As I said in the review for Lifeless I really didn’t enjoy The Burning Girl at all but thankfully Lifeless improved drastically on that and once again Buried has improved a little bit more. It’s once again a fast-paced exciting thriller with an easy enough storyline to follow and you get to know and love a lot of the characters introduced.

It’s slightly different to other Thorne books in that the main victim is alive throughout the book as the plot centers on a kidnap case. You get to see things from the victim, Luke’s, point of view and it really adds to the tension and excitement knowing that it’s basically a race against time to save his life.

Thorne is still feeling all sorts of bad emotions about the circumstances surrounding his father’s death. Guilt, shame and helplessness to name but a few but he seems to be slowly moving on and I think by the end he has some sort of emotional breakthrough so hopefully we get to see him become a little happier in future books. I like Louise so I hope we continue to see her pop up in future books as well and that Thorne may get some kind of a happy ending, so to speak.

There were a few flaws with this book, it wasn’t perfect but that’s kind of the way Billingham likes to write so I’m beginning to just accept that. For example, i thought it dragged in places and I got a tad bored here and there only to read a few pages and be hooked all over again when an unexpected turn of events raises its head. Also Billingham mentions in his acknowledgements at the end of the book that he found getting details of how a kidnap case is run in Britain extremely difficult because obviously of its sensitive nature. You do see this a little in the book where he always seemed to know the technical side of police work in previous instalments but here he flounders a little and seems to brush over certain elements. This can’t be helped though and his explanation is fair enough when you think of the work the real Kidnap Case Unit must have to do in Britain.

A good Thorne book, he’s getting back to his best slowly but surely.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2012 in Book Review

 

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The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern

I was loaned this by a friend who really enjoyed it and even though I have only recently finished another Ahern book I said I’d give it a go as I’m rarely disappointed by her writing. I felt like this was slightly different to other Cecelia Ahern books. It was a little more fast paced and exciting. It was actually quite refreshing because of having just finished ‘If You Could See Me Now’ which was quite slow and lovey dovey. This isn’t a love story at all so it was completely different.

 
First of all our narrator is a sixteen-year-old girl which is a first as far as I can remember for Cecelia who’s protagonists are usually much older. It was refreshing to see a different side to Ahern’s writing skills as she wrote this teenage character really well. Tamara is basically a spoilt little rich girl who unfortunately suffers the loss of her father through suicide and her and her mother are uprooted from a huge mansion in posh suburbian Dublin to a tiny village in the middle of nowhere in rural Ireland. A big change for anybody.

 
You begin by extremely disliking Tamara (well I did anyway) but she does grow on you and because she eventually learns the errors of her ways and sees that there is a bigger picture than her little corner of the universe you actually begin to love her.

 
I felt like this was more of a mystery or suspense novel as opposed to Ahern’s usual fantastical love story feel. We did have a fantasy element in there with the diary that tells the future but to be honest I felt like that was only a sideline to the main story and that Tamara would have figured it out on her own anyway. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, personally I found it refreshing, but I suppose some people who adore Cecelia for the fantastical element alone may be a little disappointed, I’m not sure.

 
All in all, I enjoyed it and found it a nice change from Ahern’s usual style.

 
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Posted by on July 4, 2012 in Book Review

 

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