Review: Divergent by Veronica Moss


Beatrice “Tris” Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth’s dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth’s young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

I read this in July 2011 and July was a great month for reading. I’d been seeing reviews for Divergent pop up here and there before I really took any notice (I’ve kinda developed a thing for dystopia since, and as of yet it’s never disappointed me), so once it was put on my TBR pile it wasn’t long before I picked it up.

I’ve only read a couple of Dystopic stories before this but I’ve really liked the few I’ve read and I had a feeling I’d like this too, but saying that I’ve been a pretty bad judge of new books lately (unknown to me authors). However, I wasn’t surprised to find my first thought was right. I loved it.

The story was engaging and I really liked the tone and pace. I settled into it quite quickly, then found myself carried along.

I liked Tris. Her attitude fitted her real well and was believable for someone in her situation. Both Four and Eric caught my attention early on. I thought Eric was interesting and Four intriguing. I really wanted to get to know both of them better. I liked that at first I didn’t know who to trust out of the two, or if in fact I could trust either of them.

I enjoyed reading about the other characters as well, and the world building was really effective. I don’t want to say much for fear of giving anything way. I loved that I didn’t know much about the story before I I started read it.

Divergent is the first in a series (I’m not sure how many are expected to be written), but it could be read as a stand alone. I hope it’s just the start though as I really do want to read more by this author.

Edit: Insurgent is just out (May 1st 2012)… very late posting review

Rating: 6/6 – Loved It

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Review: Shady Lady (Corine Solomon #3) by Ann Aguirre

I’d spent my whole life settling, trying not to attract attention, and generally doing whatever it took to keep other people happy. I didn’t want to do that again. Not when I was finally comfortable in my own skin. Sure, there were certain challenges, like a drug lord who wanted me dead, and the fact that I owed a demon a debt that he could call due at any moment. But everybody’s got problems, right?

Whenever Corine Solomon touches an object, she immediately knows its history. But her own future concerns her more and more. Now back in Mexico, she’s running her pawnshop and trying to get a handle on her strange new powers, for she might need them. And soon. 

Then former ally Kel Ferguson walks through her door. Heavily muscled and tattooed, Kel looks like a convict but calls himself a holy warrior. This time, he carries a warning for Corine: the Montoya cartel is coming for her—but they don’t just pack automatic weapons. The Montoyas use warlocks, shamans, voodoo priests—anything to terminate trouble. And Corine has become enemy number one.

I don’t know where to start, I really don’t. If I split the book into 3 parts I can say that I love parts 1 and 3. I still have a wtf face about part 2.

I was actually glad that there was no love triangle. It gave me a break from the ‘no pay off’ from books 1 and 2.
The plot seemed tighter. If I’m being honest I’m still disappointed by the end of Hell Fire. Chance is out of sight out of mind. He’s mentioned a few times but one of the times really didn’t do him justice at all. But I’ve stopped trusting Corine when it comes to her emotions. She was wrong abut Chances feelings towards her in book 1, then she just seemed so confused in book 2, and now she’s saying she didn’t love chance, but I think she does, deep down.

There may be spoilers ahead…

Let’s now talk about part 3. Hmm. It seemed to have took a turn into generic young adult fiction with all the archangel talk. “[She] has yet to choose her path…” I’m not a great fan of Kel, not really. I don’t mind him I just think he’s dull, and I’m surprised THAT happened. Really surprised. I saw that kiss coming a mile off, but not THAT. It just left me feeling icky.

“With all this moaning I’m doing you’d be forgiven for believing that I’m not a fan f this book, but you’d be wrong. I think it’s very nearly my favourite out of the three”. Yes, that’s what I wrote while reading. I can’t say that now. Part 2 was just too left field. I’d now say book one, Blue Diablo is my fave.

A few thoughts…

I couldn’t take the torture scene seriously. Wow. Want lime to go with that? If that’s all Good has to offer, Evil is going kick their ass.

Well let just say just say I didn’t expect that turn of events. Again, wow.

Kel’s started to bore me. At first he seemed dangerous, then mysterious, but now after hearing him talk he’s getting boring :/

“Once, I’d done a little E…” Seemed a little out of the blue. There was another drug reference later on (by Kel). Yes drugs are bad, no I don’t mind them in my reading (hello there Unholy Ghost), but it just came out on nowhere.

I don’t know how I feel about the ending. I felt kinda let down. Chances return felt flat after Aguirre’s constant attempt to sell Jessie to me.

This would have gained a higher rating if it wasn’t for part 2.

Rating: 4/6 – I liked it

Review: Blue Diablo (Corine Solomon #1) by Ann Aguirre

Other women change their hair color on a whim or to impress a new boyfriend; Corinne Solomon dyes hers because she’s running scared. She’s a handler, a paranormal who can touch something and almost instantly know its history and, if she’s lucky (or unlucky) its future, too. Now hiding out in Mexico, she wants to keep a low profile, but when people come begging for her help, she can’t refuse, although she knows that she should know better.

My first attempt of reading this book didn’t go well. Nothing to do with the book. It was one of those times when I didn’t know what to read next so tried about 4 different books before coming back to it, after dismissing it the first time. There was no particular reason really. It wasn’t as if I read a few pages then decided, um no, not for me. I was just distracted with the hunt for another book. But after trying Geist, Rosemary and Rue, and something else which I forgot, I finally came back to this. Maybe the fact that I was trying to ignore Darkfever had something to do with my lack of decisiveness.

I instantly like both Corine and Chance. I loved the simmering tension between them. It was paced well and had great action scenes.

I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to see more of Corine’s gift (be it one that leaves scars on her hands: she’s a handler. Someone who can read the history of an item when she touches it). I think more could have been made of it, or at least it would have been nice to learn more about it.

The other players are well rounded and likable, especially Chunch.

The plot was a bit sketchy at times, and although I did love the love triangle, I did feel a little let down that nothing came of any of it. It paid such a big part of the narration that to have no kind of release was a bit mean of Aguirre. Although this is the first of a series so…

A great start to a promising new-to-me urban fantasy series. I really enjoyed it.

Rating: 5/6 – really liked it 

Review: Pale Demon (Rachel Morgan/The Hollows #9) by Kim Harrison

Condemned to death for black magic and shunned, Rachel Morgan has three days to somehow get to the annual witches convention in San Francisco and clear her name. If she fails, the only way she can escape death is to live in the demonic ever after . . . for ever after. 

Banned from the flight lists, Rachel teams up with elven tycoon Trent Kalamack, headed for the West Coast for his own mysterious business. But Rachel isn’t the only passanger along for the ride. Can a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car survive for over 2,300 miles? And that’s not counting the assassin on their tail. 

A fearsome demon walks the sunlight, freed after centuries of torment to slay the innocent and devour souls. But his ultimate prey is Rachel Morgan. While the powerful witch with nerves of steel will do whatever it takes to stay alive, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her

I was a little worried when I started this book because I really struggled to connect to Black Magic Sanction. Let’s just say that I was pleased that it didn’t happen here.

I was looking forward to seeing how the full moon ride with Trent played out, if we got to see it at all. I really did as I really liked and the ending of WWBC, so I was kinda disappointed.

I really enjoyed the roadtrip. It was eventful but not overly so. I also started liking trent a little more. I usually find him quite the arsehole so it was good that he kept that to himself during the journey. I’ve never been a Rachel/Trent fan (or a Rachel/Al/Nick/Pierce fan for that matter) but I saw flashes here that I liked, but then I’d remember the arseholey things he’d said/done in the past. Because let’s face it he has been a total arsehole to Rachel in the previous books.

I’ll admit that I teared up quite a few times in the second half of the book (one time on the bloody bus on the way home from work!). I think this is my favourite book so far, in fact I think it’s the first to get 5 stars from me.

Now I’m caught up. Booo!

Rating: 6/6 – It Was Amazing

Review: Web of Lies (Elemental Assassin #2) by Jennifer Estep

You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I’m retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren’t aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Violet and her grandfather protect their property from an evil coalmining tycoon, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m really retired. So is Detective Donovan Caine. The only honest cop in Ashland is having a real hard time reconciling his attraction to me with his Boy Scout mentality. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I’m a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic thrown in, but my heart isn’t made of solid rock. Luckily, Gin Blanco always gets her man . . . dead or alive.

I jumped straight into this after finishing spider’s Bite and I wasn’t disappointed. Another action packed installment from the elemental assassin series.

I was really rooting for Caine in Spider’s Bite, but I’ve lost patience with him now. Seriously, where does he get off? I’m getting the feeling that when Gin falls she falls hard and fast. She’s worth more than being a guilty lay. Caine seems to be one of them guys who’d keep Gin as his dirty little secret. She really needs to walk away. But I think that it’ll be Caine who has to back off, though, because I don’t think Gin will any time soon.

Oh Owen, Owen, Owen. I like you, I really do. There’s more to this guy, I just know there is. Now that Donovan is taking the moral high ground the is way is open for Owen, and I think he’d be good for Gin, and a good challenge. I never got the feeling that Gin and Caine were evenly matched, but I think she’s met her match with Owen. There more to him for sure. I’m excited to see where it goes.

A fantastic read

Rating: 6/6 – It Was Amazing

Review: Spider’s Bite (Elemental Assassin #1)

They call me the Spider. I’m the most feared assassin in the South — when I’m not busy at the Pork Pit cooking up the best barbecue in Ashland. As a Stone elemental, I can hear everything from the whispers of the gravel beneath my feet to the vibrations of the soaring Appalachian Mountains above me. My Ice magic also comes in handy for making the occasional knife. But I don’t use my powers on the job unless I absolutely have to. Call it professional pride.

Now that a ruthless Air elemental has double-crossed me and killed my handler, I’m out for revenge. And I’ll exterminate anyone who gets in my way — good or bad. I may look hot, but I’m still one of the bad guys. Which is why I’m in trouble, since irresistibly rugged Detective Donovan Caine has agreed to help me. The last thing this coldhearted killer needs when I’m battling a magic more powerful than my own is a sexy distraction…especially when Donovan wants me dead just as much as the enemy.

Well whoa! I really didn’t expect that beginning! As you can most probably tell I didn’t read the blurb. But after the initial shock I soon settled into it, then quickly found myself hooked.

I didn’t think I’d like Gin as much as I did. I really liked her no apologies attitude. She is what she is, and she’s good at it. Even though we don’t get to know much about Fletcher I still felt Gin’s pain at his torture and death, and understood her need for revenge.

I liked Finn and I liked the close sibling-like relationship he has with Gin. I admit I got a little something in my eye when Finn hugs Gin and tell’s her he thought he lost her too. I hope he sticks around in the next book. Actually, there wasn’t anyone I didn’t like, or that got on my nerves.

It was a great read. The pages (clicks!) went by unnoticed as I was that engrossed. Definitely a series to go on my favourite list. It doesn’t have the humour of The Disillusionists series, but it would come a close second if I judged it based on how much I enjoyed the story 🙂

Rating: 6/6 – It Was Amazing

Review: For a Few Demons More (Rachel Morgan/The Hollows #5) by Kim Harrison

Witch and independent bounty hunter Rachel Morgan has always managed to stay just ahead of trouble… until now. So she’s dating a vampire, lives with another one, and is hiding a deadly ancient artifact that could change Inderland society forever–so what? But now her past has caught up with her. A serial killer stalks the Hollows, claiming victims across society and igniting a vicious Inderland gang war, while the vampire master Piscary is set free, and Rachel’s demonic nemesis Algaliarept has discovered a way to move freely in the Hollows and will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. To stop the deadly battle for supremacy that follows, Rachel faces a terrible choice, and a bitter price almost too steep to pay.

*I’m aware that the cover above is for the hardback. I just like it way more than the other.*

****SPOILERS****

SERIOUSLY, look away now…

Wow we were really dumped into the middle of it at the start there, weren’t we!

I found it a difficult to settle into Rachel this time round. I don’t know why. She seemed a little whiney and purposely difficult during the dramatics with Ceri and Newt. Why was she being so awkward? She knows that Ceri is capable so why all the arsing around? I think my problem was that I’d come straight from reading justine (the disillusionist trilogy), and she’s a bit more ‘together’ than Rachel. Actually, a lot more.

Rachel was still on Ivy’s case. It’s kinda lost its heat with all the toing and froing. I know they’re trying to find balance, but GAH, do it already.

You still here? You probably need to look away for this next sentence…

Okay, I fess up. This isn’t really a biggy. I just don’t want to ruin it for anyone in case it spoils the emotional impact, if you’re inclined to have one that is. I totally felt her utter dispare when she was told Brett had been killed. It was so sad. We didn’t really know much about him, but come on, he only wanted a pack; to belong to someone 😦 I was just shocked.

I actually had tears in my eyes when rachel kicked Jenks out of the car, telling him to look after his family. I think it was because I kinda knew what was coming (YES, I refused to look away when I was told to!)

The second half of this book is by far the best of this series so far. I just couldn’t put it down, every thing was just spiralling out of control and I couldn’t drag my eyes away.

I think this one might be my fave of the series.

Rating: 6/6 – It Was Amazing

Monthly Round Up: May

Reading has definitely slowed down these last few months but then I guessed it would. Only 6 books read. I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately. I have 7 books on the go, 6 of which I started but couldn’t really get into. Grave Witch was a really good read and Hunted by the Others received the lowest rating by me this month, and was the biggest let down. Most anticipated as Hard Bitten and it didn’t let me down.

52. Hell Fire, Ann Aguirre
53. Shady Lady, Ann Aguirre
54. Hard Bitten, Chloe Neill
55. The Restorer, Amanda stevens
56. Grave Witch, Kalayna Price
57. Hunted by The Others, jessie Haynes

Review: Magic on the Hunt (Allie Breckstrom #6)

In the secret lockup of the Authority, the council that decides what can and can’t be done with magic, an undead magic user has possessed one of the prisoners. He wants his freedom-and then some. Now Allie Beckstrom and her lover, Zayvion, are the first line of defense against the chaos he’s about to unleash on the city of Portland

It’d only been a few months since I read the first 4 books but I really do hate waiting. I pre-ordered this to ensure I recieved it straight away, and even marked in my diary so I wouldn’t forget. So as you can see I was just a little excited.

I moaned about about Allie a lot in my review of the last book. She was driving me crazy with all the dad hate. So I’m glad to say I didn’t have any issues with this instalment. It was a great read. I’d even go as far as saying it was back to it’s best but I didn’t dislike the story last time, Allie just got on my nerves. I really love Shame and there was a lot of him so of course I was happy 😀

I was a little concerned about Allie and Zay at the start. There didn’t seem to be any emotional connection between them, or maybe I’d lost my connection with them both, IDK. I couldn’t put my finger on it but something was off (even with the short steamy kisses). I thought we were being prepared for a split or something.

Things kicked off for me once Allie brought in the hounds. I was hooked from then on. Shame was great. Have I mentioned how much I love him? The plot was great, and I really enjoyed seeing Allie, Zay, Shame, and Terric work as a team. They’re awesome together.

Over 70% in and things still seemed abit off between the two leads and it was niggling at me. There was an edge to Zay that’d not been there before, except maybe in the first book. There’s a lot of pushing and pulling. I love Zen Zay but I could’t help thinking there was something more to it.

The next instalment is out sometime in November (I think) and I can’t wait, because the ending… Well, yeah. Although I’m sure it won’t go there, it sure did put a smile on my face.

5/6 – really liked it

Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee – whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not – stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden – a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

Nothing gets me ‘into’ a story quicker than trying to escape another story that’s boring me. That’s what happened here. I’d started to read Holidays are Hell (an anthology; which I’m not good with anyway). I was only reading it for Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan short. Unfortunately after a while I found myself skipping whole paragraphs trying to avoid whatever his name was; him with the awkward flowery speech. And avoid him I did.

This was my second venture into dystopic fiction, and, again (because I loved The Hunger Games), I really liked it. I read it for March’s Book Club over at Calico Reaction. I’d voted for it, so I was looking forward to it even though I’ve still to read The Curse of the Charlion from January (I don’t know why I’m having issues finishing that. Maybe because I haven’t given myself time to actually get into it properly) I didn’t matter to me that I didn’t read it in the allotted time. I was just pleased I’d read it, having failed to read Charlion.

I liked Todd. I liked the tone of his voice. The informal dialogue worked really well and I settled into it right away. I loved that he had a god damn dog that he didn’t god damn want. I loved Manchee. Manchee made me smile.

I’m not sure why certain words were spelt a certain way but it didn’t interfere with the reading. They are phonically correct; it was usually ‘tion’ words (statshun, communicashun) but I don’t know if this had any meaning to it.

The one thing that irritated me (although irritated may be a little strong); why didn’t they just read the bloody book? Okay, It must be horrid and embarrassing not being able to read, and seemingly not knowing anything about much at all, but if he’d just let Viola read that bloody book he might have got a clue.

I couldn’t help but root for him though. The more you read the more you realise how vulnerable he is. It’s heart breaking. He’s helpless and everything is out of his control. He can’t even kill when he really, really needs to (except obviously that one time when I really didn’t want him to.. No one wanted him to!). Things got so bad at one point that he starts hallucinating, and his personality splits. It was hard to feel any kind of hope.

It didn’t grip me as The Hunger Games did, and it really isn’t a happy read. At least with the Hunger Games I felt that there was hope. I didn’t feel that reading this. But it was compelling; you want to read on.

The message I’m left with is ignorance breeds ignorance. But I’m not sure that’s the right one. I don’t know if I’m going to read the next in the series as I’ve heard that it doesn’t get any better for Todd or Viola, and that just fills me with dread.

Rating: 5/6 – Really Liked It