Four: A Divergent Collection – Veronica Roth

four

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Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #0.1-0.4

Pages: 304

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Readers first encountered Tobias Eaton as Four in Divergent. His voice is an integral part of Allegiant. Readers will find more of this charismatic character’s backstory told from his own perspective in Four: A Divergent Collection. When read together, these long narrative pieces illuminate the defining moments in Tobias Eaton’s life.

The first three pieces in this volume The Transfer, The Initiate, and The Son follow Tobias’s transfer from Abnegation to Dauntless, his Dauntless initiation, and the first clues that a foul plan is brewing in the leadership of two factions.

The fourth story, The Traitor, runs parallel with the events of Divergent, giving readers a glimpse into the decisions of loyalty and love that Tobias makes in the weeks after he meets Tris Prior.

I think I have made it pretty clear with my previous reviews of the last two books of the Divergent saga that those books are not among my favourite. Not by a really long shot. Like so long you can’t see the end of it. I bought a book box with the four books of the saga, so I kind of trapped myself there. Once bought, my obligation as a reader (and as a guy who doesn’t like to waste money) was to read them. Even the last one, which is actually a prequel from the point of view of Tobias, a.k.a Four. I’m going to keep this review short and simple, because I have little to say about the book.

This book is a collection of short stories following the character Tobias. From his final days in the Abnegation faction to a retelling of the book Divergent. Followed by some delete scenes of the first book to delight the faithful readers and to remind the ones like me why this saga is not for us.

The best part of the book is that most of it is free of that horrendous character called Tris. Yes, it’s no secret that I don’t like her at all. My dislike towards Four is not so strong (even though by the end of Allegiant I was ready to set him on fire…), so I knew I was going to be able to stomach the first short stories: The Trannsfer, The Initiate and The Son. My standars for this book were so low, that those first stories came as a surpise. I liked them. I liked to get to witness from the point of view of Tobias the action that we were merely told in previous books.

They are intesresting, fast paced, linking beautifully with the plot of the saga and with characters more enjoyable than I was expecting. Were was that Zeke or Shauna when we needed them the most? I can’t actually remember. I know they are present in the other books at some point, but I can’t remember their role in the story. Possibly, interpolating the fate of good characters in the hands of this author, their role was just to be killed leaving them totally underdeveloped. But the past is the past, I will focus on this book which is actually the past of the characters… Man, prequels… They always mess my internal timeline!

Before getting totally derailed, what I wanted to say is that the first three stories are good. Really good. No buts. But the fourth (The Traitor) and those deleted scenes… Someone wants to make an educated guess who is in those stories? Yeah, Tris. I’m not going to be too cruel with that character, because she is not the only reason why I didn’t like them. I didn’t like those stories because they were mostly a retelling of the Divergent book. I’m not fan of reading a book more than once and it would be out of the question for a book I didn’t enjoy. So, being “forced” to re-read some parts of it was hard. And I can only say that I’m glad it is over.

So, the book as a whole is just ok. Although, if I’m being honest, I think is the book of the saga I have enjoyed the most.

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2019 – Book Gallery

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Eden Chip – Scott Cramer

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Author: Scott Cramer
Pages: 294

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Thanks to nanochips implanted in human brains, the world is at peace in 2055. But not everyone likes having their emotions controlled, or their religion suppressed.

Eighteen-year-old Raissa embarks upon a perilous mission to free the world, just days before the release of nanochip Version 7, which will broadcast every citizen’s thoughts to the Collective.

The countdown has started, and Raissa must make choices that jeopardize the lives of billions, including the only boy she has ever loved.

I must be running out of luck with the giveaways, bercause I haven’t won one in months. A digital copy of Eden Chip is the last one. It also came with a couple of signed bookmarks, so I must thank the author for them! Science-Fiction is a genre I enjoy, but I barely touch due to lack of time (and a crazy long TBR list!!), so I was excited to put my hands in this world controlled by chips!!

The author takes us to the near future (2055 is just around the corner). A scientist called Doctor Pretov has built a nanochip using a new programming language named M-Code, that only him and Ashminov (his rival and true inventor of the code) understand. Those chips are implanted in every single human being and it has been used to erradicate violence, intolerance and many other bad things. It has also been used to ban religious beliefs and even all kind of unproductive emotions. What it started as a way to improve humankind, it has become a control instrument for a madman. Obviously there is a resistance and they have a plan (a real one, not like the Cylon’s plan…).

The setting is pretty amazing. I love all the chip history and the details about every version. I could have taken a lot more, but the author prefers to keep a light pace in order no to bore the readers. That is possibly the main strength of the book. In every page there is something happening, no matter if it’s a revelation, a new important data about the future or a fight scene. Even though there is no time to soak in the information we are given before getting something else, it is threaded in a way that doesn’t let the reader get lost. All those words could have been summarized with: What a ride!!

Even though I congratulate on the good pace of the plot, it hits a bump in the last quarter. In my opinion, the end is stretched unnecessarily to increase the drama… but the only thing that is really increased is my boredom. During the last chapters I lost complete interest in the story and I just wanted to get over it. A condensed version of that part would have done much more credit to the rest of the book. It is not a bad ending per se… just a bit too long.

To unravel the story, we follow three characters: Raissa, Caleb and Ashminov. Raissa is the rebel who wants to get rid of Petrov and the chip. Ashminov is the developer of the chip that would liberate humankind. And poor Caleb is just a guy who loves his job and chip, but gets dragged into the plot to take it down. The characters are the perfect fit por the story, but i won’t recall any of them with any kind of special fondness. They are just pawns for the story. The most interesting part, character-wise, was the role of Caleb’s sister. I think that was the only moment in the book when I felt more engaged to the characters than to the story.

During the whole book I was wondering if I would be pro-chip or not. I obviously wouldn’t want something as drastic as the chips found in this book, but the first iterations of the hardware and software to avoid violence and crappy human behaviour in general sound pretty sweet. We seem incapable of getting there by our own means, so maybe a technological hack would do us a solid. Too bad something like that tends to be easily polluted by people with no real interest in human improvement (like our dear Doctor Petrov from the book)…

Strong story, really nice pace and good enough characters are a win combination. There are some bumps along the way, but in general is worthy of the time invested. I will have to check other books by this author to see if there is something that catches my eye!

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2019 – Book Gallery

Allegiant – Veronica Roth

allegiant

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Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #3

Pages: 544

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The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningliess. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend to complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Finally!! I have finished this trilogy I started so long ago. I must be honest: it has been quite disappointing. I like reading dystopian young adult books, but there are a lot of better books than these ones in that field. A shame, because the worldbuilding is actually nice, but the author wraps it with an emotionless story and boring characters…

After the second book, the factionless people led by Tobias’ mother are in control of the city and the factions are no more. But now they know there is someone else beyond their walls and Tris’ and company decide to take their chances outside the city to discover what the hell is going on. The Allegiant is a group of rebels against the factionless that want to mantain the factions. That group helps the main characters to leave so they can purchase their new quest.

And what a quest!! The author has left for the end a lot of new and juicy data. A LOT! It seems a totally different world with new governments, new factions, new politics… new everything!! So exciting! I was like a kid with new shoes the first chapters, waiting for the new revelations to mash with the old ones and start a massive conflict that would make me forget why I didn’t like the previous books. 500 pages later I’m still waiting… Why does the author create such a massive new input if it’s barely used? And worst of all: she forgets almost completely about the original city… the place where the action took place in the other books. It feels like she is starting something new with zero interest of finishing the story that came before. The result is a book I’m eager to forget.

And the lack of good characters in the spotlight is also very present in the third book. This time the story is told from the point of view of Tris and Tobias (I think the other books were only Tris’ point of view, but I could be wrong). Those two unnerve me every single page… The most uncharamistic characters I’ve met in a very long time. Their relationship is a pain to read… Always with the trust issues and the yelling… I’m glad the end makes it pretty clear that they won’t be together, because the couple was very unhealthy. I dind’t want to tell this spoiler, but taking into account is the only thing I have liked about it I won’t resist: Tris dies!! That’s the best part of the book. We even get to enjoy a bunch of chapters without this annoying character!! That’s why the book has got a second star.

Maybe it’s cruel, but this trilogy has really pissed me off with the character treatment. The author has zero respect for most of the supporting characters of the saga who are much more interesting than the main couple. It seems everything has to be Tris and Tobias. The rest can go to Hell… So yeah, I didn’t drop a single tear when Tris died. Actually, I was even relieved. I must admit I was extra angry due to Uriah’s situation. My favourite character once again poorly used in the story. Removed from the board in such an absurd way… If I keep thinking about it I will start fuming again.

The book is too focused in Tris’ mother real past. It’s really weird that the characters from the compoung ignore Caleb so bluntly. He is also her son… But it’s Caleb, so making no sense around him is nothing new… I still don’t understand what Veronica was trying to do with him. The absurd change in the second book remains unexplained through this one. I think the goal is to make us hate him, but in my case is just the opposite. Caleb is just a victim of mediocre storytelling.

So, nothing to save here. It’s an end that doesn’t feel like an end. So much wasted potential… If the author didn’t try so hard to sell us Tris as the hero of the tale, maybe she could have spent more time building a better story and doing justice to the huge cast of characters. I have another book titled Four, but I think it is a precuel. Too bad. I would have liked to take peek to the future of these guys, because it doesn’t look very promising. I’ll read it anyway. Not anytime soon, though. I need to chill first and try to forget the parts of this book that make my blood boil.

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2018 – Book Gallery

Insurgent – Veronica Roth

insurgent

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Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #2

Pages: 545

youngscifidystopiafirst_personweakangry

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.

I read Divergent a long time ago and I didn’t like it. I thought I wasn’t going to keep reading the saga, buuuut here I am. I guess a 3-star mark is too much for this book. I must be feeling generous… Granted, it’s not as boring as the first one; but it lacks emotion and, more importantly, charisma everywhere.

As in the first book, we follow the story through Tris’ eyes. We have her, her fellow Dauntless mates, Abnegation survivors and some Erudite running all over that strange future trying to escape the evil Erudite scientists and Dauntless traitors. They need to forge some new alliances to go against the bad guys. The Erudite want to be the supreme leaders, controlling everyone with their simulations. Obviously, Divergent are a problem that they want to solve as fast as possible.

There should have been a lot of action taking into account what the author was trying to tell, but the book doesn’t have that much movement. It’s just some running, several places to hide and some weird plans to overthrow the Erudite faction. It’s not as boring as the first one… There are some bursts of action that keep things mildly enjoyable, but in the end the book feels hollow. More than 500 pages of an easy to forget story. I don’t think what we are told is even important for the saga… Not even the end, which was supposed to be a big revelation. A big disappointment if you ask me. But I will be a good reader and wait for a better explanation of the ending in the next book before whining about it too much.

Tris is obviously the main character of the story and a cancer to it. She is SO boring and her lack of charisma such a burden for this saga… Being a first person book that is a huge problem. There is no way around it. The reader can get away from a character that they don’t like. Tris is sadly everywhere… I could tolerate her if there were more respect for the rest of the characters. The author kills her creations in such an uninteresting way… It has gotten on my nerves, actually. Marlene, Lynn, Fernando… Why does she have to kill the few characters that make the book interesting? Even worst, their deaths are meaningless… And don’t me start talking about Caleb… I’m beyond pissed off. One time he is having a good time with an Abnegation survivor and the rest he is an Erudite jerk… What have I missed???

I love the faction division. What I do not like at all is the way the author is pushing how Dauntless are the cool guys. They are not cool at all. They are just a bunch of bullies who think they are very honorable. I hate how Amity, Abnegation and Candor are displayed in this saga… As if what they represent is something to be mocked. Something less than the “I do what I want” lifestyle of the Dauntless faction. That is one of the reasons I have such a hard time enjoying these books… Maybe with better main characters I could bear it (wishful thinking). Could Veronica rewrite the story with Christina and Uriah as the main couple? Dropping the first person point of view, please.

Talking about a couple… What a pain in the ass has been reading Tris’ and Tobias’ scenes. If that is what love looks like, let me stay single, please!! They lie all the time. They don’t trust each other and most of her conversations are just yelling and finger pointing. A very unhealthy relationship if you ask me…

And yet I have to insist that I have liked this better than the first one. Will Allegiant finally hook me up or will I forget this trilogy as soon as I end it? I will try to read the third one this year to answer that.

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2018 – Book Gallery