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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All The Right Moves – Becca Taylor

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Author: Becca Taylor
Pages: 233

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Being called the worst boyfriend can do a number on a man’s ego.
But I handled it the way any full-grown adult male would—by eating copious amounts of carbs and wallowing over whether I was good enough.
I admit, it wasn’t the best of moments, but it made me realize I needed answers to the question, what are women looking for inside and out of the bedroom?
After I researched the subject, I compiled my data into a solution.

Thirty days.
Thirty right moves.

But I needed to test out my newfound theories, and my best friend, Tenley, was going to help.
It was a foolproof plan.
We would date and act like a real couple, all in the name of research. And when the thirty days were up, we would go back to being just friends.
Piece of cake, right?
Only, I forgot to take into consideration the multiple outcomes. Specifically, the one where it left me wanting more and refusing to go back to what we were… ever again.

What is the main thing I expect from a Romantic Comedy novel? To have some good laughs along the romance. Witty banter and funny situations. Some belly ache due to a really bad joke. Sense of humor in general. So, let me be disappointed if a so-called Romantic Comedy is anything except comedic. It’s harsh, but it is the truth. Nonetheless, it’s a nice reading that I have enjoyed.

The story is mostly told from the point of view of Preston, a 25-yearl-old guy whose girlfriend has just dumped him. That same girlfriend wrote a list about the worst attributes of Preston and that made the guy to apply his statistical skills to forge his own list with the steps to become the perfect date. On the other hand we have Tenñey, the best friend forever of said guy who has always been in love with him but has neves got the guts to say something fearing it could destroy their friendship. Lucky for her, Preston decides that she would be the perfect guinea pig for his recently minted list to become a mind-blowing lover.

When I read the blurb I was so down for this. I thought that Preston was going to be kind of a crappy guy whose cockiness would let him believe he could make a list to be irresistible to any girl. I was expecting the sweet erosion of the macho male realizing little by little that what he has is not what women want. The typical case of the caterpillar becoming a butterfly. A path that should be ridden with lots of funny situations and banter. But the truth is far from that and it’s the main issue I have with this book. All the plot is based on Chanel breaking up with Preston because he sucks at everything surrounding a romantic couple. But since the beginning we take notice that Chanel’s opinion doesn’t hold any weight. She is stuck in her teenage years and all her comments in the book are petty and utterly immature. So… why the hell Preston takes it so seriously??? He makes the list to become a better boyfriend, but he doesn’t really need one and he barely uses it during the book. What I was sold as the foundation of the story is just a passing moment that doesn’t make any sense…

For the sake of the story, I tried to believe that Preston needed the list and I was ready to enjoy his application of said ways to improve himself. Here comes the second issue. He picks his best friend, Tenley, to test it out. I don’t know if it was meant to be a funny situation, but for me was very awkward and not enjoyable at all. So yes, the beginning of this book wasn’t working for me. I had too many issues with it and none of the humor I was promised. Thankfully, once the first barrier is passed; it is pretty easy to start getting along with the main characters.

The main strength, and I dare to say the only one, is the cast of the book. Alone, Preston and Tenley are nothing out of the extraordinary, but together… There is nothing better in a Romance book that a couple you totally believe in. The author sold me the purest love she could come up with and I bought it!! They are so sweet together that the sex scenes, even when falling in the light espectrum, are really hot. I also have to thank the author for using Preston point of view during some of those scenes. In many M/F books with dual point of view, the sexy times are always related from the woman point of view; so this has been a welcome change.

The peak moment is almost at the end, when their love story is beautifully summarized with just one word: right. That is how it felt and I approve that the author didn’t try to overexplain their feelings. It wasn’t needed. It’s one of those cases where the love is so obvious that trying to rationalize it would ruin it. I even cried a little bit, becasue I felt truly happy for them. Yes, the couple won me over and I was totally invested.

It’s an uneventful book that I would never label it as Romantic Comedy with a misleading blurb and really sloppy beginning, but it compensates some of those weaknesses with a great couple. This is a standalone book, but it seems the author has created a Universe where all her books take place; so the characters could appear in other works. I’m curious. I’m a sucker for interconnected stories. I wasn’t impressed with the book, but learning about that has made me check more of Becca’s books.

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2019 – Book Gallery

FU: Fixer Uppers – Devon McCormack

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Author: Devon McCormack
Pages: 326

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I stand at the front door, naked. My bro’s roomie, Scott, is pissed about how much noise I made with the girl I just escorted out of their apartment, but I figured we were alone, and I couldn’t help that she liked to scream out to let me know she was enjoying herself. Just like I can’t help that the raging boner I have right now is for Scott, not her. I don’t know what it is about the angry glare he’s giving me that turns me on so much, but I just want to tug on his curly brown locks and hear him call out my name as I show him a good time.

Scott doesn’t want anything to do with me. At least, I think that’s the case, but I learn just how wrong I am one night when we wind up tearing each other’s clothes off and racing for the bedroom. He blows my mind…and well, me too. We spend the next few days messing around before I head back to California. That’s supposed to be the end of it. But after my sister makes a crap investment on a rundown house near my bro’s apartment in Atlanta, I jump at the opportunity to help her fix it up. I don’t want her to have to stay with our parents, who I’ve avoided since I left for college–don’t get me started.

Scott volunteers to work on the project too, which gives us plenty of time to have a little fun together. It’s supposed to be about fixing up the house, but the more time I spend with him, the more I realize it’s not the only fixer upper Scott’s working on. He’s doing something to me–making me better. And even though I’m heading back home when this is all over, I don’t want it to end. Because I’m falling for Scott…so hard.

I don’t usually feel confident towards a book whose blurb is so long and full of useless info, but the cover… The Eye Candy makes me weak and I end reading something that my more sensible senses were telling me to avoid. I must confess that those senses are usually muted, because if the cover catches my eye, I will add it to my TBR list without a second thought.

In this book we follow the story of Mikey, a successful engineer whose sex life is beyond epic; but nothing more serious than that. On the other hand we have Scott, a freelancer graphic designer who is still recovering from a break-up. Mikey lives in California, but he travels to Atlanta for a vacation to meet with the family. Instead of booking a room in a hotel, he prefers to crash in his brother apartment. There he meets the roommate: Scott. In the middle of a lot of family drama, an unexpected love blossoms…

Let’s start dissecting the story. Or better yet, the lack of it. It’s not a short book for the Romance genre, so I was expecting that something would happen. But it’s an endless loop of sex with some really boring and cringe worthy family drama. There is no real development for the characters. They start in Point A full force and by the end of the book they have barely moved from there… The emotional powerhouse of this book were the couple family conflicts of the main characters: Mikey’s parents and their weird relationship and Scott’s father with his “not-good-enough” attitude. I feel you, guys. I really do, but it gets into my nerves the way is handle. The author wants us to root for them, but the only thing I wanted to do was leave, close the door behind me and never look back. Shameful spectacle…

I would like to talk about the romance a little bit, but… what romance? It is rushed in the first chapters and going forward stays in the same position. They just have sex and more sex and more sex… And when they should talk to each other to mention their future, they just have more sex… No wonder they are so fit!! Are they really the perfect match from the first moment? Some disagreement would have made this book a lot better, because the characters would have done something different instead of the same thing over and over again.

And the characters don’t help either. I’ll start with the easy one: Scott. This guy is mostly OK except for his neurotic self-deprecation that drives everyone crazy (not in a good way), Mikey included. The total opposite is Mikey. I have no idea what the author was trying to create here. Such a chimera!! A lot of pieces that barely fit together, but we have to swallow the whole package… In some situations I can’t put up with his behaviour. He is so full of himself! And I don’t mean about his sexual cockiness, which is aceptable. I’m talking about the high horse he is riding whenever his parents are around. He is pretty selfish and shows several times that in his mind, his emotions and well-being are more important than those of his brother and sister. Mikey is incapable of looking beyond his belly button, creating several situatiuons in the book that are embarrassing even for the reader. He is only happy when everything is about him and everybody has pity on him… Veeeeery mature!!

When they are apart I don’t really like them, but when they are together it doesn’t get better… Mikey is constantly reduced to a bunch of muscles and a big penis. And when I say constantly, I mean constantly. I’m not sure if Scott would be able to describe his partner’s face, because he is always comenting on the same part of his body… And yes, the first time is fun, but after the hundredth… Thankfully the sex is rather good in several parts of the book, although there is so much that getting fed up with it will happen pretty soon, too.

This has been my first book by this author. Not a good first encounter. I will keep trying, though.

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2019 – Book Gallery

I Wanna Text You Up – Teagan Hunter

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Author: Teagan Hunter
Series: Text #2

Pages: 300

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ROOMMATE WANTED
Chicks or dudes welcome!

Looking for a new roomie? I have a place for you! Like your music loud? I own headphones. Enjoy having late-night guests over? Again, headphones. Want someone to help pay the bills? Do the dishes? Take out the trash? You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours (metaphorically, of course).

Check us out, getting along already.

Must be able to pay first and last month’s rent up front.
Must be okay with Breakfast & Beats.
No dogs.
No trying to sleep with me.
Two bedrooms. One bathroom.
$350/month plus electricity.

If interested, email ineedarobin@gmail.com.
P.S. Wiener pics sent directly to my grandmother. Don’t do that crap to her.

First book of the year!! Actually, my intention was for this one to be last of the past year, but life sometimes doesn’t want to follow my plans. I’m not going to lie. This is an awesome book to start a new year. Teagan Hunter doesn’t disappoint, even though I haven’t loved it as much as the first book of this saga.

This time the story focuses on Delia’s roomante, Zoe. Due to the fact that her best friend is moving out to live with Zach (who wouldn’t!!!), she is in need of a new roommate. So she has the happy idea to create a notice to pin it in a common board. You know, the one that you can touch… not the virtual copy that is used nowadays. And who is behind the perfect answer for the notice? No other than Delia’s ex-boyfriend: Caleb. They start flirting right away, but the relationship has two obstacles: Zoe’s fear of angering her best friend and Caleb’s mysterious past.

I have read this whole book with a huge smile from ear to ear. I love the easiness among the characters and all the witty banter. It makes them so much more lovable and approachable. Not to mention all the good laughs I have had following these crazy characters. I guess it lacks more of the surreal sense of humor of Zach and Delia (although there is good dosis of it) and it lays more heavily in the sexual innuendos. Luckily, Teagan is master at those and that kind of exchanges doesn’t make me cringe.

The author’s style makes me so comfortable reading the book. I find myself feeling extra-good and happy when I enter in the Text universe. That atmosphere helps a lot to fell in love with the characters. Especially Caleb. He is so dreamy. Aside from the obvious (Zoe killed me everytime she commented on the abdominal muscles… cruel woman!!), the guy can cook. And I mean really cook. He is also very attentive most of the time, responsible, a good listener and SO charming. I was on my toes dreading the other shoe dropping. That moment where the author would reveal some dark secret about the perfect guy that would break Zoe’s heart (I was more concerned about mine, though)… But in the end, his secret wasn’t that bad.

And maybe it’s in that part were the book feels a bit short. I missed more drama or a better developed one. Part of the issue is trying to make us believe that Delia would be pissed if Zoe dates Caleb. I mean, we have already met that girl. Zoe could have an orgy with all her best friend’s former lovers and Delia wouldn’t bat an eye. In my opinion, those doubts of Zoe should have been resolved sooner. The mysterious past of Caleb is also not such a big deal. I was expecting something that would put the relationship in danger and that would blemish Caleb’s perfect record (and give my heart a rest!!), but in the end his past is not really the issue.

There are still two more books on the Text saga. Two more books to enjoy these crazy and fun characters. I’m going to miss them once it is over. I will have to try other books by Teagan Hunter to see if I will find the same magic. By the way, I’m glad that these books have finally been grouped in a saga of stand-alone books. It helps a lot to read them in order.

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2019 – Book Gallery

King Consort – J.R. Gray

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Author: J.R. Gray
Pages: 279

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Avoiding sleeping with women was my specialty, an art form even. As the future King of England I couldn’t be caught sleeping with men. My whole life played out in front of the paparazzi, and they didn’t miss a thing.

I had a carefully crafted womanizing persona to maintain. My life came with rules, all of which I broke when I couldn’t resist a one night stand with the enemy: A beautiful paparazzo with a heart of gold. He may be the only person who doesn’t want me for my title, and he can never be anything more than my secret.

But secrets have a way of coming out and not only will they scare him away, but they’ll lose me the crown.

I was away from Romance books (and books in general) for several years and when I came back (2018) romance novels with Royals had become a huge deal. One of the current trends for a genre liable to have new ones every single year. Back then stepbrothers were all the rage!! This is my first taste of this flavour of the hour and I must say it wasn’t tasty enough…

In this book we meet Prince Louis of Britain, a womanizer who is going to inherit the Crown sooner or later. His misadventures with multiple women are well recorded in the media, but the truth is he is not the kind of guy who goes through female after female to quench his thirst. Actually, he doesn’t like women at all, but his hmosexuality must be a well kept secret due to the out of date rules of the monarchy. On the other hand; we have Xavier, a paparazzi who is not comfortable at all in his own skin. The attraction among them is very strong, but the relationship seems doomed before starting. Will they be able to make it work?

I’m going to focus first on the good part: the characters. Well, not all of them, but most. Louis has been a nice surprised. He seemed pompous with a stick through his… uuuhm… noble back parts? You get my meaning ;). But in reallity he is a really good guy who wants to make right to everyone surrounded him, especially his sister. The struggle of the Prince is the best part of the book and it makes the reader fall in love with the character quite easily. The guy has to deal with his secret, his troublemaker of a sister and the weight of the Crown. It’s a wonder he is able to keep a good humor most of the time.

With such a co-star, Xavier falls in the short side. It’s not a bad character, per se; but his constant insecurity bores me a little too much. I guess it can’t be easy to handle with the special life of Louis, but Xavier has too many demons that make him blind to what he has in front of him. It’s not all bad, though. His sense of honor and morals is remarkable in a profession that usually works in simple terms of prey and hunter. So, kudos for him!!

Too bad the rather good character are paired with a boring story that goes in circles over and over again and doesn’t even end. Yes, we knew since the beginning the difficult situation for their relationship. That’s chaprter 1. By charpetr 10 I expected the plot to have gone forward, but it was totally stuck. My hope gets renew when they travel to London, but it’s totally crushed with the most unemotional and sloppy ending I have read in a long time. The way everything ends makes me believe that the realtionship has no real future, just wishful thinking…

I can’t finish the review without mentioning the real star of the book and the main reason this book has got one more point in its mark than what it deserves: Doug. The bodyguards steals all the scenes when he has an appearance. His brotherly relationship with Louis and his peculiar way of dealing with Xavier bring always a simle to my face.

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2018 – Book Gallery

Wildcard: Volume Three – Missy Johnson

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Author: Missy Johnson
Series: Wildcard #3
Pages: 110

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She’s hiding something from me and I need to know what it is.
I’ve done so many things I never thought I’d do for this woman and it kills me that she’s lying to me.
How can I make her see that she can trust me?
Do I want to know the truth?
Sometimes things are easier when they’re left unsaid…

With this third part of Wildcard I finish a saga I started a long time ago. This is part of my let’s-finish-them resolution. Already December and this is the first one I have finished… about 50 more to go. Obviously, the resolution will still be active in the following years (and possibly in other lifes, if you believe in such things).

The second part ended with Scarlett hiring a hitman to take out her ex-boyfriend and with Ryder paying to the later a lot of money to leave Scarlett and Jake alone. There are too many secrets boling and, to put the cherry on top, Jake is again very sick…

Finally, the big bad secret of Scarlett is out in the world to be properly dissected. And yes, it was as bad as the author makes us believe during the previous books. It’s a crime she comitted willingly in order to get rid of Tony, her ex-boyfriend. It ended badly: rape. That is why she is so scared of letting Tony tell anyone. Scarlett doesn’t want to give Fate the chance to pull her apart from Jake. Hiring a hitman is a bit extreme, but the love of a mother is boundless…

Buuut, for some reason I still don’t understand, the author ignores the hitman bluntly. I mean, he is mentioned now and then, but he never fulfills his mission. I know some lowlifes beat him to it, but… shouldn’t he return the money? Or at least say something? I have no idea if he had any intention of doing it. Was he a conman? If that is the case… was Scarlett’s friend on it? I know it’s stupid, but I feel there is a whole book out there that for some reason wasn’t told.

Apart from that, I must repeat myself in my adoration towards Ryder. I feel so comfortable reading his point of view. He is such a nice guy with a cocky sense of humor that adds many layers to the enjoyment of the book. Once again, his interactions with Callie are the best part. I’m going to miss this guy like crazy, although he has a couple of huge missteps: the breaking and entering into Scarlett’s house to sort through her things and impersonating her to exchange some messages with Scarlett’s friend. With any other guy, it would be the end of my love for him. With Ryder, even though I don’t like it a tiny bit, I know it comes from a good place. He is worried sick about her and he doesn’t have the experience to deal with such emotions. He was a colder than ice jerk and he barely knows what to do with the warm sensation in his chest… So, yeah, big mistakes are bound to happen. Good to know he is a really fast learner.

Missy could have skipped the usual ending of a Romance Book: the I-barely-know-you-but-here-you-have-an-engagement-ring ending. It made me cringe a little bit, but if I’m being honest, it wasn’t as bad as in other books. I guess I can forgive Ryder even the most repetitive mistake of the Romance genre!!

According to the prmotions at then end, there is a book starred by Callie. Too bad it doesn’t say the title. I’ve lookng through Missy’s book, but I haven’t been able to find it. There is a fair chance of meeting Ryder in that one…

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2018 – Book Gallery

Allegiant – Veronica Roth

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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