REVIEW: Allegiant by Veronica Roth {Divergent #3}

23 November 2013

Series: Divergent #3
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: October 22nd 2013
Book: For Review*
Format: Hardback, Finished Copy
Pages: 526
Genre: Young Adult {YA}, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance, Fantasy.
Blurb: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 meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.
Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent. - from goodreads
“She taught me all about real sacrifice. That it should be done from love... That it should be done from necessity, not without exhausting all other options. That it should be done for people who need your strength because they don't have enough of their own.” 
Oh, where do I start. I've been waiting for such a long time for this book. Such a long time. And now, i've read it. The series is over. There is nothing more to read. I didn't get the book when it was first published, so i had to literally blindfold myself against any spoilers that might come my way. I didn't come across any. Some of my friends did, and it ruined the book for them. But - having not had any insight into what might lay ahead - aside from the warning that the ending was 'awful, terrible, it ruined the book', What did i honestly think of it?
"Since I was young, I have always known this: life damages us, everyone. We can't escape that damage. But now, I am also learning this: We can be mended. We mend each other."
Whenever a series comes to an end it is like having followed a rope leading through unknown terrain, blindly making your way through whatever is thrown at you. And when you finally get to the end there is the moment of exultation, that you have managed it, you've done it; but there is also the bittersweet moment where you think, 'you know, after all that, i think i want to do it again.' Or there are the moments of finality - where all you want to do is curl up in a ball and reflect on what just happened on your journey, and the knowledge you have that although you enjoyed the ride, you need to do other other things now - but you will go back to it later, you definitely will - because, why not? And also, now you've done it once; all the experiences you had the first time will differ from the second time, all the emotions you felt will differ - because you know the way now, it's a part of you: there will never be that novelty again but you will gain different pieces of knowledge from it the second, and third, and fourth time. And that's ok.
“Knowledge is power. Power to do evil...or power to do good. Power itself is not evil. So knowledge itself is not evil.” 
I enjoyed Allegiant. While it wasn't my favourite book ever, i thought it was ambitious and the dual point of view brought a new flavor to the book, with Four now stepping into the forefront of the action as well as Tris. The characters...well, Tris: she stays the same as ever; gutsy, determined, bold, fearless on the outside and terrified on the inside. Four however, changed in my eyes in this final book. Because he now came center stage every few chapters, we got an inside look at his feelings, his thoughts, the reasons for his actions; and honestly, he lost a bit of his Four-ness for me. In previous books he was the solid guider, comforter, helper; but also a tough many guy who hid his inner feelings. So when reading about his emotions and thoughts, it was strange. I'm not sure whether i liked it or not. I'm still undecided. However, i think the alternate POV worked well for one thing - and that was to emphasize the growing divide between Four and Tris as the book goes on.
"There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater. But sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life."
I particularly enjoyed the middle part of the book - when we got to learn about the reasons behind the creation of the factions, the creation of the Dauntless, Candor, Amity and Abnegation; the reason why there were Divergents among them and what they were there for - because they solved a purpose. Everything is there for a reason and while no-one knew about the outside world before the end of Insurgent: Divergent were just abnormal people. But in Allegiant we come to know the why's and how's of everything that has happened; and i found it really interesting to read about.
One little thing that annoyed me slightly was the amount of serums involved in the book. Memory serums, Death Serums, Truth Serums....there were practically serums popping out of everyone's ears there were so many different ones!
“I wonder if fears ever really go away, or if they just lose their power over us.” 
I'm trying to make this spoiler free so anyone can read it, and i'm guessing people know there will be deaths in this book - being a final book in a trilogy - but ohhhhhh...Whenever someone died my face would droop slightly - and if anyone had been looking it wouldn't have been pretty obvious that i was raring to punch something at that point. However, they were there for a reason, and the deaths were 'good deaths' in a way, because it worked with the story - and given the situation. If no-one had died it would have been pretty unrealistic. {If you haven't read the book. Stop reading here.}
“Change, like healing, takes time.”
And now we come to the ending. The ending that has sparked rage all over the internet, has produced totally unnecessary death threats aimed at Veronica Roth, and has made people claim that 'they hate the series and it ruined the book' in a moment of rash emotion.
I seem to be in the small minority of readers who liked the ending, thought it was necessary, thought it worked, thought it made the series/book better, and applaud the author for having the guts to do that even though she knew it would cause upset. I'm always the type of person who complains at the ending of series when, after 7 books and countless close-encounters, the main character pulls through and survives, against all the odds. Why? It annoys me no end. And having read Allegiant; i'm wondering why on earth other authors don't do the same thing as Veronica Roth. Sometimes a book needs something, whether the reader likes it or not. And in this case Tris dying was the right thing. If she hadn't died i wouldn't have liked the book's ending at all so *high five* Veronica Roth!
Allegiant is an ambitious, emotional roller-coaster of a ride. Told with two different perspectives, Tobias and Tris's we see their world go from an ordered plan of divided people, to a chaotic rebellion, learning new truths along the way to peace; some that will change their world forever. Not without its flaws, Veronica Roth presents an action-packed story that will force you to face fears you never thought would happen; make decisions, as Tris does, and will cause your heart to pound, your blood to pump around your body at twice its normal rate, and at the same time; to bond with characters that you will never forget.
*Thank you to Harper Collins for sending me this book free of charge. in exchange for an honest review.

the GIF tag || pt 1

18 November 2013

Today i'm posting a tag i made up after thinking, why not? I use GIFs a lot. I fangirl a lot. The two go together, so why not make a tag to show what type of GIF reactions you would use in certain situations. So the GIF tag was born! *drum roll*
when you meet: someone who likes reading
someone who hates reading
someone who reads
someone who doesn't read
someone who'ships' the same characters as you
waiting for the last book in a series
reading the last book in a series
finishing the last book in a series
fangirling 
book to film adaptions
book hangover
a character you love survives
when an author kills off a favourite character
seeing a book you want in someone else's hands
in a book shop
no money for books
finding out an author you love is writing a new book
I tag:
Amber {The Mile Long Bookshelf}
Ruby {Feed Me Books Now!!}
Zoe {Bookhi}
Sophie {A Day Dreamer's World}

book review : resist by sarah crossan

12 November 2013

Series: Breathe #2
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Published: October 10th 2013
Book: For Review*
Format: Paperback, Finished Copy
Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult (YA), Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Fantasy, Adventure, Survival
Blurb:
The sequel—and conclusion—to Sarah Crossan's Breathe. Three teen outlaws must survive on their own in a world without air, exiled outside the glass dome that protects what's left of human civilization. Gripping action, provocative ideas, and shocking revelations in a dystopian novel that fans of Patrick Ness and Veronica Roth will devour.
Bea, Alina, and Quinn are on the run. They started a rebellion and were thrown out of the pod, the only place where there's enough oxygen to breathe. Bea has lost her family. Alina has lost her home. And Quinn has lost his privileged life. Can they survive in the perilous Outlands? Can they finish the revolution they began? Especially when a young operative from the pod's Special Forces is sent after them. Their only chance is to stand together, even when terrible circumstances force them apart. When the future of human society is in danger, these four teens must decide where their allegiances lie. Sarah Crossan has created a dangerous, and shattered society in this wrenching, thought-provoking, and unforgettable post-apocalyptic novel. - from goodreads
Having loved Breathe i started this book with high hopes, and while some of my expectations were fulfilled, others were not. Following on from Breathe we find all the characters in some state of difficulty, deciding what to do next as they fear for their lives - to go and find the other Resistance hub or to stay in the Outlands. Alina has made her choice, Bea has become crushed and heart broken and Quinn is torn between wanting to protect her and follow his own mind, and as we read, we watch each of the characters come into their own and really fight for what they believe.
One thing i absolutely loved was the characters. Each of them were so unique and layered and showed off their own personalities. I especially enjoyed watching Bea grow and develop as a person. Having to cope with a devastating loss she shows a strong side of her that we haven't seen before, gone is the timid girl who was the polar opposite to Alina in the first book; she becomes fiery and determined to do anything she can to get back at the Ministry that have hurt her so much and i liked her so much more in Resist, she made her own decisions and sacrifices and thought for herself, instead of letting Quinn do everything for her.
We also get a new point of view for this book, which i found hard to get my head around at the beginning but as the book went on, i found it easier to remember who's view i was seeing as each character separated off from each other and went their own ways, battling their own demons and taking on their own responsibilities. A surprise character made an appearance in Resist as well which i was delighted to see, although i think this could have been developed a lot more.
Following on from this point about lack of development, i thought the ending felt a bit rushed and at first, when i had started reading this book, i thought it was a trilogy, then when i finished i was a bit like, 'oh, is that the end?' I definitely thought the ending could have been elaborated upon and explained a bit more but other than that i think the ending was perfectly alright.
Overall i found Resist to be a satisfying ending to the Breathe series. The world building, as i found in the first book was beautiful, and Sarah Crossan didn't hold anything back while painting a picture for us of the people in the Outlands and beyond, starved of oxygen and fighting for their lives. However, although i enjoyed it, i thought it lacked the spark and vibrance of the first book and this made me connect less with the characters, so i don't think i would re-read it again in a hurry.
*Thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

spectacular second books: giveaway

07 November 2013

Today I thought i'd do another giveaway for you guys, you know how i love them - so i decided on a giveaway for a few 'second books' i personally loved. I know some people didn't like some of them, bit i did and i'm sure lots of you did too..so without further ado, here are the books you could win!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
Geek Girl: Model Misfit by Holly Smale (Geek Girl #2)
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (The Maze Runner #2)
The Uprising by Lissa M Stasse (The Forsaken #2)
Fractured by Teri Terry (Slated #2)
Prodigy by Marie Lu (Legend #2)
Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #2)
----------------------------------------------------------------------
the rules.
- Fill in the Rafflecopter below - please don't leave personal details in the comments section (for your own safety)
- This giveaway is UK AND IRELAND ONLY. Sorry International peeps!
- You must be 13 or older to enter.
- Nor, I, or the publishers are responsible for books lost or damaged in the post
- Aside from the mandatory entries  all others are optional but completing them could give you a better chance of winning :)
- There will be 6 DIFFERENT winners, so you can only enter to win ONE book, choose carefully!
- Giveaway ends on 1st January 2013 at 12am.
- I will email the winner who must reply within 48 hours, otherwise the prize will go to someone else :(
- I'm going with the whole 'surprise!' element, so one of the mandatory entries is that you have to fill in your full address. This is because i can then just send your prize straight off so you will have a nice little package in the post if you win!..But don't worry...I'm not going to stalk you! *waggles eyebrows*
- and may the odds be...ever...in your favour! ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BOOK REVIEW: belle epoque by elizabeth ross

03 November 2013

Publisher: Hot Key Books
Published: September 5th 2013
Pages: 323
Book: For Review*
Format: Paperback, Finished Copy
Genre: Young Adult (YA), Historical Fiction, Romance, Cultural,
Blurb:
When sixteen-year-old Maude runs away to Paris, her romantic dreams vanish as quickly as her savings. Increasingly desperate for money, she answers a mysterious advert: 'Young Women Wanted for Undemanding Work. Apply In Person To The Durandeau Agency.' But the work is very strange indeed. Maude discovers she is to be a repoussoir - an ugly young woman hired by Parisian socialites to enhance their beauty.
Maude is humiliated - but faced with destitution, what choice does she have? Quickly (and secretly) selected as the perfect companion for the Countess Dubern's daughter Isabelle, Maude is thrown into a decadent world full of parties, glamour and astonishing cruelty. Maude finds that academic Isabelle is equally disenchanted with the Parisian social scene, and the girls form a tight bond. But when bohemian artist Paul and the handsome Duke d'Avaray are introduced into the girls' lives, their friendship will be tested to its limits. The girls are about to discover the true meaning of being beautiful...-from goodreads
"Look at the orchid compared with the dandelion: one exotic and rare, the other a common weed...And so with beauty. Some have an advantage, some a cross to bear. Some just fade into the background, forever plain and obscure---invisible, inconsequential.'"
Captivating, vivid and poignant, this book is about beauty, and how it doesn't always have to come from the outside, it can come from within a person, how much beauty is treasured in people's lives and how you can come about to achieve it.
Elizabeth Rossi has managed to capture France, in all its ups and downs, so authentically that you feel as if you are there and I applaud her for creating such genuine characters, that you can honestly feel for them and relate to their dreams, and hopes and wishes; their sorrows and hardships. The unique characters light up the book with their sincerity and bona fide personalities that make you want to keep reading, to find out their futures, and travel with them along the way.
“Groping in the blackness seems an appropriate metaphor for the creative life. You are compelled to do this work but cannot know the end result...”
I loved how Maude was such a credible person that i felt like i could step into her shoes quite easily and be the one having a whirlwind of a life, handling becoming a repoussoir, making friends, keeping friends and at the same time having a dream to strive for, to make life better. Characters can make or break a book: if they are sloppily shaped, unrelatable, stereotypical, those are all signs of a bad book, but these characters made this book in style!
re·pous·soir  [ruh-poo-swahr]
Noun || Painting.
a figure or object in the extreme foreground: used as a contrast and to increase the illusion of depth.
Origin: 
1870–75;  < French,  equivalent to repouss ( er ) to push back
Belle Epoque is a book about self-discovery, the worth of inner and outer beauty, chasing dreams and above all else, being yourself. The writing was exquisite, the characters beautiful;  Elizabeth Rossi has delivered, with great elegance, her debut novel, and it has gone straight to my 'favorites' list. Please write another book? Please?
*Thank you to Hot Key for sending me this book free of charge in exchange for an  honest review.