Monday, July 07, 2014

Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Year of Release: 2005 (this edition-2012)
ISBN: 0141346094
Source: Gifted

Number of Pages: 213

Katherine V thought boys were gross
Katherine X just wanted to be friends
Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail
K-19 broke his heart 
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun--but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.

I'm going to get the bad stuff out of the way first before I go on to tell you what's good about this book. 

Things this book lacked:
- Consistent and unpredictable plot
- Flexibility
- Length
- Well-written characters

Things this book definitely did not lack:
- Anagrams
- Footnotes
- Math
- Tangents
- The words 'fug', 'fugging' and 'mother fugger'
- Arabic words

Overall, I really did like this book, but my goodness was there a lot of boring, tiresome and irrelevant sh*t in there. I get that that it is part of the storyline and supposed to build upon Colin's character, but some of it was just completely immaterial. 

The story, basically, is based around a child prodigy named Colin who gets dumped by the nineteenth girl he's dated named Katherine and his best friend Hassan takes him on a road trip with no particular destination in mind. Eventually they end up in this crappy town called Gutshot in Tennessee and start living with a girl they meet there named Lindsey and her mother, because apparently it's normal to start living with complete strangers in an unfamiliar town. 
Throughout the book, Colin is trying to develop a formula to predict the future of all romantic relationships, specifically, who will dump who in said relationship.  
While this is really interesting, it's also stupid. Logically, how can one predict the future with math? The future is unpredictable, something Colin eventually came to realise in the conclusion of this book. While the math involved is arguably interesting to those who understand and like math, it was certainly mind-numbing to me. 

Then there is the issue of the appendix. Appendices do not belong in fiction. Sometimes there are exceptions, but as a general rule, I do not think they should be present in fictional work. Fiction requires no real explanation, no justification. Appendices are pointless in fictional books. 

Now for the positive stuff. Overall, I did enjoy this book. I always enjoy John Green's work, I think he is a very talented writer and I enjoy his books immensely. The writing in this book was excellent. Without his wonderful writing, this book would have bombed and I probably wouldn't have made it to the end. I did find some parts of it funny, particularly the Colin and TOC fight, which was downright hilarious. Hassan was a particularly humorous character, and he was fun to read about. 
I was really intrigued by this book and is one I will most probably read again! 

The good in this book definitely outweighs the bad, and I think it is worth reading if you're interested. 

Why did Colin and Hassan move in with total strangers?
What's Colin's and Hassan's parents been doing? 
When do they finally go home?
Do you think this book needed a few more anagrams? 

Friday, July 04, 2014

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth (Huge spoilers!)

Title: Allegiant 
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year of Release: 2013
ISBN: 9780007534944
Source: Gifted
Number of Pages: 526

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.


Told from the alternating points of views of Tris and Tobias (for which there is an important reason for), this book really is a powerful conclusion to the series! While I was still struggling to form emotional attachments to these characters, I certainly did not expect the ending! 

The backlash it received as a result was phenomenal! I read an article addressing this backlash and I want to talk about it with you guys. I know most people may be starting or just finishing the series, as after the movie was released it has attracted a lot of new readers, so what do you guys think? 

This book was kind of slow and boring, to be 100% honest, a problem I've experienced throughout my reading of the entire series. I feel like this book had so much potential to finish the series in a wonderfully meaningful way, and it just, well, didn't. I understand the concept of self-sacrifice for love and I liked that Roth built upon this idea throughout the course of the series, but I just feel like it shouldn't have been the heroine who had to learn that lesson. 

This book could have had a million different endings and all of them would have been more fulfilling than the one Roth chose. This is the first series I've read where the main character dies and it sucks! While the whole 'standing out from the crowd' idea is great, there's so many different ways to do that than being one of the only book series that kills off the main character. 

We should probably talk about the book in its entirety now. I have one word to describe it: slow. Nothing happened! After the initial shock of there being a whole new world outside the faction-based society the characters have lived in all their lives and the fact that it was one of many experiments to repair 'damaged' genes, it was just aimless wandering around the Bureau and then a few small uprisings here and there. The most exciting thing was the unfortunate injury of Uriah and then the almost-breakup of Tris and Tobias.

There was so much that could have happened in this book, Roth could have done so much more with it, and I feel like this book has just ruined the series for me. Not because of the ending, but because of how boring and slow it was. I mean, did anything even happen? 

Overall, I was really disappointed with this series as a whole. I expected so much more, and all I got was senseless deaths, irrelevant plot twists, crappy writing, and bad character developments. There was no closure to the series. 

I don't think I'll be reading this series again any time soon. 

How come Tris' mum showed up after she died instead of her dad? 
Do you ship Natalie and David?
What's Susan up to these days?
Did you expect Tris to die by gunshot, of all things? 
Did you love or hate Caleb by the end of this book?
Think Tobias will ever fall in love again?

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Spoilers!)

Title: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year of Release: 2012
ISBN: 9780007442928
Source: Gifted
Number of Pages: 525


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.

Insurgent was such a brilliant improvement! Albeit, it still isn't my favourite book ever, but it was much better than the train-wreck that was Divergent. This book allowed for wonderful character development and the plot was excellently executed in this book. 

The beginning was a little slow, but overall, the plot of this book was great. I loved the whole idea of there being another world outside their own, one they had no idea about, it was an excellent plot twist. The writing in this book was also much better than the writing in Divergent. 

The best improvement however, was the development of the characters. They each grew in their own individual ways, and that was fantastic to read. I was still struggling to form emotional attachments to these characters in this book, but the fact that they were allowed the opportunity for growth was a start. 

The evolution of the relationship between Tris and Tobias was both heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time. It felt a little rushed in Divergent, but in this book, it was built upon and made it feel all the more real. 

The factionless were also introduced in a lot more detail in this book and that was very intriguing. The way they lived, so reflective of today's homeless society, was eye-opening. Towards the end of the book however, I was kind of hating them. 

The ending of Insurgent included a huge cliffhanger, one that would make people rush out to their closest bookstores to grab the last book in the trilogy and begin reading it immediately. That was one of the best things about this book. 

Overall, this book was a huge improvement from the first one, and is definitely worth reading, if only for the numerous and unpredictable plot twists throughout. 

What's Tris and Tobias' ship name?
Thoughts on Evelyn? 
Did you want to throw your book at the wall after reading about Caleb's betrayal? 
Expect Jeanine to die so soon? 
Love or hate Edith Prior's video?