Friday, December 12, 2014

Review: Four: A Divergent Story Collection by Veronica Roth

Title: Four: A Divergent Story Collection
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year of Release: 2014
ISBN: 9780062285683

Source: Purchased
Number of Pages: 208

Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth comes a companion volume to the worldwide bestselling DIVERGENT series, told from the per-spective of the immensely popular character Tobias. The four pieces included here—THE TRANSFER, THE INITIATE, THE SON, and THE TRAITOR—plus three additional exclusive scenes, give readers an electrifying glimpse into the history and heart of Tobias, and set the stage for the epic saga of the DIVERGENT trilogy.

I really enjoyed this book. After reading the Divergent series, if you've read my reviews on those books, you should know that I didn't really enjoy them very much. In summary, I thought the writing was poor, the characters weren't written well, and there was definitely not enough detail. The combination of these three things really prevented me from enjoying the book as much as I know I would have should these three key things been included. (Writing, characters, detail- that's how a book wins my heart). 

It's safe to say that I didn't have very high expectations of this book due to how disappointed I was with the Divergent series as a whole. So, imagine my surprise when I realised that I actually truly liked  this book. 

Four was actually a really great read! Short, sweet and simple, but very engaging. I really liked the fact that it was written from Tobias' perspective, I feel like we didn't get enough of it in Allegiant. I loved the short stories, I really liked the insight we got into Marcus and the way he treated his son, and Tobias' thought process at the Choosing Ceremony. 

It was a very interesting and insightful book, and made me love Four even more than I already did. His initiation into Dauntless, his beef with Eric, and his detailed experiences in his fear landscape was particularly interesting, and I liked the path Roth chose to take when writing about these events. We hear brief mentions of them during the series, but to have it explained in detail was super interesting. 

It may be possible that I enjoyed this book more than the entire series. Perhaps if the series had been written from Tobias' perspective to begin with, it would have been much better in terms of writing quality and detail. I still believe the character development needed a bit more work, but overall, I loved this book! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Review: Love & Misadventure and Lullabies by Lang Leav

Love & Misadventure: 
Title: Love & Misadventure
Author: Lang Leav
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Year of Release: 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4494-5614-6
Source: Purchased
Number of Pages: 155

Beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully conceived, Love and Misadventure will take you on a rollercoaster ride through an ill-fated love affair- from the initial butterflies to the soaring heights- through to the devastating plunge. Lang Leav has an unnerving ability to see inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Her talent for translating complex emotions with astonishing simplicity has won her a cult following of devoted fans from all over 
the world. 

Title: Lullabies
Author: Lang Leav
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing 
Year of Release: 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4494-6107-2
Source: Gifted
Number of Pages: 248

A sequel to the hugely popular, best-selling Love & Misadventure, Lullabies continues to explore the intricacies of love and loss.
Set to a musical theme, love's poetic journey in this new, original collection begins with a Duet and travels through Interlude and Finale with an Encore popular piece from the best-selling Love & Misadventure. Lang Leav's evocative poetry speaks to the soul of anyone who is on this journey.
Leav has an unnerving ability to see inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Her talent for translating complex emotions with astonishing simplicity has won her a cult following of devoted fans from all over the world.

Both these books have a very similar, almost identical style, feel and structure, and I have very similar things to say about both so I thought I would review both these books simultaneously. 

I read Love & Misadventure back in July, and Lullabies in November, and I can honestly say that I was blown away by both of them. They are such beautiful books that contain the most exquisite and well-written poetry. 

Lang Leav has a very unique way of appealing to the hearts, minds and souls of her readers through her words, something that many poets and authors struggle to do. This connection has allowed readers to truly identify with the poems she writes.

Her poetry, both simple and elaborate, is so beautifully written that it not only allows you to apply it to your own life and experiences, but even makes you feel a bit better in knowing that there is someone else who has shared this experience and understands, despite the fact that it was under completely different circumstances, at a completely different place and time, and with another person. 

If anyone has loved and lost before, Lang Leav's poetry will, without a doubt, truly speak to you and capture your mind and heart in a whirlwind of artfully strung together words and cleverly designed poetry. 

Her writing style is one that is very rare to find amongst the waves of new books and authors breaking into the industry, and I am so pleased to have discovered this poet. She is my absolute favourite.

In both her books she has managed to utilise her experiences with love and loss in such a way that you can feel her emotions. This is a skill I cannot hope to achieve myself, and I greatly admire Lang Leav for not only being able to do it, but for doing it so well. 

The feelings I got when I was reading her poetry are ones I can only describe as the ones you get when you listen to a beautiful song that sounds like it was written specifically for you, about your life.

I highly recommend both these books, they are truly wonderful, and the perfect antidote for a broken heart, or the cause of a lot of nostalgia. 

If you have read either of these, please let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

You can buy both these books from The Book Depository (links below) for very affordable prices, and I think these books would make the perfect Christmas gift for a special someone in your life. *winks*
Love & Misadventure ($14.14 AUD)
Lullabies ($14.63 AUD)