I got through some of the most buzzed about sequels recently ... and honestly, I preferred the first book in the series.
Insurgent (Divergent #2), Veronica Roth.
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.
As with Divergent (book 1 - see Weekly Reading with Divergent and a Mistress of Rome), the plot of Insurgent moves at a pretty fast pace, which left me enthralled and reading every chance I got. But, Divergent had better be fresh in your mind as there is virtually no recap ... I was lost at first, especially with trying to remember the characters and their relationships, but an internet search and a quick refresher, solved that problem.
And as much as I enjoyed the pacing and intrigue of the plot, I felt like scratching my head and going, "huh?!" towards the end. My complaint with the 1st book - the weakness of the explanation for "why" the dystopian society was divided the way it was - also applies here too. It is more thoroughly explained, but I still don't freaking get it ... plot spoilers below ...
It seemed that the reason for the factions forming into groups based on a particular personality trait, is to stop humans from killing off each other. BUT when people with a strong presence of more than 1 of these personality traits start becoming numerous, then it's time to re-join the World. What??? Isn't that the opposite of what saved them in the first place? Confusing!!! And, I didn't get why Tris (or anyone) would decide to trust a man she hated over her boyfriend, especially when that man, her boyfriend's father, used to abuse him. It just didn't make sense to me - even with the explanation given.
I did enjoy reading this book for the most part, but in this case, my step-son loved it, and I was just like ... meh ... since there is only 1 book left to be published in the series, I may read it, but I'm not in a rush. (Amazon | Goodreads)
Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore.
Bitterblue is now Queen of Monsea, but the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisers bury her in paperwork, but when Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle - disguised and alone - to walk the streets of her own city, she starts realizing that the kingdom has been under the thirty-five-year spell of a madman, and the only way to move forward is to revisit the past.
I really liked Bitterblue, though not as much as the 1st book (Graceling) in the series, which I suggest you read (or refresh your memory of) before tackling this ... and maybe the 2nd book as well (Fire - see Weekly Reading by the Fire With Vampires), although in my opinion you don't have to (but why not since it was pretty darn good too).
The character development in my mind was just spectacular.There is so much depth to both the main characters, as well as many of the secondary ones, and I really felt for them and the precarious position they, and the rest of the kingdom, was still in. And I liked the slow awakening of Bitterblue to the real World around her, along with her journey to maturity as a person, and as a Queen.
But, I did wish the book had focused a lot more on her relationship with Saf after he found out she was Queen and started working in the palace. The story had a number of sub-plots (too many some say), but I wish that one with Saf was among them, as I wasn't satisfied with what did happen. Also, towards the end, where references to the 2nd book, Fire, become prominent, it felt forced - like an add-on to tie the 2 stories together ... it didn't feel authentic.
Both these books qualify for The 2012 Big Book Summer Challenge hosted by Book by Book ... meaning they are chunksters!
Reading NextUmmm ... the Olympics are on which is what is going to consume my eyeballs for a while ... swimming and track & field events are my crack!
- Linked to It's Monday, What Are You Reading @ Book Journey.