Allegiant

by Veronica Roth

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It’s hard to talk about a book like this without spoilers, because this book changes and redefines everything that had happened in the series before now.

I can tell you that Tris and Tobias begin to learn the truth about their futuristic Chicago; they travel outside of the city and meet people and their world is changed forever. I still like Roth’s writing. This is told alternately by Tris and Tobias which gives us a chance to understand some of Tobias’ sometimes-mysterious motivations. There are themes of forgiveness and sacrifice and love and friendship and we learn over and over again that no character is truly good or bad, but somewhere in between.

At first I had a hard time loving it. I loved Divergent and the end of Insurgent, and the things that made this book so different were jarring to me. But in the second half, I had to read nonstop, and the ending was unexpected and series changing.

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Reached

by Allie Condie

The Matched trilogy ends with Reached by Allie Condie and it is fantastic.I loved the first book of the trilogy where we discovered a new world and started to learn about the darkness throughout the book. We grew with Cassia. The second book was told by two people and I had mixed feelings until I came to this installment.

Chapters here are told by Cassia, Ky, and Xander. The three narrators each relate something new and different to the story. Reached wraps up all of the threads of the first two stories and makes the second book fit into the mythology of the series.

The Rising is taking over the Society with the introduction of a plague taking over the cities. Cassia, Ky, and Xander are caught in different places and very different situations trying to bring every member of the society together and to cure this disease.

I am fascinated by dystopian books and anything regarding plagues or epidemics and this book tackles both of those things superbly. It was poetically written and excellent to read- so hard to put down. I was often brought to tears. What a great way to end this series.

Prized

by Caragh M. O’Brien

 

The sequel to Birthmarked finds Gaia and her baby sister stumbling through the desert about to die. A man on a horse discovers them and takes them to Sylum, a land that is almost the opposite of the Enclave. Here Gaia soon discovers the world is run by women and the babies are primarily boys, leaving the community close to extinction.

This story drew me in as the first did and kept me reading to find the next step. I think I liked the first book better, but the book kept me up late at night to catch the ending. Gaia has to deal with some pretty controversial things in this book, and true to her character, she struggles with what she thinks is right and what the community is trying to tell her to be.

I respect strong women in literature and Gaia does not disappoint. She struggles as we all do with what she believes and in how that will effect the people in her life and is forced to make some tough decisions.

While I liked the first book better, this was a good follow-up and I’m looking forward to finishing the series.

Insurgent

by Veronica Roth

As much as I liked Divergent, the sequel was better.

Insurgent starts off running and never slows. I read it in two days at a time when I don’t have time to read.

Tris and Tobias have to continue to fight against friends and enemies. They don’t know who to trust and the plot continually twists relationships on their heads. We meet some new people and get to know the old even better. Tris learns to tell the truth about what she has been through and to trust her instincts.

I love a book with a strong female protagonist. Tris kicks butt. She doesn’t let anyone keep her down and she is courageous and strong through incredible happenings. Her relationship with Tobias is refreshingly anti-twilight: two strong individuals who take equal part, who have opinions and fights and value things outside each other. They believe in their causes and have  to reconcile that with each other.

The book is tense and suspenseful. It builds until the very last page and then leaves you hanging. It is beautifully written, a must-read.

Legend

by Marie Lu

Legend is set in the future, when the United States no longer exists. It has broken up into warring countries, with the Western states making up the Republic. Legend is told from the alternating viewpoints of fifteen year olds Day and June. Day is the Republic’s most wanted criminal, while June is a military genius working for the Republic. When Day’s brother is inflicted with the plague, Day breaks into a hospital to steal a treatment. Following the break-in, June’s brother, a guard, is found dead, supposedly murdered by Day. June is given the job of tracking him down. As she goes undercover into the poor areas of the Republic, she discovers that the Republic’s government s not as wonderful as she thought.

I really enjoyed Legend. It kind of had a Robin Hood feel to it (I LOVE Robin Hood), with Day targeting the rich to help the poor. Except in Legend, June as Maid Marian can totally take care of herself, which makes it that much better. Even though it was a little predictable, it was still fast paced and I couldn’t put it down. My only problem with this book is that it didn’t really explain how the United States was broken apart and how things ended up this way, but I get the feeling that this will be explained in the next book, and I can’t wait!

Divergent

by Veronica Roth

In Katie’s best books of 2011 she mentioned this one, and I’m so glad she did.

Truth? I picked this book up a couple of weeks ago and read the first couple of chapters and then wandered away from it for a while.

Truth? That was a huge mistake. Once I sat down and started reading this in earnest, I couldn’t put it away.

Beatrice lives in a futuristic Chicago where at 16 citizens choose  which faction to join. The society is split into Abegnation, which requires its members to be selfless, Candor, which requires truth, Erudite, which requires smarts, Amity, which requires peace, and Dauntless, which requires courage.

Beatrice finds herself torn between her choice of faction and that in turn sends her on a journey to discover herself and secrets behind the society that she never imagined.

The book is written well and I love Beatrice’s transformation. She is far more than a one dimensional figure and continually questions her choices and the choices of people around her. Roth builds characters with flaws and makes them engaging. The climax of the story should be read where no one will bother you- so many things happen and it felt like a punch in the gut. It’s a beautiful dystopian book, a great example of what this kind of literature should be.

Plus, as I was doing my research, I discovered that Roth has just signed a movie deal- check out the news on her site here!

Matched/Crossed

by Ally Condie

I’ve been meaning to write about Matched for quite a while. I’ve read it a couple of times now, and I can’t say enough about it.  Cassia lives in a society where on your 16th birthday you are Matched with your partner. But the computer has a blip and for a split second Cassia sees another face, and in that moment she rethinks everything she once thought was true. The book starts off simply. The thoughts are simple, the plot is simple. But as Cassia embarks on this journey, everything becomes deeper and more complex. The book is written beautifully as well, and has incredible themes of love and self acceptance and wisdom.

This book was followed by Crossed. I finished it the other day and probably need to reread it- the book is much darker than Matched was and much more serious. The story is told from two viewpoints, and the chapters go back and forth between stories. I still love Condie’s style of writing- the descriptions are gorgeous and the character development was phenomenal- but I was left sad at the end of this one instead of hopeful. I’m looking forward to the next installment; I just hope it ends on a positive note since I am so invested in the characters at this point in the series.