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Emy's Book Blog

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Kushiel's Dart
Jacqueline Carey
Into the Closet: Cross-Dressing and the Gendered Body in Childrens Literature and Film (Children's Literature and Culture)
Victoria Flanagan
Insurgent  - Veronica Roth After surviving a brutal attack on her former home, Tris is changed person. Wracked by guilt and grief, she becomes more and more reckless as she attempts to find herself. But everything she knows is a lie, and Tris must make a choice that, either way, could cost her everything.

Well, I was actually pretty wary about reading this book, because I thought it would suffer from second-book syndrome and would be kind of terrible. But, actually, I enjoyed it more than Divergent - which seems to be an unpopular opinion, judging by the other reviews.

It took a little while to get into this one, as the narrative jumps straight in where Divergent left off, without any recap. Considering I read the first book last August, I had to Google a plot summary - thankfully, Veronica Roth provides one for us on her website. I don't enjoy wading through summary, so this was good on some levels, and would probably be amazing if the books were read one after the other. Considering the wait between releases though, perhaps this was not the wisest decision. I'll withold judgement on that until after a reread.

The main problem I had in Divergent was with the world building - the society just didn't make sense to me. Why on earth would anyone choose to build a society that way, anyway? Weirdly, in this book, I felt as though a lot of my problems and concerns about the society were addressed. Towards the end of the book, some of my questions actually began to be explained. The society still doesn't make sense to me, but now I'm actually feeling pretty hopeful that all will be explained in the third book. This excites me, especially as I'd written off any hope of coherent world-building after the first book.

A lot of people complain about Four's behaviour in this book. I'm not sure what the problem is. He wasn't an asshole! I felt as though all of his behaviour was completely justified, considering the way Tris was behaving and what was happening to them. I don't know. Is it just me that feels that way?

Tris is very different in this book. She's grieving, she's consumed by guilt, and fear, and with wanting to do the right thing but not knowing what the right thing is. Some people might hate this change, but I feel that it's rather realistic. After everything that's happened to her, she's not going to be the same girl that she always was. How can she be? How can anyone be? She's not indestructible. The second problem with her is that she does an awful lot of climbing and things with a wounded (shot) shoulder. In fact, she does a hell of a lot of things she probably shouldn't be able to do physically (being injured for most of the book), but I'm willing to let that slide in the name of adrenaline, as it mostly happens when she's desperate and might die otherwise. This is fiction, after all. It is unrealistic, but surely not impossible. (This did contribute slightly to the loss of a star, though, since I'd have liked her to struggle a bit more or at least recover more before everything.)

This book also served to change my opinions of certain characters. Edward, for example. My opinion of him changed drastically. I think that this is quite a feat for a writer to pull off, so I applaud Roth for that.

Also, Roth treats death realistically in this book. There is a war going on. People will die. People will die needlessly, without fanfare, without time to say goodbye. And without long confrontations, even if the person has been the main villain throughout the book. Some people might find this frustrating, but I liked it. I like death to be treated realistically, especially in a war. Especially in YA, where authors too often coddle their readers. (Ah, but some deaths hurt my soul. ;_; )

Some reviews say that not much happen in this book, but I thought that plenty happened. Sure, there was a lot of introspection from Tris, and a lot of personal character development too, but there was also a lot of action. I thought so, anyway.

All in all, I'm looking forward to Allegient. I've enjoyed the series so far, and I'm quite confident that the third book will not be a disappointment. If it can explain the world-building to me, it might surpass both of its predecessors. :)