Allegiant by Veronica Roth • Magan Reviews

Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth [twitter • website]
Previously Reviewed Insurgent (Divergent #2)
Publication Date: October 22, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 526
Target Audience: Young Adult
Keywords: dystopia, trilogy, books to movies
Format Read: Hard cover purchased.

Summary: (borrowed from Goodreads) Dual narration by Tris Prior and her beloved Tobias. Their faction-based dystopian society is broken by violence and power struggles, scarred by loss and betrayal. Beyond the fence is even more alarming. Old discoveries are meaningless. Explosive new truths change those she loves. Again she faces impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

• • •

I’m just gonna say right now this is going to be much less of an ordered, typical review (and it’s completely spoiler-free). I need to get out my feelings so maybe then I can move on. But you know what? Moving on after clinging to a series for SO long really hurts.

Allegiant really was the end of an era for me. Roth really opened the flood gate in this last installment of the Divergent series. Of course I knew something big was happening. (In fact, someone spoiled what was going to happen on Instagram (grrr) so I stayed away. My heart was really struggling with finishing the series because I’m so, so bad at goodbyes. They seem so final and I often don’t have enough closure to move on. And if I didn’t read Allegiant, then everything was fine and peachy, right? Wrong.

That’s probably why I had a major, major book hangover after finishing Allegiant. I can’t say that I was absolutely, 100% pleased as punch with how everything wrapped up, but when you invest THAT much in characters and see them fighting so hard, that final page is never going to be enough. I cried and cried (for probably an hour after closing the book). When my husband came home, I tried shoving the book in his hands and told him I needed him to read it immediately. (He couldn’t — stupid grad school.) I was desperate for someone to talk things through with; I felt so isolated!

And that makes me wonder — without being spoilery at all — how Veronica Roth felt having to make some pretty tough decisions in this book. I’m sure there were parts she didn’t want to write, and remembering back to Allegiant’s release date, there was a lot of uproar and disappointment. Going out on a limb here, I applaud Roth for being bold and writing things that absolutely sucked to read about, but ultimately did feel authentic to the story. It can’t be easy to not give your readers what they’re wanting or expecting.

January was the month I wanted to set aside for finishing all of the series I have abandoned. I’m so thankful I didn’t suffer break-up after break-up after break-up. I don’t think I would have ever climbed out of the cavernous valley of depression from saying repeated goodbyes. But hopefully I’ll get around to more of them throughout the year because sometimes goodbyes are necessary.

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book cover for Reboot by Amy Tintera

Magan: Reboot by Amy Tintera

book cover for Reboot by Amy TinteraReboot by Amy Tintera (Twitter | Website)
Publication Date
: May 7, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 352
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: science fiction, dystopia, broken society, survival
Format read: ARC from Edelweiss via Publisher (Thanks!)

Summary: Wren is a Reboot; she died and her body came back to life after being dead for 178 minutes. As a dedicated soldier for five years, she suddenly finds herself questioning her livelihood and well being when she’s given an ultimatum and her best friend, also a Reboot, begins to go crazy.

Wren, or One-seventy-eight as she’s referred to in the Reboot facility, died from three bullet wounds. For 178 minutes she was dead. Then her body rebooted and became a stronger, faster, less emotional version of her human self. She awoke as a Reboot.

For five years, Wren has lived in the Rosa Reboot facility, going on assignments to kill or capture humans, rebels, or other Reboots. She is HARC’s (a government organization) token soldier. When humans die and reboot, they are referred to and categorized by the number of minutes they were dead. Wren is one of the only Reboots to have been dead so long. The longer you take to reboot, the better the soldier you make because you lose your attachment to your human self, your memories, your emotions.

Since she’s one of the very best, Wren is a trainer of new Reboots that enter the facility. Upon meeting one of the newbies, Callum, who asks her to train him, she begins to wonder if it’s possible to train the lower numbers to be better soldiers. Callum is a twenty-two; she’s never trained anyone so low — in fact, it’s rare for someone to reboot so quickly. Intrigued by the challenge to make him into a better soldier, she chooses him as her trainee. Callum is slow and weak, he questions absolutely everything, isn’t shy about his attraction to Wren, and definitely isn’t much of a fighter.

Wren has her work cut out for her. Especially when she’s given an ultimatum by the head of HARC to whip Callum into shape … or else. When her roommate, Ever, suddenly stops sleeping and becomes a vicious version of herself in the night, Wren, the girl who follows all the rules and never questions assignments, suddenly begins to feel trapped. She realizes she has no control over her life, but also realizes that if she fights back, she might be choosing to return to the slums of Austin where bad memories of her childhood haunt her.

Reboot by Amy Tintera is a quick and fast-paced read; she pulls you into the story from the first pages where you meet Wren as she’s out on assignment. As someone who had trouble breaking the rules, I could easily relate to Wren. Everything fit inside a nice, neat box and operated according to plan. Always. Until Callum came along. Maybe you guys were more prone to question than I was, but I specifically remember a class I had in college that made me think differently. I was pushed to discuss things I believed, but didn’t want to argue about. Wren’s connection with Callum felt so much like my college class. Why did she trust HARC? Why was she okay with killing people? Was there a better life for her out there?

And, of course, the Callum love doesn’t stop at his ability to open Wren’s eyes. This may sound odd, but before Callum, Wren is basically an asexual being. She has no interest in being kissed or having sex or doing anything with anyone. Her gunshot wound scars are her biggest insecurity and she’s not sure why anyone would want her. When Callum waltzes into her life, she’s not quite sure what to think of all her feelings and attraction to him. It definitely makes for some great inner dialogue and delicious sexual tension between the two.

Reboot is Amy’s debut novel. And friends, it’s so worth the read. It’s a great new take on a broken down society with a fantastic female character that will make you want to be a little more bad ass, a boy who will make you laugh at all the ways he just doesn’t fit in, and heart pounding build-up that won’t allow you to put the book down without finishing.

And hey, guess what? Reboot hit bookstores yesterday, so swing by your local bookstore on your way home this evening!

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Book Cover for Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Magan: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Book Cover for Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Publication Date:
January 8, 2013
Publisher:
HarperCollins
Pages:
352
Target audience:
Young adult
Keywords:
dystopian, contrasting worlds, trilogy, Aether storms
Format read:
Borrowed from Anna (Thanks, lady!)

Summary: Aria is reunited with Perry (who is now a Blood Lord) and introduced to the Tides. The only friend she has is Roar and the Tides aren’t likely to accept her since she’s a Dweller. She’s on a mission to save the Dwellers (and hopefully the Tides, too) from the increasingly terrible Aether storms by seeking out the Still Blue.

In the vast sea of trilogies and series, it’s often hard to find a series that stands out from the crowd. Under the Never Sky was a great 2012 read, but I was anxious for more answers – I needed to understand the Aether better and I didn’t grasp why there was so much dissension between the Dwellers and the Outsiders. What had stripped these people apart from living as one society?

In Through the Ever Night, Rossi delivers answers in a perfectly timed and beautifully paced story. The world felt so much more complete and whole — quite possibly because of the sheer amount of exploration and travel Aria has to do. In UtNS, I understood Aria’s life as a Dweller within the compound walls, but this time, I began to understand how the Outsiders lived a bit more. (I will add here that I recommend you do a re-read of at least the last 25% of UtNS so you can jump into this book without hesitation. Jamie and Anna recommended I do this and this refresher made the transition to book two seamless.) The Aether storms were more vivid and the Tides compound was easy to picture, from the critical need for more food and supplies to the chilling glances they sent Aria’s way.

Aria and Perry’s relationship (swoon!) felt very or organic and natural. Things weren’t always perfectly easy for them, but Rossi didn’t throw in unnecessary challenges that over-complicated things for them either. Aria and Perry were sometimes forced to make decisions based on what they genuinely thought would be in the best interest of the other person, even if that meant their relationship might suffer through a hiccup. Perry wasn’t always in the easiest position; often he was caught between loving Aria and his duty to the Tides, causing tension and resistance. Many times, I couldn’t help but question how they would make it as a couple when the Tides accepting Aria seemed so impossible.

Thankfully Roar’s character provided some much-needed comedic relief to break up the stressful situations. He stood out in UtNS, being the humorous and dedicated friend to Perry that he is, but now, his role is amplified and we get to see a whole lot more of him. He’s still the silly sidekick, but he and Aria have a friendship built on a few months of being together after Perry leaves to rule the Tides. Roar helped me to understand Aria’s talents more, and I loved the easy way these two communicated with one another. (Never fear – theirs is not a love-relationship; purely friendship. No love triangle here.) Roar’s character allowed us to experience such a gamut of emotions, sometimes not always the cheerful ones expected of him.

There’s so much to love about Through the Ever Night – amazing character development, world building, and a storyline very different than others currently classified as dystopian. I absolutely loved everything about it (except now having to wait for Into the Still Blue). This is a very solid sequel by Rossi that I highly recommend you pick up as soon as possible!

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gifts to give people who are new to reading

Bookish Gift Suggestions: Books for the Non-Reader

Welcome to Rather Be Reading for another gift-focused post! Estelle and I were talking about what gifts we would be purchasing for our friends and family this year. A few times I mentioned having friends that are just getting into reading. They read The Hunger Games or some other popular young adult book and now they’re hooked. The problem? They don’t know what to pick up next in the overwhelming aisles of books at Barnes & Noble.

This is where we come in! I looked through my list of 2012 reads and selected eight books for the non-readers (or maybe new-to-reading readers) would enjoy.

gifts to give people who are new to reading

  1. Bunheads by Sophie FlackGoodreads | Amazon | My Review – This book would be excellent for an older teen or young adult reader who is trying to find their identity. Hannah is struggling to figure out what she wants to do with her life, especially since what she wants could mean abandoning her lifelong goal of becoming a professional ballerina.
  2. The Survival Kit by Donna Freitas Goodreads | Amazon | My Review – Sometimes books can speak to us in a completely new way. This would be a lovely gift for someone who has lost someone important in their lives and needs help figuring out how to move on.
  3. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi – Goodreads | Amazon | My Vlog ReviewShatter Me is the book for someone who would love Tahereh’s unique writing style. Most newer readers seem happy to get sucked into series because they can connect with characters that will be around for a while. Mafi has written a short story that is also out, Destroy Me, and Unravel Me will be released in early 2013 so the wait won’t be long for the next book!
  4. Graffiti Moon by Cath CrowleyGoodreads | Amazon - Graffiti Moon is so beautiful and well-written. The entire book takes place over a few short hours, but it tells a full, well-rounded story about a boy and a girl who are so perfectly made for each other.
  5. Delirium by Lauren Oliver Goodreads | Amazon | My Review – The premise of this book is 100% unique and my gosh, Oliver’s writing is phenomenal. I fell in love with Delirium, but then Oliver blew me away with the sequel, Pandemonium. I’ll be mourning the end of this series when the final book, Requiem, is released in early 2013. This is definitely for people who enjoy the dystopian genre.
  6. My Life Next Door by Huntley FitzpatrickGoodreads | Amazon | My Review – With a full (awesome) cast of characters and a sweet love story that will have the reader reflecting swooning, this is the perfect read for someone who may not want the over-the-topness of some chick-lit books but still enjoys a good love story.
  7. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill Goodreads | Amazon | My Review – Is your friend a traveller? This book sweeps you off your feet and takes you to London. It’s full of laugh out loud funny moments, a girl who needs to loosen her obsessive-compulsive reins, and a quirky boy that teaches her how to let go.
  8. Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker Goodreads | Amazon | My Review – Clem is suffering from the aftermath of a terrible situation in which she fell for her best friend’s boyfriend. Her family sweeps her away on a summer-long sailing trip. She battles her little sister’s silliness, her parent’s refusal to leave her alone, and new feelings for the boy she keeps seeing along their route when they dock.

I hope this gives you a good starting point for immersing your friends into the world of books. What book suggestions do you have for non-readers or new-to-young-adult-book readers?