Archetype, by M.D. Waters: A Dystopian Book for Adults

18079523When I think of Dystopian novels I immediately pair the genre with young adult fiction. I don’t think I’m alone in this. In fact, last week the New York times made the same association. Of course if you examine the history of the genre, there are plenty of books written for and about adults: Brave New World, 1984, The Road, etc. However, with a few exceptions, in the last ten years the genre seems to have been claimed by teenaged characters and readers. While the summaries of Archetype, by M.D. Waters call the book a futuristic suspense novel, it feels like it belongs firmly in the Dystopian category. It is nice to have an author write a female-centric, Dystopian novel with adult characters and adult problems. Furthermore, this was a fun, quick read that kept me turning the page until I’d finished the novel in just two sittings (both in the same day).  Continue reading “Archetype, by M.D. Waters: A Dystopian Book for Adults”

Allegiant by Veronica Roth: A book review with SPOILERS and a lot of feelings

allegiantOkay so I want to start out by saying, just in case you missed my shouty capitals in the title, that this review has spoilers. I’m not just talking about spoilers for the previous two books, Divergent and Insurgent,which I think are inevitable of any book that isn’t the first in the series. And I’m not just talking about giving away one or two jokes (if you know anything about the series you’ll know there are no jokes) or the fate of a minor character. This post could very well spoil everything. If you haven’t read Allegiant and you keep reading I could ruin your entire reading experience. I’m serious. I hate hate hate when I accidentally read spoilers and I usually try to keep them out of my reviews. However, having recently finished this book and having so many feelings and so few people to talk about my feelings with this time I had to include them. If you haven’t read the series, you can read my review of Divergent here or if you are just looking for a summary of the book here’s the one from goodreads. Be warned it is only my second book review ever, but I think it does capture my feelings about the book.

Okay so now that you’ve been warned if you want to keep reading let’s talk about this book.  Continue reading “Allegiant by Veronica Roth: A book review with SPOILERS and a lot of feelings”

Divergent: Just Another Dystopian Novel?

I didn’t know much about Divergent when I started reading it, except that it had the GoodReads Favorite Book of 2011 by over a thousand votes. In the beginning, it felt so similar to Hunger Games; I thought it would be a sub-par dystopian novel.  Despite this early indifference, and in part aided by I read this last month in my bus days, I ended up reading this novel in about 36 hours.  So, I guess that is basically a recommendation in itself.

Some background on the novel (no spoilers!) Beatrice, later renamed Tris, lives in a future world where society is split into five factions. Each faction is defined by assigned jobs within the community and common personality traits. Loyalty and identity are tied to these categories, more than race, gender, even familial background.  Tris’ world values the ability to conform completely to your group above anything else. The majority of the book is comprised of Tris choosing which faction to join, and then the consequences of her choice.  At 16, she must choose more than her career track, she must choose her personality. It makes the college application process look like a breeze.

I’m not sure exactly what changed throughout the book that compelled me to keep reading. There is a coldness to all the characters, especially Tris, that made it hard for me to connect with her, but became more intriguing as more horrible things happened to her. It was a huge character flaw that instead of being her downfall is her salvation. The book is gruesome, in a way I wouldn’t have been able to take when this would have been an age appropriate book. It makes me wonder, as I think many of the out-of-touch have, why are these dark dystopian novels so popular?

The book definitely holds its own in an overpopulated and increasingly clichéd genre. It’s failure within the genre, and perhaps the key to its teen success, is that instead of accurately critiquing society as a whole, it seems more like a comment on the cliquishness of high school. The “training” to join a faction, has more to do with hazing than acquiring necessary skills or information.

The pacing, and sense of urgency, was also spot on. That, combined with the oh-so-sexy yet broody Four, is probably what kept me up reading late, even though it was a work night. It wasn’t my favorite, but I did enjoy it. I am definitely anticipating the sequel.

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