Divergent by Veronica Roth
Genre: Dystopian young adult fiction
Rating: 2.75 out of 5 stars
Summary: Beatrice Prior lives in a world divided into five factions. Each faction bases its lifestyle on a virtue, in the belief that it is the most righteous way to live. There is Candor, Dauntless, Erudite, Amity, and Abnegation. Until your sixteenth birthday, you live in the faction in which you were born. But then you must make a choice. Do you stay with your family, or do you forsake the virtue (and the people) with which you grew up? Though it’s a tough choice to make, most people know to what faction they belong. Beatrice is different; she’s what’s known as a Divergent, someone who doesn’t fit into just one group. This makes her very dangerous in a world whose motto is “faction before blood.”
It’s official – Leaky Con is over. Our blog posts are done, I’ve assimilated all the THINGS I accumulated, and I’m battling the last vestiges of Leaky Flu with some serious antibiotics. In short, I’m depressed. Real life kind of sucks compared to the one giant wizard party that was Leaky Con.
To fight this Post Potter Depression, I plucked Divergent from the library stacks after hearing several rave reviews from my patrons. (Yes, I know – nothing like a dystopian novel to lighten the mood.) While it was an engrossing premise, it left me a little under-whelmed. And some things just plain annoyed me. Continue reading
The Warlock by Michael Scott
Genre: Young adult adventure, fantasy, magic, time-traveling stuff
Rating: 2.25 out of 5 stars
Summary: In the fifth (and penultimate) book of The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series, the twins of lore Sophie and Josh Newman face tough choices. With the help of their immortal allies, they must do what they think is right for the world and use their powers accordingly. But will their choices turn the once inseparable twins into mortal enemies?
Have you ever read a book quickly just to get through it? Plowed through the pages, stopped reading critically, skipped all the nice language and nuance, just to get to the end of the damn book? If yes, multiply that by five and you will have my relationship with this series.
The premise is interesting – which is why I picked up the first book The Alchemyst. There are two twins who don’t know that they have magical powers and that their birth was foretold 10,000 years ago. One is supposed to help save the world while the other tries to destroy it. Intrigue! Nicholas Flamel and his wife Perenelle are there to awaken the kids’ powers, along with a ragtag gang of immortals humans and god like beings The Elders. Shenanigans!
Except the books fall flat in comparison to what the book jackets promise. But at this point, I am committed to seeing it through to the end. Dammit.
Devoured by D. E. Meredith
Genre: murder mystery, Victorian, forensics
Rating: 1.75 out of 5 stars
Summary: London, 1856. Professor Adolphus Hatton is a forensic scientist working a baffling case. A society lady has been brutally murdered in her bedroom, followed by a string of other deaths. At the center of the mystery lies a packet of missing letters, written by Benjamin Broderig while he was abroad in Borneo. As he is a scholar and free-thinker, the letters may contain information that will rock the foundations of current scientific thought. Or there may be something more sinister hidden in the letters. Who took the letters, and for what purpose? Hatton must work quickly, using the new science of forensics to solve the case before even more bodies pile up.
This book should’ve been interesting. The title is so evocative – Devoured. It sounds sinful and slightly wicked. It take place in Victorian London- an era of new science and public prudity. And tophats. Murders, political intrigue, underdog scientists, this book had a lot of promise. Sadly, it did not deliver.
The first thing I noticed was how the narrative jumps around incessantly. I assumed we would get Hatton’s point of view for most of the novel, with some secondary characters woven in to build suspense (like other mysteries). Half the book seems to be written in the POV of random characters. We go from Hatton, to Ashby, a clerk for the shitty Duke Monreith. Then there is Madame Martineau, prostitute/dressmaker to high society ladies/publisher of seditious pamphlets/dastardly foreign lady who also blackmails people. Sometimes the maid Flora will get a few pages. And then there are the letters themselves. They tell the story of Broderig’s time spent abroad as he searches for exotic specimens to study. But bad things happen while he’s in the wild, and those bad things are deeply connected to what is going on in London. Here’s the problem with that – I DON’T CARE WHAT IS HAPPENING IN LONDON.