After hearing a lot about Divergent by Veronica Roth when it first came out and then again when Insurgent hit the shelves, I decided to track down a copy. My lovely friend Wendy let me borrow hers and I found it to be a fun YA dystopian novel with some interesting world building.
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her. (Synopsis from Veronica Roth’s website)
I absolutely adored that this was set in Chicago. I also really liked that she set it in the future so she could mess with the landscape as she felt she needed to, but keeping some of the major places, like Navy Pier and the giant Ferris Wheel, as landmarks. I thought the different Factions were interesting. The brain washing that went on was pretty intense and really messed with the kids’ heads. I’ve seen that kind of fanaticism at work and it is real and it can be scary. I understand why people have a problem with the fact that there seems to be no real separation of the factions, and it seems that there is no point to them really. But coming from a fanaticism perspective, from my religious upbringing, I can totally see how people are taught to be in the world but not of the world. Where they are taught that you can walk side by side people and despise them and refuse to interact with them.
I also really liked Tris as a main character. Her dilemma seems a little strange to me. Which faction to choose? . . . But, everyone has a choice no matter what their tests are, so why wait until the last second to make a decision you’ve known all your life is coming? Sure, she gets thrown for a loop with the the whole secret thing she learns after getting tested, but that doesn’t actually play into any of her decision making, at all. It doesn’t seem to influence her choosing which faction nor how she interacts with her new family. I mean, if you know maybe you are smarter or better at something than you should be, why wouldn’t you dumb yourself down to not get noticed? Tris is strong and smart, but incredibly naive. Perhaps her prerogative, being someone half my age (gah!). But I learned at a fairly early age that in order to interact with society I had to set aside some of who I am to fit in. Perhaps, in a perfect world, I shouldn’t have to, but I do not live in a perfect world. (Except on the internets, where I’ve built my own world and community.) And neither does Tris. Perhaps this is her biggest fault, believing everything she has been taught, the good and the bad. It takes her a really long time to realize that perhaps she should question some of those teachings and hold back some from the people she is supposed to be able to trust, but maybe shouldn’t.
I was quite taken with all of the tattoos. In fact, I plan on getting a span of flying birds across my back. One bird for each of my siblings and I. When I can afford to do this, I don’t know. But I definitely want to. I think it will go well with the moon goddess on my right shoulder. The start of a night sky on my back!
I really like Four, I liked him better than Tris. He was less naive, but still hopeful. He understood how to interact with his society and what it meant to have a secret. He also was subversive in his tactics and getting away with what he could get away with. I love sneaky characters in books. Mayhaps that is because I can be a rather subversive person myself. I definitely related to his character far more than I related to Tris. I liked their subtle romance which was built on interactions and conversations and wasn’t solely based in INSTALOVE.
One additional problem I had with the book is that it definitely felt like a first book in a series. I understand the author knew she would be able to explain more in further books, but some of the back history of Tris’ family came out of the middle of nowhere and then went nowhere. It was very abrupt and I feel like, if the author had to explain that in this book and not rely on a second narrative, some of the story lines in Divergent would have been tighter and a bit cleaner.
In a nutshell, Divergent is the story of a girl who leaves the comfort of all that she is known to face scary people, a physically demanding lifestyle, and some problems Tris never new existed with her perfect society. She must find the answers to her questions before her secret is discovered.
Check out this cutesy quiz about science and learn that it’s OK to be smart. I did OK, not perfectly. But at the time I took it I was really sick from un-diagnosed strep throat, so my brain was a little fuzzy.
SF Signal asked their readers to name their favorite SF websites, podcasts, publishers, book bloggers, and comics. Elizabeth Campbell mentioned Book Store Book Blogger Connection which was founded by Little Red Reviewer and which I have participated in. She lists those some bloggers who participate in Book Store Book Blogger Connection and during the podcast episode, SF Signal mentions Absurdly Nerdly at 47:40, though he totally butchers the name of my blog the first time. Also mentioned are Books Without any Pictures, Nashville Bookworm and The Book Smugglers, some book bloggers I follow because they have excellent reviews.
Want to see a ballerina Hulk? Of course you do.
So apparently, there is a series about WereHEDGEHOGS!!! I think I may have to see if I can track one down and read it. Because, What. The What?
Did you know that some background, distracting, noise can actually up creativity? I think it’s because the brain has to concentrate on ignoring it and that takes up the thinking-about-cats-on-the-internets part of the brain. You can now listen to a rainy cafe to help get you in the mood to concentrate, create, write, or blog. I think it is awesome!
Remember my review of that webseries Jane Eyre? Well, I’m obsessed with it. I think it is well written, quirky, and a delight. Plus, the creators are really cool and they’ve actually made a website for their fictional Thornfield Aluminum Exports company. Jane also has a twitter account and a tumblr. Totally cool.
A new Piano Cosplay has popped up. This time it’s all Batman and she is in a Catwoman costume. And looking mighty fine. You are welcome.
A while ago, Scott from Bad Guy Films contacted to tell me about a new webseries he created, Hitman 101. Basically he just wanted to let me know it existed if I wanted to check it out. It took overly long for me to do so, and for that I do apologize, to Scott and you all, because it is an engaging, excellent webseries about the life of a Hitman that I do think some of my readers will quite enjoy.
I like the main actor a lot. Georgie Daburas plays the Hitman. He is really good and I like that he doesn’t overplay his role or tap into stereotypes of “Bad Guys.” When he meets a girl at a coffee shop and starts to like her, his face softens and goes all cute and vulnerable. A very sweet and entrancing moment to watch. It doesn’t hurt that he’s quite a cutie. The rest of the characters are also well written, though some of the other actors do seem to play the stereotype rather than the “real” person. Perhaps that is the direction the show was going for, and it works OK as he plays the “Straight Man” Hitman to their caricature of people from that world. I thought the production value was fairly decent, though some of the night shooting turned kind of green from the lights near where they were filming. I really liked that there were a lot of different locations, that doesn’t happen very often with webseries.
I’ve seen four episodes so far and enjoyed them all. The first two are basic set up for the series and character, but the third one is when the action really starts. Including some fighting. I liked the different fighting styles that were portrayed and the different moves executed. However, pretty sure in a real fight they would all have ganged up on him at once and not taken him on one-by-one. But that tends to happen a lot of in visual story telling. Still, a really cool scene.
I also enjoyed the simplicity of the plot. Hitman 101. It’s all in the title. The life of a Hitman, and what he goes through when things do not go as planned. Of course there has to be drama, of course things go wrong, but he’s a smart and engaging character and it is definitely a fun series. Do check it out.
Real conversation by a drunk person made into an animated video by Cracked. I love their stuff, you should definitely subscribe to their channel. They also do the After Hours which I occasionally, cough, talk about.
This reminds me of the time I was on a plane and my seatmate started talking about his Halloween costume that year which include pyro . . . techniques and not actual knowledge of how to set himself on fire and not get burnt up. This was not a dream. This totally happened. I’ve wondered for years if he killed himself. My gentle disuasions did not seem to phase him. (If Bill Nye can make up words I can too.)
P.S. My title is facetious, please do not set anyone on fire.
Best part? “I honestly don’t know what any of these buttons do.” And, “I used to work for an Evil Empire, but now I work for Disney.”
This is just too much. I love it!
Bill Nye the Science Guy trades quips with Chris Hardwick while teaching the latter to tie a bow-tie. I really am quite in love with Bill Nye after watching the video. 1) Because bow-ties are awesome and 2) Because he totally makes up words, something I do ALL THE TIME! Subscribe to the Nerdist channel, they have other cool things.