What Can We Expect From Insurgent?! Out May 1st!

Insurgent will be released next month on May 1st. It’s been one year since Veronica Roth’s similar but different Hunger Games-esque dystopian was released.

In the debut novel, Divergent we’re introduced to Beatrice Prior who lives in a futuristic Chicago with her family. A futuristic Chicago that divides its society by 5 different factions. Each faction holds its own values and beliefs that must be upheld by those who reside in the faction’s district. At the age of 16 all males and females are put through a series of aptitude tests to determine which faction will best suit them as they enter adulthood. ‘Faction before blood’ is placed around Chicago to remind everyone that once you pick your faction, regardless if you leave your family behind you must obey your factions values and beliefs. Unfortunately, for Beatrice she feels she doesn’t completely fit into any 1 faction and she realizes she isn’t alone.

Last year I got the chance to meet Veronica Roth while she was touring. Everyone that I work with was totally mesmorized by the debut novel. We would discuss which factions we would rather and which would be awful. Luckily, we didn’t have to guess anymore but got the chance to take the Official Facebook Faction Quiz. If you’re a fan, definitely check this quiz out. It takes you through the actual aptitude test that you read about in the novel. It’s sort of neat and fun to do with your friends!

Anyways, after the hype of Divergent there have been many YA fiction to come and go throughout the past year. None of them have truly captured me since Divergent though. Once again, my coworkers and I got truly jazzed when 2012 rang in because it meant one thing.. The sequel to Divergent is coming in 5 months!! To be honest, my book store has a pretty good relationship with the marketers at the big name publishing companies in Toronto and the surrounding area. We seemed pretty confident that we would without a doubt get an ARC (advance reader’s copy) of Insurgent. I did some research to see what the odds were and creeped Veronica Roth’s web page with deets about HOW TO GET AN ARC. She had written a few blogs about how there weren’t many to be distributed this time around. This mean, I don’t want a lot of spoilers given out before the release date but I’m trying to be nice about it. I understood and got my manager to give a call to Harper Teen. We were told that they only received 5 ARCS of Insurgent and that they would be holding a contest of the stores who could prove they were the BIGGEST fans of the series. We got down to work and decided to create something amazing that the other stores would never do. So this is what we came up with..

We decided to recreate the tree that is on the cover of Insurgent and also represents the faction Amity in the novels. We got a bit creative and printed of the factions on small cue cards and decorated it. Both photos I merged are different vantage points of the tree in the store. I think it’s pretty sweet and earned us the right to 1 ARC of Insurgent. I’ve been pretty lucky to score dibs on reading it first. So, I’ll give you some insight as to what to expect in the next installment. I don’t want to say I’m going to make this a full out spoiler entry because I really want you all to have a chance to enjoy it. So what did I think of it??! Well..

1) Tris and Tobias’ (Four) relationship
Throughout Divergent we witness the budding relationship between Tris and Tobias (Four) developing. Of course, in Insurgent it definitely becomes a focal point but it doesn’t make us forget what exactly is happening in the destroyed world around them. At times, I wanted to stop reading because I’m not a fan of romance but as I keep reading and blogging about YA fiction it keeps resurfacing. I kept trudging along, with that being said I’m not saying that it’s a complete waste of a read! I actually enjoyed it more than Divergent.

2) The rebellion
If you remember at the end of Divergent there is a massive war breaking out and control serums are all over the place. Don’t you worry, that will be another element coming back again. Now it’s not only control serums but there’s a wack load of other futuristic mumbo jumbo that we’re introduced to as well. This novel pretty much focuses on the rebellion, allies and enemies amongst all the factions. Who will come out on top? Really, this novel builds up to an awesome finale that isn’t due out until next year.

3) Who’s on who’s side??!
I found myself having to re-read some chapters since it seems there is a lot of broken promises and tyranny exploding in each chapter. There’s a lot of deception amongst the characters and at times I wanted to smack Tris around and tell her to stop being stupid! She really got under my skin, even MORE SO THAN KATNISS.. ugh. But with that being said, Tris is really a character you love to hate and really want the best for her. I know you will all enjoy the curve ball of characters being re-introduced/introduced in this story line. Everyone is kinda on the edge due to the rebellion, so no one is completely trustworthy.

Anyways, I hope you all enjoy the novel! Let me know what faction you get in the quiz! And don’t forget to follow my blog and if you like you can follow me on the Twitosphere: @carlyofsuburbia

Also, when I did the quiz I got Dauntless! I get to wear this at work to show off my badass-ness.

Life After The Hunger Games

If you’re like the other lost avid readers of the Hunger Games series you’re probably asking yourself, ‘What now??’. Everyone I know over indulged in the popular series within days and now have no idea what to try out next. I shocked a lot of people when they would ask me if I have read the Hunger Games series. It was only recently (about a month ago) that I actually picked up the first book from the series. This is crazy to some people since they know I:
a) Work at a book store
b) Host the YA book club at my book store

I have a good explanation why I waited so long before reading the highly anticpated series. At my store, everyone was nattering on about Hunger Games this and that. This was about 2 Summers ago when Mockingjay came out. I decided to go a different route and read new YA fiction instead. I have read many YA fiction similar to The Hunger Games series. I’m going to go through a few novels that will help you avoid re-reading The Hunger Games and possibly fall in love with something new.

1. The Maze Runner – James Dashner
We are introduced to Thomas who wakes up in a lift only able to remember his first name and with his memory blank. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls. Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every 30 days a new boy has been delivered in the lift. Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers.

I absolutely love this series. If you’re familiar with these novels you might be saying, ‘whaa.. this isn’t a series’. Last fall, after the release of The Death Cure it was announced that James Dashner would be writing a prequel to the first book of the series titled, The Kill Order. There also been major rumours that it is next in line to be turned into a major motion picture.

2. Divergent – Veronica Roth
The novel opens with 16 year old Beatrice Prior who lives in a futuristic Chicago with her family. A futuristic Chicago that divides its society by 5 different factions. Each faction holds its own values and beliefs that must be upheld by those who reside in the faction’s district. At the age of 16 all males and females are put through a series of aptitude tests to determine which faction will best suit them as they enter adulthood. ‘Faction before blood’ is placed around Chicago to remind everyone that once you pick your faction, regardless if you leave your family behind you must obey your factions values and beliefs. Unfortunately, for Beatrice she feels she doesn’t completely fit into any 1 faction and she realizes she isn’t alone.

I’m currently reading the ARC (advance readers copy) of the 2nd book from this series called Insurgent. Divergent came out last May and is the debut novel from Veronica Roth. I had the pleasure of meeting her last year when she toured with Lauren Oliver. It was rumoured last year at her Q&A at my book store that there are talks about signing this to a movie deal. Veronica Roth is pretty cool and said that she would only sign if the producers would stay true to the novel. Unfortunately, for the millionaires in Hollywood she hasn’t liked any of the scripts presented to her.. yet! I won’t be surprised if something comes up after Insurgent’s release in May.

3. Delirium – Lauren Oliver
What if love were a disease? In Delirium we are introduced to Lena, where in her world love is considered to be an incurable disease. All young men and women are required to have a medical procedure to ensure that they don’t succumb to ‘Amor Deliria Nervosa’. Lena is ready for her procedure until the unimaginable happens – she falls in love.

Delirium is a fast-paced and enjoyable read. I couldn’t put it down for a second and it completely surpassed my expectations. This novel will keep you guessing, ‘What next?’. On Valentine’s Day, Lauren Oliver released a short story called Hana that links Delirium with Pandemonium (book #2 in the series). Just a warning, if you didn’t get it already from the synopsis.. This book is probably best suited to the female audience. The other two novels I suggested above are awesome for males and females alike.

Anyways,  I hope you enjoy the suggestions! If you have any comments about the blog feel free to leave a comment below. If you’ve read any of the 3 books in the blog tell me what you think of them!

Don’t forget you can follow me on:
Twitter: @carlyofsuburbia

Happy reading!

Review: The Hunger Games (Spoilers from book and film)

Last night I lined up 3 hours in advance for the midnight show of The Hunger Games. Myself and few of my coworkers decided a week ago to attend the midnight screening. Now I understand that lots of people might disagree with my review, which is fine. I offer you to start a discussion in the comments section of this entry.

So, I’m going to talk about the things I enjoyed in the film in comparison to the novel and of course, the things I didn’t enjoy in the film in comparison to the novel.

Going into the film I only really knew about Jennifer Lawrence (as Katniss Everdeen), Josh Hutcherson (as Peeta Mellark) and Liam Hemsworth (as Gale Hawthrone) since they’re gorgeous faces have been all over the television and online for weeks leading up to the film being released. As the film unfolds, I’m shocked to see the Canadian Morgan Freeman in it!! Donald Sutherland! (as President Snow). I knew from him being casted that if he’s in this movie that it’s going to be awesome. Along with him, Woody Harrelson (as the District 12’s mentor, Haymitch), Stanley Tucci (as Caesar Flickerman), and Wes Bentley (as the Gamemaker, Seneca Crane). I thought these  4 men gave the film a lot of depth.  I feel kind of old for being able to appreciate and fawn over these actors. I just felt their acting was way more entertaining and worth while. I honestly enjoyed their scenes more so than the ones with Katniss and Peeta.

What I enjoyed the most was how the film focused on the outside perspective of the Game. In the novel, we’re only subjected to the point of view of Katniss and what she thinks and sees. But in the film they actually show us how the Games are manipulated and created. Personal conversations between President Snow and Seneca Crane become the focal point of the film. We get to see Gale and Katniss’ family watching the Games from their home. Finally, the riots and termoil of Rue’s death from District 11.

The only reason I didn’t like the film in comparison to the novel was that some scenes were not believeable enough. I found the sudden attraction between Katniss and Peeta to be ‘off’. All we see in the film is that, he threw her bread in the past, he confesses to a crush on her during his interview,  he sides with the elite pack in the Games, then they’re suddenly smitten with one another. I know! In the novel, it is easier to build a relationship or story between multiple characters. I just didn’t see how they got from A -> B -> C and I feel like it spoiled the film for me. To be honest, I’m sort of biased on these two. For the record, I’ve only read The Hunger Games and I’ve just started Catching Fire. I absolutely dislike Peeta’s character. I think he’s not masculine at all and IMO he spent the entire time in The Hunger Games (book+film) whining and being a follower. I didn’t see him fight in anyway successfully in the film which just supported my hate for him from the novel. We’re not exposed to Gale as much in the film like we are in the novel. The whole connection between Gale and Katniss is kind of left to be ambiguous. I have a feeling that he’ll be more of a focus in Catching Fire.

If there is a TEAM GALE/TEAM PEETA battle, I’m definitely on TEAM GALE.

What team are you on?

Review: Hunger Games novel! Surprisingly not THAT good. May Contain Spoilers!

I just finished book one of the highly crazed trilogy, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I found the first three quarters of the book to be thrilling and addictive but the last few chapters fell flat and left me unimpressed. The novel left me feeling once Katniss reunited with Peeta. Up until that point in the novel Katniss’ badass, independent attitude was believable and likeable. Once she meets up with Peeta that entire image of her is smashed to pieces. She becomes the typical needy girl who loses her edgy, ‘I’m gonna kick yo ass and jab an arrow through your neck’ attitude. On top of having to witness one of the coolest female protagonists in YA literature get shot down in flames, the last 5 or so chapters fall flat! It was like Suzanne Collins had suddenly decided that she was going to make it a trilogy. Once they got to the final 3 with Peeta, Cato and Katniss, everything seemed rushed even though it didn’t have to be. I personally think the last 2 chapters were wasted on Katniss being in the recovery hospital, I would’ve much preferred that part kept in Catching Fire instead. Also, I really hate how perfect the end of the Games was done. In my imagination the shot Katniss was required to make during the final scene with Cato seems unrealistic. Her. Hanging over the edge. One last arrow. OH PLEASE.

A lot of people have told me that if I’m unimpressed with this that I should probably just give up on the trilogy now. I’ve been trying to refrain myself from reading spoilers on (awesome book recommendation site!) about Catching Fire. I’m not sure how much of the obvious love triangle I can put up with either between Katniss, Peeta and Gale. I’m hoping in the end that Gale is the winner of her heart. He seems like a better fit and I personally like the character Katniss is around him during book one in the trilogy. Peeta is too emotional for me and I can’t stand the type of character Katniss while they’re in each others presence.

I’m guessing for the other 99% who have read it that the suspense and thrill of the last few chapters didn’t really affect them. I work in a bookstore and even before the movie hype of The Hunger Games, the books have been a consistent top seller for years. I host the YA book club once a month and we’ve read lots of similar dystopian fiction that, IMO were possibly better than this. Just to drop a few titles; The Maze Runner Series, The Chemical Garden Trilogy, Divergent, Delirium.. I can go on..

I still think it’s worthy of being a great recommendation and I’m hoping Catching Fire and Mockingjay make up for what Hunger Games left me feeling absent of.

3 out of 5 stars