Review: Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark #1) by Veronica Roth


Title: Carve the Mark
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 1/17/17
Length:   390 Pages
Series:  Carve the Mark #1


On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.

My Thoughts

For those of you who really liked the Divergent series, and more for the writing than the story, than you’ll love this next new series by Ms Roth.  what we have here is another Dystopia, but a story that takes us to another Galaxy to a time when things are completely different than what we’re envisioning.

As the summary tells us, we’re following the story of two main characters, Cyra and Akos who find their lives to be intertwined because of what the current has given them in terms of powers/abilities as well as where their futures seem to lead them.  See they all live in an era where there are oracles who are able to see things of the future and they are able to know who is ‘fated’ meaning who’s got a future being laid out before them.  These are usually kept secret, however when they are revealed, one family has to go into hiding and another is split up.  With those that are split taken into the the Shotet empire because of what their futures hold.

Akos is our leading guy – a boy who has an ability to take away currentgifts, and that’s especially helpful as the sister of the Shotet ruler has this power that causes pain to others however it also causes herself intense amounts of pain.

Cyra has her own issues – knowing that she’s caused the death of her mother and that all she wants is to be something other than what she is and where she is.  Being around Akos gives her the chance to be a bit more normal and of course in a book with teens, you know that it’s going to lead to some level of romance.

The story here is one of a leader trying to get ultimate power because he doesn’t like the fate that he’s been given.  Ryz – Cyra’s brother is trying to be the eternal power, trying to get his nation recognized among the Assembly which is the governing body of all planets in their galaxy however the means that he uses to go about it are quite brutal and not appreciated.

It’s a journey of cyra and Akos trying to do what’s right for them, and trying to find a way to live their lives as they want.  Akos has the motivation of trying to save his brother who was kidnapped by Ryz, however Ryz has used his currentgift to affect his brother’s mind meaning that even if he gets his brother back, who knows what we will have.

Cyra is also just trying to be herself.  She learns more about the renegades and Exiles that are feared and hated by the Shotet and we see that she’s converting what she’s been taught into action for the future.

When it’s discovered that the land that Akos is from has discovered a Chancellor who turns out to be someone that we’ve met before, we know that the story is going to get far more complex.  That same chancellor has their heart broken and destroyed, potentially at the hand of another character that we love, that we see that there’s no option than to feel her wrath as she takes her position as a leader and takes them all to the Assembly.

We’re left wondering what’s going to happen next since Cyra learns of a secret about who she is which is somewhat unexpected, and then there’s the question of who Akos truly is since he’s not what he seems.  There’s also the question about who will live and who will die, and what’s ahead for them once they reach the Assembly.

All in all, a very interesting and quite different story from Ms Roth – not at all what i was expecting from what i’ve read of hers before.  If you’re a fan of Red Rising, i think that you’ll enjoy this one.  On that note – enjoy and have a good night!

Review: Four: The Traitor (Divergent #0.4) by Veronica Roth


Title: Four: The Traitor
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher/Year: HarperCollins 7/8/14
Length: 49 Pages
Series: Divergent #0.4


Fans of the Divergent series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth will be excited by “Four: The Traitor,” the fourth of four stories, each between fifty and seventy-five pages long, set in the world of Divergent and told from Tobias’s point of view.

“The Traitor” takes place two years after “The Son” and runs parallel with the early events in Divergent. In this robust story, readers follow Tobias as he uncovers the details of an Erudite plan that could threaten the faction system, and makes plans of his own to keep Abnegation safe. At the same time, Tobias is getting to know a new transfer initiate: Tris Prior.

My Thoughts

We finally sync up with Divergent, and it’s nice to see what’s going on from Four’s POV. In this last novella, we’re seeing the beginnings of the relationship between the 2 of them, and it’s nice to see that the tension that i perceived from the bigger book is real from Four’s side.

The interesting thing here is that we don’t see the day to day of Four as the initiate trainer, we see the day to day of Four the Dauntless, who’s trying to figure out what’s going on and what that means for the future. Again, like i said in the last one, i don’t think that i realized the extent of Four and his mom’s interactions just based on the series alone, so this gives things a new meaning, and maybe the next time i re-read the series, i’ll look at it in a different light.

What these novellas do for me though is makes me wonder if we’ll get more since we’re just getting into the first book here -and not even the meat of the first book. i feel like there’s def more to come that we could get into, and i would love it if Ms. Roth gave us what we want.

Review: Four: The Son (Divergent #0.3) by Veronica Roth


Title: Four:  The Son
Author:  Veronica Roth
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollins 7/8/14
Length:  39 Pages
Series: Divergent #0.3


Fans of the Divergent series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth will be thrilled by “Four: The Son,” the third of four stories, each between fifty and seventy-five pages long, set in the world of Divergent and told from Tobias’s perspective.

In “The Son,” Tobias struggles to find a place in the hierarchy of the Dauntless. He also begins to suspect that a foul plan may be brewing within the Dauntless leadership and discovers a truth about his past that could greatly affect his future.

My Thoughts

The journey continues – we’re not just post initiation, getting into Four’s head a bit as he has to make a decision on what he wants to be in Dauntless.  What makes things more complicated of course though is that he’s realized that someone’s been in his room, when he finds a broken glass that he didn’t break.  then the next day there’s a note in his room that’s cryptic, yet he thinks that it’s from his father, asking for a meeting.  The nice thing is that this wasn’t part of the main series at all, and the result of this conversation only now makes us realize why Four’s reaction in Insurgent was what it was.

The other nice thing about this story is that we get to know Zeke and Shauna a bit more – and see how that friendship/relationship is just way more complicated.  I can’t wait to see what comes next in the 4th and final novella in Four’s story.  Enjoy!

Review: Four: The Initiate (Divergent #0.2) by Veronica Roth


Title: Four:  The Initiate
Author:  Veronica Roth
Publisher/Year:  HarperCollins 7/8/14
Length:  39 Pages
Series: Divergent #0.2


Fans of the Divergent series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth will be delighted by “Four: The Initiate,” the second of four stories, each between fifty and seventy-five pages long, set in the world of Divergent and told from Tobias’s point of view.

“The Initiate” provides readers with a glimpse into Tobias’s Dauntless initiation experience, including an epic game of late-night Dare; his first tattoo; the beginning of his passion for training new initiates; and his nascent understanding of the danger of being Divergent.

My Thoughts

It’s been a while since i read the first book from Four’s POV and this was a nice one.  I think that it’s nothing of a surprise, but i think that part of what we love about this series is that we get a lot of the backstory where it’s necessary and this is exactly that.

We’re at the end of Four’s initiation period, and we see what he struggles with but internally and with trying to make it through to be Dauntless – and it’s a tough journey.  One of the nice things here is to see how he begins to relate to others differently because he’s choosing to open himself up to what the Dauntless do, and i don’t know if i’m alone here, but i would have loved to see something between him and Shauna, even for a minute.

The other great thing is that we see that the dynamic between him and Eric isn’t just because Four was #1, there’s more to it that Four began to see early on and it lays the groundwork for the first installment of the series. Enjoy!

Divergent: Book v. Movie



I’ve read the book now 4 times and I have seen the movie twice, so i think that it’s fair for me to do a little comparison and see what you guys think too.  I have to start off by saying that in the realm of books being made into movies, this is one of the better ones – especially in the genre.  I really enjoyed it – so the misses and flaws that i saw, fortunately they weren’t game changing.

Here we go…

1) How come we don’t get to know more about the Dauntless initiates?  specifically Uriah?  we only see him in 1 scene, the zip lining scene, which was actually taken out of context in the movie?  I feel like Uriah and his brother Zeke play such a role in the future books that it wasn’t set up well in the movie

2) Edward wasn’t as featured in the movie – and we totally forgo the eye stabbing scene.  why is that?  remember that in the coming books, the boy with the eyepatch is a recognizable person among the factionless

3)  Will’s sister Cara isn’t in the movie at all, and that’s odd to me given that we spend some time with her in the next installments too.  I just wonder how they are going to introduce her in the next films, although i’m sure there’s a way

4) When Tris and Four kill the simulation, they never take any hard drive from the computer – they just wipe the program.  I think that’s going to be interesting how things play out since we know that the hard drive itself is something that people want in the coming book.

in the movie there were also a few liberties being taken, meaning that Four doesn’t point out that he noticed the Erudite bringing in supplies to Dauntless – no one realizes it until it’s almost too late – and it’s Tris in the book that connects the dots.

I also didn’t think that Erudite would be so futuristic in the movie.  given what we know of the city from the book, how Chicago was destroyed, i figured anything that was renovated would be nicer, but not futuristic.  Any everyone had tablets – while in the book it was all about pages of paper being printed (remember when Tris tried to get her closure by throwing the articles into the Chasm).

Anyhow, like i said, i thought that the movie was really well done and all those things above that i feel weren’t consistent, they weren’t game changing.  I’d love to hear your thoughts

Review: Allegiant (Divergent Trilogy #3) by Veronica Roth


Title:  Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins  10/22/12
Length:  544 pages
Series: Divergent #3


hat if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth’s #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergentand Insurgent.

My Thoughts

Long awaited and quite the great read.  I actually saw Veronica Roth on the Today show when I was about 1/3 of the way through and what she said during the interview threw me.  She was asked about the response to the ending and how she got there and she said that she felt that it ended stories for characters as they should have been.  I DISAGREE!!!  i won’t provide spoilers, but i felt like i was back in the Requiem world where the ending didn’t quite do it for me.

anyway, this third installment opens when we are in the midst of the factionaless overthrow and the factions all in chaos.  We don’t know if it’s safe to believe Evelyn and what Marcus is up to.  What we remember from the ending of Insurgent though is the video reveal by ‘Edith Prior’ and what that did to everyone.  It meant that EVERYONE quickly realized that what they had been taught all their lives wasn’t true at all and they had to decide what to do next…and where to do it.

So, we quickly learn that the factions (not the factionless under Evelyn) start to create the Allegiant – their own group of rebels with a cause of their own.  to restore order and make things less chaotic.  Among those Allegiant are some folks that we’re constantly reminded of – Joanna Reyes, Cara among others.

They devise a plot for a group of Dauntless to get out of the fence, and see what’s on the outside – with folks that they have allegiances with out there.  So Tobias, Tris, Tori, Cara, Caleb, Christina, Uriah and Peter plot to escape and do that.  well, not all of them make it.

Once they are outside, they reach contacts who turn out to be past dauntless that were presumed killed for being Divergent who take them to the Bureau of Genetic Welfar where the group learns a lot more than they ever expected.

I’m going to tread lightly here because i don’t want to reveal anything too drastic, but here are the basics

1) What Tris knew about her family – completely different than reality

2) Jeannine Matthews couldn’t have been working on her own, she was provided with serums and what not for her uses (guided by what the Bureau wanted her to do)

3) Relationships that were sacred aren’t anymore and there are lots of changes among friendships and loves

4) No one knows who or what to believe – people spin stories in ways that make what they believe to be true true and what others are doing wrong

along this journey we meet David who is the leader of the Bureau and knows Tris’s mom.  We also meet Nita who’s in with the Rebels.  we meet Matthew who we’re not sure is a good guy or not, yet he leans towards good

What i can’t get past though is the way that this story went and where it’s going.  We learn about the purpose of Chicago becoming a faction system and being what it is, yet we don’t see into other cities that were created like it.  We hear about what goes on out side of the fence and in the fringe, but we also don’t get to see what’s really going on there either.

I’m let down by the ending for sure.  i like how some of the story was resolved, but quite saddened by others.  i’m sure you’ll know what i mean when you read it.  LOTS of surprises and LOTS of anxiety.  enjoy!


Re-Review: Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth


Title:  Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins  5/1/12
Length:  544 pages
Series: Divergent #2


One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

My Thoughts

Just a few more days until Allegiant comes out and i felt that it was time for me to finish #2 in the series to get fully up to speed.  I think that it’s key to re-read stories like this so i’m not wondering why certain people are alive and others not, and why some are on one side vs. the other.

This 2nd installment takes us past the chaos of the ending in Divergent into a completely different set of obstacles.  The questions that remain to be answered are vase and wide spread and that makes for a really exciting bridge book.  Tris and Tobias are in an endless battle to survive and fight for what’s right, all the same while trying to get to Jeanine and figure out what’s going on.  Marcus continues to play a strong role in this book, yet i don’t think that we ever really find out what his deal is…well not until the end.

The action continues to be packed into every scene, you never know who will be next to be injured, or which faction will be the one to help out the Dauntless (not the Dauntless Traitors).  We continue to see that Euridite has their own motivations for just about everything that they do – and while the underlying need to seek information and learn is the core of the faction, we find that it’s more of an evil motivation based on their leader’s choices.

All hope isn’t lost for them since we do find that there are some that are willing to help and they do at that.  Among the Dauntless though, there’s a lot of flip flopping.  We never really know who is on Tris/Tobias’ side, even when they prove it one way or another.  Peter for example, he’s an enigma.  Working with them in one scene and against them in another.  The same with Tori.

And what makes me really angry the 2nd time that i read this was Caleb.  I remember his actions the first time around, but i guess i blocked them from my mind because when i read this installment again, i realized that he really has his own personal motivation.

What i loved…the ending.  I mean really – it’s not that i didn’t see it coming, but i really like where it’s going.  I think that throughout the first 2 books, you get this idea in your head of what the factions are and what ‘chicago’ is all about but i like that there were hints throughout of Amity being the only faction ‘outside the fence’ and then to see where things go in the last few pages of the book.

So, next week is D Day – meaning that the book will be out and i’ll finally get to see what it all means for both the story, society and Tris and Tobias.  I can’t wait!

Re-Review: Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth


Title:  Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins  2/28/12
Length:  576 pages
Series: Divergent #1


In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

My Thoughts

in this 2nd (or maybe 3rd pass at this point, i have one thing to say and don’t hate me for my social speak #LOVEIT!.  i’ve decided that since Allegiant is due out in 1 week’s time, i owed it to myself to re-read the first books so that i’m fully up to speed on who’s alive, who we like, who we hate etc.  Well, whatever i thought of Divergent before, i love it more now.

We are taken on a ‘soul finding’ journey in a sense where Tris, our leading female is 16 – coming of age and has to make the decision of whether she’s going to take the safe path as stay in her family’s faction – Abegnation and live a boring yet safe life, or if she’s going to take a risk, and change EVERYTHING that she knows and transfer.  It’s not surprising the Tris has decided to transfer to Dauntless no less, and well, we see that she hits her stride during initiation.

she finds that she’s much stronger than she thought, and she breaks out of her shell quickly.  Along her journey, she makes actual friends in her fellow initiates, Christina, Uriah, and a few others.  She also begins to feel an attraction to someone else, when she gets a sense from Four (Tobias) that there’s maybe more to the trainer / trainee relationship.

What i love here is that not only do we get the complex story of a teen having to choose her life’s path, but we get to see that evolve, and then we get to see the greater picture of what’s happening in society and who’s pulling the strings.

Where this first installment leaves us off is a GREAT bit of a cliffhanger.  We see that there are evil intentions all around, and that Dauntless is a pawn in this.  We see that folks that are supposed to be the good guys really are the puppeteers, and that’s going to play out nicely i’m guessing in the final installments.

Good news is that i have Insurgent already so i can dive into it tonight, bad news is that i’m sure i’ll finish it before Monday night so that will leave me feeling a bit empty until 10/22/13 comes around.

Review: The Transfer (Divergent #0.1) by Veronica Roth


Title:  The Transfer
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins  9/3/13
Length:  35 pages
Series: Divergent #0.1


The first of four new short stories told from the perspective of everyone’s favorite Divergent love interest!

More Four! Fans of the Divergent series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth will be thrilled by “The Transfer,” the first of four new short stories told from Four’s perspective. Each brief story explores the world of the Divergent series through the eyes of the mysterious but charismatic Tobias Eaton, revealing previously unknown facets of his personality, backstory, and relationships.

My Thoughts

I really enjoy when we get another POV on characters that we’ve come to know and love and be attached to.  I think especially with Tobias/Four, we wanted to get some of the thoughts that went through his head when we had his Choosing Ceremony.  I like the consistency here about his feelings towards Marcus and i love that we got to see some of the intros that were made from his POV with Tori, Zeke and some of the others.

The other bit of insight that i like is that Four had a bit of an insecure side that we didn’t really see much of in the series so far so i wonder if it’ll come through in the finale or if it’s now something in the past upon choosing Dauntless

It’s a nice teaser here that the factionless man references Four’s mom and quite a bit of foreshadowing here, which is nice given what we read in book 2.  Now i can’t wait to see the novellas of the other 3 which will be a nice tie-me-over until Allegiant comes out

Poll: Best of….Dystopian

Several follow up books are due out in the coming weeks/months and as I’m eagerly anticipating them, i thought I’d get your opinions on which series you enjoy the most.  I”m on the fence since i LOVE Divergent and Legend the most i think but i feel like there are so many good ones out there.  What is your fav?