Monday, September 29, 2014

New Release Book Review: Four

Title: Four: A Divergent Story Collection
Author: Veronica Roth
Publication Date: July 8, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Dystopian, science fiction
Pages: 208
Age Rating: Readers over 13 due to some violence
My Opinion: 6/10

Hi, Readers!

       My first ever blog post was about Divergent, by Veronica Roth.  I loved the book's thrilling and mysterious plot line and fantastically developed characters.  When I heard that Veronica Roth had written a prequel of sorts to the series, I had to get my hands on it.  Four is a collection of mini-stories that tell the tale of Tobias Eaton's transformation from Erudite to Dauntless to Divergent.  Although it is not the most loquacious or descriptive novel, it stayed true to the Divergent series and will certainly please fans of Four and Tris.

Four       The Divergent series is written completely in the point of view of Tris Prior.  However, author Veronica Roth completely changed up the perspective of many memorable events from the novel and compiled them in a collection, titled Four.  It takes place over a time period of about three years, starting from Tobias's betrayal of his previous faction and ending with the upcoming revolution (which is at the beginning of Insurgent).  Four gives readers insight to his relationships with his faction members and his thoughts on Dauntless in general.

       One of the downsides of Four is that it seems like an afterthought to such a brilliantly written trilogy.  The novel includes minimal description, and it reads more like a play-by-play of events than a novel.  Veronica Roth missed out on the "show, not tell" idea, and she stated what happened over time instead of focusing in on specific moments.  However, I will take what I can get because I love how Roth still had enough ideas left in her Divergent toolbox to craft another book.  If only J.K. Rowling would do the same with Harry Potter!

Theo James
Theo James, who plays Four
in the Divergent movies
       Reading about about certain events from Four's perspective instead of Tris's was interesting.  He had a different viewpoint about his own fear landscape, and reading about how he fell for Tris from the male perspective was enlightening.  I wish that Roth would have focused more on Four's relationship with his father because nothing was ever resolved.  Also, I kept waiting for a different ending to the novel, and it seemed like it was cut short.  It should have taken place over the span of all three Divergent books instead of disjointedly covering one and a half of them.

       I would certainly recommend Four to any die-hard Divergent fans because they will not be disappointed.  On the other hand, if you haven't read the series, stay far away from Four.  You will be completely confused by the characters and events in the novel.  Some events are alluded to but never explained, such as when Edward was stabbed in the eye.  I repeat - if you haven't read Divergent, or at least seen the movie, DO NOT read Four.  If you have read Divergent and enjoyed it, though, definitely check out Roth's addition to the series.

Happy reading!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Book Review: Paper Towns

Paper TownsTitle: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Publication Date: September 22, 2009
Publisher: Speak
Genre: Realistic fiction, mystery
Pages: 305
Age Rating: Readers over 12
My Opinion: 8/10

Hi, Readers!

       Don't worry, my obsession with reading every John Green book on the planet is almost over.  And that's not just because there are only a couple of his books left that I haven't read yet.  John Green is such an amazing author that reading too much of his works at one time makes other books seem insignificant.  I would recommend that anybody else who becomes obsessed with John Green should read his books once or twice a year so that they have more impact.  Paper Towns is probably one of my least favorite John Green books, but it still deserves an 8/10 because it is a phenomenal and realistic mystery story. 

Quote       Quentin Jacobson, also known as Q, is a fairly average, if not a little bit nerdy, high schooler.  He plays video games with his friends, complains about prom, and is about to graduate.  Ever since he was a little boy, Q has had an enormous crush on his next-door neighbor, Margo Roth Speigelman. When she shows up outside of his bedroom window in the middle of the night, Q follows her and embarks on the adventure of a lifetime.  However, the next morning at school, everything seems to go back to normal.  Q cannot figure out Margo's intentions, and when she mysteriously goes missing, he is more puzzled than ever.  He decides that it is up to him to find his missing neighbor, and Q's search helps him to discover just as much about himself as he does about Margo.

       Paper Towns is a mystery book in disguise.  In reality, it is all about Q's search for Margo, but John Green makes it seem like a coming of age story instead of a search.  He creates excellent characters who made me want to read more.  They were willing to follow Q on his road trip journey to find Margo, no matter what their parents said about the matter.  Q had some fantastic friends that always had his back, which is one aspect of the novel that is different than other John Green books.  Although the story has some spooky parts, it is overall a heartwarming road trip journey.

Nat Wolff
Nat Wolff, who will play Q
       As I mentioned before, all of John Green's books are so good that they cannot be read in a row.  All of his novels share similar plot lines and characters.  They are all great books and I would highly recommend them to anybody and everybody.  That being said, Paper Towns seemed to lack a little something that the other books had.  The whole time, I struggled to understand why Q loved Margo so much, when she constantly ignored him to be higher up the social ladder.  Margo's attitude at first reminded me of Into The Wild, but by the end of the book she seemed like a stuck up teenager looking for attention.  My tip is that when you are reading Paper Towns, use your judgement - going on a wild goose chase to find a missing girl isn't always the best idea.

       A movie adaptation based on Paper Towns is due to come out on July 31, 2015.  Nat Wolff, who played a side role in the John Green-based movie, The Fault In Our Stars, has been cast as Q.  I absolutely cannot wait to see how he makes the character of Q his own.  I believe that this movie adaptation could be a massive hit.  There are a number of scenes that will be filmed beautifully, and John Green's descriptions in the books will really come to life.  Also, the emotion of the characters will come across better on screen than it does in the book.  Now, I wonder who will play Margo Roth Speigelman.

Happy reading!