But I suspect it was a little bit easier for me than for most. Because friends, I am losing my mind. Or, more accurately, my mind is losing things. I suspect, if you took an x-ray of my brain, it would look like a hunk of swiss cheese.
As a result, two of my books this week were re-reads. But due to the above factors, and because I read them before 2012, I'm counting them toward my reading challenge totals. I wrote new responses for both of them, in light of my new purpose for reading.
What I Read This Week:
Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Thanks, Veronica Roth, for the sleep I didn't get two nights ago when I dreamed my fear landscape.
Thanks also for the sleep I didn't get last night, when I stayed up finishing my pre-Insurgent re-read of Divergent.
I had to re-read it, because the first time I read it I was going so darn fast in order to find out what happened next. Oops. Turns out there were whole big chunks I had kind of forgotten (I'm not great with remembering plots under the best of circumstances. But hit me with suspense? Forget it. My eyes can't stay on the right page, let alone paragraph.)
And, yup. It is that good. I mean, we all knew that, but just in case anyone was wondering. It is. I mean, only if you like suspense and stakes-raising and action and surprising, complicated characters, I guess. If those things aren't your bag...well, Leave it to Beaver is on Netflix now. You could go check that out.
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Veronica Roth. WHAT?
This book blows the whole game wide open. Don't worry, I'll be vague, because it's only been out for two days as of when I'm writing this. But I mean...I had no idea things would head the way they did, but it was so beautifully set up that it felt like the natural progression. And the ENDING--I am so in love with this ending, because it provides so much resolution and clarity while simultaneously setting up an EPIC next book.
Non-spoilery things I especially loved:
--Getting to know more about the other factions
--Christina. Just, all of her.
--Lynn, Marlene, and Uriah.
--Johanna Reyes (you guys, I love this new character so so so much. SO much. Ok, spoilers here: Her speech, when she decided to leave Amity to try to keep the peace, definitely made me cry a little. I am Amity all the way. Except, I guess, traitor Amity. Reyes Amity.)[ Her speech, when she decided to leave Amity to try to keep the peace, definitely made me cry a little. I am Amity all the way. Except, I guess, traitor Amity. Reyes Amity.) (hide spoiler)]
I'm going to hold off on a full, spoilery response until the end of the month, when it's time for Bookmobile at YA Highway and Tracey Neithercott's YA Book Club to discuss it, and then I'll do a megapost! Enjoy it, if you haven't yet!
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I re-read Graceling because Bitterblue is finally here, and I had gone and forgotten much of what made this story so lovely. I actually like the third-person narration here, even though I am often a sucker for the opposite, because Cashore's rhythms and word choices give this a real fairy-tale feeling. It's much richer and darker than a fairy tale, even the real, un-Disneyfied versions, but the narration keeps it moving reassuringly along. (I wonder if that's how King Leck's words work? Yikes. But it does remind me of famous fictional story tellers like Sara Crewe or the Story Girl--every time I picked the book up, it immediately started to wash over me and pull me right in.)
As much as I love Po--and truly, I can't think of a fictional couple that hits me in the heart harder than Katsa and Po--I think my favorite part of Graceling is when he and Katsa are apart, and Katsa is with Bitterblue. Bitterblue's quiet strength doesn't totally prevent flashes of her youth from coming through, and on this reading I found myself thinking a lot about Amandla Stenberg's performance as Rue. If I was making a film of Graceling right now, she's probably who I'd cast--there's something about Bitterblue that just makes you want to give her a hug, even when she's being completely brave and mature, and Stenberg has that quality coming out her ears.
But of course, Po and Katsa do deserve a mention. I love their easy way with each other, once they figure out the terms of their relationship. It's rare that we get to see a fantasy protagonist (or one in any similar genre) joke around with his or her significant other to the extent that Po and Katsa do. I know they're usually busy fighting evil and saving the world, but so are these two, and they still find time for laughing and otherwise enjoying each other. That's really refreshing. And frankly, it's nice to see a couple that loves each other and is able to commit to each other in a way other than marriage. Marriage is great, don't get me wrong--but it isn't the only way to be in love and mean it.
Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to Fire and Bitterblue! Definitely worth reading, even if you're a little skeptical of fantasy--this is a good story with great characters and relationships that anyone can enjoy.
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Waiting in the Wings