The book itself is wonderful, and you can find my review and the hard back cover over here. I have a bias towards the original cover, because it’s the cover I own and love — and I adore designs that use feathers. but there’s plenty of interesting aspects in this new cover. It seems to be aiming at an older audience (crossover?), reminding me a lot of some women’s fiction covers while still keeping the story elements obvious, and I like that the font is almost identical to the original.
Along with a significant chunk of the YA writing/reading/reviewing world, I went to see The Hunger Games on it’s release day.
I’ll try to keep this as low on spoilers as I can, but I’m assuming all you cool people have read the books. And if you haven’t, read the friggin books, because even though this is a faithful and brilliant movie adaption it will never be as good as the books. The movie had to cut out or just imply a lot of things the book covers in more detail. So read the books.
- Haymitch! I didn’t care much for him in the first book, but movie Haymitch is brilliant. And he has an eerie similarity to Thor/Chris Hemsworth.
- Tracker Jackers! I was strangely concerned about them overdoing this and giving us some brightly coloured giant super-wasps. They didn’t do this. What they did instead was TERRIFYING and so very well done. The entire Tracker Jacker scene is made of win and awesome.
- Most of the ‘soundtrack’ songs weren’t actually in the movie, the soundtrack used was almost entirely instrumental. I liked a lot of the soundtrack songs, but the movie worked much better that way.
- Peeta. He’s a great actor, just not what I expect from the boy with the bread. But he won me round by playing the role so well.
- The dog-creatures (the mutts). They showed a 3D model of them that looked kick-ass, but something about their design in motion didn’t mesh well with me. They handled the fear in that scene very well, but they also took out a very creepy and powerful element from the books.
- The bloodlessness. I know this is a useless complaint, and if they had tried to add more blood this movie would never have been made… but sometimes the character deaths just felt too clean. It took away from the horror.
- SENECA CRANE’S BEARD.
- They somehow made Effie Trinket funny.
- The Gamekeeper’s Control Room.
- Rue’s lullaby.
- SENECA CRANE’S BEEEEAAARDDD.
I really loved this movie, and recommend it to anyone who loved the books — just be sure to treat it as a separate creature to the books. Totally worth sitting through the 30 minutes of boring cinema adverts, and the one hour bus ride with loud drunks and no seatbelts that followed.
Book: Divergent by Veronica Roth
Series: The Divergent Trilogy
Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Sci-Fi/Dystopian
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—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating 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 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.
Divergent is set in a world where Society has divided into five factions in order to avoid war in the future. This is a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it concept, and I’m on the side of the room that loves it and the way it slightly echoes Harry Potter houses.
I particularly loved that Dauntless, the daredevil faction designed to protect the city from an unknown enemy, is visibly falling apart and straying from its roots. It did push past believability at times, though. Jumping from a moving train across a drop that actually kills a new initiate on your first day felt unrealistic. Punching each other into unconsciousness to prove you’re brave felt unrealistic. Blatantly ignoring a murder felt unrealistic.
A possibly fatal jump (with a net at a bottom) and computer simulations forcing you to face your fear made sense. They tested initiate’s nerve while still being in a controlled environments for trainees. But if you’re taking actions that are going to kill your new members, your system is broken.
It takes a lot for me to actually stop and say ‘this feels unrealistic’. It means the world-building isn’t holding up enough for me to believe life could be this bad, and it makes it harder to relate to the world and the characters. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the book, but it frustrated me.
The story is loaded with action and adventure, and the main character Tris is a really awesome, strong young woman whose struggles and conflicting thoughts are clearly shown as she tries to adapt to a very different new life.
The smart ways Tris dealt with people being harsh and cruel towards her was brilliant, and she’s refreshingly different from other YA protagonists in that she can be self-centred, manipulative, and cold. To the point where her viciousness towards a genuinely nice, but troubled character made me want to put down the book.
But on the flip side, there were so many things I loved. The book is very ‘clean’ – it’s hugely violent, and filled with action and romantic tension, but there’s no swearing or sex. I think this might be due to the author’s religion, hinted to be Christian in the acknowledgement, but the book has only minimal subtext and I really like how well the book managed to stay within the lines.
The romance is sweet and slow-moving, with no love triangle in sight, and the plot had more than enough twists and turns to keep me on the edge of my seat.
Despite all the conflicting feelings I had about the story, I was hooked from start to finish. I love the action, the adventure, and the world enough that I can look past my issues. It’s far too easy to overthink a story when you get that wrapped up in it, I think.
I’d recommend this book to any fans of YA dystopian fiction who like the concept of the world being split into factions, and who enjoy action-packed plots like The Hunger Games and City of Bones. I’m looking forward to picking up the second book in this trilogy, Insurgent, which comes out this year.
Just look at that cover by one of my favorite artists, Jason Chan. It’s beautiful. Such a variety of awesome looking characters.
Loved the Blackbird cover, and love this one as well. Both remind me pleasantly of Death from The Sandman. I still need to read these.
Beautiful, Russian-inspired cover art.
Deceptively simple, but instantly recognisable. Click the link above to read a review.
An all-round wonderful sci-fi YA cover.
There’s something wonderfully tense and dramatic about this scene. I adore the colour of the sky as well, and the slight “Hush, Hush” style to the poses.
Super-cute, love the restricted colour scheme and how neatly they worked in such a long title.
This is the story of a boy with an abnormal face. What a tricky book to think up a cover for, but this simple image really blows the concept out of the water.
This is a brilliantly illustration – it captures the title perfectly.
To finish things off, another Jason Chan – and this time it’s the story of Widdershins, a young thief. This is another cover which uses a restricted set of colours to beautiful effect, as well as negative space. I really like how confident and intelligent the young thief looks.
A few runner-ups that didn’t make the cut:
“Cinder” by Marissa Meyer. The cover sums up the story perfectly: Cinderella, with cyborgs.
“A Million Suns” by Beth Revis. “Across the Universe” had a fantastic cover, and it’s sequel is just as artistically well-off. This spells out the sci-fi and romance clearly, and the covers fit well with the previous book’s cover.
Today, for their Road Trip Wednesday question for bloggers, YA Highway asked: What was the best book you read in February?
This is, without a doubt, Veronica Roth’s “Divergent”.
I’ve actually been completely conflicted about this book–I got so immersed in the world that I over thinking elements, which meant I started over thinking my review, so I froze up and stalled and avoided hitting ‘publish’ on the review because I was blowing up everything out of proportion.
And that’s how I know I loved it. I got ridiculously, unconsciously invested in the world.
I’ll pop the review up tomorrow. :)
Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Childrens/Paranormal/Horror
After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own. Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family . . .
If you’ve ever read Gaiman’s “American Gods” (and you should) you’ll have an idea of what to expect here. Neil Gaiman is a goldmine of mythology and history, and his knowledge leaks into the pages. Everything is infused with accuracy and research, everything is referencing old gods and famous moments in history. They call it a kids book, but as an adult reader you can get so much more out of all his subtle little nods to history.
The story starts out with each chapter being a self-contained ‘snippet’ from the main character Nobody’s life in the graveyard, following him as he grows up and makes friends with witches, steps through portals into other worlds, and deals with a teacher who might not be all that she seems. Towards the end of the story, all the individual sections start to come together as the man named Jack picks up Nobody’s trail once again…
Neil has a real gift with characters. The Graveyard residents are made memorable with only a few lines of text, and they’re all so likeable. I didn’t even realise how attached I was to these characters, until 2am on Christmas Day rolled around and I was still reading, still desperate to know what happened next and what these poor characters were going to have to go through.
This is a great fantasy novel – an easy, fast-paced read with a lot of depth and appeal to all ages.