Tag Archives: Eric

Review: “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth

Title: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #2
Rating: ****
Publisher/Copyright: Katherine Tegen, 2012

I’ve decided I need to be more focused when I read a series. I’ve always tried to not binge, but that’s obviously not working–I never finish! So here we go. Insurgent! Plus, the movie’s coming soon, and I know I’m going to get pulled in to see that with my wife and/or my sister….can’t see it ’til you read it, after all….Oh, and since this is the second book in the trilogy, it’s bound to be a bit spoilery for the first novel. If you’ve not read the first one yet, you’ve been warned.

Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off. The faction system is shattered, teetering on the brink of collapse due to the unprecedented attack led by Erudite against the Abnegation. Erudite stands powerful, maintaining a position of strength after seizing control of the city. Abnegation is almost nonexistent, most of its leaders and citizens slaughtered. Dauntless is fractured, split between those allied with Erudite and those in revolt, horrified at having been manipulated into committing genocide. Amity stands aloof, offering a safe haven for refugees of the attack, while Candor stands undecided. But there is a sixth group that no one has considered yet, and they may hold the key to everyone’s future in this troubled city. Can Tris and her friends trust the Factionless? And regardless of the answer to that question….do they really have a choice?

I stated before, in my review of Divergent, that I thought this trilogy was far superior to The Hunger Games for a variety of reasons. I still hold that opinion, and I don’t think it’s likely to change despite my sister’s allusions to her “ocean of tears” after finishing the last book. The writing continues to flow almost effortlessly from cliffhanger to cliffhanger, and while I’m admittedly unlikely to give these a second read-through (I only do that if I really like a book) I have to admit to an incredibly reluctance to stop reading once I’ve started. Tris is a bit less emotionally stable this time around, and I can see where some people get annoyed at that, but I think it’s only natural for the character. She just watched most of the people she grew up with get massacred, her parents both sacrificed themselves to save her (a sacrifice she feels deeply unworthy of), and she was forced to shoot one of her closest friends in the face when he tried to kill her while under simulation control. I think her emotional breakdown is warranted, and while I don’t like whinyness in a narrator, I think I would find her character less believable if she didn’t break down occasionally. And believably, overwhelmingly human characters is something that Ms. Roth does incredibly well. There are a couple characters who are just outright slime (Eric, for example), but most of the villains are operating from a desire to serve the greater good…as they see it, and regardless of the cost. That element in particular is highlighted in this book, as we get more insight into just what the heck went down to cause the Erudite coup. I’ll not get too lost in rambling, except to say that any lingering qualms I had about the premise of the trilogy after the first book (and there weren’t many) have been laid to rest.

CONTENT: Brief R-rated language (I think, I don’t actually remember any, but the first one had some….) Strong, occasionally gruesome violence and its aftermath. Mild sexual innuendo and flirting, but nothing too explicit.

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Mini-Reviews: Terry Pratchett’s Discworld, part 2

Here’s the second round of Discworld books! (First round is here.) I started reviewing all series in this format, but have since abandoned that idea. I’m sticking with it for the Discworld novels, because I have a lot of the same things to say about them and multiple posts would get incredibly redundant.

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld does for (or to) Fantasy what Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy did for science fiction–firmly sets a story within a genre, stereotypes intact, then goes to town.  He’s frequently irreverent, and it’s an absolute delight to read. Since this post is a compilation of reviews for books six through ten of the series, there are a few spoilers. Specifically, if you haven’t read Sourcery yet, my review of Eric is going to spoil the ending of that for you…..

WYRD SISTERS (****)
This sixth entry in the series stands on its own rather well, its only ties to the previous novels being the reappearance of Granny Weatherwax from Equal Rites, the cameo appearance of the Orangutan librarian from the Unseen University, and the obligatory appearance by Death (who may be the only character to appear in all of the books to date, I’ll have to check on that sometime….) This volume takes on Shakespeare, the theatre, and the power of words…..

King Verence of Lancre is dead. His cousin, Lord Felmet, very rudely stuck a dagger in his back and pushed him down the stairs. The three witches of Lancre (Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and young Magrat Garlick) don’t hold with meddling in politics, but what are they to do when a servant hands them a babe and a crown before expiring from the three arrows stuck in his back?

PYRAMIDS (*****)
This time Pratchett takes on ancient Egypt. Prince Teppic is the heir to the throne of Djelibeybi, the oldest kingdom on the Disc. He’s spent the last several years being educated by the Assassins’ Guild, but now he must take the throne due to his father’s unexpected demise. But ruling the Old Kingdom is harder than it looks, especially with the High Priest Dios “interpreting” all of his orders all wrong. In addition, the massive pyramid being built for his father is acting very strangely…..

This volume stands very well on its own–the only real connections to the rest of the series thus far are the city of Ankh-Morpork, Death’s appearance, and the cameo by Unseen University’s Orangutan librarian.

GUARDS! GUARDS! (*****)
With this seventh entry, we are introduced to the Ankh-Morpork City Watch. There’s Carrot Ironfoundersson, a six-foot-tall dwarf-by-adoption newly arrived in the city to seek his way in the world, while Captain Vimes serves in the role of every film-noir detective or cop ever to grace the silver screen. Along with Sergeant Colon and Corporal Nobbs, Carrot and Vimes are going to have their work cut out for them, because Ankh-Morpork is about to discover that dragons aren’t as extinct as previously thought. But is the dragon’s arrival merely coincidence, or is there a larger, more sinister plot afoot? It is going to be up to the Watch to find out!

This volume stands on its own fairly well, at least insofar as previous books are concerned. I understand there are a number of later books also starring the Watch, but this is the first in that subseries. Recurring characters include the Librarian and Death, of course, as well as the Patrician (who I can’t help imagining as Ralph Fiennes for some reason).

FAUST ERIC (****)

When we left Rincewind at the end of Sourcery, he was running for his life through the Dungeon Dimensions, trapped there for the forseeable future. Well, it seems he’s found a way back onto our plane of existence (or whatever plane the Discworld is on, at least), but its a bit embarrassing. He’s been conjurred by a fifteen-year-old demonologist wannabe, who remains stubbornly convinced that Rincewind is a demon and demands his three wishes. Rincewind finds, much to his surprise and confusion, that he seems to actually be able to grant these wishes, which of course launches our protagonists on a comic journey of mythic proportions, literally to hell and back and to the ends of the Disc…..

Could you read this ninth entry in the Discworld series by itself? Sure, you could, but you might feel you were coming into the middle of a story. This one probably stands alone least of all the Discworld stories I’ve read so far. For my two cents, you should at least read The Colour Of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and Sourcery before delving into this next installment of Rincewind’s adventures.

MOVING PICTURES (*****)

The Discworld is in peril once more, and this time it’s quite a show! When the last priest of an ancient order dies without training a successor, the spirit of Holy Wood is released once more into the world. People are called from the Disc over to come and be a part of this new phenomena–moving pictures! The only problem is that the dark Lovecraftian things from the Dungeon Dimensions still want through into the Discworld, and Holy Wood is about to make a door for them….

Moving Pictures is perhaps my favorite book in this series yet. Pratchett usually picks one idea or concept to make fun of and play with for the course of a book, and this time it was Hollywood. As such, the book is rife with references from Gone with the Wind to old Errol Flynn flicks. The plot is mostly an excuse to make all these jokes, but it’s still great fun! This one stands alone as well as any of the Discworld novels, by which I mean a lot of background characters reappear–The Librarian, Death, Detritus the Troll bouncer from the Mended Drum tavern, Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler….a couple others, I think, but its not really important.

Content-wise, Discworld holds steady at a raucous PG or a mild PG-13. There’s mild language, comedic violence, and various raunchy jokes that never actually become explicit. If you were okay with the likes of Conan and Red Sonja you have nothing to worry about here.

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