Another Sick Day: Staying Home to Read Insurgent

You need this book, dude.

I think you should know there’s, like, a ton of spoilers in this post. And not the good kind of spoilers, like when your grandma used to buy you tons of candy even when your parents told her not to.

For a guy with a solid immune system I sure seem to get sick a lot. Totally left-field for me, I swear. Usually I get one super nasty bug and then I’m Superman for the rest of the year. Not this time though. The Übermensch of cold viruses decided to invade my nasal passages two times this season just to remind me that it could make me its baby boy biatch whenever it wants.

The upside of having a license to ill (that’s a Beastie Boy reference there, FYI) is that I get to stay home from work and do nothing all day–and by “nothing” I mean read Veronica Roth’s new book, Insurgent. Don’t be jelly, people! I’m about 50% through this thing (gotta love the progress counter thingy on the Kindle, right?) and I’ve got a few first impressions to share with all you peeps. I’m assuming you all know the gist of the Divergent Trilogy story line so I’ll just skip the whole synopsis thing and get straight to what I think so far.

The Good: The dialogue has been super dope from the start. The tension between Tris and Four was totally believable, and the snappy banter between Tris and the other Dauntless–especially Uriah–had me cracking up. The description of various places was totally off the chain too. The way Roth laid out the Amity headquarters made me feel like I was right there, strolling under the thick canopy in the orchard. And the way she described the Candor headquarters with the black and white everywhere? Get outta here! What a fricken awesome way to decorate the headquarters of the faction that sees only truth and lies, right? Actually, the way she has painted the headquarters of all the factions has been beyond pro, each one reflecting the character of the faction members. So well done, Ms. Roth.

The Meh: The only thing I thought was a little bit of shenanigans was how seriously mature Tris seemed at times. Perfect example: the scene toward the beginning where she and Tobias were about to do the no-pants dance, but Tris puts the kibosh on old Mr. Grabby Hands before he made it to second. Tris says something about how she doesn’t want to get freaky with him because she feels like its for the wrong reasons, namely to distract herself from her grief. This, I didn’t buy.

Before you get all worked up let me explain what I mean. I get that some people mature faster than others. I, for instance, still get a kick out of typing 58008 on old calculators and then turning then upside down. The thing is, Tris seems waaaay too insightful for a sixteen-year old with almost zero life experience. I know she saw some serious trauma in the last book, but I don’t think that accounts for some of the next level introspection that Tris has going on. Maybe it’s possible for a kid to be that mature, but I just think it’s unlikely.

But hey, what do I know? Girls are supposed to mature faster than guys anyways, right?

So yeah, that’s where I’m at for now. I know I’m the new mayor of Sucksville for breaking my own rules and not posting on Monday, but I like I said, I was super dooper sick. As soon as I finish this book I’m going to be up on here giving you the low down on Veronica Roth’s next installment.

Until then, Dear Reader. G’night.

[image sourced here]

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She’s Got Fire. She’s Got Thorns

Looking good, girl!

Listen, man. You need to check this book out. I know I say that about stuff all the time, but this time I really mean it. I mean, the thing earned an A on my Legit-o-Meter so it must be at least decent, right? (the Legit-o-Meter is a thing I made up just now, FYI)

Let me drop the knowledge bombs on you about why this book was so dope.

A lot of books will draw me in slow, you know? They give me a little bit at first just to pique my interest, and then reel me in for the long haul. The Dark Tower series was like that; ditto on the Uglies.

Not so with this book. Fire and Thorns snatched me from the first few pages and kept me hooked until the end. Darn thing even drove me to the internets afterwards, looking for a sequel.

I credit the book’s ability to hook the reader, or Hookage Factor (I was going to say “Hooking Factor” here I thought it might convey the wrong meaning), to Carson’s talent with pacing. She is a straight-up pro when it comes to revealing details in just the right way. The opening scene is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. We’re dropped into the life of Elisa, this spoiled–but kind–princess who is right in the middle of stuffing herself into her wedding dress. The poor girl, bless her heart, has got a tendency to pack pastries in her mouth at the tiniest twinge of emotional discomfort. A character like that could be totally easy to hate on, but Carson paints her as a sweet enough soul that I really liked her from the get-go. Next thing you know the wedding is on like BAM! You go from barely meeting this girl to feeling for her as she’s married off to some foreign king she’s never even met. The thing is, it feels legit because Carson doesn’t waste words. She reveals the story at the perfect pace so that you know just enough to make you want to keep going.

After the wedding Elisa and her new beau, King Alejandro de Vega of Joya d’Arena, bounce out of her father’s realm and head back to Chez Alejandro. The journey takes a few days (traveling by horseback is so slooooow) but Carson makes a week-long journey feel super fun to read. In the middle of the journey, the King’s caravan gets ambushed by this savage horde that’s all shooting arrows and being like, “Watch out, bros. We’re totally savage killers!” Elisa is wicked scared through the whole attack, but despite being a total chicken she saves one of her handmaids AND kills one of the savages as the dude is about to murk her new man. This scene was totally rad to see because you got a real image of the sort of person Elisa is as opposed to who she thinks she is, know what I mean?

I’m going to stop here because I really want you to check this book out and I don’t want to ruin it for you. This book is rich with characters and settings that are so well written that you can’t really get them unless you read the book. I know that might seem like a bunch of hooey, but just take me at my word when I’m like, “Dude, bro, brah…you need to read this.” I promise you won’t regret it.

[that hawt pic is from here]