Divergent

Divergent is the start of a great new series by author Veronica Roth. Veronica is a new writer, with this being her first published novel. She hangs out on Goodreads.com alot and blogs often.

Divergent is a young adult novel set in a dystopian world where society has broken down into different factions. Each faction has a specific purpose and serves a unique role in this society. This novel has drawn comparisons to the Hunger Games, and while there are some general similarities, it isn’t the Hunger Games 2.0.  The story is a coming of age story with the main character, a teenage female named Beatrice Prior. (No, this is not the Hunger Games 2.0). Every year there is a ceremony where the young people have to choose which faction to join. Most end up joining the one they were raised in. Beatrice ends up choosing a different faction than the one she was raised in. She ends up leaving her home and family to join a new group of people to learn the new factions lifestyle.

Beatrice renames herself Tris and has to learn how to go from being raised in a peaceful faction, Abnegation, to learning how to fight, as she has joined the faction that is more aggressive and in charge of enforcing law and order – Dauntless. Much of the story’s angst comes as Tris has to learn how adapt to this new lifestyle and her training with the other new recruits.  There are some emotional struggles for Tris, there is a lot of physical action and fighting, and there is romance as Tris falls in love with one of her trainers.

Divergent is written in the first person POV of Tris and while it took me a couple of chapters to get used to the style; it allowed me to easily read through the story in a matter of hours. While the world of Divergent doesn’t have much depth to it, the characters are mostly well developed and their actions are believable. I had fun reading this book and it is one of those summer reads that you’re glad that you read it and can move on to your next book.

Divergent is a good story overall, quick paced, easy to read with some good angst. At times, it was easy to tell this was Ms. Roth’s first novel due to the simple writing style. The story was pretty linear with not much depth. However, I did enjoy the overall story and it is a page turner. I would recommend it for those that are looking for something fun and quick to read.

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The Alloy Of Law

I was excited to watch the growth of this book, chronicled on Twitter and Facebook,  as it rapidly grew from a short novella to a full on novel. Although still a ‘short’ story by Brandon Sanderson’s standards, it is a worthy entry into Brandon’s world of Mistborn. The prior trilogy of novels dealt with Min and her adventures, while this new book jumps ahead in time hundreds of years. In this novel, it is akin to a Western novel set in the Mistborn world. The hero, Waxillium (Wax) Ladrian,  is a bounty hunter type who works on the fringes of society, in a Wild West setting with a Steampunk flair.

After a devastating event in the first scene of the book, Wax returns to the main capitol and we find out that not only is Wax a bounty hunter, he is also a noble with lands and an estate with lots of money. Wax gives up his bounty hunting and tries to live a respectable life, settle down and get married. Well, this new lifestyle for Wax doesn’t last long as a new mystery develops and Wax jumps into the thick of things to try and resolve this new conflict.

While the story of The Alloy of Law is entertaining and fast paced, the most entertaining part of the story is the advancement of the magic system – Allomancy.  There are some new twists with Allomancy and Wax is a creative genius with these powers at his disposal. Wax demonstrates his expertise with Allomancy throughout the story and shows an intelligence that is not dependent solely on Allomancy.

Not only has the Allomancy progressed but the civilization has as well. Electricity, trains, and guns play a major part in the story.  These new advancements in technology not only stand on their own and play a part in the story, but combined with Allomancy, this technology brings about scenarios that could not occur in the original Mistborn trilogy. This makes for a very entertaining story.

These new technological and magical advancements take a back seat to Brandon Sanderson’s writing. As usual Brandon brings his fast paced, easy to read and well written style to this novel. He creates a great main character in Wax, and the secondary characters are well developed for the amount of storytime they are given. The plot is well developed, easy to follow and makes sense throughout the narrative. My only complaint of the story is that it is too short! I’m used to the sprawling and lengthy novels that take weeks to read that Brandon has written in the past.  This novel took me about two days to read (reading after work) and when I was done I was left wanting more.  Primarily due to how good the story was and how fun it was to read. However, I guess that is one of the goals of the writer; to create a story that when it is done, the reader is left satisfied but yet wanting more which was definitely the case with Alloy of Law.

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

Step into the world of Elantris, a city where the dead go to die. Once considered gods, Elantrians are now shunned and locked away in hopes that they will be forgotten.

Elantris of today is in shambles and is considered a city of the dead, however 10 years ago it was the city of the gods filled with luminous beings, amazing technology, and was a center of learning. Ten years prior to the story, the Reod occurred which led to the downfall of Elantris and the Elantrians. No one was able to figure out why things changed, until now.

In reading Elantris we follow one of our heroes, Raoden, as he is able to unravel this mystery, with the help of new friends. We also follow the adventures of Sarene, a princess from another realm who is now a part of the story, as she tries to uncover the mystery of what happened to Raoden. Unbeknownst to them, Raoden and Sarene are able to work together to bring about important social change, political change, and their own personal salvation.

We are introduced to the magic system of this part of Sel, the AonDor. The AonDor is part of the Dor, the magic of Sel and something not fully explained yet, and the AonDor is what gives Elantrians their power and long lasting life. We see how when the AonDor manifests itself in a person, they are chosen by the Shaod, and undergo physical changes are transformed into Elantrians. However, due to the Reod, this process was perverted and became a curse instead of a blessing. We are able to discover, through Raoden, how this process occurred and what, if at all, can be done to reverse the Reod.

When I first read Elantris many years ago, it was presented to me as a standalone story. A story that is self contained and doesn’t rely on other stories or isn’t part of a long series. While this is somewhat true, and was the case at the time I read Elantris, there is so much going on in this story that is only now being revealed and connected to other stories in the Cosmere. There will be more connections and more stories of Elantris in the future and for this I am happy that this didn’t end up being a “one off” and that the story continues!