Tag Archives: divergent

Red Queen is Bloody Good


If you love a good dystopian YA, Victoria Aveyard’s debut novel,  Red Queen is for you.  With a lot (and I mean a lot) of parallels to The Hunger Games & Divergent, the characters and plot twists make this read different enough to still be enjoyable, without feeling like you’re just reading on repeat. If you have read Pierce Brown’s Red Rising, this is like a weird parallel universe to that book.

Red Queen is a little more rooted in fantasy territory, and has a unique take on the dystopian theme.  The nobility of Red Queen‘s world is distinguished by their innate ability to channel fire or electricity, or possess extreme strength or psychic powers.  Their control over the lower class is absolute, who don’t possess any superhuman talents.  Imagine the uproar when Mare, a girl of perfectly common blood, suddenly displays her own power – and no one’s surprise is greater than Mare’s.

I won’t get too deeply into the plot  and spoil it, but there are some great twists, a little romance, lots of intrigue. Lots, and lots, of intrigue.  Like baby Game of Thrones.  If you have a teen who is looking for an entry to more sophisticated story lines, this is a good place for them to start.

This is clearly the start of a series – it should be a fun ride.

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In Roth Withdrawal? I can help with that…

Just in case you are now in Roth withdrawal, there is an e-book with Tobias’ perspective on part of the Divergent story, Free Four.

Also, this:

I’m super excited for this… crossed fingers it will be amazing.

Happy reading/watching!



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Divergent Trilogy Finally Finished!

I love Veronica Roth, but that cliffhanger at the end of Insurgent was just mean. Thankfully, Allegiant was released yesterday, and I came home from work last night with it.  And at some point later last night (not telling how late, except it was no longer technically “last night”) I finished it, with some minor assistance from a bottle of rosé.

I really highly recommend this series.  It’s a great read for adults as well as teens, and the pacing of the story is superb.  The main character Tris is a kick-ass heroine, not just because she can literally kick ass, but also because of her struggles to determine how, when fighting for a cause, you determine the right actions… especially when multiple lives are on the line.

I won’t get into the plot too much, because I’m hoping some of you have the delight of just discovering the series.   I will say I envy you not having to wait between books to read the trilogy, and this is a book that crosses genres so don’t dismiss it if you don’t usually read sci-fi, or YA, or any other silly reason not to read a good book.  Honestly, buy the trilogy, you won’t be able to buy just one.

Unlike my dissatisfaction with the ending of the Hunger Games trilogy, Roth does not wuss out on the ending here.  Wow.

If you liked Ender’s Game, particularly in terms of the ethics and moral dilemmas, try this one on for size.  And that’s a big recommendation from me, because I loved Ender’s Game.  Divergent is just exactly what I like out of a good sci-fi series.

Okay, go read it now, and then tell me how much you loved it.  Or hated it.   I love talking books.

Happy (excited) reading!


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The Maze Runner

I finally got around to reading The Maze Runner, the first of the trilogy by James Dashner.

It slots neatly into the trend of dystopian teen novels, and has been a huge seller, along with Divergent (excellent) and Hunger Games (if you haven’t heard of it, you’re not only living under a rock, you’re living under a really remote, subterranean one).

The book has a teenage boy as a protagonist, who at the beginning of the book wakes up with no memory of his past life, knowing only his name.  He is in a place with other teens, in the middle of a giant, deadly maze.

Dashner does a great job of maintaining the suspense of the mystery, while advancing the plot.  I was a little surprised at how violent the book is – this is definitely for older teens, considering how quickly the body count mounts.    That same body count does a good job of illustrating what it’s like to make decisions when your decisions can get someone else hurt or killed, however, and is not purposeless.

In many ways the book reminds me of Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card, which is one of my favorite sci-fi novels (see previous review).    I will be reading the next two novels in the series, plus the recently released prequel, next, so I’ll let you know how they go.

I recommend this for anyone who likes the dystopian genre, although I would say that this is aimed, despite the violence, at a fourteen or fifteen year old, from the style of writing.  If you have a teenager who loved Hunger Games or Divergent, or The Knife of Never Letting Go, this will probably hit the spot.


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How to Get Kids Reading…

A question that comes up frequently at my bookstore is “How can I get my kids reading?”

As someone who loves reading, and with two daughters who love reading, I tell them what worked for me, and what has worked for friends of mine.

  • Let them choose their own books.  Forcing them to read something turns it into a chore.  If they get to pick the book out, it will be something they actually want to read, and that makes all the difference.
  • Don’t be a snob.  If they want to read Dora the Explorer, or Lego Ninjas, that’s okay.  Graphic novels and comic books are okay too.  Just be happy that they’re reading.  The important thing is that they’re exercising their imagination.
  • Worried about money?  Get them their very own library card.  Or go to a book store that’s kid friendly, where kids are allowed to read the books there.  In Canada, any of the Chapters or Indigo stores that have an IndigoKids section are like this.  This also leads to the kids I see who are super-excited to go to a bookstore.  And cry when they leave.
  • Have a half an hour before bed be quiet time, no tv, computer, Wii, etc.  Reading or drawing or colouring, or writing of their own.  Also, this tends to help kids go to sleep a little more easily, I find.  Unless they’re like me, and keep reading with a flashlight under the covers.  There are worse things 🙂
  • Try reading a story together, either both of you reading the same book, and talking about it. There are tons of great books you’ll both enjoy for ages 9+, I recommend A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Terrier by Tamora Pierce, and anything by Eric Walters.  For younger kids, read them a story.  Personally, I love the Chester series by Melanie Watt.  It’s hilarious for kids and adults.  If you need book suggestions, ask staff, or ask me!
  • Carry a couple of books with you for the kids.  For the doctor or dentist, car trips, etc.  My mom started stocking the back seat of her car with books for my girls – they loved it!
  • Try getting the same book for your child and one or two friends.  Some kids are motivated by wanting to read what the other kids are reading.  Your local library or book store will also know what books are on the most wanted list for your child’s age group.  One trend that’s not a bad one to keep up with.
  • There are websites out there like Read Kiddo Read by James Patterson (he also authors kids’ books, so this isn’t entirely selfless of him), the TD Summer Reading Club, etc. that offer suggestions for getting kids reading.  Look for Silver Birch, Red Maple, Caldecott Medal, and other children’s book awards winners.
  • Let them see you reading!  My kids see me and my husband reading constantly. ” Maybe there’s something to this reading thing, since Mom forgets to eat, and reads instead. “
  • Ask other parents what their kids loved.
  • Do not be the parent who bought her thirteen-year-old daughter Fifty Shades of Grey to read.  Please.  No matter how mature you insist she is.

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