Monthly Archives: August 2012

Book Review: Insurgent

Ah, the curse of the second novel.  It seems that whenever I start reading a new series, I get all gung-ho with the first novel, wait patiently (or not so patiently) for the second novel, only to be underwhelmed. It’s been a long time since I read the second novel in a series and found it to be as engaging and exciting as the first.

I’m afraid I have mixed feelings about Veronica Roth’s ‘Insurgent’, sequel to the wildly popular ‘Divergent’.  I was soooo looking forward to this book and it didn’t deliver as much as I’d hoped – maybe my expectations were too high!

Roth pulls no punches in ‘Insurgent’ – it begins literally within hours of where the first book left off. Tris and Tobias (Four) find themselves in the middle of a war in which they have no choice but to fight. Half the Abnegation are dead, Amity continue to keep to themselves, Candor are undecided and the Dauntless have split. Half are aligning themselves with Erudite and the power-hungry Jeanine and half are left drifting. When Candor and Amity refuse aid, the renegade Dauntless have no choice but to align themselves with the underground population of Divergent. But are the Divergent an ally they can trust? And what exactly is Erudite hiding?

Tris, after the horrific death of her parents, spends most of the novel ricocheting through various levels of grief. Her determination and bravery are still there, and an excellent part of her character, but her on-again off-again relationship with Tobias is a little annoying. I would almost rather a giant rift come between them for the whole novel and have them reconcile right at the very end! I reckon they fight and make up about eight times during the novel – it’s a bit distracting. Most of ‘Insurgent’ is action packed and pretty violent, and I got a little tired of it after awhile. However, there is a revelation at the end of the novel that leads into the third book that is exciting and certainly makes me want to continue reading!!

All in all, a predictable second novel that sets up a blockbuster finale.  By the way, this is a great series for anyone studying ‘The Nature of Man’ in English.

 Happy Reading! Ms White  🙂

Reviewing a classic: Life of Pi

You’ve probably seen the trailer and general hype surrounding the release of the ‘Life of Pi’ movie. If you’ve never read the book, the film might look a little strange, so I thought I’d review Yann Martel’s novel in anticipation of the film’s release.

This is the story of Pi, a young Indian boy who is the son of a zookeeper. On a journey that is supposed to transport Pi, his family and several animals to a new life in Canada, the ship tragically sinks, leaving Pi stuck on a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orang-utan and a 450 pound Royal Bengal Tiger called Richard Parker.  This is a story about survival, reality, truth and belief that will leave you both shocked and uplifted.

This novel is an example of magical realism – within a realistic story, Martel weaves magical elements, or things too strange to be believed. It won’t be to everyone’s taste! In fact, you might read ‘Life of Pi’ now and hate it, then read it in a few years’ time and love it. It’s one of those books that you have to read at the right moment.

The story itself is unbelievable – that a young boy could exist on a lifeboat with a fully grown tiger for more than 200 days seems crazy. But Yann Martel makes it work, and by the end of the novel, you desperately want to believe in the most unbelievable part of the story! Sound confusing? It’s not really – it’s just one of those books that you have to read yourself. It’s hard to explain!

If you’re going to read ‘Life of Pi’, I suggest you make sure that someone else you know has read it, because you’ll want to talk about it and what you think it means immediately afterwards. Feel free to come into the library and chat about it with me – I have my own theories!

A great book for those who like a challenge and who like to ponder the meaning of life!

 

Happy reading! Ms White 🙂

QR Codes the Library!

Make your book browsing experience more exciting than ever!

Here in the Nicholas Library, we’ve decided to try something new. Over the next few weeks you’ll notice QR codes popping up on the backs of some of our books. What’s a QR code you ask? Well, I’m pretty sure you’ve seen them before; they look like this:

 

Basically, a QR code is a funny sort of barcode. When you use your phone or ipad to scan it, it can lead you to a website, a video, hook you up with social networking sites, send an email, make a skype call – the possibilities are (almost) endless!!

In order to scan the code to see where it leads, you’ll need a QR Code scanning app. These apps are free to download – a good example is the QRReader app for iPhone/iPad.

The next time you pick up a book in the library, you might find a QR Code on the back. If you scan it, you never know what you might discover – an interactive website, online games, or a review of the very book you hold in your hand! Don’t have a smartphone? No worries – there’s an iPad hanging around in the library for you to use.

Now that you know what a QR Code is, you’ll start seeing them everywhere!

Happy scanning! Ms White 🙂

Book Review: A Million Suns

Continuing the exciting tale aboard Godspeed, the ship that will take them to the new world, A Million Suns continues straight on from where Across the Universe left off.  Eldest is dead, Orion is frozen and the people have been taken off the Phydus drug and are thinking for themselves. But as Elder tries to assume his role as leader of the ship, a rebellion breaks out – food supplies are dwindling, people are rioting and a murderer is on the loose, killing people with med patches and leaving cryptic messages. And as Elder struggles to regain control of the ship, Amy is following a series of maddening clues left by the frozen Orion. They seem to be floating aimlessly in space, but maybe home is closer than they think.

I was so excited when I read, Across the Universe, the first book in this trilogy. The action was great and I finished it dying to know what happened in the next book. Well, now that I’ve read the second book I admit I’m now dying to know what happens in the third and final book!

The action in Revis’ books is like the action in a film; quickly paced with cliff-hanger after cliff-hanger as the story progresses. A Million Suns is a lot more hardcore than Across the Universe – there were a few violent scenes that quite surprised me. It’s a really quick read, with lots of tiny chapters that alternate between the perspective of Amy and Elder.  This pace meant that I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I did in the first novel, but I’m keen to see what happens in the finale nonetheless. If you’re hoping for more romance between Elder and Amy, you’ll be disappointed – their love takes a bit of a backseat to the action in this one.

If you liked Across the Universe, you’ll like this book – but be prepared to wait until 2013 for the final instalment!