Saturday, June 21, 2014

Thoughts on Allegiant by Veronica Roth

          I'm sorry but I really have to admire the subtle hints and build up to the truth throughout the other books.

"What do you think is out there?" I nod to the doorway. "I mean, beyond the fence."
She shrugs. "A bunch of farms, I guess."
"Yeah, but I mean. . . past the farms. What are we guarding the city from?"
She wiggles her fingers at me "Monsters!" -
Divergent by Veronica Roth

How right you are, Christina. Unfortunately though your efforts are only helping the monsters.

The lock is on the outside. I bite my lip. Why would they lock the gate from the outside and not the inside? It almost seems like they don't want to keep something out; they want to keep us in.
I push the thought out of my head. That makes no sense."
- Divergent

Exactly, no sense, Tris. That's why you should have thought of it. The truth, what is it? It would have chased my sleep away for weeks. Why didn't you think about?

". . .I  wanted to make sure I could get out."
I shiver. The way he talks about getting out- it's like he thinks we're trapped. I never thought about it that way before, and now that seems foolish."
- Insurgent by Veronica Roth         

          I finished it finally.  :'(  I am so very sad. About what happened in the book, yes. But just the fact that- it's OVER. I love this series. I wonder what Roth will write next. . . After that amazing-ness, I just can't imagine. Whatever she writes though, I can say that I will definitely read it.

           This isn't a review (I've come to the conclusion that the whole concept of "reviewing" escapes me). So there are spoilers galore. Just forewarning.

          I do beg you though not to judge the book trilogy by the Divergent movie if you saw it. I'm sorry, I really, really wanted to like the movie. But. . . they ruined some of the plot, the climax was a shambles, they ruined Four, they almost ruined Tris, and they ruined the Ferris wheel scene. That was my favorite scene(maybe I have this thing for heights), and it. was. terrible. *sniffs*

Tumblr (divergentfeels)

          Having two POVs instead of just Tris', was expected at first. Naturally I expected it to be in only Tris' POV like the previous books. I understand why it wasn't (oh, yes, I definitely see why). It was just took some getting used to. I'd forget I wasn't reading Tris' thoughts, until Tobias would go and think something only he would think, like something about his parents, being a GD (ugh, really what is with people and not facing the real problems? Instead they have to make up something to fix, as if the world doesn't have enough real problems?), or he would see Tris (that's a big tell there). But I didn't realize the real reason behind the double POVs until later. *mourns*

           Speaking of being in Tobias' head. It was rather interesting seeing the world from his perspective. He's always described as this tall, muscular, intimidating-looking guy (Lynn- where's your scary boyfriend, Tris- he's not scary). He's quiet so usually you're not sure what he's thinking. You know he's gentle because of the way he acts to Tris, but sometimes you wonder if that's the effect Tris has on him. There's always this volatile side of him that comes out when you least expect it. Like when he lunged at Jeanine (she was kind of asking for it though). Or when he yelled at Tris for freezing up when they fled Amity headquarters. Or when he attacked his father. Except you can tell that that wasn't just out of the blue which really gets you wondering about what's going in his head and just how long and how deep he thinks about things.

           The answer is very. Very long and very deep. But he still surprised me. I know he values human life, I know he can be kind and humble, but just how much? He's a very gentle narrator. The way he looks at the world. The way he thinks and analyzes things. He is always relating the things he sees now to objects, people, or events that happened before. He connects his present to his past. He notices people too. The things they say, their mannerisms. And he's always mulling over some hard decision that he thinks over forever before he makes a choice. From an outward perspective, he always seems impulsive, because he never talks about what he's thinking about, he just suddenly does something and leaves people wondering, "where did that come from?" But he actually puts a lot of forethought into every big decision his makes. He's too afraid of messing up, of becoming his father.

           Having the ability and knowledge to hurt others doesn't make him more brutal or arrogant (like Eric), it makes him more aware of other people's pain. It humbles him. It makes him use that knowledge and ability more responsibly. And it makes him more careful of himself and his temper, because he is so, so afraid of turning into his father. Which I can understand. When you detest a quality or person like that, the only thing that you hate more is seeing that in yourself. And Amar is right, he can be obssessive and reclusive.

"I think you're still the only person sharp enough to sharpen someone like me." - Tris  (I loved that part)

          Something about the plot though. . . They go to the Bureau, they learn the truth, they learn that basically their life in the faction system, everything they were fighting for was a waste of their time. And then- then, they stay with these people? They 'befriend' these people? They consider making this their home? They are not immediately repulsed by

1) the Bureau lying to them

2) the Bureau's twisted view of humans and carelessness for human life, which by of way, was very similar to that of Jeanine's: humans are without feelings ought to be analyzed and controlled

3) the Bureau letting the factions kill each other off just for the sake of an experiment (aka: a result of point 2).

           Yes, they did feel these things later. Maybe it was the shock. Everything had to settle in first. But just lying to me would've set me off on the spot. Lying to me about my whole life, and now I'm not even sure if they're telling me the truth about it now? I couldn't stand to be in the same room with those people, much less live under their supervision- again. I would be running to the fringe. If they didn't shoot me first. . .

           Another thing about the plot that I still can't get over. Tris' plan. To erase the Bureau people's memories. I'm with Tobias on this one. It didn't sound right. After all I would be more concerned with my friends who are still in the city. Inside Chicago nobody knows the truth. The Allegiant, the factionless, none of it matters, but everyone they know is ready to give their lives to the lost causes inside the experiment. I thought they would shut down the Bureau's camera system and go back to tell Chicago the truth. The people could leave, and they could get word to the rest of the city experiments. I know that's not as simple as it sounds. There would've been more war. But still. . . Tris' plan was bloodless (mostly), but by erasing the Bureau's memory, they still took people's lives from them. Was there much of a difference? I don't know.

         I do love what Tris saw in the fringe. How she interpreted it compared to what they wanted her to see. How it made her more sure of what she thought, instead of being convinced by the Bureau.

           Okay, now the ending. I knew Tris was going to switch with her brother, because. . . I mean with everything that she's done up until then, with everything that she's learned- she wasn't going to let Caleb die because of guilt. Still I was kind of thinking maybe, maybe there might be some kind of way out for her, until she told herself, "I just know I'll survive this" Then I knew her fate was sealed.

           It was so sad. But brave. I really love the way Roth did it. It could've been a heartwrenching event, but it was beautiful and solemn. It wasn't cliched; she didn't suddenly go into the light. Tris was with her mother again, and I guess that's why I wasn't sad for her (honestly, when someone dies, are we ever really sad for that person? aren't we more sad for the people who that person left behind?). Because she was happy. She was home. She had found herself and she was at peace with herself. And this:

"What about the others?. . . Tobias, Caleb, my friends?"
"They'll care for each other," she says. "That's what people do."

           I don't know why, but I love that part. It's sad and beautiful and so true all at once. I love how she mentioned Caleb by name, right after Tobias.

           Again with the ending, I wish it didn't have to happen that way. But it did (maybe it's my writer brain). Honestly, I never pictured Tris and Tobias going "off into the sunset", having a family, and living a peaceful happily-ever-after. I didn't exactly picture this. I didn't picture them being apart at all. But somehow this feels right, like it was supposed to happen, like it was the only thing that could happen. You know, there's very few times an author can pull off a character death that in the end feels like it was supposed to happen.

Can I be forgiven for all I've done to get here? -Tris

           For a while, I was in shock like Tobias. I knew she was dead. I just knew it. But like Tobias I kept expecting her to come out of it like she was sleeping. I kept trying to tell myself that this wasn't some fairytale where the spell is broken and she just comes back to life. It's a dystopian. Hard things happen, people get killed, sometimes even the A-Team. But still, I had it in my mind that Roth would find some hole to get her through, that Tris would narrowly escape just like she always does.

          But Roth's heroes are human. They have faults. And they are mortal. (It makes the characters more real. And it's was brave of  the author. I respect it. A lot.)

           It really hit me when I saw the chapter that wasn't titled with 'Tris' or 'Tobias.' Because Tobias was the only one left. And that thought made me so sad for him, I couldn't even cry. It still makes me feel heavy.

           I love this book. It's sad, yes. I can't get how they could stand in the same room with the Bureau people. I know I couldn't. But I loved the book. It was realistic in so many ways. The ending with Tris' death. The ending with Tobias moving on. That was realistic too. I'm so glad he finally became a leader. He really was made for that. He understands the gravity of things, including responsibility. And people gravitated toward him. There was no way he could be anything else except a leader. I still can't help be sad for him though.

             What I really like was the realistic way love was protraryed. It's not something you fall into. It's a choice. A choice you make everyday. How many books can you find that will set the world straight on what real love is?

Our mother said there is evil in everyone, and the first step to loving someone else is to recognize that evil in ourselves, so we can forgive them.

I fell in love with him. But I don't just stay with him by default as if there's no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day, that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me.

This kind of makes me think of Tobias in the epilogue. Sort of.


. . .in the distance I hear a train rushing over the rails, but we are moving away from this place and all that it has meant to us, and that is all right.

            The trilogy is over. I want to go cry now. Have a wonderful week. *sobs*

I suppose a fire that burns that bright is not meant to last. - Tobias

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Who's thoughts do I want to read?

           I've been writing a lot as of late. (Yay, writing!)

           I have three different POV characters to choose from: Oddball (the main character), Rocky, and Peril.

           But, uh, sometimes when I start writing a scene, I'm not really sure who's head I want to be in. Each of them are going to have different thoughts on the same scene. So who's thoughts do I want to write from?

         Here's some things I attempt to remember when choosing a POV character:

Who is going to suffer the most in this scene?

That sounds terrible and dramatic, yes. But it's true. Stories are all about conflict and tension, tension, tension. So in a scene, who has the most to loose? Who is the most disgusted with the circumstances? Who is the most conflicted? Etc, etc.

Who is going to move the plot forward at this point?

Always got to keep the story rolling. Usually the guy who's suffering the most will do it, but other times he's a little paralyzed from it all, so he's got a buddy to do it for him. Or maybe it's the villain's turn to make a move (you know, we like to play fair, take turns and all *cough* not really).

This suffering or action, do we want to view it directly or indirectly?

Usually, under normal circumstances, we want to hear from it the source. If the hero is about to loose all he has ever fought for, we want to know what he's going through. But sometimes if you step back, you can get a different perspective. The hero's best friend watching him suffer. That's a nice view too. Or what of this? The villain is about to push the hero over the side of the cliff and the sidekick is trying to come rescue him. Do we want the villain's version? What in the world makes this guy do the things he does? Do we want to know what the hero's thinking as he faces his enemy and goes over the edge? Or do we want know the horror of the sidekick as he realizes he can't get to his friend in time and watches the hero fall over the edge? (at that point I would probably be flipping POVs, but I guess there are times when you just can't have it all *sighs*)

Who knows too much and who doesn't know enough?

This question is why we are always in Watson's POV and not Sherlock's.
           I really like suspense. And sometimes, I don't appreciate the characters giving answers away too soon. They're sneaky and mischievous like that. What if the hero knew that he had his dragon friend waiting to catch him as he goes over the cliff? Wouldn't it be more fun to be the sidekick watching in despair as his friend falls to his death only to be elated the next minute as he appears flying on his dragon? Or to know the villain's fury frustration as his good-doing enemy just will not die? That and what about a desperate character who craves to know the answers, but the character who knows all the answers is torturing the uninformed character by keeping all the answers to himself?

What kind of misunderstandings do we want to cook up?

The tension and conflict between characters often times is because they misunderstand each other. (Okay, other times their personalities just get on each other's nerves.) Do we want to see it all from the one side and feel that one character is being so completely unfair and unjust that we just cannot stand this one character anymore until we see, "This is all just a big misunderstanding." (this happens in Pride and Prejudice) Or do we want to see both sides of the story and have the suspense of rooting for the characters to finally get along, understand each other, and become friends?

       What about you? Do you write in more than one POV? How do you decide who's head to be in when? Do you like to read from different POVs, or do you prefer just one?

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Forestwife by Theresa Tomlinson

            The Forestwife is a retelling of Robin Hood told from Marian's perspective. It's not quite what you expect though. Marian isn't exactly royalty in this case.

          Mary runs away to escape an unpleasant marriage. She's impulsive, spoiled, and naive. Her nurse, Agnes, finds her in the forest alone and with no place to go. They search for the Forestwife, a legendary witch who lives deep in the forest. Mary is terrified, but Agnes seems to think there will be relief there. Maybe there's more to Agnes than Mary first thought? Maybe there is more to herself than she thought.

            It is a Robin Hood retelling, but it focuses more on Marian's side of the story. You get to see her grow stronger, more mature, more independent. Well, she was independent before, but before she didn't have the knowledge to truly be independent. I love watching characters grow. It was great watching how Marian realizes that people are more than what their appearance would show.

          Robin comes much later in the story. And he's not exactly a hero in the beginning either. He grows along the way also. The romance part is subtle and simple.

           It was fun meeting new characters and seeing their role. "He's Friar Tuck!" "Oh, that must be Little John." The author also wove another folk tale into the story. I thought that was really neat. A legend within a legend. There is nothing really complicated about this book. It's a fun easy read. I read it in day, and I don't often do that. I love any Robin Hood story, and I especially like the way they depicted Marian here.

          Theresa Tomlinson's website.

Friday, June 13, 2014

What I'm reading

           I shook my head. "It's not that kind of book."
           He smiled. "I am going to read this terrible book with the boring title that does not contain stormtroopers," he promised
                                                                                  -The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green

           I just started The Fault in Our Stars. I've heard a lot of good and weeping things about this book. I'm not much for contemporary, and I don't believe in insta-love, but- *shrugs*

          It was kind of a boy movie. I don't know why boys expect us to like boy movies. We don't expect them to like girl movies.       -The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

          But I'm around the fifth chapter. It's making me smile and laugh and a book hasn't done that in awhile (the last one I read had me angry and confused). And I'm actually loving it. I love the flavor of it.

           "Is it still cool to go to the mall?" she asked.
          "I take quite a lot of pride in not knowing what's cool." I answer.
                                                                                                          - The Fault in Our Stars

Books do come in different flavors (promise). And I'm really liking this one. The only reason I'm not going to read the whole thing today is because Oddball has been bugging me all day. All week actually. (He's jealous that he hasn't had much attention lately thanks to work and other books, but don't tell him I said that.)

           "I knew you could talk, buddy," he said, "Now let's go save some fictional school children."
                                                                                                                      - The Fault in Our Stars

           So yeah, that's all, I guess. I have some reviews coming up The Forestwife by Theresa Tomlinson and Splintered by A. G. Howard. I thought about reviewing Allegiant by Veronica Roth, but I changed my mind and considered I'd just talk about it (if you haven't read the Divergent trilogy, read it, love it, you must!). The Dauntless post should be out around next week, as soon as I convince my mom to take photos of me standing on the train tracks. Yeah, this will go over well. . .

Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast by Jane Yolen

           I love this book. It was a collection of twelve short fantasy stories. They were the perfect size to read one a day (or more).

           I've read a lot of Jane Yolen's Commander Toad series when I was kid (my Dad read it to us with sound effects :). It was always one of our favorites. I saw the title first in the YA section of the library and seeing who the author was sealed it for me. I was going to read this book.

           It may be categorized better as MG than YA, but that really didn't bother me. I love the stories. It's well-written too; Yolen changes the style in which each story is told depending on who the narrator is. For instance Mama Gone is told from the perspective of a little girl from the backwoods. Sea Dragon of Fife has the flavor of a fisherman's tale. Wilding is narrated by a teenage who is always trying to use 'coolish' slang from her time.

           Some of the stories are set in worlds we already know like Tough Alice (Wonderland) and Lost Girls (Neverland).

           My favorite ones would have to Mama Gone, Phoenix Farm (that one almost made me cry), The Baby-Sitter (rather creepy), Bolundeers, and The Bridge's Complaint.

           It's a fun easy read. Nothing too complicated. I enjoyed it a lot.

           I also encourage you to read the Introduction. I don't always introductions, but this one is short. Yolen talks about Alice in Wonderland and how fantasy played a role in her life. I especially love what she has to say about writing fantasy.

And all the while you talk about the fantastic, you are actually writing about the real world and real emotions, the right-here and the right-now.
- Jane Yolen

Monday, June 9, 2014

Beautiful People- Rayne

          I am so excited to join the Beautiful People link up! I've read other people's posts and it always sounded like a lot of fun. And now Beautiful People is up and running again thanks to Sky at Further Up and Further In and Cait at the Notebook Sisters. You guys are awesome. Just saying.

          I had a  hard time choosing a character. Being unable to find a coin, I flipped a guitar pick (not as easy as it sounds). One side for Oddball of. . . Oddball, the other for Rayne of the weird idea.

           Rayne gets the post!

1) What is their full name and is there a story behind why they got it?


          In Rayne's world, few lay people have last names unless they or their predecessors have created one for themselves or have kept up with their last names. In the times before Rayne, the government sought to destroy self-identity and individualism, claiming that it would make the people more unified pretending to have a 'world peace' sort of effort. The only people with last names are government officials and the favored ones who work for them.

2) How old are they, and when were they born?

           Rayne is about 21ish. She's a winter/spring kid, born on March 28th on an early drizzling morning.

3) Describe their physical appearance.

She's rather tall for a girl. 5' 9'', almost six foot. Her hair is about shoulder length, "just brown, like dirt," as she would say, nothing outstanding. It's thin and straight. She's slender, but strong and fast. Think like a long spring: strong with wire and quick to pounce. She also has liquid gray eyes. She generally doesn't smile and few emotions show on her face unless she lets them.

(Bonus questions: 1. What is their race/nationality/ethnicity? 2. Do you have a picture of them? If so, include it!)

            Sadly, I do not know her nationality. The majority of people do not know their own ethnicity in her world since self-identity was destroyed. In defiance though, many have sought out their past to find their nationality and others have merely claimed one as their own. Rayne has done neither. She finds the latter ridiculous; if she was going claim a nationality, she'd want it to be correct. The former she has no time for since she has other priorities.

4) Describe your character's personality first in one word, and then elaborate with a few sentences.

           It would either be "conflicted" or "self-repressed."

           She's an extrovert trying to live as an introvert.

           She's very intelligent and knows what she's capable of, but sometimes she buries her feelings so most positive emotions leave her confused and sometimes she doesn't always understand her own motives.

           She has a lot of empathy for people, even strangers, but she doesn't always know how to show it.

           Rayne has a photographic memory. When she was a little kid, it would always run rampant and any small thing could trigger strong flashbacks that would take her away from the present. But she endeavored to control it. Now unwanted flashbacks aren't frequent or sporadic, and when she does have one, she can still function efficiently in her present world. Mentally, she is a very strong person. But when she was younger she had an experience that broke through her mental defenses and shattered her openess with people. Currently she has no idea that it even had happened because she had worked hard to forget it, and is now subconsciously repressing it. She's a bit of a ticking time bomb.

5) What theme song(s) fit their personality and story arc?

Dark Horses by Switchfoot
Sane by for King and Country
Fighting to Survive by Building 429
The Blues by Switchfoot
Crave by for King and Country (definitely)

6) Which one of the seven deadly sins describes your character?

          Definitely anger. She has no problem with confrontation or conflict.

7) If they were an element (fire, water, earth, air), which one would they be?

          The other characters who don't know her well would say fire.

           But really she's water. Because one minute water can be a roaring, churning rapids and the next it can be a gentle, smooth brook.

8) What is their favorite word?


9) Who’s one person they really miss? (It could be someone who’s passed away, or someone they’re not close to anymore, or someone who’s moved away.)

           She thinks she misses her brother the most. Keth. He's her only blood family. In reality, she misses her dad more, but she doesn't know it.

10) What sights, sounds, and smells remind them of that person?

She usually tries to ignore memories of her dad on an emotional level. But her dad taught her a lot about how to survive- things like how to fight, how to fix things, how to drive a car, etc. So sometimes memories of his instruction will come back to her. But sometimes, things like the stars, cool, quiet nights, and seeing other fathers and daughters (all of which are rare) will trigger flashbacks also.

Monday, June 2, 2014

New Guidelines and Snippets

           So since my other guidelines have been accomplished (TRIUMPH!). Then I decided maybe, just maybe, there ought to be some new guidelines (because everybody knows 'goals' is a bigger word than 'guidelines').

           What are they?

           Well, I'm glad you asked. And I'm happy to say they might have something to do with Oddball. My most recent lunacy. Mwhahaha!


The New Official Off the Record Guidelines:  Finish the first draft of the first book of Oddball by the end of August.

           See. There. I wrote it. Now it must be so. And I must be going insane.

           Perhaps some snippets? I had a difficult time finding funny ones. Either Oddball or I have been in a mood, I guess. . .

           There was no place he would even want to belong to. Home was a thing that didn’t exist.

           The Arg laughed. Why did people laugh when they were in ill humor? Rocky never understood that.

           Why couldn’t he just win once at this thing called life?

          There it was again. Wasn’t it? The sound of breathing?
           His steps quickened. He wanted to dash back to Vorb. Even if it was nothing. He wanted to be there in the village breathing hard, laughing at himself for being so foolish.
          But he didn’t. He remained calm and walked- really, really fast.
           He was almost there anyhow. And it really was nothing.
          Rocky would never let him live it down if he ever found out. So he might as well just keep to walking really fast.
           No running. No-
           There it was again!
           How fast could someone walk before it was legitimately called running?

          “I would have to kill you if I told you.”
          Oddball shut up.
          Mica rolled his eyes. “A joke. It was a joke.”
          Mica and jokes weren’t a good mix.

           For on that night the unspeakable happened. And I would keep it at that. But this is a tale that must be told in its entirety so you may know, you may see the gravity of the situation. So that you will act upon it and not take me for just another madman running aimless in the dark of the Region. This is why Levandor is no more.

By of way, there's a new page on the top bar entitled "my Lunacies," as I've been calling my WIPs. In gives some information on a few WIPs swimming in my head with an attempted blurb of each.