Less than two weeks until college for me, and I just discovered the existence of a roommate, who is actually very cool. I'm pretty happy right now. And I'm excited about Write On Con!
Today I'm going to list some books that, despite the odds (in my eyes), are actually very good. I know, you're probably tired of all the recommendations now... I'd like to share more about THE CHOSEN FOUR, but that could be spoiler-y. We shall see. For now...
Book number one is Divergent by Veronica Roth, along with the next in the series, Insurgent. I consider this book to be good against the odds because it is one of many series that has come out post-Hunger Games with a strong female character in a dystopian world, a central love story, and revolution. I'm at the point with this trend where I'm tired. I liked the first book for most books in this trend, but then when you get past that, it flubs out. This one did not.
Insurgent, the second book, was unique and incredible, and thus this series made a name for itself in my mind. Divergent follows Tris as she is initiated fully into her society by making a choice of which faction to join. These factions are based off of what value the person considers highest--there's Candor, the honest, Erudite, the intelligent, Amity, the peaceful, Dauntless, the courageous, and Abnegation, the selfless. Tris comes from Abnegation but proves in the testing to be Divergent, a dangerous situation in which she fits more than one of the factions. She chooses to go Dauntless, which is where the story gets really epic. Dauntless is the craziest, most intense, most violent group ever, I swear. I'm amazed at how tough Tris is. Not only that, but there are simulations in this world that show you your inner thoughts--in this case, your fears. Tris is almost immune to these because she's Divergent, and it's awesome to watch. Then there's the romance--Four/Tobias is a great romantic lead because he's not stereotypical, which fits Tris. Anyway, no spoilers, but let's just say there's a sort of coup for power, and things go terribly wrong. As Tris fights through Insurgent, different things are revealed until the shocking final conclusion. And it's great, and original, and I love it.
The second book is The Host by Stephenie Meyer. This is against the odds simply because it's by Stephenie Meyer, whom many people hate thanks to the Twilight series (which, by the way, I do like all right, simply because I'm LDS like the author and get the deeper references). The Host is better because it lacks all of the annoying clumsy-helpless-Bellaness. The central female character, Wanda, is great. Actually, she reminds me of me.
The Host is a sci-fi romance where a parasitic alien species has taken over Earth. Wanda is one of these "Souls." And the Souls are actually very kind, selfless, generally altruistic people. Wanda is one of the most altruistic of their kind, which she proves throughout the story. The Souls travel between all the planets they've taken over, connecting to hosts in order to experience the full variety of the world. Usually, a Soul will pick a planet to stay on, as their home. Wanda is unique because she's been through a record number of lives without choosing a home.
On Earth, now, she finds herself with a new problem--the host body still speaks to her. The girl's name is Melanie. She was a rebel against the Souls in the beginning. And she wants her body back. (Another note--Melanie reminds me of my BFF here at home.) So they fight a lot, and Wanda struggles because, through Melanie's thoughts, she's fallen for Melanie's human love. Not only that, but she's developed a motherly love for Melanie's younger brother. Finally Wanda breaks down and, with Melanie's help, seeks out the secret place where the free humans live, which results in much abuse towards her, because, of course, the humans hate her kind. But over time things change as she proves her altruism and humanity. She even has in this great romance with another character. This whole book is thoughtful and lovely and heartening, definitely a favorite of mine.
My last good-against-the-odds book is about more of a personal preference. This is the Warriors universe, a fantasy-like world where a bunch of cats of four conflicting Clans roam the forests near a human town, guided by prophecies from their ancestors, StarClan. This book's goodness is against the odds for me because I dislike stories where animals are the main characters. I'm just NOT INTO THAT. Even though I love animals, those books make no sense to me! There are a few reasons this one is different. First, it's cats! I love cats more than any other animal and have been around them so much that I see them as human-like. Secondly, it's fantasy, which is my area. The prophecies, the wars, the StarClan stuff, it all makes me happy. Third, I just love the characters. The cats act like what they are, and yet they have human-like lives with depth and drama. It's great.
There are three series so far involving the Warriors: the original, which follows Fireheart, a domestic cat who joins the Clans and becomes a great leader while dealing with a terrible betrayal from within; the second generation, following Fireheart's daughters and a few others as they search out a new home in the wake of human environmental destruction; and the third generation, which is my personal favorite because it follows Fireheart's grandchildren, who have special superpowers connected to a huge prophecy. And one of those cats is blind, which is great. I <3 disabled representation.
That's it for this installment, so I'll see you next Wednesday. if you'd like to request a blog topic, please, by all means, go ahead! I'll see you!
Images via bethtownshend.blogger.com and Goodreads.
I'm an unpublished novelist, primarily of YA fantasy, and a freelance editor. I love psychology, cats, social justice, and love! I'm also a huge fangirl. More than anything, stories are my life.
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