Monday, April 28, 2014

Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Hopefully this review goes well, because I don't actually have the book in my possession right now, I lent it to a friend who loves dystopian.

The Darkest Minds takes place in a dystopian future, six years after a nation-wide epidemic breaks out. This epidemic is eventually called IAAN (Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurodegeneration) and it only effects kids ranging from 8-14 (or 10-14, not sure I don't have the book in from of me sorry!). IAAN wipes out 98% of the generation.
The main idea the gets the plot rolling is that the government is essentially afraid of the kids that survive because they develop abilities at the age of 10. These abilities are classified in colours; Read, Orange, Yellow, Blue, and Green. I'll let you read the book to figure out what abilities go with the colours. (I heard a few people say that you never find out one of the colours and it's confusing cause you have to figure out what they are but that's not true at all, I found it pretty easy to follow.)
Our main character is a 16 year-old named Ruby. She was first effected by IAAN when she was 9 and watched her classmates drop off one by one. But when she turned 10 she developed an ability of her own and was collected by the government to be thrown into a "rehabilitation camp" that's really more like a concentration camp.
In this world, when parents start to see their kids developing powers known as "Psi", they can contact PSFs (people who work in the camps and the Psi branch of government) to take their kid to the camps where they are tested and categorized into the colours. You learn almost right away in the beginning that there are certain colours with abilities more dangerous than others, but I think it's cool to find out for yourself so I won't spoil it.

I rated this book 5/5 stars and went on to do the same for the bridge novella In Time, and the sequel Never Fade. I really enjoyed the action and fast pace of this novel and couldn't put it down! All the characters had a lot of depth to them too, which I always enjoy. There was always something new that you were learning about each character. Plus, they all have completely different personalities, which makes for interesting dialogue sometimes. One of them is even a mute, which is interesting considering that the book takes place in Ruby's head. Props to Bracken for writing a character who doesn't speak.
I also don't want to go too into the characters because something happens that I don't think I should mention. However, I loved all the characters because of their depth and I grew attached to many of them!
On top of that, I laughed, I cried, I felt all the feels.

Once I finished this book I got online and ordered the next, and while I was waiting for that in the mail I got on my e-reader and bought the novella. If I could rate this series as a whole I'd probably go past the 5 star limit.
The third and final book in this dystopian trilogy, In The Afterlight, is set to be released September 16th and you can bet that I'm counting down those days.
I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves watching character dynamics, loves dystopian, and/or loves superpowers.

Have you read the trilogy? If not, do you plan to?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DIVERGENT Movie Review/Discussion

I'm a little late, here. - actually a couple of weeks late. But I finally saw Divergent, and I must discuss! If you haven't read the book yet, you should leave. If you haven't seen the movie yet, I can't promise I won't spoil something.
First of all, I don't rate book-to-movie adaptations based on their book-to-movie accuracy. I'm a rare person that realizes that the book is the author's work and the movie is the screenwriter's work based on what the book gives them to work with. That said, somewhere in my brain I'm positive that my love for the book may cloud my vision in some places but I try to not let that happen, and that doesn't mean that I'm not going to compare them.
I LOVE the world that Veronica Roth has created including all the characters within them and at first I was iffy on them making a movie, but after hearing so many great things, I went into this with high expectations.
I'd give this movie a solid 4/5 stars. Overall I think they did a great job.

Spot the difference; because we can't help but compare. Last month, I re-read the book so it would be fresh in my mind when I saw the movie. Mainly because I like playing spot the difference.
At this moment, there isn't anything I can think of that they changed that I was unhappy with. My biggest problem with book-to-movie adaptations is when they change things but it doesn't work with the current situation or what I know is to come.

  • Something that really stood out to me was Four staying with Tris after she's almost killed by Peter, Al, and Drew. In the book, he leaves right away and I was so angry at him. I love the way they did it in the book!
  • Peter was so sassy! I hated him in the book; he was so vial and rude. But in the movie they made him a little more sassy and I laughed at a lot of his lines. Don't get me wrong though, he's still pretty rude and I still hate him.
  • They didn't focus a lot on Molly, Drew, or even Peter. The most intimidated you felt by Molly was when she knocked out Tris. I'm pretty sure Drew's name wasn't even spoken.
  • Uriah's absence; I knew it was coming, but I still missed my favourite character.
  • Will's death... nope, still there
  • The simulations; a lot shorter than in the book. Or least it felt like it. And then Tris's final simulations were different; mainly just the way she got out of them. Like when she's being burned at the stake; instead of making it rain, she burns the rope off her hands. 
  • The ending; okay it wasn't that different. But it was. And it was awesome. I can't tell you which I liked better but I think Tris was more bad-ass-mofo in the movie.

I seriously enjoyed this movie. I really had to warm up to Shailene when she was first cast, I'd never really seen her in anything and wasn't sure how she acted. The most I'd seen of her was commercials of Secret Life of the American Teenager - which my friends and I constantly made fun of. I really had no idea what kind of actress she was and omg she was amazing! The whole cast was! I loved the ending scenes when she kills Will and when her parents die - especially when her mom dies, I don't think there was a dry eye in the theater. She reacted to everything like anyone would, and how Tris reacts in the book.

I never really have strong opinions on casting when it comes to book-to-movie adaptations. I don't really have a reason; I just try to see it from the producers point of view. So when you look at it that way, you just kind of go "oh, yeah, sure - they'll work" and move on with your life. Honestly, the only problem I'll ever have is if they don't get into the character on screen (*cough*magnusincityonbones*cough*). In Divergent's case, I thought everyone portrayed their characters very well and I'm happy with the outcome.

As for the set, I really liked it. I heard that they actually filmed in Chicago? Which is cool considering all the CGI they must've done to make it look run-down. The headquarters of all the factions weren't exactly how a pictured them - especially Dauntless - but it worked! Actually, it worked enough for me to be able to go and read the books and still picture it like I want to instead of the way of seen it in the movie. They made it so that the setting was accurate enough for you to not hate it, but they didn't focus on it enough to set it in stone in your memory.

I have faith that the rest of the movies will go smoothly! (Though I still don't see the reasoning behind Allegiant being split into two movies. What is the point? Where will they even cut if off?)

There you have it! It's not much, but I like to share my opinions, so there they are.

x Emily