Fans of Star Wars and Divergent will revel in internationally best-selling author Veronica Roth's stunning new science-fiction fantasy series.
On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not - their gifts make them vulnerable to others' control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives and reset the balance of power in this world?
Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra's currentgift gives her pain and power - something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother's hand: She is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.
Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive - no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra's world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive - or to destroy one another.
©2017 Veronica Roth (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers
So, I really wanted to like this book, but I had a really hard time with it. I felt like I was losing track of the characters and even at the end of the book, wasn't entirely sure who was who. I even had a hard time with the names- genderless so it made it even more easy to lose track of what character was who. Maybe it's because I didn't have a physical book to go back and review who was who- though I've never had that problem with an audio book before.
I think that more care needed to be taken when introducing new worlds to a reader- it felt rushed and there was no way for the reader to remember what world was which. I like the premise of the book, but wish more care had been taken with building the main characters. I didn't care about them at all by the end. I also felt like the villain was trying to hard to be villainous. The best villains are the ones that are relatable and human. The villain in this book felt like a bad Disney character.
I am really sorry I didn't like this book, but there you have it.
A couple of hours in, feeling a tad bored and confused, I read the reviews on Goodreads. I was rather surprised at all the “This is racist! This is ‘ableist!' Don’t read it!” reviews. And of those who had formerly given it a good review back peddling, “Well, I didn’t see anything racist or ableist but now I’ve seen the light” sort of stuff. On Amazon at least, some of the comments correct the incorrect examples in the reviews. Some reviews counter the unpersuasive arguments of early reviewers. I imagine there will be more to come.
The whole ableist thing—the equivalent to “racist” expect it refers to the “differently-abled" (formerly known as "handicapped") or in this case concerning chronic pain—was even more ridiculous. The main female character, Cyra, suffers from chronic pain, more like chronic agony. Frankly, at that level of pain I don’t see how she could realistically function. But she does, barely. At any rate, I can speak to chronic, disabling pain and Roth didn’t write anything offensive AT ALL.
Cyra is initially pretty unlikeable (though Roth did an excellent job of making the reader understand her and even root for her, particularly as she becomes a better person through her relationship with Akos), but calling this “ablesit”—even the word is even annoying—is absurd. If the author created a British character who was the “bad guy” would there be a hue and cry that she were anti-British? If she created an evil old woman, would the author be called out for “ageism” and sexism?
Enough on that subject.
So what about the story? I vacillated between “it was ok” and “I liked it,” and finally decided on 3 stars. It's hard to say I "liked" something fairly violent, where few good things happen, but it was pretty well done and was not without hope. The hope, and the main relationship in the book saved it for me.
The world building was somewhat lacking. I never did come to a conclusion about whether things were technologically modern, IN GENERAL, or not. Obviously space ships and gene locking mechanisms for the door speak to technology, but I really didn’t have a clear picture otherwise. I was a little confused at first, as we are dropped right into the story with no idea what kind of world this is. What information we do get unfolds gradually. But it wasn’t quite enough for me.
All the crazy names drove me to distraction and sometimes (because there were so many characters), I got confused about who was who. Might have been easier if I had been reading instead of listening. Not sure.
Roth did an excellent job with Cyra—both her growth as a person and the relationship with Akos, which never sinks to the awful YA level of 10,000 descriptions of kisses (perish the thought that it should go further than a kiss in YA! Sigh.) and pages and pages of how it makes the character feel. For this reason alone, adults will probably enjoy it much more than the usual YA fare. And no stupid love triangle, which is another YA trope that bores me to death. And yes, it bored my when I was a teenager too.
Roth did an even better job of her portrayal of Akos. ‘Nuff said.
In the end, it was a pretty good story—good enough that I’ll read the next one as soon as it's published.
I tried so hard to like this book. I have listened to hundreds of audio books (yes, yes, I do have a problem) and it is rare that I am unable to complete one. The characters are confusing, the planets are confusing, the reason for discord amongst the "races" is not addressed very well.... I can see the concept behind the book and appreciate it, which is why I've given it the 2 stars I did, it just wasn't executed well, in my opinion. I won't get the sequel, as I didn't even finish this one. There is no love for any particular character to make me want to hear their continued story. It makes me sad when I don't like a book :(
I typically like YA books, they have a certain appeal and I don't expect too much from them, because I'm not their target audience, but I still usually like them. This one was on the lowest end of the spectrum; while I didn't expect much, I expected more than this.
The book ended up pretty good. But wallowing through the beginning chapters was gut wrenching ! Pence it gets going there was some interest to be had, but the sheer number of characters and the back story, really made this confusing to Listen to at the beginning
I literally loved this book so much. I ended up reading the book on my own without the audible book cause I felt like I was into it myself better. I lived this book so much though I highly recommend!!
It started off very exciting for me--oracles, fate, magic flowers, gifts, worlds. Then I just didn't get the point or plot. I was following an inevitable love story instead of the exciting story happening behind the main act.
The main characters seemed weak, and the epiphany of one of them was not the epic revelation I was looking forward to after all this time.
One last minor peeve is the naming of places and characters. I get that the intent was to be unique with the worlds and languages, but it continuously took me out of the story because the names are just so rigid and distracting.
I would. Especially if they are a fan of sci-fi and the Divergent series.
I think I had thoughts from Dune, Star Wars, Hunger Games.
Very solid performances. Different tones due to the first person and third person perspectives of each character. But engaging voices.
My daughter is a Divergent fan. We had a chance to meet Ms. Roth when she came thru on her book tour for Carve the Mark. I felt it was a good audio book for my daily commute. A week or two after when she was almost done, it old her I was in the middle of the book. She was shocked that I was was listening to it. But we had fun discussing the characters and the story line.
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