Addition: E-book
Genre: Young adult
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

What if compassion was not an emotion that evoked a response,
but was a prize to be won?

57142 has only ever known the reality of Outside, the place where he has to glean a lonely existence from the discarded rubbish of Tropolis.

Everything changes when he receives the crimson Post. It invites him to the competition that is the Compassion Prize offering wealth, happiness and a place in Tropolis if he succeeds.

How could he refuse to enter?

This is the third novel by Katy Hollway, and is completely different from her other two books, which are part of the Remnant Chronicles. This novel is not part of this series, it seems to be the beginning of a new series of young adult books.

This is a young adult, dystopia novel. 57142 lives in the Outside, surviving off the scraps from Tropolis, until he is selected to enter The Compassion Prize. This gives him the opportunity to compete against 19 others for a live in Tropolis for him and his family. This novel reminds me of both The Hunger Games and the Divergent series for the following reasons:
1. The idea of the very rich city and the very poor outside sectors
2. Competing for a place in a different, better society
3. The public in the city voting for their favourite contestant
That said, this novel does take a different look at this type of society. Hollway starts to unpack the idea that compassion and charity can be outlawed, and the effect this has on live. There are no friendship, no trust and no communities. It is a stark look at how important compassion is. How do you survive in a world like this? Is it possible to build friendships and escape this sad existence? Is being rich and fortunate enough to live in the city actually worth it? I really liked this different take on the dystopia novel.

I found this book really drew me in. I was hooked right from the first page and would have easily read it in one sitting had I been able to! I really liked the characters. They displayed a whole range of emotions, and despite their faults and lack of understanding, I was drawn to them and wanted to see what would happen. I also liked that they weren’t all inward-looking. Some were gentle and caring, despite what life has thrown at them. They were realistic and likeable.

I liked the storyline too. The tension built really well throughout the book. I found the novel easy to read and really easy to get drawn in to. Hollway creates a world and scenes that aren’t hard to imagine. There is drama, adventure, fear and a lovely study into friendship and trust. This storyline is so different from Hollway’s other novels, yet it was such a good read. Hollway is displaying that she has a wide range of writing talents, and a vivid imagination. This book draws you in – the more I read, the more I wanted to read and find out what happened. I am hoping this is the start of a new series by Hollway as this was a great read.

I am rating this novel 4 out of 5 because I really enjoyed it. This is a great, dystopia novel. If you like novels by Suzanne Collins, Lauren Oliver and Veronica Roth than this book is for you!

The first three chapters of this book are available to read to Katy Hollway’s blog.

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Delirium

Addition: E-book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2011
Rating: 3 out of 5
Synopsis:

Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this novel. I’d had it on my Kindle for a while and then a friend mentioned how good it was and I thought, “OK, I must read that book.” To be honest, it wasn’t what I thought it would be like. I guess I imagined it would be like the Divergent series, or the Hunger Games trilogy – a novel with action and war. In some ways, it was similar to those trilogies as it is a dystopia novel, but that seemed to be where the similarity ended. It was more a love story than anything else. I found the beginning slow and the romance a bit dull – although the ending was good. It took a while to get going. I expected more danger in the book and didn’t get it until the last few pages. Although this wasn’t a bad book, it didn’t live up to my expectation of it.

The characters didn’t stick out in my mind much either. I could take them or leave them – except perhaps Grace, Lena’s mute cousin, who was so sweet. Her role at the end of the novel was amazing! I liked Lena, and her best friend Hana, but there didn’t seem to be anything particularly special about them.

Having been quite critical about this book, I did enjoy it enough to get the second book out the library.

Pandemonium

Addition: E-book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2012
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

I’m pushing aside
the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana
and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

I enjoyed Pandemonium a lot more than Delirium. Lena has escaped from Portland and the dystopia society that she was living in. Here, there are no rules, no set homes and out here, you are the enemy. This novel contained a lot more of what I expected in the first book. There is action, fear and danger. Lena is fighting for a cause, healing a broken heart, and of course, falling in love again. I thought Pandemonium had a lot more interesting content than Delirium. It was more exciting and much more gripping. Lena finds herself trapped and fighting to survive, there were new characters and a completely new way of life that Lena has to learn to adjust too.

Oddly, I disliked Lena more in this book than I did in the first one! Taken out of her safe home, she is fearful and grumpy. She acts like a sulky teenager a lot in this novel. I did like Raven though, a fearless leader, and Tack, her side-kick. I also liked Blue – who was a lot like Grace – and like with Grace, I found myself feeling so sad for Blue.

There is a predictable cliff hanger at the end of Pandemonium, yet it was brilliant! This book left me wanting more, so it was good news that there is a third book in this series!

Requiem

Addition: E-book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5
Synopsis:

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.

As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana’s points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

Requiem is written differently to the first two books in this trilogy. This time, the novel follows both Lena in the Wilds, and Hana in Portland, about to get married. Hana has been cured, Lena has not. They are no longer friends or connected in any way, in fact, they barely think of each other. Yet their lives will become entwined again.

This book had a lot of promise and started so well, yet I found that by halfway I was ready for the story to move on. It started to drag, and felt like it was repeating itself. Again, like Delirium, this book was also a big love story – who would Lena chose? There were revelations in this book and I did enjoy jumping between Lena and Hana, but I did think it took too long for the final climax to happen. I also felt that the ending was rushed. I was left asking questions, and I hate that in a book!

The Delirium Series
I did enjoy this series, I just didn’t like it as much as the Divergent series or the Hunger Games series. I was hoping for more from this book than I got. Reflecting on the series, there isn’t anyone that stands out and I still find it annoying that the ending was so abrupt. I would rate this series 3 out of 5 because it was good, it just wasn’t what I expected, and at times I felt the books were similar and I wanted the stories to move on.

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Divergent
Addition: E-book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2011
Rating: 5 out of 5
Synopsis:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

The first book in The Divergent Series – aptly named Divergent – is easily my favourite of the three. What a great introduction to the series and to the characters.

I loved this book. I have read it twice now, and definitely enjoyed it more the second time. This book has it all for me. There are great characters – I liked Tris. She is bold and follows her instincts. I liked Four – he was strong and mysterious. I liked Will and Christina. And I enjoyed disliking characters such as Eric and Peter. Roth writes with a skill that draws you into the story. You feel like you are there and you know the characters personally. I would have trusted Tris and Four. I wouldn’t have gone near Peter. I loved the feeling that I was there too (although in reality I am pleased I don’t live in that world!)

Divergent is a great story. There is everything you could want – action, risk taking, murder, war, friendship and love. I don’t think Roth could have crammed anything else into this novel. I could not put this book down. I had to keep going, I was sucked into the story and needed to know what was going to happen. When this book finished, I was desperate to read Insurgent. This novel left me wanting more and it was easy to rate it 5 out of 5.

Insurgent
Addition: E-book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2012
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

I didn’t enjoy Insurgent as much as I hoped I would. Don’t get me wrong – this is a good book – it just wasn’t up to the standard of Divergent. I found the beginning slow to get going. A lot of the action was at the end of the book – but what a great cliff hanger!

This book is similar to the first in that it contains action and war, plus love. It has the added element of having to make really tough decisions – such as forgiving your friend for shooting your boyfriend and choosing which bad parent to follow – the manipulative one who left or the abusive one.

We see the characters develop and we see Tris work through feelings of guilt and grief. War is taking its toll on her and Four is struggling to help her. Insurgent introduces more characters – again, some I liked, such as Cara who showed great strength when she forgave her brother’s killer, and more to dislike. People like Jeanine, who were so scared of losing power they were prepared to kill almost anyone and everyone.

I rated this book 4 out of 5 because I found the beginning slow. However, once the action started this book transformed and I was hooked all over again and eager for the final installment.

Allegiant
Addition: E-book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Divergent fans had to wait a long time for the final installment, Allegiant, to be published. To be honest, at first it felt a little bit like a let down. Tris and Tobias, plus a small army of friends, have left Chicago to discover what lies beyond the wall. Roth seemed to use half the book to explain their existence. There was a lot of background and a lot of science. To be honest, I’m not sure how much of that half of the book I took in. It wasn’t the explosive beginning I was hoping for and I found that not a lot happened in those pages. That said, again war broke out and the book became exciting! I think Roth writes action better than she writes background.

I wasn’t sure about the dual perspective either. It came as a bit of shock to be reading one chapter from Tris’ point of view, and then the next from Tobias’. I like one of the things I liked about Divergent was his mysterious character. I didn’t like that he was suddenly stripped bare and I got to see how he felt. He seemed weaker than I had envisioned him and that spoilt the book somewhat for me.

I must mention the ending. I don’t want to give anything away but I didn’t see it coming and I didn’t like it! It fitted with the characters and the story but it was not the ending I was expecting. It worked, but it saddened me.

I rated this book 4 out of 5 as well because I thought once the story moved away from the background information and we got going, the book was great and I had to keep reading.

The Divergent Series
I have written a lot already so I will keep this brief. This is a great series. I would highly recommend it to everyone. It is worth pursuing with the second and third books because the story does pick up. This is one of the best series I have read. This is a young adult series but don’t let that put you off. It is well written, it is engaging and the story has everything without the feeling that the author has tried too hard and failed. I can’t wait for the film to be released and I think everyone should read this series. Overall, I would rate it 4 out of 5.

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