Friday, November 21, 2014

If There Was Any Book, I Would Choose...

I love books that inspire and play with my heartstrings all at once. While I’m not happy with Veronica Roth right now, I do applaud her book Divergent. Her main character, Beatrice Prior (later renamed Tris) acquires an admirable amount of bravery, selflessness, respect, and overall divergent-ness throughout this thrilling start to a fantastic trilogy (until the end of course). I first met Tris in the Abnegation section of a futuristic Chicago. As Tris approached her 16th birthday, the coming choice between her family and her future weighed her down. During her testing that would decide her future, Tris endured several mind blowing mistakes that forever changed her ideas of the world in which she lived in. Tris learned that she was Divergent, she fit the characteristics of three out of five sections in a version of society the likes of which we have never seen before. After choosing Dauntless, a faction for the brave-hearted, as the place she wanted to be for the rest of her life, Tris meets a new group of friends and shares adventures in their new home-away-from-home. A few bumps in the road during training made her more Dauntless than ever and prepares her for a world altering battle between power hungry leaders and rebels. She might’ve found the love of her life along the way as well…
Veronica Roth wrote this story in a futuristic point of view. Chicago had been demolished at some point in time and the five factions were born from the rubble. Abnegation, Dauntless, Candor, Amity, and Erudite split ownership of the city and created jobs and morals to fit each category of people. But there was also a gigantic web of secrets woven into the storyline. Families betrayed, arguments erupting left and right, tension running sky high between the factions, and new recruits used in a plot against society. Roth created a whole new world for her characters to adventure in, and I think she did it because a unique perspective of the future was needed in today’s boring society. Not only did Roth create a new world, but also new drama that we could talk about with our friends, like it was the new episode of Pretty Little Liars. Young adult literature had never seen a book like Divergent before, and it made our hearts throb for more of it.
When I picked up my copy of Divergent, it didn’t turn out at all like I expected. I thought, “Oh great, another action adventure. Same old, same old.” What I didn’t expect was the well thought out and loveable, or hateable characters, and the thrill of Dauntless. I grew to love Tris Prior as much as I love Percy Jackson! I felt sorry for her, happy for her, nervous for her, all of the things a good characters brings out in a reader. Roth made me want to become a citizen of futuristic Chicago just so I could become a member of the Dauntless faction. All of the action in this book, including jumping off buildings and climbing into moving trains, sounded exciting. Though, I think I would rather skip the fear-inducing simulation testing Tris had to pass to become an official member of Dauntless. I truthfully didn’t have any problems with this book (my problems came later on in the series). I read it over and over and still got the same level of anticipation and fear each time.

I feel like someone breathed new air into my lungs. I am not Abnegation. I am not Dauntless.
I am Divergent.”

Development of character. That is what Divergent is all about. Over the course of this book, Tris starts to realize just what being Divergent means to her. She wanted to be different so that she could make a difference in her city that had been secretly tampered with by a power hungry leader. Instead of hiding who she was, Tris embraced it. That was my overall takeaway from this book, be who you are because it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks. Empowering, right? Divergent also meant a lot to me because I don’t find inspiring, loveable characters often enough. Reading influences me about as much as my friends and family do, and when I can find a book like Divergent, I consider it a part of my life before, during, and after reading it.
Just by read my blog post, you’ll be able to tell that I absolutely loved Divergent by Veronica Roth! It had a great blend of emotion, bravery, compassion, and treachery. Tris was an amazing character to follow during this trilogy and she became a very inspiring and respectable person in my mind. Roth did a fantastic job with her books, I loved every second of it. While Hollywood usually likes to Hollywood-ize all of their movies by adding over-the-top action and adventure and violence, they didn’t need to with the movie Divergent. It already had a ton of Hollywood type things woven into the storyline. All the director had to do was pick good actors to portray the parts, and they definitely delivered with Shailene Woodley. The Dauntless training scenes were similar, so were the battles and family betrayals. The movie was just about as perfect as the book! I did have one questions about Divergent though, how did Veronica Roth come up with the idea of her books? However and whatever she did, she did a fabulous job!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

My Important Book

The most important book that I have read so far is Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. At just 12 years old, Percy Jackson was told by his best friend/protector, Grover, that there was a reason he didn’t fit in with humans and why strange things kept happening to him. But most of all, Grover explained to Percy why his father had never been a part of his life. This is because Percy’s dad is the Greek god, Poseidon, God of the Sea. Percy is a demigod, half-human half-god, and Grover realized that it was time to take Percy to Camp Half Blood, the safest place for kids like Percy to grow up and train. But on the journey to the camp, Hades’s Minotaur captured Percy’s mother and took her to the underworld. Zeus's master bolt is missing and Hades blames Percy for stealing it. So Percy goes on a quest with Grover and a daughter of Athena named Annabeth to save his mother from the underworld, prove he didn’t take the master bolt, and hopefully prevent a war between the gods.

I noticed that Rick Riordan wrote The Lightning Thief and all of his following books with a common theme. Ancient Greek mythology. His books include the gods and minor gods, mythological creatures like Grover (who's a satyr), and legendary monsters like the Minotaur. I think Riordan wrote his books this way because it gives old stories new life, and makes the stories more interesting to younger readers. He also made his characters likeable and relatable. Besides the fact that they were going off on dangerous quests and are only half human, Percy and Annabeth are still teenagers.

I truthfully loved this book. I loved the action and adventure, the relatability of the characters, and how mythology was incorporated into a book meant for kids and teens. Percy and Annabeth may be half bloods, and super awesome, but they are also still teenagers. That gave them a quality that I couldn’t help but like. But it also surprised me. I didn’t read these books for about three years. I always thought, why would I want to read a book about something that’s thousands of years old? But when I finally convinced myself to try this book out, I loved it and couldn’t get enough.

The Lightning Thief also opened so many doors for Rick Riordan to continue this fantastic series. He created a character almost as well known as Harry Potter and a fandom that will last a lifetime. It has all the basics when it comes to an action adventure, courage, friendship, and villains. But it has a unique twist that makes it interesting. While reading this book, Riordan taught us the basics of Greek history and mythological legends that we will probably never learn about in school. Once I realized just how much I loved this book, I started thinking to myself, why? Besides the fact that the characters are awesome, I found out that I have a true interest in ancient Greek mythology. And I thank Rick Riordan for not only opening doors for his writing, but also for opening doors for me into a topic that I would’ve never found had it not been for Percy Jackson.

In 2010, The Lightning Thief was made into a movie. Let’s just say that while Percy can certainly compete with Harry Potter, Riordan’s first movie certainly cannot compete with J.K. Rowling’s. The producers completely changed some parts of the book, and it doesn’t make any sense. They also made all the characters four years older and one of the biggest parts in the series is The Great Prophecy, which states that Percy will have to “reach 16 against all odds”. But Percy was 16 in the movie, so… what?! Between bad writing and actors that were chosen more for their looks than their talent, The Lightning Thief turned into an epic fail. Although the movie didn’t meet my expectations at all, the book soared above them. Rick Riordan created likeable and relatable characters, that just get more and more awesome as you read on. Percy inspired a passion for ancient Greek mythology inside me and I truly don’t think any writer will be able to top the adventurous, courageous spirit that Rick Riordan did in Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.