Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Mini Reviews: Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang and Four by Veronica Roth

Title: Falling Into Place
Author: Amy Zhang
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository
On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road. Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? 
Falling Into Place is an interesting debut novel, it's definitely made me curious to see what the author does next. Amy Zhang chooses a narrator that I wouldn't have expected and one I haven't seen before. I feel it's important to mention that I knew who was narrating the story before I even started it, having seen it in Cait's review over on Notebook Sisters. I am really pleased I knew who the narrator was, but I'm sure you figure it out pretty early on anyway. I don't know if not knowing would have changed my reading experience at all, I don't know. It's hard to tell, because I already knew, whether it would be clear and obvious or if it would be something that would keep you guessing for a lot of the book.

I feel Falling Into Place has some similarities to If I Stay, it had an If I Stay vibe about it. I think that's more to do with Liz in the hospital and how it keeps getting brought up that it's all up to her. Even the doctors are suggesting that it's up to Liz and her determination to live that will decide whether she wakes up or not. 

Liz was a very complex character, one that it was actually hard to get to know because I didn't always like what I was discovering. Liz has run her car off the road, in an attempt to kill herself whilst trying to make it look like an accident. She doesn't want her family and friends to know that she had given up, that she wanted to die. She wants them to believe it was all a tragic accident. But it doesn't go the way Liz plans, she doesn't die. She finds herself fighting for her life in hospital, while her friends and family gather in the hospital to see if she'll pull through. Liz is a mean girl, which can make her very hard to like at times. The way she treats people at times is just disgusting, at those times I could definitely understand why she hated herself. At other times I did feel bad for her and feel a lot of sympathy for her and her situation. I went back and forth a lot on Liz, I could hardly tell whether I liked her or not. I also did feel like she blamed herself for so much that wasn't really her fault. She seemed to forget that other people make their own decisions, she wasn't holding a gun to their heads and forcing them to do anything. 

3.5/5 Butterflies

I enjoyed the book enough, but the longer it went on the more I came to dislike Liz. I found her character hard to root for and like at times. The story kept me reading, but I wasn't completely satisfied with it. This book did break my heart a little with how accurately it portrays having to watch someone fight for their life in intensive care. The ending was so frustrating though, I was not satisfied by the ending at all. It was all too quick and sudden, I wanted and needed a little bit more to the story and to see what happened next. It's a good debut, I'll be interested to see what the author does next.



*I received a copy of this novel from the author/publisher/publicist via Edelweiss in exchange for a free and honest review and received no monetary compensation for this review.

Four: A Divergent Collection (Divergent, #0.1 - 0.4)Title: Four
Author: Veronica Roth
Buy This Book: Amazon / Book Depository

Readers first encountered Tobias Eaton as "Four" in Divergent. His voice is an integral part of Allegiant. Readers will find more of this charismatic character's backstory told from his own perspective in Four: A Divergent Collection. When read together, these long narrative pieces illuminate the defining moments in Tobias Eaton's life. The first three pieces in this volume – "The Transfer," "The Initiate," and "The Son" – follow Tobias's transfer from Abnegation to Dauntless, his Dauntless initiation, and the first clues that a foul plan is brewing in the leadership of two factions. The fourth story, "The Traitor," runs parallel with the events of Divergent, giving readers a glimpse into the decisions of loyalty – and love – that Tobias makes in the weeks after he meets Tris Prior. (Goodreads summary.)

After the absolute disaster that was Allegiant, it's safe to say that I was nervous when picking up Four. I hadn't enjoyed Four's POV in Allegiant, mainly because he sounded exactly like Tris. He suddenly became a male version of Tris. He wasn't anything like the character we met in Divergent and Insurgent, he really came to annoy me in the same way Tris did. Allegiant almost completely ruined Four for me. I really hoped that the Four novellas might redeem him a little bit and give him an actual POV.

I don't really know if Roth succeeded in making Four's POV better than it was in Allegiant. At times I felt like he did sound more like the character we meet in the first two books. But then he would sometimes slip back into sounding just like a male version of Tris. And then I would get annoyed.

My favourite part of the whole book, and the part I was most excited about, was getting to see more of Four's life before he joined Dauntless. I'd been itching for more of his back story since we first learned who he really was and where he came from. I preferred all the stories that took place before Tris came into the picture. Although his friendship with Amar left a lot to be desired, they didn't really have much of a friendship at all.

I enjoyed the majority of this book, The Traitor was my least favourite novella and really began to bore me. I had to force myself to get through that one, which surprised me as I had thought it would be the one I would enjoy the most. It takes place after Tris arrives in Dauntless and she apparently ruins everything for me because that's when I started to lose interest in the book. That story bored me so much, I just thought it was so dull.

3/5 Butterflies

After reading an amazing set of novellas like The Assassin's Blade, my expectations for novellas are now pretty high. Four definitely didn't deliver for me. I did enjoy getting to know more of Four's story and what his life was like before Dauntless. But I lost interest near the end of this book, the last novella bored me and I had to force myself to finish. Four's voice still doesn't sound right to me and it bugs me the whole time I am reading anything from his point of view. This book is okay but I don't think it's an amazing addition to the series. 


14 comments:

  1. I am so curious about Falling Into Place, I have seen a ton of mixed reviews and even though some are negative I still want to see what all the fuss is about I think.
    Wonderful honest review!!

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    1. I'd be curious to see what you make of it, that book just really didn't work for me.

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  2. So hard when you're a bit meh on a character or really end up not liking them despite enjoying the overall story. Hopefully her next one will iron out the ending issue.

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    1. I don't think she will do another, I think it's a standalone. That makes the ending even more frustrating!

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  3. Damn, these weren't great books for you were there? But meh books are better than rubbish books, that's always a positive. I'm happy to see that novellas rescued some of the Divergent series for you and always that you were torn over Liz in Falling into Place, characters like her are difficult, and I think it's an interesting point that you can like and dislike a character at the same time. Really good, short reviews, you should do more when struggling for words, these were great :)

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    1. I don't know, sometimes I prefer rubbish ones. At least they elicit some real emotion from me, even if it is hate. Meh books annoy me because I don't have many feelings about them. They were okay but they didn't give me any feels, good or bad.

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  4. Agreed about Falling into Place! BUT I AM SUCH A SPOILER, ARNE'T I? Still, I knew who the narrator was before I read it too, and I kind of wondered if it would've affected me differently. But gosh, it's never even SAID exactly who the narrator is! That kind of drove me crazy. A bit too vague for my liking. I really hated Liz, but I think that was the point. I liked how the book wasn't JUST about Liz, and how her friends weren't just paper-cut-outs too. And the style? I looooved the style.

    My favourite of the Four novellas was the pre-initiation ones too! HE WAS SO LITTLE. And it was really scary and horrible with Marcus. I was kiiiind of bored in the last one story, because I'd read it all before (in Divergent) so I didn't see a real point in that. *shrugs*

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    1. I don't know if it would have, I feel like it probably becomes quite obvious early on. I'm glad I saw that though, I preferred knowing. I loved the style too. I didn't like Liz but I also don't think she was the root of evil like she kind of makes out. She blames herself for all her friends bad decisions, but they made those choices themselves. She never forced them.

      ME TOO! I loved little Four the most.

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  5. I totally agree that Liz was so complex, she was just so unlikable but there were glimpses that made us emphasise with her. For the most part, while I enjoyed the writing and the narrative, I just got frustrated with her character to really enjoy it.

    I think the Four novella pleasantly surprised me because we actually got to know more about his back story, and luckily I didn't have Tris's voice to compare to in this book. A shame you didn't enjoy the last story, I liked it when we met Tris.

    Lovely review Charnell, I hope your next reads are better!

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    1. Liz was an interesting character and she had moments where I definitely felt for her. It annoyed me that she blamed herself for everyone else's mistakes. Some things were definitely her fault, but a lot of the time she blamed herself for things that had nothing to do with her.

      I just preferred getting his back story. I felt like I'd seen that part of the story before and seeing it from his POV didn't really add much to it.

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  6. I don't know if I'll read Falling Into Place, especially with a frustrating ending. And I feel the same way that you do as far as Four is concerned. Loved him in Divergent and Insurgent, but hated his whiny voice in Allegiant, it just wasn't him at all. So I have no desire to read the novellas (and I'm not a novella fan anyway). Glad you enjoyed these books for the most part! ~Pam

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    1. I wish I hadn't bothered with the novellas, I don't think they were really worth my time. Allegiant practically ruined Four for me, and I hate that.

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  7. I have finished with the Divergent main series and after reading the ending to that book I am still not entirely sure whether I do or don't want to try those little short stories she has published. I think I will in the end but am just holding out in form of vengeance for a while xD Also, I really want to read Falling into Place, it's on my TBR!

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    1. I know, I kind of didn't want to read it just because of what she did to me in Allegiant. That book was terrible!

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