Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

loveallthis’s #cbr4 reviews 12, 13, 14: Divergent, Raylan, Zone One

(cross-posted from my blog.)

12 / Divergent by Veronica Roth

So: The Giver and The Hunger Games got busy, and nine months later, Divergent happened.

Future Chicago is on lockdown, and everyone who’s not homeless lives in one of five factions. Each faction is characterized by a quality and carries out its own task in the greater community. Amity’s all about getting along, and they farm. Abnegation members are selfless, and they teach and do community work. Erudite are smart, and they produce the tech. Candor don’t lie, and honestly I have no idea what they contribute. Dauntless are brave, and protect everyone from whatever’s outside. (It’s not very clear what happened in this world, or what the threat is. No matter: the danger comes from well inside the fence.)

Tris Prior, our young female protagonist, owes much to Katniss: she’s smart, vibrant, and none too fond of people telling her what to do. Her unlikely transformation from a weak, long-haired girl in Abnegation to a brave, daring, tattooed fighter in Dauntless is well-crafted and compelling. Oh, and because of course, she’s super-special in a particular way that gives her special abilities but puts her in danger.

This is not a brilliant book, but the solid combination of dystopian sci-fi, action, steamy teenage infatuation, drug-induced head games, and good old-fashioned train-jumpin’ and sneakin’ around is totally fun.

Four stars: sign me up to read the sequel. (Of course there’s a sequel.)

13 / Raylan by Elmore Leonard

Elmore Leonard is an executive producer on Justified, which is based on his short storyFire in the Hole, featuring the character Raylan Givens. Or, as I like to call him, Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. (Sounds better that way.)

Now, Justified is one of the best-written, -directed, -acted shows on television. I was pretty excited about this book, which turned out to be a… totally okay, unremarkable, moderately enjoyable read with a completely forgettable plot and secondary cast of characters.

Boo, Elmore. Boo.

Two stars for an excuse to think about Timothy Olyphant for a few hours. (If you haven’t watched the show yet, do yourself a favor and start now.)

14 / Zone One by Colson Whitehead

I don’t love zombie stories; I find them a little too plausibly scary. So no, I don’t know what I was doing reading Zone One. We follow Mark Spitz, part of a civilian squad of sweepers who are clearing lower Manhattan after the zombie-pocalypse of recent past.

We figure out what happened to New York (and the world) through a series of reminiscences and flashbacks. I’m a sucker for backstory stories, so I really enjoyed piecing the history together.

In between the flashbacks, things go pretty well, then only somewhat well, then terribly, horribly wrong. I mean, come on. Zombies. Not good news.

Three stars. Unfortunately not my thing.

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