This is a great YA mystery adventure – with a male lead you’ll probably loathe then like if you’re anything like me (one sentence was all it took for me to dislike him, then another one to turn everything around! It sucker-punched me a bit, I will admit – as I’d had a good few chapters of not thinking very highly of him!)
Tony weaves a great story with twists, technology and science that will make your skin creep at times, as Dylan finds out more about the strange Eight Mile Island. With short, fast-paced chapters and lots of action, all told in a clear, descriptive style you really experience the whole journey with Dylan. It kept me guessing throughout, and being told in the first person it cleverly excludes and includes things that only Dylan would know.
Looking back at the story again now – it’s been a couple of months since I read it – I can see even more in it than I did immediately. It has a ‘Matrix-y’ element to it (trying to remain spoiler free) about the ‘real’ and ‘unreal’ world – I have to admit that on my first reading I took everything at face value and accepted the world as presented by the narrator…I’m not sure I’d do that on a second reading, and think that there would be a different story there for read number two…
Overall, 4.5* for me: Eight Mile Island kept me gripped and interested from start to finish – highly recommended.
I’ve just finished Insurgent and ‘Hmmmm…’ is the overwhelming thought in my head. There is something with this series I just don’t feel, and I think it’s because I find Tris difficult. There’s also the ‘faction thing’ for the people within the system: I find it hard to believe that they do not question a system that would seem to want you to be a particular way, but then encourages divergence by allowing the movement of people between the factions (nature / nurture…If they want pure, faction-matched people, why would the system allow movement…?) The conclusion of the book did go some way towards alleviating my issues there, in that it gives you an answer to the ‘why’; but it doesn’t explain why people inside the system should not see it as a flaw in their faction system to allow movement from one to another.
I’m not a Tris fan – I find her reactions to things too variable; she veers from being ultra-logical and self-aware to being obtuse and reactionary. Even with her ‘divergent’ brain I find it difficult to believe in someone so wildly erratic. It’s almost as though she switches from one faction stereotype to another, without a natural blending of the various faction natures coming together. Maybe I’m wrong and she’s like this exactly because of how she’s been raised and so she cannot blend the various elements together, just use one at a time…if that’s the case, there’s some logic to that, but I find it difficult to believe as a true reflection of human nature.
There are characters I like in this series: I like the Dauntless banter and passion (with people like Uriah) and I’m OK with Four; Christina I also like, just as I did in Divergent. And the books are well-written, so that you get a feel for the environment…but I find I’m just mildly ambivalent with the book as a whole.
Overall 3.5* – I found this book more interesting that the first – although it is reasonably long and I could walk away from reading it, so I know I wasn’t gripped. Seeing more of the other factions was good – Divergent was too much Dauntless training for me, with not much of interest until the end of the book. But Tris is not my cup of tea and I find that because I don’t relate to her, I empathise less.
Am I missing something with this series??