Sunday, August 26, 2012

Free Four: Tobias Tells the Divergent Story

Warning: Divergent and Insurgent spoilers

I've told you how much I am loving the short stories that are coming between books in a series lately.  My love affair with these short stories continues with "Free Four: Tobias Tells the Divergent Story" where Veronica Roth graciously allows us inside the head of Tobias "Four" Eaton.  The scene during the Dauntless initiation told from Four's point of view is perfect.

While Divergent is told from the perspective of Triss Prior, readers are definitely left with lots of questions about Four.  It would certainly have seemed that Four was the perfect example of the Dauntless faction.  Understanding his life before he became one of the fearless is absolutely required to really get him as a character.  I for one was extremely surprised to learn he considered leaving the Dauntless.  That was a pretty mind blowing revelation!

Also, I'm really interested in the life of the Factionless.  There's something about them that intrigues me, but I just can't seem to place much trust in them.  Strange...

Ahh, reading "Free Four" makes me even more eager to read the final installment of the Divergent trilogy expected to be out in September of 2013.  However, there is quite a bit of buzz about the Divergent movie.  Check it out here.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Wentworth Hall

Recently, several of my coworkers and I found ourselves adicted to the world of Downton Abbey.  OK, so, I may have been leading the charge.  But, I consider this time well spent.  There is so much cultural development one can make at the Abbey.  I am clearly a more sophisticated person for having donated my life to this show.  Our lives are markedly better, except now we are all insane with the anticipation of the next season.  Lucky for me, one of my fellow Downton lovers found Wentworth Hall (read an excerpt here) by Abby GrahameWentworth Hall is the answer to Downton Abbey for the younger set.  Even its cover says, "And you thought there were secrets at the Abbey."  Boy, was that cover correct!

Wentworth Hall features the Darlington family, Maggie, Lila, Wesley, young James, and their parents, as well as the staff of servants.  Unfortunately, the Darlington's have fallen upon hard times and the oppulent Wentworth Hall is not what it once was.  Lord and Lady Darlington creatively plot ways to garner a profitable marriage for Maggie in hopes of helping the family's current economic status, but after Maggie returned from an extended stay in France, she doesn't seem interested in making a match with any of the potential suitors.

Just after Maggie's return, two houseguests arrive.  Teddy and Jessica are the children of one of Lord Darlington's recently deceased and newly rich friends.  Teddy and Jessica eagerly await their eighteenth birthday (the time when they will receive their inheritance) under the roof of Wentworth Hall.  Seems as though Teddy and Maggie could make a fantastic match...

I like to imagine Cousin Matthew reading the
Worthless Coulum.
And, then there are the servants.  Therese is the French nanny who is new on the scene.  Therese tends to baby James, the unexpected late in life son of Lord and Lady Darlington.  There is something familiar about her that no one can quite put a finger on.  Nora is the hand maid of the young Darlington's.  She dreams of leaving service to open a tea room.  And, of coure there is Michael, who appears only to have eyes for the lovely Maggie Darlington.  Oh, my!

As if there weren't enough drama.  A new column has began runing in the local paper.  This satire details all the intimate secrets of the Darlington family under the thinly veiled name of Worthless Hall.  It's scandalous.

This is quite a fun read.  And, if you, like I, eagerly await the arrival of Downton Abbey's season three, Wentworth Hall is a great substitute.  I love a great historical fiction book.  Also, even though this may seem a bit silly, I like it because it is a stand alone novel.  There was a nice resolution at the end, and I don't have to add another thing to wait for to my list.  Give it a try. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012


I have a silly confession to make.  I actually put off reading Insurgent  by Veronica Roth (watch the trailer here) because I wanted to read it so much.  Completely goofy logic, right?  Well, you see, I know how completely tortured I was when I read Divergent (read my review here) and thought if I could only resist Insurgent a while, I wouldn't have to wait so long for the third.  So, as you can see I was able to hold out a whopping eight weeks.  Yep, that will make a huge difference in my wait time. 

Insurgent certainly did not disappoint.  The second in the Divergent series, picks up after the shocking end of Divergent, when the Dauntless faction discovers they have been used in a simulation by the Erudite faction to murder lots of innocent people.  No big deal, of course. 

Once again Triss finds herself of great use to her faction at great risk to herself. As her relationship with Four grows in this book, it is also strained by their different views and willingness to be completely honest with each other.  We even get to see much more of Marcus Eaton, who is Four's father.  By the way, Four goes by his given name of Tobias in this book.  This is because our narrator Triss, has gotten to know him better; calling him by his real name  is a sign of how close they have grown.  Also, I must tell you that even though I know Four is much to young to actually be pictured this way, but Four is in my mind Adam Levine.  Wouldn't he perfectly play the part?  Oh, I think so.  If the real world had factions, I am absolutely certain Mr. Levine would be Dauntless.

Complete Dauntless
In Divergent, we saw Triss's divergence as a closely guarded secret.  We gain insight as to why this was in Insurgent.  We also see just how dangerous being a Divergent could be.  As the Erudite, sought to control everyone those who were Divergent posed a problem.  As it turns out, being Divergent might not be as uncommon as Triss thought.

As I suspected, I am not dying for the next book in the series.  It will be released in the fall of next year.  As of yet, no official title has been released, but Roth jokingly calls it Detergent.  That's pretty darn funny.  Until then I wait.  I look forward to see what lies beyond the fence.  It is going to be a long year.