Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Place Where You Belong

Now that I've finally finished most of the physical books that need to be read (i.e. I don't own them), I have time to read the books I actually bought, and catch up with some ebooks. In fact, I finished two books, and I noticed this really similar feature in them. It's not a theme, but just a similarity, like the use of song in The House of Bernarda Alba and Three Sisters, or the use of clothes (in the same two plays) or the use of birds in Miss Julie and .... -insert endless rant-. But in this case, the similarity is about the use of clans in Divergent by Veronica Roth and Talon of the Unnamed Goddess by J. R. Tomlin.

In Divergent, there's this whole Faction thing. I'm quite sure that I'm already behind most people in reading, but just to let you know (if you didn't), that there are different factions (or clans) in Divergent. The two most that are talked about are Abnegation and Dauntless. In their world, which I think is really screwed up, the motto is "Faction before Blood". 

Well, basically the world in Divergent is supposed to an Utopian society, although the theory is quite flawed. I mean, common sense tells you the best leaders are not just selfless, but also smart, and brave, and well, Divergent. To even separate people like this is.... I don't know how it happened. But that isn't the point of the book. The whole novel is about Tris, from Abnegation but is Divergent, and how she chose Dauntless.

To be honest, the plot of the novel is quite similar to some I read before (I need to get my hands on Plotto), but it's still a very well-written book. I wish I waited to read this book, because now, I want to read Insurgent, to see what will happen next(:

The other book, Talon of the Unnamed Goddess is really cool. The plot is quite original, with the concept of the Talons, and especially the whole Sigils thing. There's no need to worry, the 'Unnamed Goddess' is mentioned just once (for plot purposes), then ignored.

What I really enjoyed reading was about the Clan. It's like how Aisha is very rational, some might say too rational, but with the Talon background, it totally works. She's also not totally unemotional, but she displays exemplary self-control. I actually really enjoyed reading about Aisha and Rhiannon, as they grow closer and watching Aisha become fond of her charge was extremely endearing. I think beyond the whole fighting plot, this book is all about relationships. The Talons are all extremely loyal, and in a good way. They think of their clan first, but there's no sign of any unhealthy relationships. In fact, Aisha's unconventional way of thinking is rewarded (and I would think that if she was punished, it would be a pretty clear sign that someone wants power).

The book is also not without humour. One of my favourite quotes is this:

"You are a hard bargainer, hi'Lady. Did you learn from your father?"
"No, from my advisor [Aisha]. She usually proposes first death as a negotiating position. I thought I'd try first exhaustion."
"It worked."
While I'd be hard pressed to choose between the two books, I'm leaning towards Talon of the Unnamed Goddess. It's original, and I enjoy reading about their clan. While I am fascinated by the world of Divergent, Talon of the Unnamed Goddess is more enjoyable if I want an escape into a fantasy world. I wouldn't want to be in the world of Divergent, at least, not in my present mood.

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