Tag: Divergent

The Word for 2017

I took a page out of Kimberly and Veronica’s book this year. My word for 2017 is DAUNTLESS.

Dauntless: adj. Not to be daunted or intimidated; fearless; intrepid; bold

Who are these women I refer to by name in the opening paragraph? What book did they write? How the heck does it connect with the world of Sharon Lee Hughson, Author?

A Divergent World

Yes, I mean Veronica Roth of DIVERGENT fame. If you haven’t read the books (pick up the one with this title and skip the rest of the series), let me explain.

The dystopian world in Roth’s books (set in a future Chicago), divides people into factions. Each faction serves a specific function for society.

The faction of daring people who do too many dangerous things to name? Dauntless.

No, I don’t plan to jump off a train at any point this year.

But jumping out of a plane while wearing a parachute is on my bucket list.

dauntless_definition

Three years into the “writing gig” and I’ve been feeling a little…discouraged.

And let me tell you, that does not write interesting stories that other people care to read.

Nor does it pen compelling queries and synopses to hook prospective agents or publishers.

In fact, discouragement is a major enemy to writing success.

So this year, I’m banishing Fear and his buddy, Discouragement, from my world. Step by dauntless step.

Design Your Destiny

Last month, I mentioned Kimberly Job to you as I worked through her goal-setting course.

The way Kimberly designs her goals and plans her success revolves around a specific word for the year.

This is similar to my yearly themes. And since I had chosen my theme before I got to the part in her course that specified choosing one word, I decided to choose one that would complement “No Fear This Year.”

I came up with courage, confidence and fearless.

My brain was leaning toward courage. After all, even saying “fear” gave me a nudge of anxiety. Names have power right? If I speak that demon’s name, will he get a foothold?

Yes, even though I wanted to be fearless. The exercises Kimberly took us through for our top five words showed me that courage was closer to what I was going for.

As in…get thee behind me fear. I have a sword and I’m not afraid to use it.

Except…courage was so…overused.

Then we watched the third DIVERGENT movie (INSURGENT, which is quite different from the book, and if I had watched it rather than reading it, I might not have wanted to boot the whole series to the moon).

And there they were…Dauntless in all their black-geared glory.

word_2017

So courage was swallowed and my word was cemented.

What’s your “guiding word” or theme for 2017? What do you think of when you hear the word “dauntless”?

If this post appealed to you, you might like Hero Delivery. It’s a bulletin with deals and specials from Sharon Hughson. It can be on the way to your inbox in a few clicks.

Check out Finding Focus and my other books. You’re sure to find something worth reading.

Already read one or more? Please leave an honest review on your favorite site. That’s like the author discovering a gold nugget in the bottom of her washing machine.


	

Mixed Feelings about “Allegiant”

Coming to the end of a series always provokes mixed feelings. If we love the characters, we’re sad to see them go. Exciting plots make us anticipate the final climactic resolution.

Or it might be anti-climactic.

I read the first two books in Veronica Roth’s Divergent series in the Summer of 2012. At that time, waiting a year to get the final installment seemed cruel. Truthfully, I had forgotten much of my earnestness by the time the package arrived from Amazon containing the newly released conclusion to the trilogy.

The craze of dystopian fiction, especially in the young adult age group, may have reached its peak. I have read four series from this genre and half a dozen stand-alone novels in the past three years.

This type of story appeals to me because it’s interesting to see where a creative genius (pretty much any author) takes the question “what if a catastrophe happened?” and runs with it. There might be a society where children fight to the death as a means of keeping the populace cowed. Maybe lawlessness would prevail.

The possibilities stagger me. In reading such an assortment of dystopian fiction, I’ve seen a few common threads and been interested to see some similarities. More on that later. Maybe.

At the end of Insurgent, everyone was in limbo. A video disclosing the truth that the factions inside Chicago were just an experiment of the government floored everyone. It was a cliffhanger. Fifteen months later when I got to read what happened next, all the urgency had vanished.

I recommend rereading the first two books before you pick up this wrap-up to the series. It took me more than 75 pages to reorient myself with the characters and begin to connect with them again. That said, I don’t believe this book has much appeal as a stand-alone read.

The main character we followed in the first book, Beatrice Prior, shares the narration duties with her boyfriend, Four or Tobias. I found the transition between their two minds choppy and I never truly felt they were distinct. The writer’s voice sounded the same inside either mind.

I make it a point never to include spoilers in my book reviews. To me, the purpose of the review is to help you decide whether or not you want to spend money on this book or borrow it from the library.

This book had the weakest plot of the series. The stakes seemed inconsequential until about three-fourths of the way through the book. My disbelief wouldn’t be suspended because I had a hard time with both Tris’ and Tobias’ reactions to their revelations in this story.

Each of them had a separate mission to accomplish at the end. In my opinion, Tobias’ resolution was too contrived and obtainable. On the other hand, I connected with Tris and her actions were much more believable, but I hated the outcome.

If you want to find out what happens to this cast, you should read this book. Story enjoyment is subjective. I didn’t feel like I had wasted my time reading this book, but since I hadn’t recently had my appetite whetted for the conclusion, I could have missed it and lived happily ever after.

Related articles

Dystopian Novels

The Start of the Series

After completing Michael Grant’s Gone series, I began wondering why I’m drawn to dystopian novels over vampire stories or other types of science- fictional fantasy. I happily read Divergent and Insurgent during the summer of 2012 and will most likely buy a copy of the third book, releasing in August.

Since it is sitting in the library at my middle school, there are definite things I didn’t like about Grant’s series .

Too much graphic violence

When a kid got ate by mutated worms, I thought Grant had gone too far. It wasn’t a pretty mental image. In the latest book, a little girl lights other kids on fire while laughing gleefully. If there’s a more disturbing picture anywhere, I don’t want to know about it.

Sex =Love

Caine and Diana treat each other with criticism and cynicism. Eventually, they have sex and – BAM – they’re suddenly in love with each other. It’s slightly better with Sam and Astrid because their relationship was based on friendship and mutual respect before the physical side was added. Still, it gives emotionally and sexually charged young people the impression that love is sex or vice versa.

Too many characters

True, Grant had a huge world to run and his story needed bodies to sacrifice to the evil inside the FAYZ. I have too many middle school students who can’t keep track of more than six or seven characters, so these books frustrated them.

If he would have focused less on the intricacies of how things ran, he could have spared us the enormous list of characters. However, the thing I liked about the series is that I could imagine this place and it was believable because he hadn’t overlooked any administrative details.

Of course, I read the entire series. Obviously, I must have liked a few things about it.

  • I liked that he started right at the point of the inciting event and gave us the necessary backstory of the characters gradually.
  • I loved the protagonist, Sam, but I felt like Grant made him less heroic as the series progressed. Sam lacked confidence, which is fine at the beginning of the series, but the fact that he had a similar view of himself after a year of defeating all sorts of mutated creatures annoyed me.
  • I certainly didn’t want him to become cocky. Caine took the cake in that category. Most of the kids believed in him and relied on him, but he didn’t believe in himself. Of course, the way Grant let Gaia beat up on Sam while he acted helpless reinforced that self-image.

Defeating the big boss should have been a group effort. Instead, Little Petey saves the day. It makes logical sense that since he created the FAYZ, he would need to destroy it, but it was anti-climactic. Everything Sam suffered inside that makeshift world seemed pointless at the end.

Dystopian novels entertain me because the author’s use uninhibited creativity to present scenarios that suspend disbelief. We can imagine a huge underground shelter for a select few before the end of the world comes at the hands of man (City of Ember). Or that war might cause our world to become a desert of conflict, guided by the law of “only the strong survive” (Blood Red Road).

Scientists and government officials desire to manipulate us. If they created an enormous lab test in Chicago, it might look exactly like Divergent. If the government decided to segregate the population even more, it could look like The Hunger Games.

Shouldn’t seeing all that could go wrong with society be depressing? What is the draw? If you like dystopian fiction, I’d love to hear from you.