Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Book Review - Divergent by Veronica Awesome...Roth, I mean Roth


Okay, in my headlong dive back into the world of sifi/fantasy/dystopia and YA, I found Divergent. It is one of the first book series I have read in my….mature years. Hunger Games got me started on this dystopia kick. I mean, who doesn’t love a world that is more politically effed up than ours? Tales of survival, baddassery, love…

I am very picky when it comes to reading. I don’t have a lot of time, and I am not made of money (Can you imagine actually being made of money? Want a coffee? Let me just peel this bill off my abs. Now THERE is a concept for a future novel!). So I look at reviews on and see what people are GENERALLY saying about books. You have to skip the 5 star and 1 star reviews that are written with a LOT OF CAPS though, because they are largely hyper spacey fankids or emo disgruntled youths, and both live in some weird alternate reality that you really can’t trust. So, after weeding through those, I decided to try my hand at Divergent by Veronica Roth.

It was honestly one of those books I could not put down. Just ask my husband (sorry Dave, there will be a lot of apologizing in this blog). It was engaging, had plenty of action, without being all hack and slash. I love books written from the first person POV because I really can get into the characters head and see their decision making processes. I love to see what makes people tick, how their actions are dictated, and be at one with them, if you will. It’s why I always like the book version of movies better, because books in first person are so much more in depth. Side note: when authors write how the character thinks, i.e. not in proper English, but in slang and made up terminology, it adds an element of realism and comedy. It keeps me further engaged. Now, Divergent is bit more on the serious side, so Beatrice doesn’t have too many Immature Comedic Moments, but that was me just throwing in my own opinion.

Short synopsis: This is a must read. Takes place in a future Chicago, in which there are no longer political parties, but rather factions that are based on futuristic aptitude tests. You are born into a faction, but when you turn 16, you take this virtual reality aptitude test to discover where your true faction is. You can chose to stay where you are, with your family, or to go to the faction that your aptitude reveals.  Once you have chosen, you live, eat, sleep and train with your appointed faction. There are 5 factions, Abnegation (selfless), Candor (truth), Erudite (knowledge), Amity (kindness), and Dauntless (fearless). Each faction has a role in society, and therefore certain jobs and tasks. The main character Beatrice is born into Abnegation, but must chose if she wants to stay with her family, or go where her heart tells her. Once she chooses, she has to struggle to fit in, because she is different than most people. She is Divergent. I’ll let you read the rest of the story to figure out what all that means.

I love Beatrice as a female lead. She is not without character flaws, but she is smart. She was not described as beautiful, as many YA female leads are, but rather interesting and endearing. She draws attention to herself not by her looks, but by her actions and intentions. The male protagonist, Four, is probably one of my favorite male leads of all time. Trust me, you will LOVE Four. Wise beyond his years, good, but fearless, and yes, badass, but with a sensitive side that is later revealed.

In my opinion, the characters make the book. If I cannot relate to the protagonists in SOME way, there is no hope. I hate drama queens, weak (fainting, screaming, crying) females, and females that rely heavily on their male counterparts to save them, as in most YA books.  Beatrice is none of these. She holds her own and fights to prove her worth. Four, does not coddle her, but rather trusts her to hold her ground and makes her into a stronger character. I hate dominating, masculine, “I must protect my woman,” overly jealous males….Welcome to the 2000’s, where women don’t have to be weak!

The other thing that this series REALLY has going for it, there is a touch of romance, but it does not dominate the story. When I read dystopia, I am into the politics, character development, and the story of survival. NOT sappy love stories. There are plenty of other books out there for that. Don’t get me wrong, I do love that now and again, but Divergent really had a good ratio for me.   This series, so far, does NOT have a love triangle! HUGE BONUS POINTS. I hate falling in love with the male lead, and then in Book 2, another male leads walks into the picture and now said chick has to toy with Male 1’s heart, lead Male 2 on, etc. etc.  all because her own wishy washy weaknesses (That isn’t a reference to Bella, Edward, and Jacob AT ALL…cough cough).  In fact, Veronica Roth is not releasing the third installment to this trilogy until November 2013 (GASP, FAINT), so I really hope that she doesn’t decide to go the generic route and add a love triangle. The story is so good, it doesn’t need it. It is a distraction. It would suck…(talking to you psychically Ms. Roth).
Check out Veronica Roth's Goodreads page HERE
Check out the Goodreads Divergent page HERE

Anyway, I have prattled on far to long. Read the Book. Divergent – Veronica Roth….Then read Insurgent, the sequel. READ IT.


Monday, August 27, 2012

Who am I?

My name is Riana Rohmann. I am a fitness competitor, personal trainer, and combat fitness specialist for the Marine Corps (Visit my facebook page and "like" for awesomeness). I am ENGULFED in fitness. I love it. It is my life. I wake up, work at the gym, workout out, go home and cook healthily for the fam, go back out and train on my own, work out some more, and sleep. Well, little do many of my peers know that I am also a self-proclaimed nerd. I have loved fantasy/sci-fi stuff since I was about 10 years old when my mother made me read Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. Instantaneous obsession! I also have a love affair with Dragons. I specifically love the Enchantica style Dragons in sculpture form. My mother also collects there. Go Figure. Video Games? RPG? Dungeons and Dragons? World of Warcraft?  Yep, I am there too!

I lost touch with my nerd side in college unfortunately. Classes and training just did not allow a lot of time for me to escape to my dreamspace. I met my now husband in college, and that was a lot of fun, but he isn’t really a D&D sort of guy, although he embraced the fact that I was! (win!) What other guy will let his woman totally geek out on things like that? Plus, my husband isn’t even that interested in fitness! What do we have in common? You may ask….We are both quirky, like the Padres, love to talk to each other, and he is one of my best friends! But we are SO different too...Why would I want to be with someone like me? I digress…Back to my total abandonment of all things nerdy. I was so focused on getting a good job, grades, career, and then my son was born and OH BOY Mothers Unite, because that is a whole new world! Slowly my nerdisms were drifting farther and farther away, though still buried deep inside.

Well, once I had my established career (combat specialist for our US Marines), home, training routine down pat, fitness competitions, family time, etc., all organized, I decided to actually pick up a book. I was passengering (what? I wasn’t driving) to LA with Dave (my husband, if I forgot to mention). And I was like, “What’s all this talk about Hunger Games?” I have issues with things that are pop-culture that I know nothing about. It’s the only reason I read Twilight (that’s a WHOLE other blog). So I downloaded the books onto my Kindle, and pretty much read all of them in less than a week. BAZINGA! I actually found time to read! By the way, the Kindle App on my Droid is the best thing ever. I find that when I am a passenger in cars, I can read a few pages. Stolen moments in between playing with my son, I read. OH AND JACKPOT! Cardio! We fitness competitors tend to log a lot of miles on the stairmaster, elliptical and incline walking on treadmill.

Hunger Games started my delve back into YA (that’s Young Adult for all you laymen out there) novels. I love myself some kick-ass female characters, and some steamy (but not pornographic) romance. (BTW, I hate love triangles). Since reading Hunger Games late last year, I have read almost 50 books, thanks to that Kindle App (I always have my phone on me, and its more convenient than carrying a book, plus its cheaper, sorry, but I’m a tight-ass). However, if there are book series that I LOVE, I will buy the hard copy, preferably first edition, and hopefully something I can get signed by authors at the local Dealers down at Mysterious Galaxy SD.
Now that I have found time to read, I also do need to work on balancing out other nertastic things I love, from certain TV shows (I REALLY need to re-watch Buffy, and get caught up on Dr.Who) and other books (I have 143 books on my to read list – find me on Goodreads) video games ( I play WoW, but also want to get into Star Wars TOR) and get started with graphic novels. I feel like I am a decent nerd, but there is no WAY I can compete with the nerdiest. That’s ok, I will get there soon! (Challenge Accepted, Sorry Babe!)

                Basically, this blog is for me to jot down my thoughts, experiences, book reviews, game reviews, etc. Basically this is a place for me to post about random, nertastic things and escape the world of fitness for 5 seconds. I also plan on posting some Cosplay things I want to get into, my artwork, and some short stories. My own little online diary if you will. That is open to the public…scary! I’ll keep this short. I plan on blogging a few times a week, as my little mental escapes. Thanks for reading.