I've been reading books that frustrate me lately, to say the least. While we were gone, I read the Divergent trilogy because Alicia insisted I have the first book done before I took her to see the movie this week, then finished it because...well, I have a problem leaving stories unfinished if I'm even remotely curious how it's going to end.
I can't say that I liked them very much. I could overlook the simplistic set-up/society, but I loathed Tris with a passion. That didn't get better throughout any of the books, and then the way the series ended just filled me with rage because it seemed to ravage the few characters that did actually interest me. I liked Four all the way until the last book, at which point he lost any strength for me, and the choice to kill Tris instead of giving the Caleb the redemption he required seemed manipulative and mean, especially since it means Four is likely to end up the rest of his life alone. And don't get me started on what a Mary Sue Tris is, especially in the third book.
That being said, I'm curious how it's going to translate to film (because I'm always curious about adaptations). I know changes have to be made for structure and visualization, and I'm good with those most of the time, but one of the changes that was made annoys me. In the book, Tris is afraid of intimacy. She fears letting people close, which translates to not wanting to have sex with Four in her fear landscape. In the movie? They've changed that to a fear of sexual assault. Now, on the one hand, I can see the value in that. One of Tris's better qualities is that she's able to face her fears. Showing an audience full of teenaged girls the strength in saying no (and being cheered for it) is a powerful thing. On the other hand, that's not the Tris of the book. Sure, she's self-conscious about being smaller than the other girls, mistaken for a twelve-year-old, etc, but sex is not the root of the issue. It's her fear of letting people close to her, which manifests by sex with Four since he really is the only one in danger of seeing the real Tris (in her eyes). Changing it to a fear of assault changes who she is on a fundamental level for me. That annoys me to no end.
And speaking of books that I'm struggling to finish, I'm currently halfway through Agave Kiss by Ann Aguirre. It's the fifth and last book in an urban fantasy series about a woman who has a magical gift. I chose to read it because I love the author's voice, and while I enjoyed the first three books, this isn't my favorite of her work by a long shot. Then I read the fourth book on the ride home from Vegas.
Loathed it. SO much. I had actually been okay with the forget spell at the end of the third book, because while it felt like an easy out for the corner she'd painted herself into with the romance with Jesse, I knew something needed to be done so I accepted it. However, I did not accept it just so that she could throw Shan and Jesse together in the aftermath. To say they skeeve me out is an understatement. I like the characters individually, but put them together and my skin crawls. The age difference bugs me to no end, but there's more to it that I can't quite put my finger on it. Some of it might be because I think it's a bad idea to ever hook up with your best friend's ex. But seriously, it bugged the crap out of me.
Then there was the whole Sheol thing and Chance's weird reactions to the demon queen. None of that ever worked for me, because I was reading for Corine, and she pretty much disappeared for half the book. When it got to the end, and I realized I'd sat through this whole thing that left me sick to my stomach only to have the author kill Chance off and deny me any sort of reward for having the fortitude to tolerate what she'd done to butcher characters I liked, I almost threw up. Pissed doesn't even begin to describe it, especially because I knew there were only five books in the series and leaving things unfinished and up in the air like that drives me insane.
So I went on Amazon and read reviews of the last book, deliberately searching for spoilers WHICH I NEVER DO. I had to, though. Because the only way I was going to read it was if something big happened to mitigate some of the crap from book four. It looked like it was, so I bought the book and started it yesterday on the drive to SFO.
Only problem with that is now that I'm halfway through, I'm still having to find some way to stomach Jesse and Shan. I had to put the book down last night and walk away because a section focusing on them was leaving me too sick to read on.
Needless to say, neither of these series will ever be re-read. Or recommended.