Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten (Five) Characters I’d Like to Check in With

I heard about this post by The Broke and the Bookish through Erika the Bibliophile. I thought it was super neat because, as an avid reader, writer, and daydreamer, book characters are more than just fictional to me: my imagination transforms them into real people—friends—who I am convinced are still out there doing their thing to this day. So OF COURSE I fell in love with the idea of listing all the characters I wonder about on a casual (constant?) basis. Unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with ten characters that I’m all that worried about. Instead, I picked my top five. I’m also going to tell you all where I hope they’ve taken their lives, or where I think their lives might have gone based on where the book(s) left off. Hopefully you guys will comment and give me your two cents as well! I’d love to hear who your top ten (or five or seven or three-hundred eleventy-one) characters are.

#1. The Harry Potter characters

I know that Erika the Bibliophile also posted this as her number one, but can you blame her? I grew up with this series and was heartbroken when I read the final lines, knowing that I would never read them for the first time again. Like Erika, the epilogue wasn’t enough for me, but rather than wondering about the main gang (Harry, Ron, Hermione, Luna, etc.), I’m more concerned about the next generation and how Hogwarts is carrying on after the final battle.

Here’s what I think: I like to imagine that Harry’s son is a teensy bit evil. I don’t know why. I guess I just think it will thicken the plot a little bit (I felt that the epilogue led into a very boring story and I’d like to spice that up). I imagine him in Slytherin, but I picture him isolating himself from the other children and eventually taking a turn down the dark path. I mean, how crazy would that be? Harry defeats the Dark Lord just to have his son turn around to become Voldermort, the Next Generation.

hp harry's sonvoldemort

#2. Gemma from Libba Bray’s The Gemma Doyle Triology

Kartik was left in a tree. I mean, enough said, right? Not that Gemma can’t go on without Kartik or anything, but she really loved him. I guess I just wonder if that tree still stands, if Gemma eventually moved on but in her old age still thinks about him. I wonder if, like Rose in the Titanic, she spent her life with somebody else but her heart still truly belongs to Kartik. I kind of hope it does, but at the same time I feel sorry for the poor bugger she ended up with. (I mean, the ending of Titanic is great and all—it’s my favourite movie—but when she returns to Jack, IS NOBODY WORRIED ABOUT HOW HER POOR, DEAD HUSBAND IS FEELING LOOKING DOWN ON ALL THAT???)

gemma doyle

#3. Allie from The Vinyl Princess

It’s been a long time since I read this book, and I don’t remember the precise spot that it left off at, but I still wonder about Allie skateboarding through the streets on her way to work at the music store. Basically, Allie was awesome, I wished I could be her, and I think she’d make a freaking cool thirty-year-old, so I’d like to see that.

vinyl princess

#4. Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars

(Yeah, I refuse to call her Hazel Grace. That was Gus’s thing. It wouldn’t feel right for me to get to call her that.) So, if you don’t know how TFiOS ended, you’ve been living under a rock. Basically, I just want to know if Hazel is okay. I want to know if she’s still even ALIVE. But most of all, I want to know that wherever she is or wherever she left off, she still loves Gus with all her heart. What can I say? I’m a romantic. I hope she’s still best friends with Isaac, and I hope that they think of Gus whenever they play video games. I hope that Hazel has a little picture of her and Gus in Amsterdam tucked away somewhere that she pulls out to look at occasionally. I hope she spends lots of time with her parents. I hope that wherever she is, she’s happy.


#5. Macy and Wes from The Truth About Forever

This one’s a bit trickier for me. The book left off with Macy and Wes jogging down the beach together, and they make a cameo in another of Sarah Dessen’s novel, but it’s not 100% whether or not they stay together. That’s why it’s tricky: I want to know but I don’t. If they’re still together, I want to know. If they’re not, I don’t. I also can’t really picture what their happily ever after would look like. Do they have kids? Do they have a dog? A house or an apartment? Does Bert visit them in his ambulance? Is Macy still best friends with Kristy? So much of the novel was spent with Macy and Wes navigating boundaries and not with them actually together that it leaves me with too many question marks. I’m overwhelmed. I almost don’t even want to start looking for answers.


-Ember Book Reviews xxoo


INSURGENT, the Movie

insurgent film


Wow. I just saw the film adaptation of Insurgent by Veronica Roth and I have to say, it was so much better than the book. (You can find my review of the book here on the blog.) Everything that I picked apart in my review was either changed, cut out entirely, or made a million times better in the film version. The acting was awesome, the pacing and suspense were good (though my boyfriend seems to think the movie started out slow—I see where he’s coming from but don’t entirely agree; besides, in comparison to how slow the beginning of the book was, the film’s beginning moved at the speed of light), and Tris’s character was transformed in the movie version to the mature—albeit damaged—young woman that I would have liked to have seen in the book.

Now, I’m no film expert so I have to bring this back to my expertise: books. I will never not see Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley together as anyone but Gus and Hazel, which made the betrayal so much worse. It was one thing knowing that Caleb betrayed Tris in the book, but to see Gus betray Hazel in the movie? Man. Am I the only one who will forever see them on the same screen as Gus and Hazel? Am I the only one still entirely hung up on The Fault in Our Stars?

As I said, not being a film expert I will end my ramblings here on the matter. I just wanted to say that though I only gave the book a 4 out of 5, this movie topped all of my expectations and made up for everything the book lacked. It was awesome. Everyone needs to go see it. Go! Go! Go!

-Ember Book Reviews xxoo

P.S. I am currently reading two books on the eReader: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I’m finding Shiver a bit difficult to get through. Is it just me, or does it seem like Twilight/Jacob fan-fic? If anyone out there has read this book: should I keep going?

INSURGENT by Veronica Roth


4 out of 5

Veronica Roth writes action really, really well, as was seen with her first installment in the series, Divergent. That being said, the writing lacks when there is not much action to be had. Part of this problem may stem from the fact that Insurgent begins directly where Divergent left off, which is troublesome for multiple reasons, but one of those mainly being that we are in a post-climax. What happens next? What are we left with now that we are moving downhill? Unfortunately, Roth therefore leaves us exploring other factions that, in regards to world-building, are incredibly boring compared to Dauntless and even Abnegation. Amity, where we start out, sounded like it could get pretty interesting, but Roth ditches it early on for Candor which, with all its white and black contrast, is an incredibly dull grey patch in the story.

Picking up directly after the climax of Divergent is also problematic because of the way Roth attempts to deal with Tris’s post-traumatic stress from shooting Will. Roth tries to break up the heaviness of Tris’s condition with mildly cheesy, somewhat irritating banter between secondary characters whom I struggled to remember from Divergent, having read Divergent almost ten months ago. Honestly, I am not even sure why these characters needed to make an appearance, as they did absolutely nothing to support the plot of the novel. If Roth had stuck with a core group of characters to work with, I believe the novel would have succeeded much more exponentially than it does at present. The other bone I have to pick in regards to Roth’s writing of Tris’s post-traumatic stress is that the only way Tris ever wants to deal with her emotions is to scream. I cannot count how many times Tris describes herself as wanting to scream at the top of her lungs anytime her emotions become too much, which is almost every other page. I was starting to wonder if Roth knew of any other way to handle the stress of various situations, and thought that anger management might be in order. It leaves the book feeling incredibly repetitive, bouncing between Tris being upset and wanting to scream, fighting with Tobias over seemingly nothing, and considering who to lie to next.

The book begins to sag about two hundred pages in but picks up again when Roth moves the focus away from the less important, somewhat annoying secondary and tertiary characters and back towards the main plot of the story. If you can make it to page three hundred, you’re in the home stretch. The action really gets going from there and this is what Veronica Roth knows how to write: quick-paced, edge-of-your-seat action where you have no idea what will happen next. If only Roth had started Insurgent around this action, the book would have been much more successful, as the action continues right up to the last page, leaving the reader on a much larger cliff-hanger than we found ourselves at with Divergent. Perhaps this would have resulted in two books instead of three, but it would have saved me from the headache of the first three hundred pages of Insurgent.

Tobias is the strongest character in terms of writing and character-development. He buoys up an otherwise sinking novel. It is for him that I continued to turn the pages, not Tris, who was too busy yelling at him every five seconds and picking fights where fights didn’t need to be had. Their relationship was constantly on the verge of disintegrating and I have to admit that the constant struggle of will they/won’t they break up left me tired. However, where Tris seemed to take five steps backwards in terms of her maturity and bad-assness, Tobias took thee strides forward. He responded in ways I believe his character would have responded to the situations at hand and especially Tris’s constant breakdowns. He addressed the situation with his father in a head-on way that I found pretty impressive. Unfortunately, Tobias has so little page-time in comparison to the unnecessary characters that I mentioned before that there were times where I wondered if Roth had forgotten about him entirely. While I appreciate that the relationship between Tris and Tobias didn’t overwhelm the novel, Tobias was the strongest thing that Roth had going for her.

All in all, Insurgent was definitely worth the read. My recommendation would be to look forward to the ending, skim the pages whenever you see names such as “Uriah,” “Lynn,” or “Hec” appear on the page, and, above all, remember how much you liked Divergent. Doing these things are sure to keep you going.

-Ember Book Reviews xxoo

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