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Discussion: On rereading and how a 4-star book became a 2-star book

15753977Author: Marie Lu

Categories/Genres: YA, scifi, dystopian

Pages: 305

Previous Rating: 4/5

Reread Rating: 2/5

VERY MILD SPOILERS BELOW

 


I have very fond memories of Legend by Marie Lu, an action-packed dystopian YA novel set in future LA. June is one of the Republic’s best students. Day is a wanted criminal. June’s brother, Metias, is killed and June wants revenge. They discover government secrets. While this is happening, a rebel group called the Colonies is always mentioned and there’s also a plague going around because why not. I’m pretty sure it was one of my favorite books at one point and I considered it one of the better YA dystopian books around.

Before I reread it, I only remembered that I liked the romance and that I really liked the conspiracy elements. I thought it was well-written and that the world was well-developed for such a short book.

So I decided to give it a reread and in a surprising turn of events (a rude plot twist), I ended up being severely disappointed to the point where I wanted to time travel back and slap my old reading self and ask myself why I was reading this.

old self: *On the computer* *sees present me*

me: so why exactly did you like this book?? I don’t get it??

old self:

WTF who are you??!!!

me: GET MORE STRICT WITH YOUR RATING SYSTEM.*disappears*

old self

she looked a lot like me..

That’s probably one of the sad things about rereading. Sometimes your favorites just don’t hold up and then you realize your nostalgia was filling in the gaps for you once you get further away from the book. You remember the feelings but you don’t remember much else. 

Granted I did read this book almost 6 years ago so the experience of rereading was almost like reading a new book. Almost. It’s more like slipping on an old Halloween costume and finding out that it’s too short and tight now. But anyways this book is classified as a dystopian and now that I’ve reread it, I struggle to really comprehend why it’s classified as such because honestly, nothing about this government is explained. Here are some worldbuilding things that irritated me that I did not notice the first time I read it.

  1. You have to take a Trial test (which sounds like the SAT–I would definitely fail that) and that basically determines whether you get a good or a bad job which I feel like is logistically kind of hard. I mean is it a scantron test?? What if the grader grades it wrong? What if it doesn’t go through the machine right?? What if someloses it ??What if I bubbled in incorrectly but I knew the answer?? So many things could go wrong..

2. There’s also no sense of what the hierarchy of this government is. Like there’s an Elector, also a Commander but no one else?? Like is LA run by two people?? Damn, this is basically hiring a 16-year-old to catch a notorious criminal..makes sense.

3. Oh, there is also a plague which does not seem to exist out of the confines of the plot. The plague affects one person in this entire book and there’s not really any mention of the plague ever..like ok..

I suppose I’m just more way more picky about worldbuilding now. What once was merely an annoyance is now a nuisance that I can’t brush off. It’s also interesting how much scientific inaccuracies bother me now. Take, for example, this quote:

I have what the Republic considers good gene–and better genes make for better soldiers make for better chance of victory against the Colonies.

Do you know how many genes there are?? What do you mean good genes? Genes are good for some things, not good for others. And if she’s talking about intelligence, there really is no such thing as an intelligence gene and even if there are, it depends on the type of nurture you had. Nature vs. nurture and all that.

But honestly, the real question is should I even be bothered by this? I mean so what, if there are scientific inaccuracies. I suppose I care because there’s already a lot of misinformation out there. Maybe it’s an aftereffect of being a science major for four years.

And the thing about reading action-packed books is that the second time you read them, you know what’s going to happen so that air of surprise and anticipation is just not there anymore. You should come for the plot but stay for the characters. Except the characters aren’t the best either. I actually should applaud Marie Lu a little for creating such believable characters within such a short span of time (this book clocks in at 305 pages with a pretty big font too). But that does not stop me from being bored by these characters. June and Day also basically kind of sound the same. June and Day do sound different in the sequels but that does not really come across here. I also read reviews about people complaining about the “instalove” between June and Day and I really didn’t think so back then but now the instalove was hitting me in the face and I’m wondering how I didn’t see it before. They basically start trusting each other like the day after they meet each other. And it’s just basically smooth sailing from there. Now I don’t mind instalove, as long as you build conflict even after they fall for each other like for example The Wrath and the Dawn. I suppose in 6 years I’ve met so many different characters that these characters just don’t cut it anymore.

So after this enlightening experience, I suppose I am now

  1. a more picky reader
  2. I care a lot more about worldbuilding
  3. I need more complexity in my characters
  4. I’m also more attuned to an author’s writing

 

But here are some questions I’m curious about: when you read a book, are you more attuned to certain aspects more than others? Does your profession allow you to detect some types of inaccuracies more than others? If so, do they bother you while you’re reading? Have you reread a book recently that disappointed you? How much of your preconceived notions when you read it the first time affected your reread of it? How much of nostalgia affected your view of the book after you’ve read it? I would love to hear your thoughts =)

 

 

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19 thoughts on “Discussion: On rereading and how a 4-star book became a 2-star book

  1. hmmm. i’m in college studying biology and physics and that definitely makes me more attuned to books’ scientific elements and when they’re just totally wrong! it’s laughable how many sci fis or dystopians I’ve read (*cough*the divergent trilogy*cough*) where the science is just waaaaaaaaay off and i’m like “nope!” but I must say, authors are a lot more research oriented these days, so things are getting better slowly. as for rereading, I don’t do it much, if at all, but I do think back on books and think “if I read that now i’d probably think less of it, even if I still love it for nostalgia’s sake…” this is probably because I’ve read a lot more and taken English and literature courses and have learned to become more discerning.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL I don’t even have to reread the Divergent trilogy to know what I would think about the science behind Divergent now especially that fail of a last book.
      And that’s interesting, I think for some books I know I wouldn’t like as much now because even though I liked it, it might have not left a very lasting impression but other books, I hold onto the good memories more. It probably has something to do with how I felt immediately after reading the book and if it inspired good emotions, it just sticks longer and better in my head I guess.

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  2. Every time I reread, there’s always that fear that the book wasn’t as good as I remembered, and there goes my happy memories. I read the Legend series this year and I liked them, but the points you make are so true!

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  3. For me, world-building is not a huge priority as it for many other people, but characters and their interactions with each other are something I really enjoy analyzing? I feel like people prefer plot, world-building, or accuracy more, but I feel like characters are my number one priority because we’re reading their journey and their story, so if I dislike a character, maybe the story I’m reading isn’t really the right one for me? If plot and world-building are mediocre but the characters are endearing and highly enjoyable, I’d probably rate the book or movie really highly.

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    1. Yeah if a book has good characters I feel like I can forgive worldbuilding but not as much as I use to. But Legend didn’t really have as strong of characters as I would have liked so everything just fell apart lol. I think worldbuilding is just such an important part of a story, especially for scifi and fantasy cause it’s literally part of the genre.

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  4. That’s quite a drop! I don’t typically re-rate books unless I reread them and I’ve only ever dropped a single star (or given them an extra star). I remember all the hype with this book and ended up not really loving it (I gave it 3-stars). I never continued with the series, but I have heard from other people that the books improve. Looking back on these books we change our minds on makes me wonder if the issue isn’t that we missed something, but that we as readers have changed, our expectations may be higher because of all the new books we’ve been exposed to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’m way more lenient the first time I rate a book but I like to pick at a book after I read it which is probably why I’m so rarely satisfied LOL. I think the books do improve but I think the last book was meh tbh. And the ending used a trope that I was so sick of lol.
      And so well said! =) especially for this one, I have read a lot more scifi since then so I have more better examples of worldbuilding and character to fall back on.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Aww, so sad to see this. I just picked Legend off my shelves to finally read it haha. I’ve had it for the longest time and have yet to read it …. now I kinda want to put it back on my shelf lol on another note … how have you been Carolyn!! It’s been such a long time! Hope all is well 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL maybe it’s just me. Plenty of other people have enjoyed it 🙂 Let me know what you think if you do read it haha.
      Ahhhh, everything is going pretty much the same haha, your presence was sorely missed on the blogosphere. I forgot how much your graphics always stand out on my blog feed haha. How have you been?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh gosh, I just got a job because I just graduated. It’s not full time but I’m worried about the state of my reading when I start because I’m not even working rn and I barely have time to read lol..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m going to a biology tutor at this academy lol. It’s only part time while I try and prepare for applying to PA school lol. And ikr.. 😦

        Like

      3. Umm, it might be a little different based on the personalities of the students you tutor. I tutor only student athletes so I’m dealing with students who have short attention span, little time to study, and they usually do not want to be there (they’re forced by their coaches to get tutoring lol). So definitely learn their best learning style. Create activities to get them to actively participate. Quiz them or something. I make little games for my students. Be patient for sure and communicate with them to know exactly what they need help in and to see if they really are understanding it. So excited for you! I love my job haha. I hope you enjoy it, too!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. oooh ok, I’ll keep that in mind. oh shoot, you must be pretty good because those are probably the most difficult kids to tutor haha. My supervisor told me that you only get two types of kids, kids who are struggling and kids who already have an A and want to get an A+ LOL, which is so true I feel.

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  6. Pingback: June 2016 Wrap Up

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