Felled. I've been fighting off a cold, which finally caught up to me. I tried to write, I really did, but between sneezing and coughing and kitty wrangling, it was sheer crap, so I gave up and read. I finished ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth, a super cool and clearly inevitable end to her hugely popular Divergent trilogy.
I had some problems getting into it; I was so wrapped up in the first two and there was a style issue I struggled with (I'm not a fan of dual first person POVs unless the two voices are hugely distinct, so I will blame my difficulty keeping track of whose POV I was in today on foggy brain.)
It's interesting, almost every trilogy I've read bumps into the same thing, a little lag at the beginning of the third book. Hunger Games had it too - and it's a hero problem. It's an intrinsic part of the hero's journey, this apathy toward the reality of their path, gearing up for the final fight. The feeling that they've done enough, they shouldn't be asked to give any more, to continue being heroic. They're tired, and worn out, and the last challenge has taken so much out of them, they don't have any more to give. Or so they think.
In other words, they become human.
It's hard for the writer to breathe life into this part of story, I'm always fascinated to see how people handle it. I think JK Rowling is the only one I can definitely say didn't fall into this. I haven't tried to tackle this kind of hero's journey yet, and I'm anxious to try, especially keeping this phenomenon in mind. How to keep the hero heroic when they, quite rightly, need to step down and let someone else lead for a while.
Heroes are heroes because they somehow find the internal strength to move past this apathy and sacrifice themselves, again, for the greater good, even knowing there's a damn good chance they won't make it. And when they step back up, engage, the books take off and I'm breathless to the end.
Finishing ALLEGIANCE, I spent the last forty pages in tears. I have to applaud Roth, she's crafted a hugely fascinating series that asks all the right questions, and gives heartbreaking answers. She doesn't waver on her path, and I'm sure she was encouraged toward a different outcome. But she did what was right for the story, and that makes her a hero in my mind. Buy them, you'll love them.