Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Book Review | "Divergent" by Veronica Roth

Since the movie has come out, I think it's official that I'm one of the last people to read "Divergent". I was always worried it would be too similar to "The Hunger Games" and, frankly it was really hyped up and I didn't want to be let down like I was with the Suzanne Collins series. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed those books, they just weren't quite as amazing as I had hoped they would be.
After "Allegiant" was released spoilers started popping up everywhere and I found out the ending. Now, I'm not someone who will refuse to read a book because I know how it ends, but the spoilers I learned, the time I would invest into the series, and people's thoughts on the last book (saying it was written in a lackluster way, there were a lot of plot holes, forced plot points, and not much happening overall) it all had me thinking I would just skip the trilogy all together.
Fast forward a few months to all the Divergent movie clips and news and my best friend starting the book- I was sucked in- and when I had the opportunity to listen to the audiobook, I did. So here are my thoughts.

The description from Goodreads:

8306857In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

I wrote down a lot of notes in regards to this book, so I'll try to make this as concise as possible.
I felt right away that some phrases and words were being re-used too many times, too closely together, making things seem a little redundant. Coupled with the fact that there were some scenes that you find in so many young adult books that it could make a reader roll their eyes and really wonder if there's a concrete formula that is required during the writing process of these stories. 
Divergents are an anomaly, and no one seems to know why kids coming out of abnegation could ever be divergent, but it's not that difficult to see why. Those kids are grown in such a restricted world that, of course those ideas are still lodged into their beings, but at the same time, it will force rebellion out of some of them. Those teens will begin to look at the other ideas from the other factions and embrace them until they don't really know which one they think is the most important. 
The society was interesting, but I don't see how it could ever work for more than a few decades at most. It's so segregated, and all the factions have a sort of resentment towards each other, at least that's how they began. The world would crumble so quickly, or divided into different countries. Each faction having their own culture and maybe creating a sort of diplomatic headquarters for inter-faction affairs. 
I loved Tris, I think she was one of the rare female characters who is strong, but doesn't start out on top. Her growth seemed a little too rushed, though. I would have liked to see the in between period a little more.  
(Spoiler: When Tris is attacked and almost killed by her fellow initiates, Al- a friend who wanted to be more than just friends, and  then decided to join the initiate bullies when she rejected him- steps in when it's alluded to that, before they throw Tris into the rapids, they'll rape her. This bothered me because he was in on the plan to kill her! He doesn't get to be a hero because he stops them from groping her before they do it. )

There were other inconsistencies, Tris didn't know people well enough to back up some of the things she said, the serum injection switched a few times, some of the dialogue is overdone and not terribly natural. The iniation stages aren't terribly different from one another, in my opinion. Everyone is freaking out about a two year age difference- which I found funny over anything else. (That would be a spoiler, if it weren't obvious there would be romance in this book the moment we are introduced to Four.) The family issues get a little convuluted.
The story felt like it was a little too long. The plot points worked, but there were so many of them. It was like the whole thing was a bind-up and not just one singular book.

All that being said...I enjoyed the book. I nit-picked a lot while reading, and that is almost entirely because I was trying to get myself to a place where I would be okay with not reading the rest of the trilogy. I have heard the second book is still good, but then I would almost have to read the third, and I'm not sure I want to do that.
It's a fun story, not amazing, and I feel like the author tried really hard to make the book meaningful, but it came across more as just a fun dystopian. I liked it more than "The Hunger Games" surprisingly, and I might eventually continue with the trilogy, if I can get over what I know about "Allegiant".

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