Divergent took the world by a storm… Similar to other popular books turned into movies in last few years, this as well is a dystopian trilogy. It’s written by Veronica Roth who studied creative writing and obviously it payed off very well! Divergent – first book in the trilogy came out in 2011 and the following years the two next books came out. The first film in the series came out in 2014 and despite mixed reviews have been considered to be a success.
The book follows Beatrice also called Tris, who, like everyone else in her town (future Chicago), needs to go through a test in order to find out in which of five factions she belongs to. Nevertheless, the choice is hers, if she wants to be in the faction her parents are she is free to do so, if it is the faction the test showed – sure. And even if it is an unrelated faction – go girl! Tris is sure that her brother will chose his current faction, because he fits in so well, but she is different, she can’t live with the restrictions her parent’s faction has, she can’t change her personality to fit in. She has a difficult choice and her test results confuse her even more. Tris starts to wonder about her world and rules, and we all know that thinking in any anti-utopia is a bad thing.
I had very diverse experience with this book. I held back and didn’t read it for so long (5 years?), but when I asked Tom to bring me a book, he brought me this one and I felt like I have to read it, to not disappoint him for not knowing what exactly I want to read. When I started the first chapters, it was a fast and not complicated read, but I still didn’t feel like it is the right time to read it. The next day it changed, I got sucked into the story.
This is one of the books that is silly, there’s stupid and classic romance, there are the same main lines as most of dystopian books and some things that makes no sense at all, yet it is such a fast and easy read that you can’t keep but wonder why you like it. Most of young adult books are like this to be honest, but in this one I felt it especially, because I remember how hard it was for me to read Throne of Glass and how much I disliked it (still haven’t gotten courage to try the second book), but this went easy. By the end it got boring, true, but it was easy to read.
So, the language used wasn’t anything special. Sure, the author studied writing and definitely can write better than I do, but it is no masterpiece. If I compare books where I really liked the writing (from the last books I’ve read, I distinctly remember Night Circus and the 100 Year old Man…), here I didn’t care for it. Besides, sometimes the author gave a description (for example, of the water falling, it’s colour, sound, direction etc.), yet there was no reason to give it – it was not important (I know how water looks, believe it or not), besides she did it in one or two sentences and there was no artistic value to the description, because if there was white foam, she would just say that there was white foam.
Yet if someone says to me that there’s roaring waterfall I would imagine all the things that are associated with that, including white foam. This did appear in some places, but although I am describing it here, it didn’t bother me much. These books by young authors are their first children, they will get better and better at writing and very often in these types of books writing doesn’t matter (if it doesn’t disturb the reader).
Let’s go on to the liking part – I really enjoyed the first part of the book. I loved the training sessions, I loved the romance that kind of bloomed and that there was no outside information about the world. It reminded me of Ender’s Game, which I really liked (the battle room scenes especially, but hated the politics). And these parts is something that motivates me outside of the book and changes my life a bit, which I believe is the task books nave and should do, not only push me to read more and more, but give me additional value – change my life. I loved it despite the fact that test was basically five questions and, if you answer one correct, you get that result.
Let’s take an online quiz about Harry Potter – in which house do you belong in. You get four questions and from the answers can decide, what house you would like to be in and click the answers so you would get exactly the house you wish, right? Then you chuckle, because you got what you wanted and the teenage girl who made the quiz didn’t see that you would get exactly what you wanted (or she as well wanted to get what she wanted hence she made the quiz). Exactly the same happened in here and that is the big test to find out where you belong in. That is definitely not legit and it threw me off, but as I said, despite that I liked the first part.
Where I started to dislike it was the second round of the initiation training. It turned a lot to politics, it gave me information I didn’t care about and another puzzle to solve.
The next paragraph contains a spoiler.
So I develop a serum with micro transmitters that can alter any person’s brain activity as long as they have a main trait and the rest are not as pronounced? So, lets look at it realistic – Jane knows how to deal with math problems, but everyone else has only vague knowledge and basic skills, so the serum will not work on Jane because she knows/is
interested/likes math? I tried to read through the deeper meaning of being Divergent and what exactly that means and how independent thinking would and could be a rarity, but I couldn’t get myself over this. I don’t believe it is biologically possible, because math is not a biological entity, so it is not a valid touchstone in order to validate the serums efficiency. Let me know, what exactly I don’t understand in the comments, please?
The end of spoiler.
The romance also got weird and stupid and pacing was too fast to actually stick with the characters and have feelings and butterflies in stomach for them. I did get the serum twist before it was revealed which was also a bit of a disappointment. I actually got it long before that and secretly hoped that it won’t have any importance to the story.
When finishing the book, I didn’t crave to read the next one, I am not even much interested in why Tris’ family was able to do all the things they did and how they new it. It was hard to decide, if I should give this book two or three stars, I gave three, because I really liked the beginning and the ending just didn’t live up to it.
And I didn’t see similarities with Hunger Games. I’ve seen Katniss’ fans shouting that Tris is no Katniss. Well, yes she isn’t. The only thing they and all the other characters from dystopian novels have in common is the sixteen years old girl part, which (I assume) saves the world in future planet Earth which has been taken over by evil politicians and no one ever before them has questioned anything, except the secret rebel society. And yes, that is exactly how all these books go and shouting that one is not the other seems silly.
Let me know what you thought of the book in the comment section below and tell me, if I should read the second one and if the movie has spoilers for the next parts!
P.S. I hate Four’s real name. It’s weird and doesn’t fit.
And also the fact that I had the copy of this book with the film’s cover and the girl on the cover doesn’t look anything at all like the description of Tris. I checked many times while reading.