Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent
Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Social Media: Facebook and Twitter
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Price and Format: eBook at $4.99
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

About The Author:
Veronica Roth is from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011) and INSURGENT (May 2012). The third and final book in The Divergent Trilogy, ALLEGIANT, will come out on October 22, 2013. In the meantime she will spend endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes (or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)

About The Book:
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her

Positive Aspects of the book:
~Variety of Female Characters: Unlike The Hunger Games, which is rife with Internalized Sexism, I found that Veronica Roth did a good job with her female characters. I’m fairly certain both the book and the movie pass the Bechtel test. Veronica Roth also included a wide variety of characters of different ethnic minorities. I know this should be considered standard and therefore shouldn’t be given a credit, but the YA genre has a lot of catching up to do.

~Romantic Relationship: I liked how the relationship developed between Tris and Four, they have mutual backgrounds and genuine mutual interests, and there isn’t any unfortunate implications with their relationship (two years age difference is not that big of a deal). There also wasn’t any Stupid Pointless Love Triangles. Like with the above, this should be standard and therefore shouldn’t be worthy of note, but the YA genre has a long way to go.

Negative Aspects of the book:
~Plot Hole: My biggest problem with the novel was the initiation test, you’re essentially determining a person’s entire future on whether or not a block of cheese or a knife is more appealing in a situation that is completely without context. Also the whole initiation test is based on what the Person doing the TESTING determines to be an act of selflessness, bravery, honesty or kindness. My definition of what’s considered an act of Bravery will be different to someone else’s.

Also, at the rate the different factions cut initiates from their particular faction, it will get to a point were the Faction-less out-number the Factions. You don’t need high-tech weapons to incite a mob of homeless people into a riot. If the Dauntless compound is all the way other on the other side of the city, it would still take time for them to show up and deal with the situation. Especially since fraternization with other Factions is prohibited.

~Misplaced Priorities: Let’s see, in this society that have machines and serums that can make you hallucinate your greatest fears, have fake bullets that hurt just like real bullets, however Divergent society can’t figure out how to best repair windows and their crumbling infrastructure?

~Isolated First-Person Intimate POV: Like with the Harry Potter series, unless it was happening right in front of Tris’s face, she didn’t seem to notice what was going on in the grand scale of things. Her attitude towards Four at times made me want to roll my eyes and smack her upside the head. However there is a ten-year age-gap between myself and Tris so that is to be expected. She is a teenager who has never been in a romantic relationship before.

~Slow Plot: I found the book to be quite boring, it took a long time to get the interesting parts, which was figuring out what the Erdite’s Political Shuffle, not the romantic relationship.

~There Are No Therapists: I’m fairly certain most of the Dauntless and Abnegation factions will be suffering PTSD after these events. Also what category would Therapists fall under? Erudite or Abnegation?

~Special Snowflake Syndrome: I get that Tris is supposed to be special and that’s how she’s so good at the simulations, however the fact that she gets so much extra attention and tutoring from Four completely undermines that. As long as you practiced, you could predict how the Fearscape would manifest your fears. From my perspective, as Tris did badly in the first round of trials, Tris should have placed 3rd or 4th on the list (it also would have drawn less attention to her).

Book vs Movie

  • The movie is surprisingly faithful to the book, however that is part of the problem, I found the movie boring until the end
  • There was a serious lack of conflict and tension in the movie and the book, which led to some unexpected funny moments in the movie. Movie-Eric asks Movie-Tris, “Who let you out?” and Movie-Tris says, “I let myself out” and just the expression on Movie-Eric’s face, the anti-climatic feel to the scene is just rather amusing to me.

All in all, Divergent needs more Daria
daria-quote

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