Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Divergent - Veronica Roth

by Veronica Roth
Young Adult
Read From: June 1, 2012 - June 2, 2012

Cover Blurb: The fiery eye is definitely intriguing, and the cover definitely promises a gritty, inner-city-type story - only in the future. I love the title font, and I like the simplicity. For the type of book it is, it works, and it isn’t misleading about what one might expect from it.

What I Liked: Tris, the protagonist, is good. She’s a tough cookie without being a macho-chick, and I applaud the Author for being able to put Tris in the setting that she did without turning her into one of those. I liked the relations between the different factions, as well as how the new recruits into Dauntless treated one another, depending on their faction. The kids didn’t feel united all of a sudden because of their initiation; they still held some loyalty to their old factions. Four is also an awesome character; while I wish there wasn’t a romantic relationship between him and Tris, it didn’t get too annoying. At first. The Author is also not afraid to kill of characters, and that’s always a plus in my book. For a story to be both exciting and dramatic, some people need to die.

What I Disliked: If this book is claiming to be dystopian, then the society should have been more obviously utopian. I get that the “failed utopia” came from how the factions were created to keep people with different opinions on how one should live separate, thus no one will have a reason to fight. And this, of course, isn’t working. But it simply did not feel much like a dystopian story. It felt more like an urban-fantasy/grunge set in the future. I think that maybe the second book (which I haven’t read yet) will have a more dystopian feel; we’ll see. I didn’t find Dauntless a very convincing military, and after a while the romance did get annoying.

Believability: Again, not a very convincing totalitarian government. It did become a bit more believable once war broke out, though, and the government started using military force. But I did like that the Author seemed to know that the human body is not invincible. When her characters got beat up, they spent a good amount of time in the infirmary and sometimes even sustained permanent injuries.

Writing Style: She followed the fad with dystopian and wrote it in present-tense. And like with most books, it didn’t really work. Too movie-ish, lots of short phrases; nothing beautiful about the writing. It was entertaining, but it wasn’t beautiful. I loved some of the twists she had; there were a couple that I was not expecting, and they were good. And right when the book threatens to get boring, the Author throws in a new revelation about Divergent or one of the character’s pasts, which keeps the Reader engaged.

Content: Once Tris and Four get their feelings out in the open between each other, they get clingy when they’re alone, and they have to resist bedding each other. Nothing happens, there are no details, but I found it annoying simply because it’s like characters can no longer fall in love in a book without at least one of them wanting to jump straight to the bed.

Conclusion: It definitely promises an exciting sequel, and there’s nothing dull about the final steps of the plot. It’s exciting, fast-paced, and every inch engaging. I whipped through it quickly.

Recommended Audience: Dystopian fans, though with a cautionary message that compared to The Hunger Games or Matched, it’s not as dystopian as one might expect. People who like combat stories with teen protagonists. This is both a guy and girl read, though perhaps a bit more of a girl read than a guy one because of the romance and female protagonist.

Others in This Trilogy:

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