Beatrice is an well brought up Abnegation girl. And, of course, it is assumed at the Choosing Ceremony that she will choose to remain in her AbnegatioBeatrice is an well brought up Abnegation girl. And, of course, it is assumed at the Choosing Ceremony that she will choose to remain in her Abnegation faction. However on the appointed day she shocks her family when she chooses to switch factions, leaving her family and everything she has ever known behind. Then begins a brutal initiation process which she doubts at times she will survive.
I will preface this review by disclosing that I usually find YA novels too superficial, and so I don't read them very often. But I like post-apocalyptic and dystopian, so I decided to give this one a try.
If I approach a book like this from the standpoint of a 40+ year-old woman who really loves quirky literary fiction and southern gothic, then a book like this can be a bit of a let down. Very simple characters. Superficial interactions. Straight-forward writing. Not the type of prose I've come to love.
But if I approach it from the 17-year-old I once was, and try to simply lose myself in the "story", the plot, the fragmented city that once was Chicago, then I can see the appeal. In the beginning I found the book was a bit of a letdown, even though I was simply looking for a light read-- something a little mindless. But then I shifted my mind into that teen-mode and tried to be more superficial in my expectations, and found that I could enjoy the story a bit.
Tris (formerly Beatrice) didn't seem very realistic to me. On the one hand, she is portrayed as this very plain, non-extraordinary girl. Then she is portrayed as this extremely brave girl who is terrified of everything, and at the same time fearless. I felt as if she was all over the place. Perhaps this was because she was "divergent" and couldn't really be pigeon-holed, but she just didn't feel very real to me.
Most of the other characters were very one-dimensional and didn't really have any impact on me. Other than Four, whom I actually liked, even though he also didn't make much sense to me, being kind and sensitive and cruel all at the same time.
My final word: In the end, I was left with an "okay" story. It had its moments, and it had potential with an interesting premise, but it was too loosely executed and just didn't pull it all in together. I was left a little bored by the whole thing, but perhaps would have loved it at 17? So this one gets an "eh" and a shrug, and I'm not sure whether or not I will give Insurgent a try. Not right now. Too many great books to read!...more
Katniss is just trying to do the right thing. She's ethical and hard-working, and just trying to take care of her family. She was the "adult" of the hKatniss is just trying to do the right thing. She's ethical and hard-working, and just trying to take care of her family. She was the "adult" of the house after her father died and her mother "checked out" of life for awhile. Then comes the day of the Reaping, when the Capitol draws the names of one boy and one girl to represent each district in The Hunger Games.
Katniss has become a second mother to her little sister Prim. There's such a protective tenderness that exists between them. There's a charming moment in the book when the family is getting ready for the Reaping and Katniss says of her little sister "I notice her blouse has pulled out of her skirt in the back again and force myself to stay calm. 'Tuck your tail in, little duck,' I say, smoothing the blouse back in place." (p. 16) I just really found that touching.
I'm afraid to say too much, as I don't want to throw out any spoilers for the handful of people who, like me, haven't yet read this book. But I really enjoyed this story. The book is exciting, with more than a few "on the edge of your seat" moments. There is tension, despair, hope. There are funny moments in Katniss' thinking, such as when she thinks "I can't help feeling a little grateful since the last thing I want to do is strip down Haymitch, wash the vomit out of his chest hair, and tuck him into bed." (p. 48) The chest hair comment got me!
I highly recommend this book for a fun and exciting story with emotional intrigue, and mild enough for teens, but edgy enough for adults. Read it now!...more