The first few chapters of this book were awesome. As Thomas entered the maze, memory wiped, trying to figure out what was going on, you could feel his...moreThe first few chapters of this book were awesome. As Thomas entered the maze, memory wiped, trying to figure out what was going on, you could feel his confusion and urgency, and were desperate along with him for answers. I thought it was a good writing ploy to leave us just as confused and clueless as the character, because then we could discover along with him what this maze and its inhabitants were really like.
Unfortunately, instead of giving us answers, the following chapters just told about different events that occurred after Thomas's arrival, without weaving in any of the information that could have propelled the story forward. Some of the events were interesting, but without a framework of understanding the characters and environment, I could not enjoy any of the story. I needed at least some answers, or at least some hints to puzzle over, in order to care at all.
Beyond basic descriptions and the irritating community lingo of made-up swear words, there was very little world-building, and the character development was nonexistent. Every single person was a bland stick-figure, hard to tell apart and impossible to care about, even when they died. They did not even have contrived quirks to make them different from the others, but merely had a physical description at the beginning and then was equivalent to a middle school boy's RPG character.
If the overall story had been as great as the hype implies, then the book might have still been worth reading, but the plot was as predictable as that hypothetical RPG. Even though I already had low expectations for this book, I was still astonished by how basic and obvious every plot development was. I idly predicted the whole story from chapter one, but as the book continued and there were still no answers, I began to anticipate some shocking twist that would turn the world upside down and alter all my preconceived ideas about the obvious solutions. Nope. The supposedly grand plot, which so many people have praised, was dead obvious. Every single character action, every single plan, every single secret... They were all so obvious that they brought back memories of the kinds of adventure stories I made up to entertain myself as a child. The solutions were so obvious, and so cliche, that they were on-par with a nine year old's daydream, except that my stories didn't have the violence which pushes this book to an older reading range.
I find this book's popularity genuinely bewildering. If the plot were gripping and astonishing, I could see why people would gladly overlook the other flaws, but the story was so standard and obvious that I was able to predict the entire thing from the premise... all the while assuming that I must be totally wrong, because it was too simple. Even when I did not have the necessary details yet to make a specific prediction, it was obvious where the plot was headed, and I was eager to finish the book and be done with it. The only surprising thing about this book is that people like it, and even though I do feel a sense of satisfaction knowing that I can write something superior to this New York Times bestseller, that is paltry comfort for the two and a half hours I wasted on this book.(less)
I still have no idea why everyone loves this series so much, and the action scenes got really tedious after a while. Nonetheless, this was a satisfact...moreI still have no idea why everyone loves this series so much, and the action scenes got really tedious after a while. Nonetheless, this was a satisfactory ending to the series, and there were many aspects that I enjoyed.(less)
Even though this was a quick, light read, it was more engrossing and thought-provoking than I expected, and I genuinely enjoyed it. The backstory chap...moreEven though this was a quick, light read, it was more engrossing and thought-provoking than I expected, and I genuinely enjoyed it. The backstory chapters were fascinating, and even in the section which retold events from "Divergent" from the different perspective, the book never failed to be fresh and interesting. That could be because I forgot a lot of the plot elements, and could also be because I especially like considering how different POVs change scenes, but I think it's fair to say that the book was enjoyable and well-done. Even as someone who doesn't have passionate feelings about this series, it excited me to read the alternate perspective, and the psychological bent of this series appeals to me.
It is not necessary for someone to read this in order to fully enjoy the Divergent trilogy, but this is more than the fan service I expected, and does contribute to the characters and story world. It reminded me of all the elements I appreciated in the original trilogy before it was annoyingly popular, and I am glad to recall how engaging and deep the story actually is.(less)