I guess it was a "good" book, well-written and all that, but it's not my style. There's a lot of description, not much happens, and it's very depressi...moreI guess it was a "good" book, well-written and all that, but it's not my style. There's a lot of description, not much happens, and it's very depressing. And I didn't like how the situation they were in was never explained.(less)
An excellent story. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it; the audiobook moved too slowly for me. I went between 3 and 4 stars, but se...moreAn excellent story. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it; the audiobook moved too slowly for me. I went between 3 and 4 stars, but settled on 3 since I almost gave up on it halfway through. Really glad I didn't, though. (less)
It’s hard to even know where to begin with a work of this magnitude. So fair warning, this probably won’t be any kind of cohesive or well-thought-out...moreIt’s hard to even know where to begin with a work of this magnitude. So fair warning, this probably won’t be any kind of cohesive or well-thought-out review, but probably more of a jumble of thoughts as they come to me.
First of all, you should know that in e-book format it is 1427 pages long with about 200 pages of endnotes, some of which have endnotes to themselves, and some of the endnotes are 10-15 pages long. Yeah. (Sidenote: it’s a perfect book for an e-reader.) There are naturally many different storylines, and at first you have no idea what they have to do with each other. I had a hard time for awhile even describing the plot to anyone. As far as I could tell it was just about the lives of these tennis academy kids and some addicts in a halfway house, no relation to each other and no point to it.
It probably took me longer than it should have to realize that even though the writing is mostly in third person, the language is actually more like first person. Once I figured that out I really appreciated it and gained a lot more insight. The language itself is unique and I actually enjoyed reading it out loud (as I did to my daughter; good thing she doesn’t understand words yet).
I really enjoyed the storylines of pretty much all of the Enfield Tennis Academy (ETA) characters and the Incandenza family, especially the dialogue. I kind of had a crush on Hal, even though he supposedly has no interior life and eventually has a breakdown. Mario was adorable, Avril (The Moms) was fascinating, and Pemulis was hilarious. Even Orin was interesting.
The Ennet Recovery House characters took longer to grow on me, but I ended up loving the big softie Don Gately, in-house staffer. The part where the addict Lenz abused and brutally killed animals made me sick, and I almost gave up on the entire book because of it. I know that it led to the climactic fight of the novel, but did the episodes really have to be described in so much detail?
The whole future political situation didn’t interest me as much, and the extended conversations between Marathe (Canadian wheelchair extremist) and Steeply (U.S. Unspecified Services agent) were a bit much, and I tried to get through them quickly. This plot line did give the whole book kind of a point, though.
Overall I found the book highly amusing. Ridiculous situations are presented as so completely plausible that you take them seriously. For example, a group of legless wheelchair-bound assassins, or a pair of Siamese twins playing doubles tennis. There were so many themes and symbols throughout that I really feel like I could read a thesis on it with interest.
Since I read it over such a long period of time (3.5 months) by the time I was finished I had forgotten some of what happened at the beginning. I immediately went back and re-read the first chapter, which gave me a lot of insight. The whole book would be worthy of a re-read to me if it wasn’t so long. There were a lot of unanswered questions at the end, and I spent an hour Googling just to get closure, but I feel like if I had the time to re-read the book I could’ve answered a lot of the questions myself. (This website gives a plausible explanation of everything you could wonder about, if you’re interested!)
I could probably talk about the book all day, but I think I’ll stop now. If you’re even slightly interested in reading it, try the first chapter. If you like the style, stick with it and you’ll see that it’s worth it.(less)
This is set in a future society where a city is separated into five factions according to what they value - selflessness, bravery, peace, intelligence...moreThis is set in a future society where a city is separated into five factions according to what they value - selflessness, bravery, peace, intelligence, honesty. When a child turns 16 he or she may choose which faction to belong to, and they take an aptitude test to guide them. Beatrice was born into Abnegation (selflessness) but her test is inconclusive, making her Divergent - and a threat to the authorities. She chooses Dauntless (bravery) and begins a grueling initiation process.
It's so hard not to compare this to The Hunger Games, especially because I saw the movie in the middle of reading, so I'm just going to do it. They are both future, dystopian societies separated into groups (districts/factions). Both have a strong, self-sacrificing female lead with a love interest, told in first person. Both have a violent, game-like plot with rankings and such. Both point toward revolution in the society. There are almost more similarities than differences.
However, the similarity factor did not diminish my enjoyment one bit. I think I liked this book better because I liked the leading character better. (Although I think Katniss is great in THG, her narration annoyed me after awhile. She's much better in the movie.) It was a quick read and super entertaining. I'm not incredibly invested in the characters though, so I don't know when I'll get around to reading the sequel.(less)
When I was bawling at the end of the first chapter I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. Thankfully that kind of emotion did not remain, but...moreWhen I was bawling at the end of the first chapter I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. Thankfully that kind of emotion did not remain, but came out here and there in a way I could handle.
As for the rest of the story: characters, plot, suspense, relationships, action, science, this book has it. And every once in awhile a gem of a bit of prose will pop out at you. I am seriously invested in what happens to these people now. I have more thoughts about...things...but they are spoiler-y so I will just talk your ear off about them if you catch me in person or on Twitter.(less)
This was an easy & fast read. The world and plot were compelling enough and I am interested to see what happens. The writing is simple and straigh...moreThis was an easy & fast read. The world and plot were compelling enough and I am interested to see what happens. The writing is simple and straightforward with short sentences which seems to be the norm for dystopia.
My problem is with the characters. I didn't feel like they were developed at ALL. There was a love triangle, but I honestly couldn't care which guy she chose because they were both fine, and one was quickly friend-zoned so the romantic tension fell flat in that area.
It was hard for me not to compare these characters to the ones in the last YA novel I read which was The Fault In Our Stars. Maybe that's not fair because it's not dystopia (and therefore more character-driven than plot-driven) but at the end of that book I really cared about those characters and felt like I knew them almost as much as real people.
Overall I thought it was average for the genre, although I would read the next one to find out what happens.(less)
I don't think YA dystopia is my thing, and yet I keep reading it. This one had an interesting concept and the characters were fine. I cannot think of...moreI don't think YA dystopia is my thing, and yet I keep reading it. This one had an interesting concept and the characters were fine. I cannot think of anything more to say about it than that right now. This genre is all starting to run together for me.(less)
My biggest complaint about this is that I found it boring. I was in favor of the expansion of the world and exploring the greater issues behind their...moreMy biggest complaint about this is that I found it boring. I was in favor of the expansion of the world and exploring the greater issues behind their factions and cities, but I felt like the bigger conflict was hastily thrown together and just didn't work well. I found that I was having to force myself to read because it just wasn't interesting me.
Further than that, I had an issue with the alternating points of view. I see why it was necessary and I liked the insight into Tobias's mind to an extent, but his voice and Tris's were so similar that I kept forgetting whose chapter I was in and getting confused.
Obviously I wasn't satisfied with the ending but I'm not mad about it.
Anyway, glad I pushed through so I could see what happened, but definitely ready to move on.(less)