Caitlin's Reviews > Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth
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's review
Mar 04, 2012

it was ok
Read from May 03 to 04, 2011

Lately my reviews have been a bit different and looking back on this book, I feel like I rated it too high for something I didn't like as much, thus the star decrease. But I will still stick with the review.

I enjoyed this book. Did I like it? Maybe. But I know I enjoyed it. Divergent is an adrenalin book. The pacing is swift, the writing isn't prosey, ton's of racing hearts and pumping blood helps keep the reader's attention. You can't help but finish the book. It's not a hard read, nor is it difficult to comprehend. It's pure fun.

But of course 2.5 rating calls for some serious flaws.

What I Liked
Ironically, the Divergent plot didn't take the front seat of my concerns. It was the sub plot involving Tris' friends and rivals throughout the initiation process. Will, Christina and Al aren't just friends, but rivals and I thank Roth (Thanks Roth!) for developing and filling out that subplot and not leaving it dangling or barely touched. In real life, there are always a few friends that we adore, but can't help notice the difference between us and them. Of course in the Dauntless fraction, Tris and her friends don't just notice the difference, but the fact that what makes them different may or may not get them ahead in the fraction. I guess the question asked here is, is it worth making friends? Is it worth fighting for your friends, despite the troubles that will come along? Roth conveys Tris' inner struggles and dilemmas involving her friends. Allies? Rivals? Enemies?

When I first read about the Dauntless jumping off trains every morning just to get to school I made this face---> -____- Seriously? That's brave? Please let this be a joke. I'd started the book well aware of the shock factor that it mostly drives Divergent. But as the book continued, the real definition of being brave shined through. I actually loved the "Selflessness and courage are the same thing" thing. I can relate to that, but I hope as the series continues and grows, that...that saying will remain.

What I Didn't Like
Prose. I hated the prose. Ugh. She repeated the word car five times in one paragraph. Five freakin' times. Short sentences. Adverbs. Nothing really got me going. The prose didn't help Tris' personality either. For most of the book, I thought she was secretly a robot, that being a Divergent was being an artificially intelligent android built to overcome the fraction system -___- (<--bad joke). Three other books share the same, plane, abrupt sentence, tell-it-like-it-is prose. THe Hunger Games, Wither, and Bloody Red Road. I actually disliked the prose in HG at first. But I pushed through and eventually realized that, that is Katniss' voice. That is her personality. Her sarcasm, snarky comments and flat out brutal honesty. The prose is her. Wither was a bit different. Beautiful and haunting at times but again, Rhine lacked my interest. Her struggles where the only thing keeping her in my favor. In Bloody Red Road the prose is dialect, so it has to be in the tell-it-like-it-is prose. But the book was over abundant with short sentences and lack of detail (and I guess not liking Saba may contribute to the dislike of the style). My point, this prose can be very effective if done right, and I honestly don't think Roth hit the mark. Only a few moments (Zip lining, with Four) that I actually felt something through the prose, but besides that, it sat there and didn't move.

Secondly, I disliked Tris. May be the prose's fault, but she had no personality. Seriously, this girl had a one track mind. Be strong. Be brave. Be Dauntless. But of course she's Divergent, so she can't even decide if she's meant to be Dauntless. She switches back and forth numerous times (in her head). At one point I was like, "Jesus Christ, this is getting annoying. Be satisfied already." Also, she's not very smart. I'll admit, there are points where she performs smarter/better (capture the flag) but the thing is, she's suppose to be Erudite. She's suppose to smart naturally. If she was portrayed as a normal girl, then I'd be fine with her "I don't know what this means" all the time. But it's the fact that she's suppose to know what it means that drives me crazy. Also, she starts off so....mean? Heartless? Brutal thinking? She turns selfish for a bit before she realizes what makes one brave is being selfless.

And last, the ending. I don't hate how it ended, I hate how it played out. If you want me to ruin the book for you, please do read the spoiler. (view spoiler) My point, the book had something nice, even original going for it and then it dive bombed into adrenalin, gun waving, action sequence that I never find attractive. /rant.

What I'm Not Sure About
First things first. All dystopias are impossible. What makes them so compelling is that they reflect today’s society in the future. The Hunger Games—reality TV and the media. 1984—complete control of society (nationalism, censorship, sexuality—back in the day, sex wasn’t a fabulous thing to do). Fahrenheit 451—censorship and the media/TV effecting literature and the urge to learn. They all reflect what society was at that time and it’s possible future within society. So what does Divergent bring to the table? It's premise of five fractions, separate but equal, is contradictory in a sense. In America, we've already tried that, but Brown vs. Board diminished that. Where does Divergent stand? At first I thought Roth introducing a contradictory society was almost genius. Kind of like the hippies. THey believed that if no one did anything, but sat around all day, lovin', playin', tuning on with LSD, there would be no competition, no conflict, no nothing. And theoretically, it makes sense. But that's only in theory and not reality. People are complicated and (in my opinion) naturally not nice. Just like Hippies, people take advantage of the system in Divergent and ended up ruining this so called flawless system (plus being separate but equal causes judgement against other fractions, just like segregation did in the States). But I thought, by Roth giving us this already contradictory set up was a way showing how important unity is. In the end, after the many rough patches through out the book, I decided, maybe Roth didn't see this set up the same way I did. More of a HG imitate--5 fractions instead of 12. So in the end, I don't know.

Divergent is a fun read. It takes you on a ride that will leave you wishing for more--in a good and bad sense. Good as in, sequel. Bad as in more...depth besides the fast pace story. Overall, I'd recommend this book to people for a quick easy read, just in time for the summer.
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Reading Progress

05/03 page 109
22.0% "This book is an entire contradictory so far."
05/03 page 115
23.0% "Okay. Tris/Beatrice has no personality. She's a robot with only one mission: be dauntless. Snore. Just gotta get that off my chest."
05/27 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Jessie R Great review:)
I don't mean to be snarky, or nit-picky but you use the word prose an awful lot; and this is after you say that the writing is not prosey? I don't understand what you mean...
I will give this book a go though because I liked the rest of your, very honest, review. ^_^

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