Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker Queen of the Undead's Reviews > Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth
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Dec 06, 11

Read from May 10 to 11, 2011

12/6/11-
I can't believe this book was Favorite Book of 2011. I must not be part of the in-crowd! Oh well.


Review below...

I have questions. Once my questions are answered, maybe I'll move my overall ratings up from 2.5 stars to 3.5 stars. Here is the thing, If the world doesn't make sense to me, I'm not going to enjoy the book as much as I could enjoy it.

So, here are my questions-

Why, at the beginning, can Beatrice look in the mirror ONLY when her mom cuts her hair? What does her mom cutting her hair have to do with anything? She's not supposed to be vain so why would she care what is happening to her hair.

When Tris (aka Beatrice) goes down the zipline from the 100 story building, she has to fall in the arms of her fellow Dauntless from 20 feet up. Who caught the first girl down the zipline?

So, is the food synthetic, artificial (from the beginning of the book) or is it fresh (from later in the book)?

Why is the marsh dried up, but they have a river, waterfall and of all things, a drinking fountain?

Why do you need a backup generator to run the elevator up but you clearly have electricity to run other things?

Isn't carbon dioxide a problem if you are really deep underground?

How is it the scientists can make microscopic transmitters but there is not enough material to finish paving the roads? They talked about not being able to finish the roads, not that they didn't desire not to.

Who runs the trains?

Why is tattooing and piercings a sign of being brave? It said somewhere that the dauntless were not the artistic ones? I know tattoos are painful, yes. I have them and yes, I had piercings as well. But seriously, a sign of overall braveness? I don't think so.

And finally....

(view spoiler)

Update- July 11- I just found a note I wrote on this book (I sometimes write little notes to myself when doing an ARC review- don't laugh) and I totally forgot to put it in my review-

What is the story behind Al? What was his motive? Did I just miss it completely?
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Reading Progress

05/10/2011 page 55
11.0% "So, if she is not supposed to look in a mirror, why would she look when her mom is cutting her hair? It is not like she needs to see in the mirror. Her mom is the one cutting the hair. I hope the reasoning behind the factions becomes clearer. It seems so unnecessary at this point & strange. Hoping this book gets better fast." 5 comments
05/10/2011 page 157
32.0% "hmmm...... very much like the action/fighting scenes in Hunger Games but without any real plot yet. I'm not sure where the story is going? It's action plenty but only a small hint of a plot." 1 comment
05/10/2011 page 157
32.0% "Before everyone thinks I'm super hard on YA dystopian books, I absolutely loved Blood Red Road, Hunger Games, & Unwind so I'm not like a total YA book bitch. :)" 3 comments
05/11/2011 page 275
56.0% "Questions- Who caught the girl that was 1st down the zipline from the 100 stories in the air? At the start of the book, Tris mentions synthetic or artificial food (can't remember which) & then later talks about fresh fruit. Which faction is the farmers/growers? Do they have electricty? Where do they get their gas? Trains run on what?They have microscopic transmitters but not enough material to finish paving roads?" 13 comments
05/11/2011 page 275
56.0% "I don't even know what to say about this book except- where is the world building?" 8 comments
05/11/2011 page 369
76.0% "this world makes NO sense. None at all."

Comments (showing 1-50 of 196) (196 new)


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead I'm kinda nervous about reading this one. I really want it to be good.


Alyssa hoffmaster I want to read it so bad, I feel the same way you do, especially when something is so hyped and then you start reading it and you find out its not as good as you thought it was going to be


message 3: by Dinjolina (new) - added it

Dinjolina Can not wait to see what YOU think :)


D.G. Sounds really good! I'll wait to see if you like it before adding it to my shelves. :)


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Alyssa wrote: "I want to read it so bad, I feel the same way you do, especially when something is so hyped and then you start reading it and you find out its not as good as you thought it was going to be"

Any highly hyped book scares me.


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Dinjolina wrote: "Can not wait to see what YOU think :)"

I so hope I like it. I've had it for awhile but I just was hesitant to start it.


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead D.G. ~Saucy Vixen~ wrote: "Sounds really good! I'll wait to see if you like it before adding it to my shelves. :)"

LOL..no pressure!


Sarah M I am seen this at the bookstore but I dont know if I want to pick it up yet. Look forward to your review :)


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Sarah wrote: "I am seen this at the bookstore but I dont know if I want to pick it up yet. Look forward to your review :)"

off to lunch to go read it!


Fallon Blake I'm interested to see what you think of this one.


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Fallon wrote: "I'm interested to see what you think of this one."

oh, that might be a scary thing at this point! LOL


Christina White thanks for review!


♥♥~Carla~♥♥ I am glad that I am not the only one who felt this book was a little off. I liked it (not nearly as much as other dystopian books)but reading your review opened my eyes to what I couldn't pinpoint on my own!! Thanks!!


Tatiana These are great questions, Michelle. The thing is, the book doesn't really stand up well to scrutiny.


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead ♥♥~Carla E.~♥♥ wrote: "I am glad that I am not the only one who felt this book was a little off. I liked it (not nearly as much as other dystopian books)but reading your review opened my eyes to what I couldn't pinpoint ..."

I can usually over look a few inconsistencies but this book drove me batty!


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Tatiana wrote: "These are great questions, Michelle. The thing is, the book doesn't really stand up well to scrutiny."

I actually stopped at the questions I wrote, I had more but I was driving myself crazy and realized I needed to move on.


Katie(babs) I think I maybe the only one who doesn't want to read this book. The plot sounds beyond confusing for me.


message 18: by Phoebe (new)

Phoebe Why is tattooing and piercings a sign of being brave? It said somewhere that the dauntless were not the artistic ones?

Because tattoos HURT.

However, you would not know this from the way Roth writes about them.

That's what bugged me about the tattoo thread. It was IMMEDIATELY, abundantly clear that she'd never gotten a tattoo (to the point where I started googling for confirmation after the first instance--didn't find anything, but I saw her admit as much in a recent interview). All three of Tris's tattoos happen offscreen, the scenes ending each time before the tattooing actually happens. When the fact that she's covered in healing tattoos comes up later, it's just to mention in an offhand way (once, IIRC) that her healing tattoo "burns."

I have a bunch of tattoos, including a chestpiece, which is the first place Tris gets tattooed. It is an EXTREMELY sensitive place to get inked. Tattooing generally feels a bit like slowly peeling off your skin with a very sharp needle. Some tattoos bleed a lot, too. Then the artist slaps an awkward, sweaty bandage on it and sends you on your way--plus blood loss and endorphins. So by the time you're finished, you're likely to feel like an exhausted sack of flesh. I've gotten tattoos that made me feel vaguely like I had the flu the next day. When you're healing a tattoo, you don't even want to let your BRA strap touch it, much less wrestle or spar with someone. Basically, all the newly-inked Dauntless initiates are prime targets for horrible infections.

Roth should have at least done some research on what tattooing is like, because it actually would have supported her themes and made Tris seem more bad ass and brave.


message 19: by Lucy (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lucy Dauntless never felt like a lifestyle to me. It always felt like a stage of life some people go through between teens and early twenties. Imagine bringing up a child there? What do you do? Tell them to jump off things to prove they've got balls? Celebrate a sixth birthday with a My Little Pony tat?


Experiment BL626 I think I can answer a few of your questions.

Why, at the beginning, can Beatrice look in the mirror ONLY when her mom cuts her hair? What does her mom cutting her hair have to do with anything?

They're Abnegation—selfless. Looking in the mirror as tool like when cutting hair is acceptable, but all other reasons are considered selfish. Vanity promotes selfishness. It's like the Amish, but more extreme.

So, is the food synthetic, artificial (from the beginning of the book) or is it fresh (from later in the book)?

Both. When the author said synthetic/artificial, I believe she meant they were genetically altered. Think seedless watermelons.

Why do you need a backup generator to run the elevator up but you clearly have electricity to run other things?

This one is hard to explain. The electrical grid is complexly networked, so some buildings and machines will be powered and some won't. Maybe it would have been difficult or overwhelming to connect the elevator to the main power system.

Isn't carbon dioxide a problem if you are really deep underground?

An advance ventilation system? Maybe that's why they can't power the elevator, most of the electricity must go to the ventilation system.

Why is the marsh dried up, but they have a river, waterfall and of all things, a drinking fountain?

A dam somewhere?...

How is it the scientists can make microscopic transmitters but there is not enough material to finish paving the roads?

Because microscopic transmitters uses different materials than roads. Moreover, it may have been that the Erudite didn't care much for paving roads and rather have those transmitters...for global domination.

Why would any one care if she is divergent (can fit into more than one faction), if going into the faction is her own choice (regardless of what faction you test in).

Not really a choice. Though the test "recommend" the *one* faction best suited for the teen, ultimately the teen will have to accept that "recommendation". The choosing of faction is an illusion. I think it's because the Erudite oversee the test, they didn't want any divergent going into Dauntless that could resist their mind-control. And maybe there is even a plan to expand the operation beyond the Dauntless, so no divergent in other factions as well.

So, why would the people tell Tris to keep it a secret?

They didn't know the Erudite's plan or know that the Erudite were behind it, but they knew enough that all divergent "accidentally" dies. When the same kind of people start disappearing for an unexplainable reason, you know enough that whatever common trait those disappeared people have is a trait dangerous to have.


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Experiment wrote: "
They're Abnegation—selfless. Looking in the mirror as tool like when cutting hair is acceptable, but all other reasons are considered selfish. Vanity promotes selfishness. It's like the Amish, but more extreme.

..."


First, I love your answers. They seem plausible. That, in itself is sad, since the author should have been the one with the explanations within the book. One less fight/action scene and a little bit more world building. Scratch that. She still needed to advance her plot alot more quickly.


The mirror. I can understand why Beatrice would be allowed to look in the mirror as a tool if she was cutting her own hair but it was her mom that was cutting it, not Beatrice. This is such a small detail but for some reason, it is significant to me. It seems contrary to what the author was trying to express, letting Beatrice look in the mirror when her mom was cutting her hair. Why would they let Beatrice look, so she could see if her mom was doing a good job (vanity)or to see how she looks (vanity)? Isn't this exactly the opposite of what the Abnegation promote.

I totally realize I over-think books. However, I think the authors that are extremely hyped, have movie deals before their book is even released, should have the staff check the story for consistency & flow (at the very minimum).


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Lucy wrote: "Dauntless never felt like a lifestyle to me. It always felt like a stage of life some people go through between teens and early twenties. Imagine bringing up a child there? What do you do? Tell the..."

My little pony tat, cute!


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Phoebe wrote: "Why is tattooing and piercings a sign of being brave? It said somewhere that the dauntless were not the artistic ones?

Because tattoos HURT.

However, you would not know this from the way Roth w..."


You wouldn't know it from my pictures, but I do have one large tattoo down my right leg. It was my last tattoo since I ended up in the hospital with a horrible allergic reaction to the red dye. Oh well!


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Katie(babs) wrote: "I think I maybe the only one who doesn't want to read this book. The plot sounds beyond confusing for me."

The problem with the plot is there is no real plot until around page 400 and something (I forgot the actual page #).


Katie(babs) Michelle wrote: "Katie(babs) wrote: "I think I maybe the only one who doesn't want to read this book. The plot sounds beyond confusing for me."

The problem with the plot is there is no real plot until around pag..."


No real plot until page 400? How long is this book and why does everyone want to have babies with it?


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Katie(babs) wrote: "Michelle wrote: "Katie(babs) wrote: "I think I maybe the only one who doesn't want to read this book. The plot sounds beyond confusing for me."

The problem with the plot is there is no real plot u..."


You know alot of people love this book and it has already been, ummm, suggested I might not have the best skills regarding my ability to review YA books (for some reason, once sex enters the picture, my reviews seem to be much better...who knows why). LOL!


Katie(babs) Sex makes a plot work. *nods* :P


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Katie(babs) wrote: "Sex makes a plot work. *nods* :P"

Maybe the sex scenes make me forget there is a plot to even consider?


Katie(babs) Michelle wrote: "Katie(babs) wrote: "Sex makes a plot work. *nods* :P"

Maybe the sex scenes make me forget there is a plot to even consider?"


Tween foreplay for the win! Oops I can't say that because that's forbidden.


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Katie(babs) wrote: "Michelle wrote: "Katie(babs) wrote: "Sex makes a plot work. *nods* :P"

Maybe the sex scenes make me forget there is a plot to even consider?"

Tween foreplay for the win! Oops I can't say that bec..."


Lol...of course, because they aren't having sex in real life...only on Maury!


FV Angela Clearly you're a much deeper thinker than I am. Maybe I didn't absorb as much of this book as I thought I did.


message 32: by Phoebe (new)

Phoebe Michelle wrote: "Phoebe wrote: "Why is tattooing and piercings a sign of being brave? It said somewhere that the dauntless were not the artistic ones?

Because tattoos HURT.

However, you would not know this ..."


Ha, well then you know exactly what I mean! I'm sure that you wanted to spar people when your tattoo was healing, right?!


message 33: by Has (new) - rated it 4 stars

Has I actually felt that there was plot and the world building was solid much more so than Delirium and Wither whose premise was much more shakey. I loved the romance between Tris and Four and there was a lot of time establishing what kind of society it was because it was complicated - it needed that though.


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Angela wrote: "Clearly you're a much deeper thinker than I am. Maybe I didn't absorb as much of this book as I thought I did."

Not a deep thinker...an over-thinker! LOL! Sometimes I over-think really useless stuff!


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Phoebe wrote: "Michelle wrote: "Phoebe wrote: "Why is tattooing and piercings a sign of being brave? It said somewhere that the dauntless were not the artistic ones?

Because tattoos HURT.

However, you would n..."


Especially since I spent three days in the hospital!


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Has wrote: "I actually felt that there was plot and the world building was solid much more so than Delirium and Wither whose premise was much more shakey. I loved the romance between Tris and Four and there wa..."

I liked the romance between Tris & Four. I agree with you about Wither (never read Delirium). I'm glad others did enjoy this book. Really, I'm in no way saying my thoughts are correct, the majority of the reviews say otherwise.


message 37: by Has (new) - rated it 4 stars

Has Michelle wrote: "Has wrote: "I actually felt that there was plot and the world building was solid much more so than Delirium and Wither whose premise was much more shakey. I loved the romance between Tris and Four ..."

I can see your point though - I didn't want to give that impression that you were wrong :P - I think hype is a huge factor and builds up expectations but I've quite a few dystopian YA and most of their world-building is really shakey and it undermines the plot.


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead Has wrote: "Michelle wrote: "Has wrote: "I actually felt that there was plot and the world building was solid much more so than Delirium and Wither whose premise was much more shakey. I loved the romance betwe..."

I agree with you 100% that the world-building is really shakey in the majority of YA dystopian novels. I don't think the majority of would-be authors realize what a huge undertaking it is to create an entirely new world/culture/government, etc in a dystopian world. Or, on the other hand, they don't care and hope the inconsistencies slip under the radar.

Usually if the characters in any novel are likeable characters, or if the plot itself is strong, readers have a tendency to overlook inconsistencies. Which is fine. I've done that before & will again in the future. I just feel this book had two faults- the inconsistencies & a slow developing plot.


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead I just realized I'm rambling! Sorry!


message 40: by Experiment BL626 (last edited May 13, 2011 11:28PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Experiment BL626 No problems. I'm glad I was bit of help to you. I like your review, there's nothing wrong with not enjoying the book as much as other people. When I finished the book, I didn't think much of it. Answering your questions helped solidify some things for me. Like Angela, I didn't think I absorbed much of the book either.

Why would they let Beatrice look, so she could see if her mom was doing a good job (vanity)or to see how she looks (vanity)?

Her mother was an ex-Dauntless, so it wasn't a big deal for Tris to look. I think her mom just wanted some mother-daughter time before the test and the ceremony. I think the mom knew that her daughter was going to be Dauntless.

I think it's also explain why the Erudite hates the Abnegation. There is no possibly way a person let alone a group of them can be that selfless. Sometime humans have to be selfish in order to survive. And sometime things are too good be true, such as a group of entirely selfless people. Where's the sense of self-preservation? Too suspicious, hence the Erudite's preemptive attack.

This might also leads into the second book...Candor. Does anyone seriously believe a group of people always speaking the truth even if they are strictly known for it? I learned from reading Urban Fantasy novels that feature the Sidhe race (fairies & elves) that one can always speak the truth and still be deceptive. There's out-and-out lies that we all know, but there are also lies by implication, omission, and euphemism. And you can still tell a lie even if you speak truly if you don't know what you're saying is a lie to begin with.

I think this is why I like Divergent and gave it a 4/5 instead of 3/5. The author is essentially vilifying all the virtues that we hold so dear. It's one of those "be careful for what you wish" deal, you might just get more than you bargain for. Too much selflessness can lead to lack of self-preservation, too much intelligence can lead to a superiority complex, too much honesty can lead to acrid rudeness, too much friendship can lead to peer pressure, and too much courage can lead to brazen foolishness.


FV Angela Michelle wrote: "Angela wrote: "Clearly you're a much deeper thinker than I am. Maybe I didn't absorb as much of this book as I thought I did."

Not a deep thinker...an over-thinker! LOL! Sometimes I over-think r..."


No... you made great points. Made me go back and think about it after the fact. I read this book last week.


message 42: by ♥ Sarah ♥ (last edited May 14, 2011 04:01PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

♥ Sarah ♥ I'm surprised you didn't like this one more. I've been seeing some really good reviews for this. :-\ Hmm..well hopefully I'll like it, it's one of my super-de-duper-can't waits! lol


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead ♥ Sarah ♥ wrote: "I'm surprised you didn't like this one more. I've been seeing some really good reviews for this. :-\ Hmm..well hopefully I like it, it's one of my super-de-duper-can't waits! lol"

I'm sure you'll love it. I probably knitpicked it too much and once I started with the knitpicking, the inconsistencies got me. However, like you said, the reviews are good overall so you'll probably love it.


♥ Sarah ♥ Yeah, I'm the same way. Also if I'm not in the right mood it can totally ruin a book for me too.


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead I had a momentary reviewer freakout looking at my rating and everyone else's rating (ok almost everyone else)with this book.


♥ Sarah ♥ lol I've had a few that way too though. Where it seems like I'm the ONLY one in the book world who didn't like it. That's when I wonder if maybe I was just in a bad mood for whatever I was reading at the time. lol


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead ♥ Sarah ♥ wrote: "lol I've had a few that way too though. Where it seems like I'm the ONLY one in the book world who didn't like it. That's when I wonder if maybe I was just in a bad mood for whatever I was reading ..."

Same here. I wondered the same. Was I in a bad mood, just annoyed, or did I really have problems with the book? I seem to rate YA dystopian books pretty low as of late (with the one exception- Blood Red Road- I loved this book) so I was wondering why I'm so put out by this genre lately.


♥ Sarah ♥ Hmm..I donno, maybe you just need a break from him. Sometimes if I'm reading too much of the same, I'll jump to something completely different if it's getting a little stale.


Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker  Queen of the Undead ♥ Sarah ♥ wrote: "Hmm..I donno, maybe you just need a break from him. Sometimes if I'm reading too much of the same, I'll jump to something completely different if it's getting a little stale."

that's what I'm doing right now. No YA dystopian books anywhere around me for awhile.


message 50: by Crowinator (last edited May 17, 2011 10:01AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Crowinator I'm coming to your comments section late, but all very good questions. I thought of the tattoos and piercings worked as a tribal marker kind of thing, but also, on a purely shallow note, because it will look good in the movie.

I think this book pulled a Jedi mind trick on me -- I am normally overly critical, and I probably will be once the symptoms wear off, but for now I am all ACTION VIOLENCE RAWWWR. (c: The latter half the book definitely saved it for me, but I liked all the initiation scenes -- it was like a hardcore school story, to which I am clearly susceptible.


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