Stephanie's Reviews > Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth
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Jun 01, 11

Read in June, 2011

I can see the Hunger Games comparison. Much of the book feels like what HG would be if it focused only on training for the Games. This is also combined with some hints of the Protector of the Small series (of all things), making for a very odd read at times.

The book's primary problem is PACING ISSUES (in all caps, man.) Some of the fighting/training scenes are interesting, but other reviewers are correct in noting that the main plot of the series doesn't really kick into gear until 75% of the novel is done. The worldbuilding is actually pretty compelling, and I'm excited to see more of it in forthcoming books. The author is hindered by writing a plot wherein the protagonist is almost immediately placed in a highly insular community. Because of this it's hard to get a sense of the threats she faces and how widespread they are. Also I'm a little worried that there's an anti-intellectual slant to all this, given the antagonists. But the story emphasizes the special specialness of being able to think for yourself, so maybe not?

Despite all that, this is not going to be a thoroughly negative review. This mirrored my experience with the Gemma Doyle trilogy, in some ways. At first my reaction was "eh" but after a certain point something about this book really clicked for me. (And then I freaked out because it suddenly veered in an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT DIRECTION once the Real Plot deigned to kick in.) I'm not nearly as OMG LOVE LOVE LOVE WANT MORE as I was with Gemma Doyle, but despite being frequently frustated, I think this book was doing some interesting things. It's not afraid to take on issues surrounding sexual harassment, glorification of suicide, or child abuse. There are a couple times when Tris's emotional reactions feel muted (a result of her upbringing maybe?) but mostly I liked her characterization. She's cranky and emotional, and embarrassed of said emotionality, so of course I'm drawn to her. I was definitely surprised by how much I was taken in by the romance subplot. I guess it helped that her love interest shared information with her (rather than mindlessly trying to protect her) and generally respected her strength/decisions. Funny, that. :P I find myself rooting for those two crazy kids to make it work.

I'll definitely check out book #2 when it comes out.
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Reading Progress

05/27/2011 page 50
10.0% "This came up on tumblr as a "If you like Chaos Walking, surely you'll like..." book. So far it hasn't made me go "HOLY WOW!" like that trilogy did but it's early days yet. It's got my attention, that's for sure."
05/28/2011 page 70
14.0% "And of course Tris picks the faction I think sounds least compelling. Currently taking bets that the Erudite faction will be eeeeeevil. Why are all Amity faction people girls?"

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