Marg K.'s Reviews > Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth
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Sep 05, 2015

did not like it
bookshelves: 1-star-rating

Original Review Date: June 22, 2011

Prior to reading Enclave, I had already set the bar of expectations pretty low for dystopian YA fiction. Afterwards, I reset it to about a foot off the ground. Therefore, all Divergent had to do in order to get into my good graces was a little hop right over to the other side. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, right? Obviously not 'cos Divergent aimlessly stumbled about, tripped over its own feet, and then proceeded to faceplant into the ground like a drunken frat boy at a keg party. I was not amused.

My book lovin' peeps, I'm warning you now. This review is going to be brutally honest. Why? Because Divergent frustrated the hell out of me and wasted several hours of my life. Tit for tat. And I know that I could have put the book down and never picked it up again, but like many of you, I hate not finishing a book, especially if it costs me $18 plus tax. Also, given the fact that Divergent is almost 500 pages long and has received rave reviews, I was hoping that at the very least about 200 of those would be made of awesome. Thus, I kept reading and waiting, but the awesome never made an appearance.

Anyways, let's get this show on the road. Brace yourselves. This might get ugly.

First off, the plot...hmm, well I would describe it in the following arithmetic terms: 2 + 2 = 5. In other words, it was painfully simplistic and more than a little logically handicapped. And here is why: (1) There was virtually no world-building and NOTHING was ever adequately explained, concretely defined, or sufficiently developed and (2) the logic behind the concepts in this book as well as several actions of its characters was so full of holes that it was basically Swiss cheese.

Secondly, we are never told when and how the factions came into being. We are simply told that Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent) were created to ensure that society functions efficiently and to prevent war. Well guess what. That makes no sense at all. Because by their very existence, structure, and way of living the factions promote things like segregation, discrimination, inequality, oppression, and competing belief systems. Sound familiar? They should. They are after all the leading causes of discord & war among human civilizations throughout history. What a way to shoot yourself in the foot while simultaneously getting butted in the face by your gun's recoil. Bravo!

We are also told very little of what each faction actually does, and what we are told is fairly silly. Abnegation allegedly runs the government while being a complete pushover with no backbone. Erudite researches stuff, works on developing new technology, and arrogantly shuns & slanders other factions. Candor consists of human lie detectors who talk smack and openly insult everybody on a regular basis. Amity does nothing but smile and appear semi-catatonic half the time. And the Dauntless are supposed to serve as security, but in reality are just a bunch of reckless daredevils with borderline sociopathic tendencies. How this society manages to function at all or get anything done I have no freakin' clue.

So what happens in Divergent? Nothing all that interesting or exciting until about the last 70 pages. The first 400+ are dedicated to Beatrice, aka Tris, being initiated into the Dauntless, undergoing completely asinine training (read: senseless brawling, death-defying acts of stupidity, contrived psychological torture), receiving a makeover, and repeatedly getting the snot beat out of her...literally.

Oh, I almost forgot. Tris also ends up finding twu lurve. Her love interest of choice is an older guy who (surprise, surprise) she knows almost nothing about and who treats her like crap in public because apparently it's for her own good. Moreover, Tris is not even pretty and looks like a 12-year-old child, but Four, the hottest badass around who is perfect at everything he does, thinks she's the best thing since sliced bread. AND...wait for it...wait for it...he just so happens to be a virgin with a tragic past & a wounded heart (making him broody & tough but with a gentle, soft side that no one else but Tris gets to see). I kid you not. Man, the cookie cutters making the rounds in YA fiction seriously need to get confiscated ASAP. Amirite?

Speaking of Tris, she started off kinda robotic, turned into a hypocritical biatch, took up membership in the TSTL club, and then strapped on a red bandana and acted like Rambo. To say that I disliked her would be an understatement. She passed judgement on EVERYONE and for things she herself did. In my opinion, she was cocky, mean, self-centered, and immature. On top of that, despite a couple of different people putting themselves on the line to protect her secret and warning her that being found out would probably result in execution, Tris frequently did things that were the equivalent of stamping DIVERGENT on her forehead and yelling "Here I am!" while jumping up & down, pointing at herself.

The sad thing is I could probably go on for several more paragraphs listing all the examples of unrealistic, illogical plot points & nonsensical ideas as well as reasons why I didn't like this book (e.g. the idiotic train jumping, the shoddy definition/concept of being divergent, a teenager serving as faction leader, the miniscule adult involvement, the mind control bullshit, Tris suddenly transforming into an unstoppable human killing machine, etc.) But I won't because I'm tired of typing, and I'm sure you're tired of reading this review turned rant. Needless to say, I have no intention of picking up Insurgent (book #2).


Addendum: February 4, 2013

Since I'm really getting sick & tired of repeating myself 100 times, please read the following before commenting:

- Books are products, readers are consumers, and authors/publishers are selling a service (entertainment). As readers & consumers we have the right to write both positive & negative reviews (and everything in between), depending on our reading experience(s).

- I don't go on 5-star reviews of Divergent and shit all over other people's opinions, telling them how wrong they are for liking this book. So, those of you who troll negative reviews to bitch & moan at the reviewer should stop. All you're accomplishing is making yourselves look immature, closed-minded, and disrespectful.

- No, I don't have to have written a book of my own in order to write a legitimate, critical review of one.

- I obviously hated this book, but that doesn't mean that I think those of you who liked it are wrong in some way or have bad taste in books or are bad readers. Nowhere in my review do I even imply that. Therefore, there is no reason for you to feel insulted and get defensive.

- I don't care how inexperienced or young the author is. I'm reviewing the book, not the author. My rating & criticisms are based on the content, how the story is written, and my thoughts/feelings reading the book. I'm not going to ignore the problems that prevent me from enjoying my reading experience just because it's the author's debut.

- I don't give a damn if book #2 in a series is better than book #1. I read, hated, and reviewed book #1. The knowledge that book #2 isn't as much of a fuck up as its predecessor doesn't make book #1 suck any less. Despite being part of a series, a book should be able to stand on its own and earn its own merit.

- I don't expect or even want the 1st book of an intended series to explain and spell out everything for me. And I certainly don't like info-dumping. However, I do want there to be enough information & description for me to feel engrossed & invested enough to want to pick up book #2.

Furthermore, I don't buy the excuse that just because a book is the 1st installment in a series it's okay for the plot, characters, and world-building to be shallow & underdeveloped ('cos it'll be expanded upon eventually). I've read and loved books in which authors sufficiently fleshed out those components while still leaving room to add more layers to them in the future. It can be done; some authors just don't know how.

- I am in fact a fan of dystopian fiction. I find it fascinating. The thing is though that 9 out of 10 YA dystopias being released these days are not (in my opinion) true representations of the genre. In reality, they are teen soap operas featuring extraordinarily beautiful and/or super-duper special young people running around being angsty & lovey-dovey against a post-apocalyptic, totalitarian, militant, or neo-tribal backdrop. There's no depth, no complexity, and no examination of anything not directly & immediately pertaining to the protagonist(s). Dystopian elements are tacked on as gimmicky plot devices or reduced to window dressings in order to make the story appear more edgy & dramatic (or to simply follow a popular trend).
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Reading Progress

02/01 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 881) (881 new)

Brianna Wow. You DIDN'T like this book whatsoever. I read this book and quite enjoyed it because it served the purpose of mindless entertainment, but your reasoning is absolutely correct now that I think about it. There were TONS of illogical plot points as you point out.
Thank you for putting this review up. We need more literary analysis and basically big DUH reviews of the practical and logical lacking of a novel.

message 2: by Marg (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. I tried to simply sit back & enjoy the ride (I really did), but there were far too many things that didn't make sense or came off completely silly to me. I couldn't ignore them. Even the concept of being divergent was flawed & flimsy in my mind. And there was just not enough substance to make up for the huge gaps in logic. Thus, the more I analyzed things, the more I disliked what I was reading.

D.G. Thanks for the laugh!

I sooo agree..if I could like your review a million times, I would!

Laurel I enjoyed the book, but I can easily see your examples and I definitely agree with them. The plot didn't even start till the last 80 pages or so; I had to stop and check that I wasn't reading Twilight. The plot was painfully cliché and simple, though I did enjoy Roth's prose. Awesome review!

message 5: by Marg (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. Thanks Vile Temptress & Laurel!

Yeah, I was quite bored for 90% of the book. Nothing until those last 70-80 pages even felt all that significant to me in terms of plot & character development. It all seemed so utterly superficial to me.

Also, Divergent is missing 2 key components I feel are crucial in a dystopian story, which are (1) a believable well-developed premise that makes at least some logical sense and (2) solid world-building--I want to be able to picture this alternate/potential future version of our society in my mind as I'm reading.

Lindsay I didn't dislike it completely, but yeah, it was 'eh' - it was the premise. I couldn't buy it at all.

Lisa Nocita Although I liked the novel more than you, your comments are dead on and articulate precisely what bothers me about it. I was struggling to put my feelings into words! Thank you!

Lake Some of your points are valid. However, why are you so disparaging about Tris' looks? Is it that farfetched a "normal-looking" girl would catch the eyes of a "hot" older guy? She did separate herself from the others the minute she jumped off that building at the Dauntless HQ. Just being curious at your reasoning. Thanks!

message 9: by Marg (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. Lakeisha wrote: "Some of your points are valid. However, why are you so disparaging about Tris' looks? Is it that farfetched a "normal-looking" girl would catch the eyes of a "hot" older guy? She did separate herse..."

I was referring to this as a common cliche I've noticed in several YA books. Typically the heroine is either (a) ridiculously gorgeous but apparently doesn't even know it or (b) a plain Jane type who is pursued by the hottest guy every other girl wants to get with.

I don't have a problem with the idea of a normal looking girl catching the eye of a hot guy (I'm a normal-looking girl, so I'm not gonna judge), but I will admit that I'm a bit tired of reading about male love interests who pretty much fit the same "perfect" mold. Why can't the love interest be a normal-looking, average, nice guy?

Furthermore, to be frank, I did find it a bit odd that an older more mature guy like Four would be interested in a girl who was described as appearing quite child-like and who I thought was also very immature.

message 10: by Jesi (new) - added it

Jesi So, I'm about 19% into the book, and I'm *already* having problems with it. And, my problems are basically what you've already said. Plus the whole "Tris is learning how to shoot a gun... Why again?" If they're living in a utopia (as the factions are supposed to provide) then what do they need weapons for?? Or is that explained?

message 11: by Marg (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. Jesi wrote: "So, I'm about 19% into the book, and I'm *already* having problems with it. And, my problems are basically what you've already said. Plus the whole "Tris is learning how to shoot a gun... Why again..."

That (among many other things) is not explained at all. At one point, a guarded fence is described as enclosing the city from some threat that is never defined in any shape or form...which brings up the issue that the reader is never told what other parts of the country/planet are like. Are all other cities divided into factions? If they are, then like you point out there should be no need for security since the society is supposed to be a utopia.

message 12: by Jesi (new) - added it

Jesi's to ward off the sparkly vampires. **headdesk** God, I have 80% left of this drek to go through for a bookclub. And so many *like* it. I don't get it.

message 13: by Pax (new)

Pax Rolfe wow! There's a part of me that hopes you never read anything of mine. Then there's the masochist in me that hopes you do. Regardless, well done.

message 14: by Marg (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. Pax wrote: "wow! There's a part of me that hopes you never read anything of mine. Then there's the masochist in me that hopes you do. Regardless, well done."

Haha! I just snorted coffee out of my nose.

I will have you know that despite what this review might indicate, I am actually capable of writing very complementary reviews on books I actually enjoy. I don't really intend to ever be overly harsh, but I am 100% honest in a call-it-how-I-see-it sort of way.

Thank you! :)

Riona I actually thought this one was pretty decent for being part of the YA dystopia bandwagon, but all the points you make are super legitimate. The society in Divergent is ridiculously far-fetched and while I noticed a lot of plot holes, you pointed out more that I hadn't even considered. I still don't think it was god-awful, but you wrote an excellent review. Thanks!

message 16: by Hana (last edited Sep 14, 2011 01:21AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Hana i agree with this review...

for me divergent has no emotion. i thought it's just me because i was addicted in hunger games and they said that it's almost as good as hunger games... i'm really disappointed.

i feel that the romance part is forced... i don't like the Tris... i think that the only characters that stand out are will and uriah... and i could't imagine the setting of this book.

i'm still wondering if i should continue reading this series.

Buggiez As I read these comments I'm left to wonder, "Did Roth purposely leave holes in the story so that Tris could discover them in the next novel?" I think that possibly could be true. Think about it- the factions don't really know that much about each other to begin with so why would we, as readers, know too much about the factions either, especially since the information we are getting is from Tris' point of view. From what I figure, now that Tris is a rebel on the run, I'm sure we will learn more about the world she lives in and why it came to be that way.

message 18: by Marg (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. There is a problem with that, though. The factions should know more about each other. They were established to each serve a particular purpose based on a specific ideology (aka virtue). They may be divided by their varying belief systems, but they are still setup to work as part of an overall societal system (a system that was created in order to correct/prevent the mistakes of the past).

It does not make any sense for them to have so little knowledge about each other. How are members of each individual faction expected to believe in and follow this supposed "utopian" society if they don't know/understand why/how the different factions function. Moreover, how are teens like Tris expected to make a life-altering decision of choosing one of the factions with such minimal knowledge & understanding to rely on.

If the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing, chaos inevitably ensues...and the same holds true for this type of society.

I get wanting to add mystery into the story and leaving room for further exploration down the line, but this book was riddled with way too many holes for my liking.

message 19: by Dana (new)

Dana JH sigh, I loved it, but for most of the reasons that you didn't. your review was quite good though, even though were on opposites of the rating list....

Brian Spiekerman I'm willing to accept the fact that background info and world-building will be revealed in later books. The thing that I hated was the bitingly cliche romance, as you discussed. Okay, so Four is this older guy (of course. What is it about older guys that girls love so much? I'll never know.) who is tough, blunt and jaded on the outside but sweet and sensitive on the inside. And, of course he has to have an abusive past. I thought he was a bit of a Gary Stu. I wish she ended up with a more interesting guy.

Another thing that bugged me was the fact that Tris becomes a total jerk as the story progresses. She starts out as a generally good-hearted girl, but character development turns her into a rough, tough, rebellious and all-around unpleasant individual. I mean, when Albert joins in the attempt to kill her, he only really does it out of peer pressure. And when he tries to apologize to her, to repent, she gives him the most callous and heartless rejection you could ever possibly imagine. Even when he was in tears.

I think the book had its good points, which I won't list because this comment is getting pretty long. I will say, however, that this is dystopian literature, so the whole faction thing is supposed to be thought of as a bad thing, not a good thing. It's only sold off as a good thing by the government, which claims to be a utopia.

message 21: by Marg (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. Brian wrote: "I'm willing to accept the fact that background info and world-building will be revealed in later books. The thing that I hated was the bitingly cliche romance, as you discussed. Okay, so Four is th..."

I totally agree with you...Four was utterly uninteresting/boring and pretty much exactly the same as the majority of male love interests in YA fiction these days.

Also, I will never know why some authors seem to think that in order for a heroine to be tough, independent, and strong, she also needs to become cold, jaded, and rough.

Technically, from what I recall, the government didn't setup the factions. The society as a whole did (at least that was my understanding from the little info that was offered). In fact, in the story, the government is run by the Abnegation faction because apparently everyone agreed that their selflessness would ensure they would make decisions that were in the best interest of all.

Anyways, I get that the faction system is meant to be messed up given the genre, but the reasoning (and explanation) behind its establishment, structure, and functioning as well as the concept of being divergent was rather flimsy...and I just couldn't buy into any of it.

message 22: by Merci (new) - added it

Merci First of all, I LOVE Divergent. I also read Veronica Roth's blog and she cracks me up.
Second, THIS IS A TRILOGY!!! You have to remember that when you think things aren't fully developed because who would want to read the sequel if everything was revealed in the first book? The faction beginnings were mentioned and will probably be brought up more in the next two books.
The only thing I really agreed on in your review was that the Dauntless are a bunch of reckless daredevils with borderline sociopathic tendencies because that was kinda the point. Dauntless has gotten majorly out of control that they think that bravery means being without fear instead acting in spite of fear that they're constantly doing reckless thins to prove hat they have no fear.
Four is only two years older than Tris. And you're basically saying that looks are everything and that Tris and Four's relationship is unrealistic because hot guys can't date ugly girls.
We all pass judgement on people, even for things that we ourselves have done. And the meaning of divergence wasn't fully understood because Tris doesn't fully understand what it means to be divergent. That will definitely be developed in the next two books.


message 23: by Marg (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. Ella wrote: "First of all, I LOVE Divergent. I also read Veronica Roth's blog and she cracks me up.
Second, THIS IS A TRILOGY!!! You have to remember that when you think things aren't fully developed because wh..."

I'm glad you enjoyed Divergent. I really am. We all have different tastes, expectations, preferences, etc. that affect the way we feel about the books we read. I love certain books that others hate, and hate some books that others love.

My intent in writing any review is not to push my feelings/opinions onto others, but to simply offer them another perspective to consider.

I understand that this is supposed to be part of a trilogy and that more info will be disclosed in the future. Nonetheless, I felt that too much was left untold and inadequately explained/developed in order for me to become engrossed in the story and to buy into the book's premise. There is a balance that authors of book series need to find between giving too much and not enough away in the 1st installment. And it's my personal opinion that Veronica Roth did not find that balance. Others may disagree with me...that's cool.

Also, in my previous comment I addressed the issue of my statement regarding the protagonist's appearance. I was not saying that I think it's unbelievable that an attractive guy would be interested in an unattractive girl. I was simply pointing out the common cliche in the setup of that kind of relationship. In YA fiction, two scenarios usually unfold: (A) the heroine is really gorgeous but doesn't acknowledge her own beauty and every other guy she encounters seems to want to get with her or (B) the heroine is described as a plain Jane type who ends up being pursued by the hottest guy around (who also happens to be a broody bad boy with a chip on his shoulder). The Tris and Four relationship certainly falls into category B...and thus I felt it was cliched, predictable, and boring.

Chantay I am enjoying the book, but what you described about the writing and the plot sums up pretty much how I feel about the plot-device and tone of this book. I can't explain, but I enjoy Tris and want to see her succeed.

message 25: by Utkarsh (new)

Utkarsh Nice review. It's nice to see some people are honest and know how to judge when necessary. Good thing I won't be reading this triliogy thanks to this reviw.

message 26: by Marg (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. @Chantay - I'm glad you've been able to enjoy the book despite having some of the same/similar issues with it as I did. In retrospect, I will say that Tris did have a fighter's attitude & perseverance which I can see resonating with readers. I just didn't think she was a very nice person and some of her actions irked me, but hopefully she'll grow & mature as a character in the future.

@UtkEd - Thanks. As a reader, prior to picking up a book, I look at positive, lukewarm, and negative reviews and then compare those opinions/critiques to my personal like, dislikes, and expectations. I appreciate when reviewers are honest and offer feedback both good & bad. And so, I like to do the same as a reviewer.

Chantay There were points in the book, were her personality was grating. I agree that she wasn't fully developed. Her perseverance got to me the most... but it still didn't stop me from wanting to slap her at times with the way she treated people that backed her when she first got there.

Kathryn Williams Maybe dystopian books aren't for you, because this is the best one I've read so far!

Kathryn Williams But I agree on how everything had a vague description, which sort of frustrated me.

message 30: by Marg (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. I've read and liked dystopian fiction...some of it quite a lot actually. And I plan on reading more of the genre in the future. This book was just not for me. It frustrated me to the point that I could not enjoy it regardless of its subject matter.

Carisa Burns I agree this was not well written. I great idea that was never really extrapolated on properly and the main character went from wishy washy to rambo in like a day? sure, ok. Are we really supposed to believe any of it? Even my suspension or reality is not that grand.

message 32: by Marg (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. Yeah, the idea was definitely very interesting and had lots of potential to make for a great story, but unfortunately it was poorly developed & executed. I can't even begin to tell you how much I was looking forward to reading this book. So, I was really surprised by how much I ended up not liking it. My biggest issue would definitely have to be the astounding amount of stuff that didn't make sense and was wholly unbelievable.

Miss Ryoko I liked the book, but I LOVED your review! And was happy to find someone else who couldn't stand Tris as much as I couldn't XD And you're right, even though I liked the book, I agree with almost everything you said. Except that I liked Four! Haha!

But seriously, Tris...could there BE a more annoying female lead...oh wait, Bella Swan XD LOL!

Anyway, I enjoyed reading your review/rantings! You speak the truth!

message 34: by Marg (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. Thanks!

Yeah, I wanted to slap Tris around...repeatedly. She has definitely earned a top spot on my list of Most Annoying & Unlikable Protagonists.

I'm glad that you were still able to enjoy the book. Maybe Tris will manage to redeem herself in the sequel.

rameau I keep seeing the name "Tris" and I'm reminded of another train wreck of a book, Tris & Izzie. Must have contributed to my hate for this reincarnation too.

message 36: by Miss Ryoko (last edited Nov 18, 2011 06:32AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Miss Ryoko Haha! I somehow doubt that she will but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I also didn't blame Peter for trying to toss her over the chasm! I would have done it myself if I could have!

Chantay Well everyone get ready for the movie. Summit bought the rights already. Marg I can hear you grinding your teeth.

message 38: by Marg (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. Honestly, I'm not surprised at all. In fact, I was pretty much expecting it.

Hollywood desperately wants to cash in on the increase in popularity & sales of YA fiction and to recreate the success of Harry Potter & Twilight. They know that readers of book series can be extremely devoted fans, who will gobble up related merchandise like there's no tomorrow. Therefore, movie execs jump at the chance to turn a series into a brand & a franchise they can profit from long-term.

Divergent regardless of its flaws is quite marketable, and its story can be manipulated/transformed into an onscreen adaptation filled with lots of special effects, fight sequences, and melodrama that will be appealing to various demographics of both genders.

Miss Ryoko If Summit doesn't blow it by casting horrible they often do.

message 40: by Kurt (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kurt Your review makes some valid points, but fails to acknowledge the simple fact that all authors have artistic license to build a world as they see fit. They also get to choose from what perspective we see that world and what information regarding that world we are given. The rest is left to imagination or discovery in future novels. In specific regard to the factions, my own interpretation made sense, but left me looking for more answers. Although these initiates are expected to make the important decision with little more information than the original intent and values of each faction, their decision is not to be based on history. The are to choose based on there deepest basic character traits and behavioral tendencies.

I would go on but my son is awake in his crib and I hope I made some sort of point here...

I don't disagree with your review on all points, I just don't feel compelled to expect answers on everything in the first book. I also like having things left to the imagination, that is why we read books opposed to watching movies. The author chooses what is defined and the rest is up to us. If you cannot make it make sense with what the author gave you then you are not cut out for this specific book.. some people are bound to dislike any book, I just feel this one was well written.. There is plenty of room for improvement.. always is though.

rameau Kurt wrote: "Your review makes some valid points, but fails to acknowledge the simple fact that all authors have artistic license to build a world as they see fit. They also get to choose from what perspective we see that world and what information regarding that world we are given. The rest is left to imagination or discovery in future novels.
I don't disagree with your review on all points, I just don't feel compelled to expect answers on everything in the first book."

All authors have their artistic freedom to built a world as they see fit, and all readers have their freedom to deem that world building acceptable or lacking. I know why I didn't like the book and I have pretty clear idea as to why Marg didn't either, but you're more than welcome to disagree.

What I object to, however, is the expectation of serialization, that I should wait for the subsequent additions to see what should have been apparent in the original novel. The author is welcome to deepen his or her vision in the sequels, but the framework should be set in the beginning and it should be strong enough to carry the weight of a trilogy - or a lengthier series.

It's what the publishers and authors count on, that I'm so engrossed with the superficial and the pretty that I'll buy three books instead of one just to see how the story ends. If I don't see any sense in the first novel, why on earth should I pay for two more to see the patch ups?

As always, this is my opinion and you're welcome to disagree with me.

message 42: by Marg (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. Rameau took the words right out of my mouth. Thank you, Rameau.

@ Kurt - The lack of world-building was only one of many problems I had with the book, but since you point it out, allow me to elaborate on my criticism of that aspect of the book.

I don't expect or even want the 1st book of an intended series to explain and spell out everything for me. And I certainly don't like info-dumping (in any book). However, as Rameau has so eloquently explained, I do want there to be enough information & description for me to feel engrossed & invested enough to want to pick up book #2.

For me, the world a story takes place in is a character in and of itself and should be treated by authors as such (this is especially true in genres like dystopian fiction). In other words, I need the world to be able to take shape in my mind--to solidify into a living multifaceted entity that I can care about. I want to see how it functions & grows, and I need to understand it (at least in part) and have it make some kind of sense to me.

Divergent's world was (in my opinion) flat, superficial, and one-dimensional--it was lifeless. I was never able to picture it in my mind's eye. Despite my wildly active imagination, I had no idea what the world looked like or what it felt like to be a part of that world. And what little info I was able to gather here & there didn't logically add up. Consequently, I came away from my reading experience feeling wholly frustrated and disconnected from the story.

Anyways, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me. We clearly have different expectations from the books we read, which is perfectly fine. My reviews are completely subjective, and I certainly don't expect everyone to agree with me.

message 43: by Rosa (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rosa First off I did love this book but reading ur review had me peeing a little! I have to say yes there are holes but u can't expect to understand the whole or even part of the concept of the government and all that other stuff from the sixteen year old telling the story. A sixteen year old who has been basically taught to be that calm, selfless, "doormat". And really "a normal looking, average, nice guy?" who wants that? I'm married to that. I don't care how cliche it is. I want the abused, inner turmoil, devilishly sexy, brooding, bad boy as my love interest in a book! Average looking esta loca!

message 44: by Marg (last edited Dec 13, 2011 12:19PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Marg K. I wasn't just talking about not knowing how the government works. I was talking about getting more information on how the society functions and what the environment around the characters looks like. The fact that Tris is just a teen is a flimsy excuse. She goes to school. Kids are taught about things like the environment, society, government, culture, history, and other parts of the world as early as elementary school. And even though her education may be different than ours, I still can't imagine that she would not be taught about her society and how it was established. Besides, she has a brain and eyes. Doesn't she? Roth could have had Tris make more observations & reflections about her social & physical environment so as to give the readers more insight into Divergent's world. Being selfless & calm doesn't mean having to be ignorant.

And okay, I get the bad boy appeal, but is it too much to ask for a little bit more depth, complexity, diversity, and originality in a love interest? There are other very appealing, attractive guys in existence who are more than just brooding, angsty Abercrombie models.

I don't know. I guess we just have to agree to disagree. I obviously have different expectations than most readers.

message 45: by Adam (new)

Adam Hanes-Mackean Thank you for saving me a good chunk of my life from this. Book of the year my ass.

message 46: by Experiment BL626 (last edited Dec 20, 2011 09:15PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Experiment BL626 Even though I like D, your points is completely valid and common sensical (is that even a word?). Where as you took off major points for the book's cons, I only took off some points because I still managed to enjoy it. It's too bad you won't be reading the sequel, I would have looked forward to knowing if you thought the sequel was any better or worse (liking your analytical skill).

Thank you for this review. =)

rainfalls I agree with some of the things you pointed out, but I still love Divergent. I think it is well written, though I do see the plot holes that you stated. Also, since this is a trilogy, you need a good, solid base to go off of - you can't just dive into the plot. You said how the fractions are silly, but isn't that also what Tris and Tobais said? They were going in the wrong direction and weren't functioning the way they were set up to be. The "first 400+" pages were Tris the others getting through the standard levels to become a part of Dauntless, so I think it was important to see how each of them was formed and like I said earlier, it set a foundation for the story to grow on. I agree that the hot, mysterious, badass guy falling in love with the average, boring girl was cliche, but I don't think it would work as well with having Tris be beautiful because it wouldn't represent Abnegation as well (them being average and bland). Plus - who doesn't love a hot, mysterious guy? I see your point when you say that it was weird and unrealistic that Tris was the weakling in the beginning and all of a sudden she was all high and mighty, but I think a part of it was that she had change herself so that she would be able to survive in her world. Honestly, I don't see how jumping from the train was that unrealistic for this world. Tris spoke about how Dauntless was all about taking risks and showing off your bravery and jumping off a train to get to the base wasn't a very far fetched way of showing it. In addition, I don't think that there was such a good definition of being Divergent because no one quite understood what it was in the first place.

Although I disagree with you in the long run, I appreciated your review and how you were able to support your reasons for not liking the book. I also acknowledge that everyone has their own opinions and may be looking for different things in books than some other people. I hope you read Insurgent, though, because I actually enjoyed seeing the other side of how people thought about this book and I want to know if you think it improved.

message 48: by Mikka (new) - added it

Mikka Congratulations! You turned me off this book, and am now reading PathFinder by Orson Scott Card, which is absolutely delicious. I think you deserve a thank you. :)

message 49: by Jia (new)

Jia I'm so glad I read your review... saved me a few hours of my life!

message 50: by Leah (new) - rated it 2 stars

Leah I'm roughly 100 pages in and I'm pretty 'meh' about it. It was so hyped up I was expecting something far better. At this point it's not horrendous, but it's nowhere near what I had hoped for.

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