Deborah Markus's Reviews > Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth
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Jun 07, 2014

it was ok

I don't mind a weak premise if the writing is engaging enough. At first, I enjoyed this book -- enough that I even felt a little guilty, since this world makes the Twilight universe seem grittily realistic in comparison.

Ultimately, though, the goofiness did me in. All those trains. And tattoos. And train tattoos. (I may have dreamed that last one.)

Okay, and part of me died a little every time someone listed the faction names, because they all use different parts of speech AND THAT'S NOT OKAY. If the friendly faction's called "Amity," the brave one should be called "Dauntlessness", damn it. If the smart one's called "Erudite," they should all die in an extremely pretentious fire. And don't even get me started on "Abnegation."

And, okay, fine, it bugs me that an American writer would talk about a potential political revolution that would give citizens more choices when it comes to elected officials as a bad thing.

Plus: THE TITLE. For crying out corn, really? It's, like, vanishingly rare to have people who might be good at more than one thing? People who are a big fat pain in the butt because they hate being told what to do and ask inconvenient questions at awkward times? I thought those were called teenagers.

I have exactly no urge to read the rest of the trilogy, and bear in mind I say that as someone who managed two and a half of the Twilight books before calling it quits.

This book just didn't work for me.
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Reading Progress

June 7, 2014 – Started Reading
June 7, 2014 – Shelved
June 7, 2014 –
page 224
46.0% ""I still smell like wind when I walk into the cafeteria that evening."\n \n I can forgive a lot about this book, including the shaky premise. The author knows how to keep the plot rolling, and her writing is pretty good. I know there's a lot wrong with the world-building here, but I'm not bored.\n \n I cannot, however, forgive this line.\n \n HOW THE HECK CAN ANYONE SMELL LIKE WIND?"
June 7, 2014 –
page 256
52.57% "I'm having more and more trouble with one little aspect of this book. Which might not be so bad if it weren't, oh, THE TITLE OF THE FREAKIN' BOOK.\n \n Trying not to be a hater here."
June 8, 2014 –
page 262
53.8% "A news article "promotes a return to the democratically elected political systems of the past. It makes a lot of sense, which makes me suspect it is a call for revolution wrapped in the clothing of rationality."\n \n Um.\n \n But --\n \n Am I supposed to sympathize with the MC who figures any proposition that seems to make sense and wants people to have more choices must be crazy radical talk? \n \n I haz a confuzed."
June 9, 2014 –
page 313
64.27% ""You think my first instinct is to protect you. Because you're small, or a girl, or a Stiff. But you're wrong. My first instinct is to push you until you break, just to see how hard I have to press."\n \n He's holding her face as he says this, and he tightens his fingers when he says "break." Three seconds later, they're all over each other.\n \n Remember, ladies: not-so-veiled threats are foreplay from Mr. Right!"
June 9, 2014 –
page 337
69.2% ""But you're older than I am...Tobias."\n \n He smiles at me. "Yes, that whopping two-year gap really is insurmountable, isn't it?"\n \n Congratulations on knowing what italics are, author. Now could you please chill out, already? \n \n I actually started off enjoying this book."
June 9, 2014 –
page 342
70.23% ""I was afraid of spiders, suffocation, walls that inch slowly inward and trap you between them, getting thrown out of Dauntless, uncontrollable bleeding, getting run over by a train, my father's death, public humiliation, and kidnapping by men without faces."\n \n I don't get it. Was she afraid of those things all the time? Where does she live that walls act like that? Did she see Star Wars once too often?"
June 9, 2014 –
page 348
71.46% ""Erudite faction norms dictate that a faction member must wear at least one blue article of clothing at a time, because blue causes the body to release a calming chemical."\n \n I CALL SHENANIGANS."
June 9, 2014 –
page 349
71.66% ""Heat licks my throat at the sight of her."\n \n Wow. This book just got weird-sexy all of a --\n \n Oh. Wait. "Her" is a woman who insulted the MC's family (and faction of origin). MC just plain hates her, right?\n \n (scanning down to end of paragraph...)\n \n "I hate her."\n \n There we go.\n \n Somebody please tell Veronica Roth that heat is not in the habit of licking throats, barring the occasional indie porno novel."
June 10, 2014 –
page 351
72.07% "Eyes are very interesting in the dystopian future. They can be tense:\n \n They stare at screens with tense eyes, focused.\n \n ...and can also skip:\n \n his eyes skipping over mine nervously.\n \n I hope they remember to stretch after all that."
June 14, 2014 –
page 367
75.36% "He slips his hands over my neck and presses his thumbs under my chin, tilting my head back so his forehead meets mine. For a moment he stands there, his eyes closed\n \n Ooh, that's nice. I like that. The beginning of intimacy between two young, inexperienced people -- lovely.\n \n his eyes closed, breathing my air.\n \n AND you lost me.\n \n Seriously? Do NOT share air. And if you do, DON'T tell me about it."
June 14, 2014 –
page 372
76.39% "He draws himself into a train car as it passes with bewildering ease and pulls me in after him.\n \n In the dystopian future, hobos are the coolest people ever."
June 15, 2014 –
page 440
90.35% "Re the big rescue, and I'll try to steer clear of spoilers: Did I miss something? How the bleep did she bleeping find her? \n \n And seriously, if you're in the middle of a war and you need to execute a dangerous enemy combatant, you do a big dramatic face-your-fear-bwahahahaha scenario rather than just, you know, taking them out?\n \n I started out liking this book, darn it."
June 15, 2014 –
page 442
90.76% ""Every faction conditions its members to think and act a certain way. And most people do it. For most people, it's not hard to learn, to find a pattern of thought that works and stay that way. But our minds move in a dozen different directions. We can't be confined to one way of thinking."\n \n Somebody please tell me how to post a picture of Church Lady saying, "WELL, NOW, ISN'T THAT SPECIAL.""
June 20, 2014 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-27 of 27) (27 new)

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Carmen Deborah - the parts of speech/Faction thing bothered me as well. Great review! Also, can I just say, "for crying out corn"?!!?!? Is this part of your son's swearing-type exclamations project? :)


Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell I was also really mad about how she vilified intelligence. My copy had a Q&A with the author...and she talked about the merits of every single faction EXCEPT Erudite.

This is a book being marketed at teen girls. Are we really saying that we want them to value being reckless train-jumping douche-mongers over being smart?

WHAT THE FUCK?

/steps off soap box


Deborah Markus Carmen wrote: "Deborah - the parts of speech/Faction thing bothered me as well. Great review! Also, can I just say, "for crying out corn"?!!?!? Is this part of your son's swearing-type exclamations project? :)"

Thanks, Carmen! I honestly have no idea where "for crying out corn" came from -- it just popped out one day, and I liked the sound of it so I kept it. I thought I might have heard it from someone else, but the closest I can think of is an elementary-school teacher I had who used to say, "Oh, for crying out tears." Which is also funny. But not as good as corn.


Carmen So funny! I love "collecting" fun language tidbits. :)


Deborah Markus Nenia wrote: "I was also really mad about how she vilified intelligence. My copy had a Q&A with the author...and she talked about the merits of every single faction EXCEPT Erudite.

This is a book being marketed..."


(checks author interview included in this edition)

Holy cats, you're right! I never even noticed that!


Deborah Markus Carmen wrote: "So funny! I love "collecting" fun language tidbits. :)"

You are welcome to whatever you can grab from me!


Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell Deborah wrote: "Nenia wrote: "I was also really mad about how she vilified intelligence. My copy had a Q&A with the author...and she talked about the merits of every single faction EXCEPT Erudite.

This is a book ..."


I think I noticed it because I was really focused on how the Erudite faction were made into an almost Nazi-like group, and that really sickened me. I was hoping to see some sort of explanation for it in the back of the book, and I guess I got one. :|


message 8: by Julio (new)

Julio Genao re: parts of speech

oh, for niblets' sake


Carmen Julio - That's funny. :)


message 10: by Julio (new)

Julio Genao ;-)


Caroline "For crying out corn"! HAHAHAHA!

I love this entire paragraph:

"It's, like, vanishingly rare to have people who might be good at more than one thing? People who are a big fat pain in the butt because they hate being told what to do and ask inconvenient questions at awkward times? I thought those were called teenagers."

Yeah, this book is terrible. The second isn't much better. I didn't bother with the third. There was no point.


Caroline Deborah wrote: ""Oh, for crying out tears." Which is also funny. But not as good as corn."

No, "crying out corn," EASILY beats "crying out tears." :D :D


Heather *Awkward Queen and Unicorn Twin* Okay, and part of me died a little every time someone listed the faction names, because they all use different parts of speech AND THAT'S NOT OKAY. If the friendly faction's called "Amity," the brave one should be called "Dauntlessness", damn it. If the smart one's called "Erudite," they should all die in an extremely pretentious fire. And don't even get me started on "Abnegation."

Can I just say how awesome it is you mentioned this? I have the same problem with trilogies sometimes, like Paranormalcy. The second book is called Supernatually. And the third (I just looked it up) is Endlessly.

THE WORDS NEED TO AGREE.


Deborah Markus Heather wrote: THE WORDS NEED TO AGREE.

Exactly! HOW IS THIS NOT A DUH?


message 15: by Jean (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jean It turns out the third book explains why everyone is only good at one thing. But somebody had to tell me that, because I didn't get past the first one either.


message 16: by Deborah (last edited Aug 30, 2014 12:28PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Deborah Markus Jean wrote: "It turns out the third book explains why everyone is only good at one thing. But somebody had to tell me that, because I didn't get past the first one either."

Can you spoiler it to me? I don't want to read any more, either.


message 17: by Jean (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jean Sure. SPOILER: The apocalyptic war did some sort of genetic damage to people, rendering them less capable. Tris, as a Divergent, is a *normal* person--everyone else has messed-up brains.

My informant (who may or may not be 14 and living in my household, she doesn't want to be identified) can't remember any more details--there was something about what the damage was, maybe (experiments? accidental?)--but says that the first book was the best one so if you didn't like it, don't keep going.


Deborah Markus Jean wrote: "Sure. SPOILER: The apocalyptic war did some sort of genetic damage to people, rendering them less capable. Tris, as a Divergent, is a *normal* person--everyone else has messed-up brains.

My i..."


Okay, that's actually kind of interesting. Sadly, though, I think I have to take your informant's advice. Thank you both!


Maddie/Art3mis Caroline---you may actually want to bother with the third one. Because (spoiler) she dies in it. Sooooo....just thought I'd add that in. I'll leave now.


Deborah Markus Maddie Jane/America Singer wrote: "Caroline---you may actually want to bother with the third one. Because (spoiler) she dies in it. Sooooo....just thought I'd add that in. I'll leave now."

WHAT THE COW SHE (view spoiler)???? I may have to revisit this series!


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

Diane The whole thing about everyone having "messed-up brains" is one of the most pathetic attempts at explanations ever conceived and if you don't mind me spoiling the series here's why:
1. There is NO SUCH THING AS DAMAGED GENETICS AND THE ENTIRE PREMISE OF THIS STORY IS SCIENTIFICALLY IMPOSSIBLE. Anyone in a high school level biology or basic Wikipedia page class could've told Roth this
2. Once the scientists(one again made to look like bad guys) realized they "messed up" they quarantined the people with "damaged genetics" to see if they would have babies that were normal to fix their genetic meddling. DIVERGENCE SHOULD'VE NEVER HAPPENED BECAUSE THEY WOULD'VE NEEDED VARIATION IN THEIR GENE POOL OTHERWISE THEY WOULD HAVE KEPT ON MAKING MENTALLY MESSED UP BABIES. IT'S CALLED A PUNNETT SQUARE
3. Okay, let's play along with all this fake science that Roth didn't have 2 minutes to correct. If divergence were to come back again, this would've been listed under something called "The Founder Effect." Assuming this is what the not real scientists wanted, expecting a group of people that make up less than 15%(I'm assuming) of the population to genetically "fix" over a hundred years of "genetic damage" is like me giving you a small hose and telling you to use it to siphon every last drop of water from the ocean with it. They also did nothing as they watched the divergent people get killed, even though THEY WERE THE RESULT THEY WANTED
Excuse me for coming off a little strong, I just care deeply about science and actually well-written and planned out books. Not to mention that Roth admitted she had no idea where she was going when she started this series. Just another author who wanted our money.


Deborah Markus Diane wrote: "The whole thing about everyone having "messed-up brains" is one of the most pathetic attempts at explanations ever conceived and if you don't mind me spoiling the series here's why:
1. There is NO ..."


It's not healthy to hold things in, Diane. Tell us how you really feel.


Maddie/Art3mis (complete spoilers ahead)
Deborah------yes she does! At the end of Allegiant she sacrifices herself for her brother........its supposed to be all noble and whatever but I was just like..."Seriously?"

I don't know. Just figured I ought to say something :-|


message 24: by P. (new) - rated it 4 stars

P. Kirby I read all three because they kept popping up on sale--cheap!-- and I can't resist a good sale. I found the first entertaining, provided it's read in "brain off" mode. They get worse after that. By the third, the science had gone so far off the rails, it was beyond train wreck. As I recall, Tris and Four had alternating POV chapters and they sounded like exactly the same person.


Deborah Markus Maddie Jane/America Singer wrote: "I don't know. Just figured I ought to say something :-|"

I'm glad you did!


Deborah Markus P. wrote: "I read all three because they kept popping up on sale--cheap!-- and I can't resist a good sale. I found the first entertaining, provided it's read in "brain off" mode. They get worse after that. By the third, the science had gone so far off the rails, it was beyond train wreck. As I recall, Tris and Four had alternating POV chapters and they sounded like exactly the same person."

Argh, that's one of my literary pet peeves! Okay, maybe I don't need to pick this series up again any time soon...


message 27: by Tina (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tina Ok, as always Deborah, you have me cracking up with your review.

I actually enjoyed this trilogy. But I can definitely see your points.

The part that really got me repeatedly was the constant reference to "breaths". Not "breath" but "breaths." Who talks about breath in the plural in that context? Repeatedly??


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