What Divergent Is Not:
I loved the characters in The Hunger Games. I would read about them doing just about anything. I didn't quite have the same love for the characters in Divergent. It wasn't until closer to the end of the book that I felt like I could relate to Tris. She actually has some really funny, human moments, and I liked that. But she's not Katniss. If she were anyone from the HG series, she'd be Johanna. And Four is far more Gale than Peeta. But if those characters worked for you, I think the ones in Divergent will too.
There's a character named Four in this book. I spent more time than I should have wondering who One, Two, and Three were. And also wondering if some bad guys were trying to take them out. (If you've read the book feel free to laugh at me). I would recommend against that line of thinking, as this is not I Am Number Four, either.
Divergent wasn't the best book of the year for me, either. I'm afraid it may have suffered from a bit of over-hype. Or maybe my expectations were just too high. A lot of people said Divergent was their favorite read this year, and that got me very excited. But I just couldn't relate to Tris for a very long time and I didn't like her attitude or her choices.
I think I may have liked the book better if I hadn't wanted so much from it. But, expectations aside, I thought there were a couple of problems with pacing and consistency in the story.
What Divergent is:
a page turner! There were a couple of times where I wasn't sure what the conflict would be, but I couldn't stop reading. Divergent is nearly 500 pages long, but didn't feel like it at all. I felt the pacing went weird for the final 100 or so pages, but I wanted to read, read, read until I got to the end.
violent. I know violence is common in dystopian books but the fighting here seemed especially vicious to me. Most of it is fist fighting, but it's brutal and personal and felt excessive. I don't like reading about people being beaten until they're unconscious, or descriptions of bleeding/bruised body parts. I thought the author could have toned that down and still gotten her point across.
high school, which I'll just claim as Tris's too. Look at all the windows) Being a Chicago native gets me some funny questions. Like, did you ever meet Oprah? Or, isn't it kind of dangerous? Or, there must have been so many fun things to do all the time! Or, isn't the food there supposed to be really good?
Guess what. Chicago is all of those things, all at the same time. It's violent and dangerous and beautiful and artsy and rich and very poor and fun and boring. But sometimes people only see it as one thing. Which makes it the perfect setting for the story and its factions. I really liked the idea of the factions.
fearful. My absolute favorite thing about the book was being with the characters for their different fear simulations. It was an interesting display of character development. Some of Tris's fears were generic (who isn't afraid of not being able to breathe/drowning/etc.) But others were more telling, and that was around the point where I finally felt like she was a three-dimensional character.
And then I thought about what would show up in my fear simulation, and was happy no one was around to watch!
Overall, I'd still tell people to give Divergent a chance. It was more mixed for me, but I'll most likely read the sequel. What did you think of Divergent? Anyone else old enough to remember Are You Afraid of the Dark?