Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Divergent Review, In Pictrues

Veronica Roth

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.

Chicago. (the picture is my 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?


  1. This is such a cool idea! I LOVED this! And I especially loved the Are You Afraid Of The Dark pic....hehehe I used to love that show!!!

    Awesome post!!!
    Amber @ Me, My Shelf and I

  2. Kathy, I love this post!! How creative!! Also, I think you make some really great points. Tris really is a different sort of character. I personally related to her better than Katniss, because she seemed more real to me.

    Also, I was PETRIFIED of Are you afraid of the dark!I was also like 7 or 8 years old. But still... :)

  3. Me, My Shelf And I thanks! I was trying to think of a picture to show scary things, and it was either that or Tales from the Crypt, which horrified me as a small kid. (I wasn't supposed to watch that one, tho, so the other picture won!)

    Lisa, I think a lot of people related to Tris better than Katniss, so I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority. And I was scared of that show, too! :P

  4. I like the way you reviewed this one too. I'm glad I'm not the only one who was disappointed. And, I'll admit it...I kept seeing some weird similarities with I Am Number Four too! Not the story but with number four and something about number six but I can't remember. Was that how many fears she ended up having???

  5. I LOVE The Hunger Games ;)
    Divergent sounds like an interesting read.

  6. The way you described the pacing was exactly how I felt too! (: I liked the book a lot, though I didn't have any expectations of it when I picked it up. I know it's hard, but I'm trying to to have any expectations so that way I can't get let down. I can't wait for the sequel! Great review by the way, I've never read one like this before (:

  7. What a creative and fun way to do a review, kathy! I loved reading your thoughts on Divergent. I have the book here and your review lowered my expectations, and I believe that is good. That way I might love it a bit more than you did :)

    I remember Are You Afraid Of The Dark, it was aired here in Norway as well when I was younger :)

  8. Jenny, thanks for making me feel not crazy. I thought about I Am Number Four quite a bit. (and I didn't even like that book). And, yes.

    Elisabeth, interesting is a good word for it! :)

    Katie, thanks. I think the sequel will help me decide if I finish the series or not.

    Mari, I think it's good to go into it with low expectations. I bet you'll like it! I really think a big part of my problem was wanting too much from it.

  9. OMG best review of this book ever. I can't wait to try it. I honestly think you made me want it more.