Today I finished the book, Divergent by Veronica Roth. And, I have to say it wasn’t bad. But it wasn’t great. And it was certainly not nearly a good as I had been lead to believe by, well, pretty much everyone.
If I had a 1-10 scale of Young Adult Literature it would look something like this:
1) New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
2) Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer
3) Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
4) Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
5) The Giver by Lois Lowry
6) The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
7) Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson
8) Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
9) Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
10) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Sooo….on a scale of New Moon to Speak it was…a 4.
It was on par with the least irritating book from the Twilight saga. I’m not sure if that is something to celebrate or not, (just thought about it. Definitely not worth celebrating).
As a whole, Divergent doesn’t have a bad story. I generally like dystopian YA literature. The Giver is an all-time favourite, and I really really like The Hunger Games too. But Divergent was a decent story, poorly executed.
It was set in a near future Chicago, but, there was little background given as to why or how society turned out that way. It was alluded to, but never elaborated. So it was hard for me to care about the characters or their plight.
It also had waaay too many characters. So many turned out to not actually matter, and that one’s that do matter I couldn’t keep straight.
For example [SPOILER] by the time it was discovered the Marcus was Tobias’ father…I couldn’t remember who Marcus was. There was also some development of relationships between characters from the Abnegation factor at the beginning…but then those characters were never mentioned again. So, what was the point?
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I should maybe give a plot rundown.
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
So Tris, as she is known, was Abnegation and then switched to Dauntless. But, she is actually a Divergent. And this fact is beaten into the reader. It felt like every other page Tris would once again had the realisation that she is different because she is Divergent.
It is the first time I have read a book and thought, “man, you could turn this into a drinking game!” Take a shot every time she realises she is Divergent.
So, to be nice, the writing quality was… still better written than 50 Shades of Grey! (I made it through 27 pages of that book before the poor spelling/grammar/syntax made it impossible to go further). But, I digress. The writing quality was immature. A lot of the descriptions were repetitive and the character development was pretty non-existent in most cases. That is my biggest issue, not the story, but the characters and descriptions. If those were more thought out the story would be infinitely better.
NOW, that being said…. the book had some good points.
God was mentioned, a few times. When Tris [SPOILER] faced death at one point, she remembered back to when she prayed with her family and said she was happy that her family taught her about God.
The idea that selflessness and bravery are often the same thing was also a good aspect and that the idea of being a virtuous person was to share in all of the qualities of all of the factions.
[SPOILER] Tris’ mother was the perfect example of bravery, kindness, love and courage. She paid the ultimate sacrifice to save her child and her family. She was the most complete character, and was hardly ever in the book. All characters should’ve been given that much development. It would’ve been nice. She was only mentioned on a total of about 10 pages or so, but easily my favourite character and the one I cared about the most when she died.
So ultimately, Divergent was just…meh. A good story ruined by immature writing and too many characters.
Only time will tell if I will read the other 2 books. But seeing as I read ALL 4 Twilight books (more than once, I’m ashamed to say), the answer is…I’ll probably read them. Glutton for punishment by way of mediocre books.