Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Book Review - "Divergent" by Veronica Roth

Released: May 3rd, 2011
Genre: Dystopian
My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I’ve put this review off for a while, one of the reasons being I wanted to let the story marinate before I put my thoughts on paper. I’m someone who needs to process before I speak my thoughts or write them out. I want to make sure I do my efforts justice. Sometimes that can be a good thing because by the time I’m ready to talk about it, I have all my thoughts in order. Sometimes it can be a bad thing because I’ll forget some of the details. And seeing as to how I read this book a few months ago, I’m sure I’ll forget a few things. Lol Anyhow… here they are, and I'll try and be as non-spoilery as possible:

The Good:

There’s plenty good to say about this book, so I’ll start with the author’s writing style. Some have criticized it for being too simplistic, but that’s why I loved it. Veronica Roth is straightforward and doesn’t bog down the prose with a ton of colorful, fruity adjectives, but yet she’s descriptive where she needs to be. I consider this smart writing; it makes for an easy to read (in a good way) and your readers don’t have to wade through the fluff to get to the meat of the story. Not to knock writers who fluff, though. I suppose it’s a matter of taste.

Another ‘good’ for me was the POV character, Tris. I like that she’s tough and isn’t afraid to go after what her heart is calling her to do (choosing Dauntless). Some would see the choice as a hard one to make since it means leaving her parents behind, but in Divergent, the author captures the truth about making such decisions. Sometimes the ‘easy thing’ (in this case, staying in Abnegation) isn’t any less hard, because it would be going against who Tris is and what she desires. I think this is a great message for Ms. Roth's readers. Every decision has drawbacks. Every decision has its rewards. Either way, follow your heart.

I also like that Tris isn’t the typical boy-crazy teen. Sure, it could be partly her upbringing since she’s taught to not self-indulge, but I think it’s also a part of who she is. It’s not something she fights. As a matter of fact, when she meets her love interest about halfway through the book, she berates herself for even looking at him too much. And that’s another thing – the love story doesn’t dominate the bigger story. That’s a good lesson, as well. Love is a part of life, but it doesn’t need to be your whole life.

Another ‘good’ for me was how the system is set up within this society. Not that I believe it's a good thing; quite the opposite. It rings true for me how others sometimes try to compartmentalize or pigeon hole us as being one thing. I’ve seen it (and experienced it to some degree) within the corporate world. If you don’t fit a mold, you don’t belong. Can you say, “narrow minded?” The truth of it is, all of us are multifaceted. We can be selfless and brave. We can be kind and smart. It should be celebrated and encouraged, not considered a bad thing (Divergent). Well… it’s bad for the people who want control, but nobody should feel they’re forced into being a certain way for the sake of pleasing someone else or saving their own butt. I see it as a form of oppression.

Lastly, speaking of multifaceted, I love the way Roth's characters have flaws (physical and otherwise). There's nothing more boring to me than a character who's perpetually perfect, always the prettiest, always the most fawned over, always knowing the right thing to do. When is that realistic? As readers, we want someone we can relate to, and Tris was someone I connected with from the first chapter.

The Bad:

Not much bad to say about this book. I did find the scenes where boys were paired with girls to spar a bit hard to stomach. Especially when the boy beats the living crap out of the girl. I didn’t see why that was necessary. But I suppose in this world, an initiate is an initiate, regardless of gender. You’re expected to perform and do what’s asked of you if you don’t want to become Factionless. I guess if anything, it just shows how corrupt and heartless the leadership has become at Dauntless. So at least one could argue it serves a purpose within the story.

The Ugly:

I have nothing to say in this category.

Favorite Quote:

“Politeness is deception in pretty packaging.”

In closing, while this wasn't one I gushed over, it still earned 5 stars from me for being riveting, captivating, and keeping me up until all hours of the night just so I could see how it would end. It was very well written with believable characters and an engaging plot line. I will most definitely read the next books in the series!!!


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