Saturday, 9 March 2013

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Well, that was disappointing.


When Divergent came out in 2011, there was a ridonkulous amount of hype around it. Every review I read said it was ah-mazing. Some said it was as good as or better than fellow YA dystopia The Hunger Games. Needless to say, I had very high expectations. They were definitely not met.

In an unspecified future, society has been divided up into five factions, with each one placing one particular value above all others. Tris has grown up in Abnegation, where selflessness rules, but she's always been fascinated by the brave Dauntless. When the time comes for her to choose the faction she will spend the rest of her life with, she discovers she's actually Divergent, excelling in more than one area. It's dangerous to be Divergent, apparently.

I didn't buy it. The worldbuilding was very weak and didn't make sense to me at all. Why would society divide into factions to keep peace, when division brings the opposite? Moreover, why is being Divergent so rare, when in reality most people are good at and do value more than one thing? It's more rare to find someone who only has one strength! After all bravery, intelligence, honesty, selflessness and peacefulness are not all mutually exclusive.

Divergent was slow to start with, and the majority of the plot is taken up with training and tests that kind of go nowhere. It picks up towards the end, but takes awhile to get there. I really didn't like Tris at first - she seemed cold and unkind. She grew on me a bit but I didn't love her. The chemistry between her and Four, the love interest, was great in a couple of scenes but it all felt very predictable, like I'd read it 50 times before.

It was entertaining overall but OK at best. I really don't see what all the fuss is about.

Rating: 3/5

Eye Candy
I saw Teresa Palmer as Tris and Zac Efron as Four.



Fine Print
Genre Young Adult Dystopia
Published: 2011, Harper Collins
Get It: Book Depository

16 comments:

  1. Series have so much to live up to when compared to HG, don't they? I hate hype around books - most of the time my expectations are so high then, it's almost impossible to really enjoy the book. This doesn't sound like something I'll bother with.

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    1. Sometimes you can see what the hype is about, even if you do't love it yourself. This one, I really don't get what the hype was about.

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  2. Aww, that stinks! I'm aiming to read this book sometime soonish (picked it up used for $2 so I figured why not) and usually hear good things about it... but I was also already wary of more dystopian YA. I guess I'll try it anyways, but maybe now I'll know that it might be disappointing.

    Thanks for the review :)

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    1. I got it on sale too! A lot of people love it so maybe you will too.

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  3. I read & liked Divergent a while ago although I didn't think it was better than The Hunger Games. However I've had Insurgent here for months and haven't even picked it up. I don't know if that's just because I'd prefer to wait until the 3rd book comes out....or if I'm really just not that interested.

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    1. I don't know if I'll continue with the series or not. People have said the second is better.

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  4. I have been a bit hesitant to read this. There is the fact that this might be a fun read even though the world doesn't make sense. And then there is the fact that I might not like Tris.
    Great review, Belle!

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    1. I'd be interested to know what you think!

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  5. I loved all the training, that's exactly the kind of plot that appeals to me but I don't think this was better than THG. The second book was slower and pretty boring for about the first 3/5 IMO but the ending was enough that I'll return for the third.

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    1. Oh really? That's a shame. I'm not sure if I'll read it or not.

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  6. It's nice to know it's not just me! I made the mistake of reading these books right after finishing the HG series and though I didn't hate them, I didn't enjoy them as much as I thought I would. I just sort of attributed my lack of appreciation to my HG hangover, but perhaps, there is more to it than that. And I, for one, cannot endorse that these books are superior to HG in any way. I'm sorry, but Collins blows Roth out of the water when it comes to dystopia.

    I will say this, I agree that the world-building and society rules are somewhat confusing in the 1st book. She does a much better job making these things more clear in the sequel as well as adding much more action, but there were some plot developments that I didn't really enjoy in it either. So it's a toss up. I think Insurgent might be worth checking out so long as your expectations aren't so high.

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    1. I think this would have come up even worse if I'd read it immediately after THG. If the world is better explained in the second book maybe I will give it a go. I'm not in a rush though.

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  7. Oh Divergent.

    Yes, I wasn't blown away by this one either, to be honest. I just found it quite... meh.

    Are you going to read the rest of them?

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    1. I don't know. Maybe if it falls into my lap or I find it at the library. I'm not going to hunt it down.

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  8. I just bought this book! I can't wait to read it, everyone seems to love it.
    The main characters sounds realistic & the boy character awesome! :)
    Great review.

    regards,
    micky of Automotive Body Shops

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    1. It is very popular! For me it didn't live up to the hype.

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