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Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This was ok, but I was hoping for something more unexpected and special. I liked the romantic relationship development., June 4, 2012
This review is from: Divergent (Audible Audio Edition)
DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth.

Dystopian society set in Chicago, Illinois, in the future. Most roads have holes and need repair. Very few have cars. Most travel by bus. The Dauntless are the only ones who travel by train because they are willing to jump on and off while it's moving. Society is divided into five groups. At age 16 every teen must choose a group to join. If they choose a different group from their parents, they will no longer live with their parents and rarely see them. The groups are personality types. Erudite are brainy. They research and teach. Dauntless are brave and learn to fight and shoot. Abnegation are self sacrificing and work in government. Tris' parents are Abnegation. She chose Dauntless. Most of this book is her experience at Dauntless. The new recruits sleep in one large room with many beds. She must compete against other recruits in contests. At the end of training the weakest performers will be kicked out of Dauntless.

Four and Eric oversee the training for recruits. Eric is a sadist. He enjoys putting recruits in danger where they could die. He requires Tris to fight a big boy who beats her bad. Some recruits try to kill each other to eliminate the competition. The leaders don't seem to care about recruits getting killed and don't investigate. The recruits can't look to anyone for help.

I loved Hunger Games and was hoping this would be as much fun. But it wasn't. It was ok, but I was not excited to keep reading. Four times a drug is given to Tris causing her to experience frightening dreams about fears. Dreams can be ok, but in this book I saw them as a weakness. The dreams were "the easy way" to provide conflict. The author doesn't have to develop characters, motivations, actions, and solutions surrounding the dream conflicts. Just have a dream, wake up, and it's over. Weird things don't need to be explained.

CAUTION SPOILER: Outside of the dreams, twice some bad guys outnumber Tris and try to hurt her. She survives when someone else saves her, which wasn't as good as saving herself. END SPOILER.

The result of the bad guys and the dreams give a helpless victim feel to Tris, rather than a character taking action. Her main skill was her brain's ability during a dream. The heroine in Hunger Games was placed in bad situations and used her skills, smarts, and other character traits to out think, survive, and win. Tris wasn't doing that, although in fairness, twice she came up with a good idea. The book ends with a success for Tris, but bad things have begun and will be continued in the sequel.

The major crisis at the end was too contrived for me. The bad guy in charge wanted to kill two good guys and should have shot them. Instead the bad guy put them in situations where they could be rescued. Also what happened with the computer was too convenient for me.

Overall, the characters were predictable and formulaic which can be ok. You can have a good story with stereotypes. But it might have been good to see more development around the bad guys and their motivations. There is the beginning of a teen romance, to be continued in the sequel. There is unsettling sadism and cruelty.

The narrator Emma Galvin was excellent. She has a pleasing voice and style of speaking. I would enjoy hearing her do other books.

Unabridged audiobook reading time: 11 hrs and 11 mins. Swearing language: none, other than occasional use of the word God. Sexual content: none. Setting: future in Chicago, Illinois. Book copyright: 2011. Genre: young adult dystopia romance.
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