Top critical review
building up a world only to tear it down
on April 9, 2017
I had never heard of these books and accidentally watched Insurgent the movie one day and thought it was kind of weird and confusing. Later I learned that it was actually a trilogy and I had watched the second one first and had no background/basis for any of the story. I am one who likes the books 99.9% of the time so I decided to go ahead and buy this series so I could read it and I did in 2 days (all 3 books plus the Four mini books).
Divergent - Like many others, I really enjoyed this book and loved the world that Roth created with all the character background. I feel like I need to go into a ton of detail since I'm late to the party and a lot of people already have. I totally bought into the romance between Tris and Tobias/Four (enigmatic, strong, but broken young man attempting to be courageous and try to save others, including those who hurt him).
Four - I really liked this addition, it's probably my second favorite of the 4 'books'. Since I am a girl, I don't know how men think inside their heads, but I really enjoyed the prequel and additional explanation of the world - faction, initiation, why Eric and Four didn't get a long and their initiation class, etc.
Insurgent - The book was interesting, but I still liked Divergent best. It did hold my interest and I continued to read it even though I did get annoyed with some of the characters. I liked learning that there were more divergents and that there were brave people attempting to infiltrate the Erudites/rebel-Dauntless and fight for 'freedom' or order in their world. Tris was a guilt-ridden teenager who kept it in instead of talking about it with others which is what I would have done, but I supposed she has learned to be more introverted from her upbringing.
Allegiant - Honestly, I was not a huge fan. I thought it was a let down experience after this world was created and built up only to have it be a complete fabrication and something that could be 'reset'. It would have been cool for them to go outside the wall and had the fringe people come back and fight with them or something of that sort, but just having this all powerful government in the ORD airport was really weird. I just couldn't get into it. Also, knowing there were other cities that weren't 'experiments' allowing them to just do these huge experiments on thousands of people didn't sound plausible. Even though Four got all weird and kind of pathetic in the middle of the book, I still hated him hurting so badly at the end. I did like that Roth added some parts about love, that Tris realized she chose him and chose to love him no matter what and they chose each other through the good and bad times. I did not understand why Tobias would ask for Tris' opinion and then not even care what she said, but also, she should have worked on her explanations and been more open with him also - perhaps I'm expecting too much of 2 teenagers that have been traumatized and probably have PTSD.
Overall, I just got them a week ago and I read all of them in the first 2 days (hard to do working full time and having 2 babies but I hate not knowing what happens... then after Allegiant I was like meh... I guess I kept hoping that it would get better but then it was over and I felt kind of empty/unsatisfied with the ending/how their world was utterly destroyed and made into something fictional even in it's own book. Since I finished I read Roth's blog on why she ended it the way she did and I understand why she had Tris' part the way it was, but I still think their world could have been built up more instead of suddenly becoming an 'experiment' and being confusing. I feel like it was like the Truman Show but nobody was flipping out other than Four about it (and his lack of real divergence which was weird too) and if my whole world was a hoax, I think I would have had needed some serious time to figure out how I felt about it all.
After I read other's reviews, watched the movies in order, I re-read Divergent and Four and I still like them, but I would probably not read Allegiant again since it kind of ruins the whole experience for me as it tears their whole world apart and doesn't really feel 'finished' when the book is over. Something would have happened to the people running the experiment, they couldn't have been the only ones who were concerned about pure/damaged genes since someone obviously was funding the project. Confusing and inconclusive but I'll probably re-read Divergent and Four again... possibly Insurgent but avoid Allegiant.
I liked Allegiant the movie better than the book, Four still was manly and determined to save everyone. I did like the Divergent book better than the movie. I can't really decide which version of Insurgent I like better, but I felt like the movie was kind of confusing, especially if you had no background from the first movie/had not read the books.
They should definitely make a Four movie though featuring Theo James, he was a great Four character.