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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Divergent
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on October 12, 2014
This set includes the trilogy, along with the extra book titled, "Four". I actually recommend reading Four first. It's the comets set. My 13 year old triplet boys started reading this series in school. They couldn't stop talking about it, so I bought this series for them, and I even read it myself. It's very, very good. The movie is pretty good too; although, the books are a lot more detailed. I highly recommend this series. I would caution for younger readers as the two main characters have some heated moments. Nothing that heavy, but on the line. I wouldn't want my 8 year old reading something like that. I hope this review has been helpful for the parents out there. All in all.. Definitely a great series! A Must Read!
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on March 28, 2014
People almost universally love the first two books and I agree so I'll leave it at that. Many people hate the 3rd book for two reasons: the ending, and lack of differentiation of the two main characters. I disagree concerning the ending. It was quite complex, very human and a real commentary on war, conflict, human society and healing. I just wasn't Hollywood. I slightly agree about the two main characters not being differentiated. The narrators voice is quite similar to Tris, so when we are in Tris's head, it feels quite natural and you get lost in the character. When the narrator moves into Tobias's head, the voice doesn't shift enough, isn't distinct enough. This made it difficult to feel that you were experiencing a different character. However, this error was mitigated by the fact that the 3rd story was just as engaging, just as complex as the first two. For this reason, I remained engrossed in the story though I recognized that there was a problem with the differentiation. It just wasn't a big enough problem to separate me from the experience of the story.
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on August 2, 2017
ACTUAL RATING: 3.75 STARS.

I enjoyed Divergent. I really did. But I had some problems with it.

If you have read several of my previous reviews, you know that I am more character driven than plot driven. Well, this book was more of the latter than the former.

I felt that Tris had pretty much no narrative voice, which is the danger when writing a first person, present tense novel. (And, in hindsight, I’ve realized that, while I enjoy the writing style very much, I never felt Tris’s presence through her narration. Most of the time, she seemed too stiff [heheheh] and stoic to be flesh and blood.) As far as characters go, I think I’d say Four was my favorite, because I felt he had both a developed backstory and a developed personality.

In regards to plot, most of the novel occurs in the training headquarters. Not only are we subject to a lot of training scenes–this also means that, halfway through the book, Tris has still not yet been accepted into her chosen faction. For a book almost 500 pages long, that’s a lot of time focused on training. As a result, everything kicks off around the last fifth of the book, and, while the ending was incredibly exhilarating and very satisfying, I wish certain plot developments would have started appearing earlier in the book.

But this book did keep me reading late into the night, and the memories I have while reading Divergent are timeless. This is a total guilty-pleasure read, and I enjoyed the heck out of it. I just wish Tris had been more developed as a character; this book would have been a solid four stars if I could have connected with her better.
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on December 7, 2013
Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publication Date: April 25, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 487

Amazon Book Blurb:

One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior's society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she's determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.

Review: Published in 2011, Divergent is Veronica Roth's first novel. The first of a series by the same name, Divergent reflects the voracious appetite readers at the time had for post-apocalyptic literature.

The story is entirely from the viewpoint of sixteen year-old Tris who's forced to undertake a social sorting test that separates them into separate and distinct factions—not unlike the houses of Hogwarts—that dictate their members' roles in society. These factions come complete with initiations and manifestos that emphasize their respective ideal virtues. It's discovered during Tris's sorting test that she doesn't fit neatly into any one group. In other word's, she's special.

I'd heard of this book when I came across it on Amazon but I was immediately snared by the potential the world setting offered. An entire society formally divided into factions by their values? I could just imagine the possibilities. Unfortunately, I found that potential to be largely wasted.

I was quickly bothered by the facile nature of the world Veronica had built. Perhaps I've been spoiled by the likes of J.R.R. Tolkien and George R. R. Martin, but I expect my fictional worlds to survive the most cursory of internal logic tests. In this, Divergent fails.

The characters tended to be fairly shallow and predictable in the extreme. Their goals rarely extended further than than the scene that contained them. I found the dialogue to be similarly shallow and unrealistic.

The plot twists were predictable. The writing was often as subtle as a Leslie Nielson movie. Maybe I'm giving the young adult genre too much credit but the characters and plot were about as surprising as a form-fittingly wrapped Christmas present.

I'm genuinely surprised at the praise this book has received. There wasn't anything exemplary about the book except for the setting's concept which turned out to be poorly developed despite its potential. I'm fairly certain that the reason Divergent obtained such an impressive level of success can be narrowed down to its impeccable timing. Publishers and readers alike were hungry for another Katniss Everdeen story. Another story about a young women who had more handsome romantic prospects than she knew what to do with.

Now, don't get me wrong. I try to support new authors. I wish Veronica the best in her writing endeavors. It could very well be that I'm not a fan of the simplistic style she uses, a style exemplified in her website's biography:

"I’m Veronica. I write books for young adults. Specifically, I wrote the books Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant, and Four: A Divergent Collection.

I like things. Some of those things are (in no particular order): Harry Potter, rain, YA, books, puns, cute animals, tea, sitcoms, grammar, writing, Chicago, Doc Martens, trains, flat stretches of prairie land, cold weather months, and so on. "

It's very possible I'm missing something that her fans are picking up on. After all, her books are adored by millions. They can't all be wrong.
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on June 16, 2015
I read and liked the first volume in the series, Divergent.
While not particularly original, it has grit and pace,
and some of its scenes are rather memorable.
The main characters are a bit shallow -- the heroine has some
substance, but the hero is a bit less fleshed out, and Eric,
the main villain, with his ever-increasing piercings, seems
mostly robotic. However, the plot and setting do not require
subtlety and the action carries the book along nicely.
I'd give Divergent four stars.

The second volume, Insurgent, is a reprise of the first, but
at a consistently lower level. The new arch-villain, the
leader of the Erudite faction, is a cardboard cut-out without
even a notion of being driven by anything in particular --
she's just malware, not a person.
Our hero and heroine drift around, in pain and combat,
but without any underlying goals. The writing is on par with
the first volume: serviceable, but too anodyne to make up for
defects in the storyline. In particular, the various characters
all speak in the same manner -- none of them has any distinguishing
speech mannerisms or any specific way of expressing certains
thoughts or desires.
This may be deliberate on the author's part to make a point
about the smallness of the world they live in, but it does not
feel right: with the factions at great pains to differentiate
themselves, one would expect different speech patterns in
different factions.
If you still have momentum from reading Divergent, it will
most likely carry you through Insurgent, hoping for the text
to become more interesting. So I'd give Insurgent two stars.

The third volume, Allegiant, is a complete disaster. The plot
(well, whatever passes for one now) is getting stretched far
too thin, well into complete implausibility, not to mention
that it makes a complete hash of basic genetics. What really
kills the volume, though, is the author's lack of skills
in distinguishing her characters. In this volume, unlike in
the first two, the author chose to write the book in the
first person, some parts from the point of view of the hero and
others from the point of view of the heroine. (Keep in mind
that the two are a couple.) The problem is that, most of the
time, the reader has no clue who is the narrator and has to turn
back to the beginning of the chapter to find out. More than anything
else, it painfully illustrates that the author could not (rather
than decided not to) differentiate patterns of thought and speech
between her two main characters. To make matters worse, each of
the two narrators ends up retelling much of what the other told,
since their lives and actions overlap much of the time. This would
not be a problem if each had a distinct point of view on the events;
in fact, many famous authors have used this literary device to great
effect. But the two characters are pretty much interchangeable
and so are their descriptions and observations. Unsurprisingly,
the result is an unreadable mess. I'd give Allegiant zero stars,
which, with four stars for the first volume, two for the second,
and now zero for the third, averages out to two, my rating for the
trilogy.

My advice is to stick with the first book, Divergent, and call it
quits before you get disappointed. Divergent is a fun and easy
read; the others will just spoil the fun.
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on August 20, 2014
(SPOILER FREE, as much as possible) Where to begin …

I really enjoyed the first book, liked the second well enough, but the series fell flat in the third installment.

DIVERGENT (5 STARS) The first book is interesting and the character development strong. I enjoyed all of the characters, even the more despicable ones, as the author did a great job of making dynamic primary and secondary characters. The world she built is interesting, and felt real and alive. I loved seeing the growth of the characters as the new experiences broadened their horizons. The ending was fast paced and poignant. I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it, but…

INSURGENT (4 STARS) I enjoyed the second book, but not as much as the first. We are introduced to more of the factions and begin to get a stronger feel for the strengths and weaknesses of each faction, as well as the faction system itself. Seeing more of this broken world was fascinating. I became frustrated with the Tris and Four, but still enjoyed their journey. The end, though good, left me feeling like "haven't we done this before?". The world crumbles, where to go next. I enjoyed the second book, but …

ALLEGIANT (2 STARS) I agree with every review regarding the POV. I have read a number of books in which the point of view switches in order to get a broader picture of the conflicts and situations at hand. Most succeed. Roth did not. Tris and Four sound so similar that it was difficult to remember which was narrating. The plot itself was ok, but I expected more … well, just more. The plot becomes ridiculously complex, while at the same time under-explored. And the introduction of so many new characters, settings, etc. distract greatly from the development of our now robotic main characters. Whatever growth of character we found in the first book and, to a lesser degree, in the second, is completely absent in the third installment. The strong characters we know and love have been replaced by shadows of their former selves. We see an abundance of weaknesses, with very little growth. I was disappointed in the ending. It left me feeling flat. It drags what could have been a memorable series into the realm of mediocrity. I had read reviews warning me not to read the third installment, and I wish that I had heeded those warnings.
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on October 17, 2015
First things first, while many gave only One Star, most gave it between Three - Five Stars. The way I rate what I read is to Start with Five Stars and deduct from there. I found this Book without the usual reasons I deduct stars so I gave it the full Five Stars. To date, I have only given a total of Six 1 Star reviews, this one won't be added to that (short) list.

I originally started reading this series because of my daughter. I find at times the lack of either swearing or sexual promiscuity in YA novels and books refreshing. Don't get me wrong, I love a book regardless of swearing or sexual descriptions. If you've ever read a Matt Shaw book, you know what I mean (I have almost everything he's ever written). That said, on to my review.

Beatrice Prior's world is divided into five factions. When a teen reaches a certain age, they are tested for faction placement, then given the chance to join a fraction of their own choosing. Most stay in the same faction all their lives. The tests have been so fine tuned they are never wrong, and only give one result, that is until Beatrice Prior takes hers (Tris). Her test is immediately erased and manually keyed in by the test instructor, who mysteriously whispers she is divergent, and to tell NO one about her results, not even her parents.

So come initiation day, Beatrice shocks the entire community, when she chooses Dauntless. The only faction where brave, reckless thrill seekers are free to be different (to a point) is unlike any other faction, it's also the best place for her to hide her differences, to keep her secret. Because in her world, what makes you different makes you dangerous. There's so much more I could say, but anything else after these first, beginning chapters, and I would be heading into spoiler territory. So I will stop here, you will just have to read the book to find out the rest.

The Characters were well developed, with enough of background information slowly being revealed as the story progresses (instead of a lump amount that forces you to skip pages out of detail-boredom) allows you to become emotionally invested with the characters and their lives. The storyline was well thought out, keeping you captivated as events unfold. By the time you reach the end of the first book, you are completely and emotionally invested with the main and secondary characters and can't wait to start the next book in this trilogy. Keep in mind it is a trilogy so there is a lot of unanswered questions and loose ends, not to mention the cliffhanger ending. Still, I finished this first in the trilogy in a little over a day.

The world the characters live in is so believable, if it weren't for an overwhelming need to get up and stretch my legs, I probably would've read all night and beyond until I finished this first book, then continuing on to the next two, completed the entire series (the blessing and curse of buying the complete trilogy bundle).

First Book? Definitely a Highly Recommended read.

NOTE: I purchased this book as part of the "The Divergent Series [Complete Collection] Bundle." It's the Perfect way to not only have the completed Trilogy in one place, but will save you money in the long run as well. A portion of this review is also at the Kindle Store's Complete Trilogy page as well.
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on April 7, 2014
So.

So much hype surrounding this book and I just don't get it. The characters aren't likeable. We have no idea why the factions exist. What happened to make them that way?

Nothing happens in this book except for Tris' initiation into Dauntless. And that had to be one of the most ridiculous things ever. Her initiation. The training. I'm still not sure what she was supposed to get out of any of that.

While I didn't really like any of the characters I found others to be way more interesting than Tris and would have loved to learn more about them instead of her. Like Four. Or Uriah. Or Tris' mother. Or Caleb.

Tris was just an awful person. I couldn't stand her. By the end of the book I still didn't like her. She was a terrible person who passed judgment on everyone. What made her better than all of them? Not a darn thing.

What even happened in this book? I just don't know.
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on February 12, 2017
The premise and world-building are flimsy, the plot has got some pretty glaring holes in it, and while the characters themselves are somewhat run-of-the-mill, it's the character arc that really captured my attention and made it an enjoyable read. I find a lot of main characters, particularly females, are encouraged to find compassion and forgiveness even for their hateful enemies. (Think of all the times you read some version of "I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy" and couldn't quite relate to that sentiment). I think authors are afraid not giving them those qualities would make them less likeable and be openly criticized for their lack of compassion. But Tris's arc is the opposite. She was born into a world of humility and selflessness but doesn't feel like she can live up to that, so she chooses instead a world of bravery, recklessness, and physicality. Sometimes she feels annoyed by weakness and so enraged by bullies that she wants to physically lash out, and in her new faction, she's allowed to feel that way, even encouraged to. She pushes her limits and learns a different perspective. She tries to purge some of the self-deprecating values in favor of confidence and self-esteem but learns it's not that easy to change everything you ever knew. Ultimately she realizes she doesn't naturally fit in to her new faction either. And, as usual, what makes her different saves the world... or in this case the lives in her old faction and the psyches of those in her new one.
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on December 24, 2014
I ask that because it is critical to your choice to read the Divergent trilogy.

We each have our reasons. When I finish a book I want to feel good. If I want to feel bad about something all I have to do is turn on the news and in 30 minutes I can experience all manner of negative emotions. In my free time I prefer not to feel bad. So I read with the hope of feeling entertained and uplifted. It is escapism pure and simple. If you are like me, I strongly recommend not reading the second and third books in this trilogy.

The author is very good, there is no denying that. The characters are compelling. The storyline is intriguing, and wether you want it to or not, it will suck you in. It will make you laugh. It will make you angry, and it will make you cry.

I gave the series three stars because anything less would not be an honest evaluation of the work from a purely structural standpoint. I only gave it three stars because of the way it made me feel when I finished it. I will most likely never read another of Ms. Roth's books. That is probably not fair, but I am human and make no apologies for the pettiness of lashing out at an author who makes me feel something I don't want to feel. A significant amount of time was invested into reading the collection, and my chief emotions at the end of it all are sorrow, and anger.

I cannot go into details without spoiling the story, and frankly I have probably said too much already.

As I stated above it goes back to your reason for reading. If you like "happily ever after"please do not begin reading.
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