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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 November 7, 2014
First off, I have to admit that it is difficult for me to rate this book without rating the series as a whole, so that is what I am going to do. It turns out I cannot review this series without comparing it to Hunger Games.

There is a great deal of similarity between this series and Hunger Games. Teenage coming-of-age adventure story in a post-apocalyptic dystopian society. I could go further into the premise, but it really does not make much sense outside the context of the book.

Again, like Hunger Games, I found the first book gripping and devoured it quickly. The second book did a good job of keeping up that pace.

Then the third book comes up, and, once again like Hunger Games, it takes the "Us vs. Them" story and throws in "oh look, These Guys Too! Bet you didn't see THAT coming!" plot hook, and things go off the rails for me. The first two books seem to be building your hope for the characters and the world they live in and the ability for them to make the world better. Then they expand the world, and the third book goes about crushing your hopes of a happy ending.

While reading the first two books, I was a little bummed that it would be over in three. By the time I was about a quarter through the third book, I was ready for it to be done. I was looking forward to Four during the first two books. After reading the third, I don't have any real interest in reading Four anymore.

The real world does not have happy endings for everyone, but this isn't really about happy endings. It is more about building up these characters to great heights with the implication that they will usher in a new age. Then, it turns out in the end they are a cog in a machine in the end. Important, sure, but used to an end just the same.

I would actually rate the first two books at five stars, but the third book is such a letdown that it brings down the whole series for me, and this book is useless without the other two. If you read Hunger Games and loved it, this scratches the same itch. In the end, I didn't hate it, but it lost a lot of luster quickly in the end.
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on November 12, 2015
I generally don't like books written in first person...not because I don't like first person, I have just found in my experience that telling a story from entirely one person's point of view is a challenge. And, a lot of authors haven't mastered it...yet. That being said, I really liked this book, rather because of the first person, not in spite of it. The central character, Tris, is multi-layered and quite unpredictable in her reactions to the situations going on around her. She doesn't do what I think she will do. She is intelligent and she approaches the world around her in a unique, intelligent way. She's also a strong female figure which I like. And she holds her own with Four, an Alpha male...with very little softness to him. But its good. Four is a good guy, he just doesn't always come off that way. Still waters run deep though...Underneath the seemingly indifferent straight-laced trainer is a kind intelligent heart. His and Tris' coupling plays out realistically and very sweetly. The Dystopian faction-based society is intriguing...raising alot of questions in my mind. I was thinking about it long after I finished reading the book. Also, a plus, the movie version of the book actually does the book justice (quite shocking these days.) Read the Book. Watch the movie (near perfect casting!)
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on September 23, 2015
Insurgent

The novel picks up where the last novel, Divergent, leaves off, but as another reviewer pointed it, it's as if you've discovered an entirely different person as Tris was portrayed in the first novel!

The Tris in Divergent is a girl on the cusp of womanhood, growing up in an Amish-type group called Abnegation and they have very severe laws of behavior.

Through a rite that looks suspiciously like Harry Potter's Sorting Hat ceremony, she goes to Dauntless, the military-style faction in post-Apocalypse Chicago.

Anyway, Insurgent does not stand on its own. You have to read the first before reading the second. The second does little to catch the reader up so if you're new to the series you're about as screwed as Will was under simulation – but I digress!

Comments:

I like the world Veronica Roth built, but not how she wrote it. She dives so much into the teenage angst of Tris, and what she thinks about certain things, her fear of being a liar, deceiving all her friends and having a major guilt trip during the first 300 pages of the novel.

When I finally reached (struggled is more the term) near the end with the confrontation with Jeanine, the conversion of Peter (a religious angle? Nah!) and a convoluted ending, well let's just say I was not rewarded by what I read.

Book to Movie: This is not a review of the movie, but I did like the movie better than the book. That's like saying I liked spinach better than liver.

The movie cuts to the chase and leaves out all the teenage angst nonsense, and brings the ending to a fast conclusion (changing Roth's plot liberally). But with speed it loses its interest, and so it too is not really worth the time.

Conclusion:

Divergent is a novel that is very derivative of other Young Adult novels of a similar genre. The author must have read Hunger Games and Harry Potter and morphed them into a dystopian novel of sorts.

I could have worked regardless. Unfortunately the Tris character being changed from a tough as nails warrior to a whiny, suicidal teenager was too much to bear.

Not recommended!
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on May 6, 2015
First Impression: The Movie was Better!

***

Divergent, a book review

I picked up Divergent on the recommendation of a friend of mine. I had already seen the DVD of the story of the same name so I thought I’d give it a try. Actually, the movie was better!

Story & Plot:

Basic themes of family, groups, betrayal and self-sacrifice pepper the story. Unfortunately you have to also put up with the main character’s whiny self-deprecating, clueless dialogue throughout much of the story.

But I Digress:

A city in the Midwest, Chicago perhaps, is a remnant of its former self. To survive, a large wall was built around the city and a civilization was built based on four merits that cancel each other out. They’re divided into factions: Dauntless, Abnegation, Candor and Erudite. The words speak for themselves.

Beatrice belongs to the selfless group Abnegation and wants to be free of restrictions and go with Dauntless, which seems to be having all the fun. Airhead that she seems to be, she chooses Dauntless rather than the family group Abnegation, thus upsetting her parents and her brother (who also abdicates Abnegation and goes with the smart guys, Erudite.).

Faction before Family is a slogan that is also strewn about the novel and as in the movie is cause of tension between the factions.

Beatrice (Tris) is just a clueless 16 year old in this book. She falls for one of the leaders, “Four.” Yep, that’s his name and don’t give him a hard time about it, darn you!

He falls for her too, but when they see each other in the Dauntless cafeteria, he ignores her. She gets all introverted and wonders why he did that and then comes up with a wrong conclusion.

She does this a lot. Makes a bad call and acts on it.

This character is more frustrating than Bell on “Twilight”! (Actually, I take that back: No one is as bad as Bell on Twilight!).

Movie & Book

The movie is better. In the movie, Tris is naive but not clueless. We get to the end with her in conflict with the bad girl who wants to raise an army of Dauntless mind-controlled zombies. Tris handles it. The end, with a door open for the next film.

In the book, Tris does NOT handle it, but runs away on a train. Oh boy.

I’m leaving a lot out. The point is, you won’t be missing much by skipping the novel and watch the films. Way more entertaining.

And you don’t have to put up with the clueless conclusions of one dizzy Dauntless dame!
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I'm a bit behind the times when it comes to reading Divergent by Veronica Roth. However, I'm finally starting to get caught up with all these awesome 2012 books! It's funny that I finally got around to Divergent when I saw it on audio from the library. I hadn't been able to find time to read the physical book I bought a year ago (one of my first book blogger inspired purchases :D), but I have been so short on audiobooks that it worked out perfectly in the form! In any case, I know that some of my opinions on this one are likely to be disagreeable with many fans, but that's why they are opinions right, hehe.

Strengths:
I am a huge fan of slow burn romances, those relationships that you start getting an inkling about in the beginning, but the characters certainly don't realize it. Divergent did this wonderfully from Tris' perspective since she starts annoyed and put off, but slowly gets to know Four and finds she likes who he is when he freaking relaxes!
The premise of five factions that focus on only one trait is quite interesting. I found myself thinking quickly about which faction I would end up in (Erudite) though it also seems likely I would have been born into it ;-). What faction do you think you'd choose? Do you think you would have been born into it based on your parents' personalities?
The plot twists of Divergent are delicious :D. I saw this book going in a very different direction, so it was pretty awesome to see how things developed.
I thought the questions that Divergent brings up in terms of who should make up the government were really fun to think about and actually a good thing to consider. In the beginning there seem to be very good arguments for Abnegation, but is it really fair/good to have only one faction control government?
The narrator did an excellent job. I highly recommend you check out the audiobook version if you are interested.

Weaknesses:
There is only so much sadness and innocent death that I can take, and Divergent pushed up against that limit. I really didn't think all of the bad things should have happened to some of the side characters. I understand some of it was necessary to show how cruel select candidates were, but it just went too far for my emotional health ;-).
I'm not a fan of the "saving the world with love" conclusions and Divergent definitely felt like one.
Just a generally word of caution that Divergent has abuse and assault situations at several occasions that might be more than unpleasant for some people.

Summary:
Divergent definitely brought the grittiness of dystopias to the table in addition to a fascinating premise and strong characters. While I wish it hadn't been nearly so dark at times, I thoroughly enjoyed the brewing romance and developing character of Tris. Now that all of that has gone down, I'm excited to see what Insurgent has in store! I've heard it's just as depressing, so I'm holding off reading it until I'm filled up on happy fantasy books, but I won't be able to resist the questions long ;-).
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on July 19, 2012
After the horrible events during the Dauntless/Erudite attack on Abnegation, the factions are all in turmoil. Amity has chosen to stay neutral, and that is where our heroes take refuge, but war is coming and they have to take part if they hope to save the people. Tris Prior is having her own inner war dealing with grief and guilt over what's happened, and she needs to get her head in the game because a lot of people are counting on her. As they get ready for battle hints about the real reason Abnegation was targeted will come to light; secret information that only leaders of their government, like Marcus, know. Tris will have to embrace her Divergence, especially her affinity for Erudite, if she hopes for any chance of saving everyone.

Veronica Roth has wow-ed me again with Insurgent. The plot, the characters, the surprises, the secrets, the emotions! There's so much I want to discuss about Insurgent, and I will try to do it without any major spoilers! However, if you haven't read the first book, be warned! there are Divergent spoilers.

Let me start with our Dauntless heroine. Tris is shaken by what happened at the end of Divergent. Nightmares about the death of her parents, and what happened with Will keep her up at night. She keeps running the scene in her mind, thinking she could have done things differently. This was the hardest part for me, seeing Tris lose her Dauntlessness because she's blinded by grief. Lines like the one below made me want to slap her.

There is a part of me that wants to be lost, that struggles to join my parents and Will so that I don't have to ache for them anymore.

There are a lot of lines like this. I really thought Tris was stronger than that, than wanting to die. I understand the change, but what I hate about it is that she's giving up! She's giving up when there's still a reason to live, and his name is Tobias. He loves her enough to keep trying to get her to snap out of her dark mood, but Tris is too caught up with her inner demons. Tobias doesn't want her to give up, but he also won't put up with her reckless behavior forever, and I loved that he said so to her.

"If you throw yourself into danger for no reason again, you will have become nothing more than a Dauntless adrenaline junkie looking for a hit, and I'm not going to help you do it." He spits the words out bitterly. "I love Tris the Divergent, who makes decisions apart from faction loyalty, who isn't some faction archetype. But the Tris who's trying as hard as she can to destroy herself...I can't love her."

What made me sad though is that Tris continues on her downward spiral even after Tobias talks to her about it. Doesn't this mean that she doesn't love him enough to want to live? Doesn't she see that she's not alone? She has not lost everyone. Sigh. It takes a strong shock, an ultimate reality check to get her to see sense, but I thought that was a little too late for her to realize that she had someone who loved her. And that she should fight to stay alive because of him. Still, amid all the angst and depression Tris is still able to see things as they are, and take action.

Four is still the hot, badass, sexy man we love. We get to know more about his past when it comes back to haunt him, and Tris realizes she might not know all of Tobias. I thought he trusted too easily, which I found completely out of character for him, but I liked that Tris called him on it every time. Their relationship is struggling but neither wants to give up the other. Though it makes for a very frustrating romance, it's also more realistic. I mean, relationships aren't supposed to be easy, and I liked that they try again and again to work through their problems.

The plot wasn't all inner angst and relationship troubles. There was action, secrets that needed uncovering, a bit of back stabbing, and no end of surprises. We get to know more about some of the other factions, as our heroes travel back and forth between each base. There was a lot of death in this sequel, which is why one of my favorite parts is the paintball fight at Dauntless HQ. This is what Tris says:

"I decide to keep the shirt to remind me why I chose Dauntless in the first place: not because they are perfect, but because they are alive. Because they are free."

I think after all the death and chaos we too needed a reminder of the true nature of Dauntless, and a little fun time if only for a minute.

The ending was a real shocker. I'm still going back to that last chapter and re-reading it, making sure I read that shit right. I so didn't see that one coming, though now that I think about it, there were some hints. As for Tris and Tobias, though they return to a 'happy note' I thought they still had issues to resolve. I already know there's more trouble coming their way. Not just for the factions, but for them personally and I can't wait to read it! All I have left to say is that the wait for the third book will be horrible. HORRIBLE.
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on May 23, 2012
I'm attempting to write a review of a "book" which I won't be able to give justice to. Insurgent is a story at it's finest, a book at its best, awesome to the fullest. The extreme plot, complex characters and unexpected twists and turns of events that never fail to surprise and amaze the readers made this book a
one huge awesome read. I can't tell you how much I love this series!

Once again I was thrown into the world of Divergent, beautiful and terrifying at the same time. The story immediately picked up where the first book left off--Tris, Four, Caleb, Peter, and Marcus--in the train heading to the Amity compound. I'm glad that this time, Insurgent gave me a glimpse of what it is to live inside Amity, the faction dedicated to pursue peace. In the same way that the readers were given the opportunity to see how to live in Candor.

There are so many things to love about Insurgent, and I won't be able to finish if I state them all. But what I loved the most is Four (*swoon). I love it because I get to know him more in this book. Though there are lots of readers who seemed to be so irritated by him, I think he remains strong and amazing. And though Tris annoyed me from time to time because of her recklessness, I'd say that she's the most effective heroine I've ever met. She's strong-willed and smart and absolutely kick-ass. She suffered a lot--the death of her parents, the destruction of Abnegation, and the guilt of killing his friend Will--but she remains strong all through out the story. I just hope that Tris learned to trust Four, and not be stupid to think that Four will just let her go and do whatever it is that she wanted even if she risk her life. I want to pin-point one thing that Tris must have been missing the whole time: Four will always come to the rescue no matter what. He ends up saving her all the time. And Four should have trusted Tris more. I see that both main characters have their own issues to deal with like trusting each other and learning how to communicate with each other better. I hope they will learn to work this out in the next book to spare the readers some heartache that may result from stabbing one another out of arguments whether who is most infuriating of the two! Believe me, I felt stabbed a million times now! *winks*lol*

The setting of the story is as great as ever. The pacing is perfect! No dull moment, no boring ones. Most of the times I was expecting something to happen and then my heart throbs, my stomach flutters. But what's great is that they come when I'm least expecting them--always surprising, shocking even. Action-packed, full of suspense and lots of exciting moments. This book will leave you breathless. The characters are amazing as ever. Friends and enemies aren't what they seem. You'll hate some of those you loved, and love some of those you hated. The turn of events will question what you believe, who to trust, and where to stand. The twists and the revelations will amaze you once again, something that Veronica Roth didn't fail to give her readers.

I don't think my rating can ever give justice to it. I would give it a "10" if I could. I will definitely give this book the highest possible rating I can give. This book is what you call "the total page-turner." It did not disappoint, it will never disappoint. Undeniably and irrevocably, this book will take it's place beside Divergent -- there on top of the list of my most favorite books.

To Miss Veronica Roth,
Once again, consider me awed.
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on December 3, 2014
Better folks than I have already detail everything that was off-putting, ridiculous and/or boring about this book. It read like a parody of some Giver/Hunger Games fanfic hid in the deepest recesses of the internet, and I sincerely wish I had instituted my rule about drinking every time Tris became physically uncomfortable in reaction to Four sooner because then I would be dead of alcohol poisoning and not typing this review.
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on April 4, 2016
Post-apocalyptic Chicago is protected by tattooed teenagers, governed by teenage Mother Theresa's, plotted against by teenage bookworms, with 2 other groups of teenagers that serve no purpose whatsoever.

Who actually works in this Chicago? The poverty-stricken "factionless" masses that somehow go along with this.

Ok, whatever. Why was there an apocalypse? Not sure.

Oh, and in this book you can take a group of teens and turn them into peerless warriors in a couple of weeks of jumping off trains and beating each other up for no real reason.

I love the part where Tris gets shot in the shoulder, has the bullet removed without anesthesia, and can still run, jump, fight off a zombie army, witness the violent death of both of her parents and make-out with her boyfriend without any noticeable difficulty.

Lastly, why exactly do the trains never stop? How do they refuel, who drives them? There are just too many stupid issues with the book that suspension of disbelief is impossible.

I don't write reviews, but perhaps this will save at least one person the agony of investing any time or money on this book.

I gave it 2 stars because 1 star seemed cruel, and there are a few interesting images here and there but the book is mostly hopeless.
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