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Books Read in 2014: DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

DivergentDivergent by Veronica Roth; audiobook read by Emma Galvin

bookshelves: audiobook, books-read-in-2014, young-adult

Read from January 01 to 13, 2014

Story: 3 stars
Narrator: 3.5 stars

This book starts with a bang but, unfortunately, ends with a whimper. At first, I was captivated by this newish image of a future dystopia where castes are determined not by social standing but by personality type. Tris’s journey from Abnegation (the ruling Amish-lite caste) into Dauntless (the daredevil/militaristic caste) was fascinating at first as she learned about life outside of the small world in which she’d been raised. The idea of a drug that could be injected and create hallucinations (simulations) that another person could observe—and that a computer could record—had the potential for great plot development.

And then . . . training started. And it went on and on and on and on ad nauseam until I got to the point about 2/3 of the way in that I wondered aloud if any of what had happened so far was going anywhere, or if the whole series would be one contrived “action” scene after another.

This book didn’t work for me as an action/adventure/suspense story the way The Hunger Games did, because the whole book was focused on the training exercises that got very repetitive very fast. And then there are Tris’s Mary-Sue like tendencies. She’s special. She’s better than everyone else. But of course that means that the baddies must be out to get her. There were also aspects to her personality that emerge after she’s in Dauntless that I didn’t like: the thrill seeking, the self-centeredness, the way she lays blame on everyone else when her relationships get strained because of her own actions but she never reflects on how she might need to change or what she needs to do, beyond “pretending to be vulnerable” to fix those relationships. Up until the very end, after the initiation ceremony, everything that happens to her is contrived not to move a plot forward but merely to create conflict between Tris and the other initiates. And that got very old and annoying.

This book also did not work for me as a romance. There was no relationship building that happened between Tris and Four. Sure, he was described as enigmatic and hawt, but he has almost nothing redeeming to his characterization, especially with the way he treats her occasionally (bordering on abusive) and very little, if any, actual personality. The sexy-time scenes were awkward—but not in the way they were meant to be. There’s no intellectual connection between them to lead me to believe there is long-term potential. It comes across as a very self-centered teen crush that will fizzle and die quickly.

I’m still looking forward to seeing the movie; and if it is better than the book, which it very well could be, I’ll watch the sequels. But I’m not going to read the other two books. I’m just not that interested or invested in this world or the characters that inhabit it.

  1. Ruth permalink
    Wednesday, January 15, 2014 11:04 am

    You know how you were asking for blogging ideas? Well I think this would be great…share your reviews here as well as Goodreads (as I occasionally miss things on the latter).


    • Wednesday, January 15, 2014 11:09 am

      Yeah, I’m not as prolific a reader as a lot of other people who post their book reviews, but I figure two or three a week—going back and posting from 2011, when I started tracking, up through last year should keep me going for a while. There are a bunch, especially from 2011–early 2013, from when I was still posting just on Pinterest, that I need to go back and bulk up a little bit. It’ll be good practice for me as I continue to develop my review-writing craft. 😉


      • Ruth permalink
        Wednesday, January 15, 2014 6:42 pm

        Sounds good!! 🙂



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