First of all, I want to say that I am tired of everyone comparing every single dystopian book with The Hunger Games. I understand that Suzanne Collins is the Stephenie Meyer of dystopia (only better!), but that doesn't mean that she is the only author with an idea.
I have read reviews for Divergent and somebody said that the only reason this book was written was because Veronica Roth wanted it to be like The Hunger Games. You know how angry that makes me? Because apparently she can't write a really book that she loves. She wrote it because she wanted it to be like The Hunger Games. It's like saying that Richelle Mead only wrote the Vampire Academy series because she wanted it to be like Twilight even though the two books are COMPLETELY different. Honestly, I feel like anybody who has that state of mind should not be reviewing books.
Despite the genre and the action Divergent isn't much like The Hunger Games at all. In my opinion, the people who think it is don't know what dystopian means. Because dystopian means an oppressive society that poses as the good guys. Basically. Therefore, all dystopian books are going to have that element in common, but that is mostly where the similarities halt.
Now, the rant is over and I will move on to my actual thoughts with the book.
Lately, I've been watching the show Greek a lot. And I know that this is going to be a terrible analogy and I should probably be shot just for thinking it, but certain aspects remind me of pledging and rushing and hazing. The initiation, for example, is sort of like really harsh pledging. I'm not going to elaborate any further, because I'd really rather people not think I'm a lunatic.
I heard a lot about this book before reading it. Everybody raved on and on about how good it was and I had never even heard of it! Then, I saw it in my library and I knew that I needed to get it. I think that one reason I had always passed it up is because the cover. Don't get me wrong, it is awesome and extremely relevant to the story, but it is sort of...forgettable.
The book itself, however, was very UNforgettable. It is a modern twist of dystopia and while there is not a large amount of insight as to why the society has shaped to be the way it is, I get the feeling that readers will get more information in later books. Divergent is fast-paced, with delicious narration and a compelling story line.
It started out kind of slow, but really picks up after the Choosing Ceremony with tons of action and high emotion. This book is really about finding where you fit in in a society where everyone dedicates their life, mind, and heart to one value. I think if I had to pick one virtue to live by...I wouldn't live very long. Especially since each of the virtues are taken to extremes. Abnegation, for example, are so selfless that they can only look in a mirror every three months! Excuse me if I sound vain, but could you imagine not even being allowed to look at yourself? And that's the problem for Beatrice because she can't dedicate all of herself to one virtue either. She has a mind of her own that travels in a bunch of different directions, therefore she has options when it comes to making decisions. Her mind doesn't just follow one path. She tries to force herself to fit in, but she soon realizes that it just isn't possible.
One thing that bothered me, though, is that I think the ending was too simple. Okay, maybe simple isn't the proper word, but I think it was an easy way out for Veronica Roth. I'm not going to spoil it, obviously, but I think that one of the conflicts was solved very predictably (is that a word?).
This book has a lot of surprises. Some of them completely broke my heart and others were quite pleasant. It also has a lot of secrecy and it shows Beatrice struggling with the urge to reveal those secrets. There are hard decisions, of course, as Beatrice tries to deal with her Divergent mind. And there is pain. Lots of it.
All together, Divergent was an excellent book that left me wanting more.
- The action. I kid you not, I literally felt myself cringing during the action scenes. They are not gory or unnecessary, but I could picture each punch or kick in my head. It was horribly wonderful.
- The romance. I've read some reviews that said that the romance between Four and Beatrice was undeveloped, but I completely disagree. Sure, it isn't perfect and full of dreamy gazes. Four can be harsh and cruel but only because he believes in Beatrice's strength. He was there for her since day one and he saw the tough side in her when nobody could see past her old faction and her body stature. And once he let Beatrice see the real him, the reader sees the real him and personally, I just wanted to give him a big old hug!
- The protagonist. I think that a lot of people have this idea about dystopian novels where the protagonist always knows what she wants and she'll do anything to get it, like Katniss. But Beatrice struggles with so many things. She doesn't have a one-track mind, so to speak, and she has this strong desire to prove herself tough. And even though she acts tough it is only out of her insecurities. She has to decide whether it is best to just keep her head down or take the spotlight. She doubts herself a lot and she has to hide how easy it is for her to be hurt.