Friday, February 1, 2013

ReviewMeTwice: Divergent by Veronica Roth

I know we've been crazy with the dystopias lately, but I promise this will be the last one for awhile.  This one has been on everyone's radar for so long, how could we not do it?  And to be honest, I think it's a book worth picking up.

I really like the world that Roth creates.  It's one that's not completely different from our own.  We can see references and remnants to our own world: The Sears Tower, a train system (even though the majority of the population doesn't use it), stoplights, even though most people don't have cars.  I think it really helps get you into the book more when you can point out familiar landmarks.

Roth is also a good writer.  The action scenes are interesting and believable, her world isn't too over the top and she does a great job of explaining to you how things work, how the factions work and really giving you the feel for everything through Tris and the other kids who left their factions.

However, despite this good points the book, for me at least, was extremely, extremely predictable.  There was little that Roth didn't make obvious.  I don't want to say too much here, because it would give away a LOT of spoilers, but about a third of the way through the book, I started writing down my predictions and checking them off as they came true.  Out of ten predictions I made, eight of them came true (and one still might in another book.)  If I can guess all the "big" surprises, then they're really not very good surprises.

The book also has a good ending.  It's open-ended but still gives you closure.  You could see where there would be a second book, but it's not the type of series where you HAVE to go onto the second one.  Divergent could be a stand alone.

Overall, a good book, but probably not one that I'd ever pick up again.

My Bottom Line 3 out of 5

This book filled the void that finishing the Hunger Games trilogy left in me over a year ago. (You know the feeling. The series you love so much is over, and you don't know what to do next.) Most booksellers' websites offer up Divergent as a "you might like this if you liked The Hunger Games" suggestion, and they are right to do so.

Your awesome female protagonist kicks ass but has to learn that herself before she can go about doing it. There is a budding romance that is on the peripherals of the story. Let me emphasize that again: the romance is so not central to the story. (There is a "magic of love saves us" moment, but I'll forgive it because I stayed up late to finish the book, and it made perfect sense at the time.)

This book passes the Bechdel test with flying colors: Tris talks to several other female characters about all sorts of things that are not boys.

The world Roth built is exquisite. I could get lost in it. That's my favorite thing about a dystopia: the crazy, messed-up version of the world your characters are wandering around in.

And without spoilers, I just want to express that Roth doesn't shy away from writing the Bad Things. If a character needs killing, s/he will die.

I know I'm gushing, but I just really enjoyed this book.

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